I doubt I’m alone in wishing that Barack Obama would be more vocal about a lot of things. Environmental activism, for one. But an issue that Obama is uniquely suited to address, as our first African-American president, is that of race in this country. Not only race and racism broadly, but also its relationship to both the justice system and gun control. As both a black man and a political insider, he must surely have valuable perspectives on these issues. Surely, at least, they must infuriate him! And, though he’s a politician and it’s clearly not popular to talk about these things, even given all that, I’ve still been astounded at how infrequently Obama addresses the subject. It’s too bad that it takes an issue as dramatic and polarizing as the George Zimmerman trial/verdict for his murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida last year to get Barry to open up, but I was glad to see that he addressed the press the other day and offered about fifteen minutes of commentary on race, racial profiling, guns, and racial discrimination in the justice system. He also spoke about how we move on from such trauma.
You know, it’s a shame that there’s not more reasonable debate and discussion on these important issues. The other night I caught a few minutes of a debate about the verdict on Piers Morgan between a black minister and one of the Central Park Five and the conversation was so spiteful and void of any reason, let alone actual listening, that I couldn’t even watch or think so I ended up watching sports. I know that Obama’s views on these subjects are just one man’s, and that if you’re right leaning or call yourself a conservative, you probably don’t want to hear what he has to say. If these were Mitt Romney’s comments on the verdict, I’m not sure I’d want to listen either.
I would postulate that even if you think Zimmerman was properly acquitted and you want to wrap him up in a big bear hug and give him back his six shooter and put him right back on neighborhood watch, even then you would still get something out of Obama’s remarks (viewable via the link below), which are so thought provoking and insightful. If nothing else, appreciate a leader who can expound and reason and assert on this level. He needs to do this a lot more often. We have a lot to learn.
By the way, it might interest you to know that as of this writing, the above video has been watched a half million times, which isn’t bad, though it’s still a hundred and three million fewer times than the video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” has been watched. Just saying.