So this was the young man Obama chose to eulogize.
Now, none of this is to say that Martin should have been shot and killed. But it was quite odd for Obama to single out Martin’s death, as opposed to other victims with less-checkered histories.
According to Obama, we were all supposed to search our collective souls about Trayvon Martin’s death. We weren’t supposed to consider the actual facts surrounding his shooting. We weren’t supposed to consider his prior behavior, his penchant for drug use, his previous disciplinary actions.
We were supposed to consider one fact, and one fact only: Trayvon Martin was black. Or, as Obama put it, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Apparently, all black people look alike to Obama. In reality, Trayvon would look nothing like Obama’s potential son. But the important thing was that Trayvon shared a skin color with the president.
Unlike the famed Henry Louis Gates Jr. incident, in which President Obama slandered the Cambridge, Massachusetts, police for arresting a black Harvard professor, this remark wasn’t off-the-cuff. It was well planned and well executed. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that Obama had known about the Martin story for days, and “clearly had some thoughts about it and—as a parent, and expressed those to [the media] today.” Earlier in the week, the White House had ignored the question; now, said Carney, Obama was “certainly prepared to answer a question if he were to get one.” Said Obama, “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids.”
Of course, that wasn’t all it took for Trayvon Martin to become a household name. He also had to be shot to death by a supposed white person.
The word supposed is used advisedly here, because Trayvon Martin’s shooter was a fellow named George Zimmerman. The media quickly labeled Zimmerman “white.” In actuality, Zimmerman was of Hispanic origin, but that didn’t matter to either the media or to the Democratic Party and liberal organizational establishment. They wanted a racist shooting in preparation for the 2012 election so that they could claim that America was still a racist country. The implication would be clear: the only way Americans could prove that they weren’t racist was by reelecting President Obama. Hence President Obama’s bizarre self-insertion into the story. It was no coincidence. Dozens of black teens are gunned down each year in major cities across the United States. None of them has a face or a name that anyone knows. But Trayvon did, because he was a bullying tool for Obama and his minions.
The left never cared about Trayvon Martin or his family. They didn’t give a damn. They didn’t care about him when his parents split. They didn’t care about him when he misbehaved in school. They didn’t care about him when he started doing drugs, and possibly dealing drugs. They didn’t care about him when he got tattoos, dressed like a thug, and tweeted misogynistically. They cared about one thing and one thing only: achieving their political ends by exploiting a dead black teen. The minute Trayvon’s story hit the press, the left began drooling. That’s what they do when they see an opportunity to bully Americans using race as a club. Their goal: silence Americans who disagree with the liberal agenda by labeling them part of the unalterably racist white majority. The bullies were people of all races united by a common cause: using race to bully their political opponents into submission.
It’s important to note that there’s a pattern to racial controversies in America. Usually it begins with a flash-point event—some event occurs that may or may not have anything to do with race. The media, in coordination with leftist groups, then launches a smear campaign to turn the event into the Biggest Event Ever, evidence that racism is rife in America. With that groundwork in place, they then proclaim that events like the Biggest Event Ever will continue to take place unless vaguely defined, albeit nonexistent systemic racism is removed from the equation—which, of course, can happen only if liberal policies are enacted, and if conservatives shut the hell up.
The Trayvon Martin case played out the leftist strategy perfectly.
ANATOMY OF A RACIAL BULLYING: THE FLASH POINT
The real story of the Trayvon killing began three weeks earlier. George Zimmerman, a Hispanic American, lived in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, called the Retreat at Twin Lakes. He was a twenty-eight-year-old insurance fraud investigator with a religious Catholic background. According to Reuters, “He was raised in a racially integrated household and himself has black roots through an Afro-Peruvian great-grandfather—the father of the maternal grandmother who helped raise him.” During his young adulthood, he and a black friend partnered in starting a business. Now, Zimmerman was no angel. He had two prior arrests, one for assaulting a police officer, and one for domestic abuse. The charge for domestic abuse was dropped; the charge for assaulting a police officer was reduced to resisting arrest without violence. So there was evidence that Zimmerman had serious temper issues. There was zero evidence he was a budding KKK member.
After Zimmerman moved to the Retreat, which was 20 percent black, the neighborhood fell victim to a series of crimes perpetrated by young men who looked like Barack Obama’s fictional son. Vandalism and robberies became commonplace, and drug activity became a serious problem. From November 2010 to February 2012, there were at least eight burglaries in the neighborhood. Dozens more reports of attempted burglaries made the neighborhood gossip rounds. In July 2011, a young black man stole Zimmerman’s bicycle from his home. In August 2011, Shellie Zimmerman, George’s wife, saw a young black man fleeing a nearby home during a robbery. “We were calling the police at least once a week,” said a neighborhood resident. By September 2011, the neighborhood had asked Zimmerman to lead their neighborhood watch program. In February 2012, the Retreat’s monthly newsletter stated, “The Sanford PD has announced an increased patrol within our neighborhood…during peak crime hours. If you’ve been a victim of a crime in the community, after calling police, please contact our captain, George Zimmerman.”
On February 2, 2012, Zimmerman called 911 after he saw a young black man possibly scouting out a robbery location—an empty home. “I don’t know what he’s doing,” said Zimmerman. “I don’t want to approach him, personally.” Zimmerman didn’t. The cops sent a car; by the time it got there, the suspect was gone.
Four days later, two young black men burglarized another home in the Retreat. The police caught one of the suspects, eighteen-year- old Emmanuel Burgess, and found stolen property on him.
About three weeks later, on February 26, 2012, Zimmerman was driving to the grocery store when he spotted a young black man walking around the neighborhood. He immediately called the nonemergency number at the Sanford Police Department. “Hey,” said Zimmerman, “we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there’s a real suspicious guy, uh, it’s Retreat View Circle, um, the best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.” The dispatcher asked if the suspect was “white, black, or Hispanic?” Zimmerman answered, “He looks black.” The dispatcher asked what the suspect was wearing. “A dark hoodie, like a gray hoodie, and either jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes. He’s here now, he was just staring,” said Zimmerman.
The suspect, said Zimmerman, was “looking at all the houses….Now he’s just staring at me….Yeah, now he’s coming towards me….He’s got his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male….He’s got buttons on his shirt, late teens….Something’s wrong with him. Yup, he’s coming to check me out, he’s got something in his hands, I don’t know what his deal is….See if you can get an officer over here….These a—h—, they always get away.” Zimmerman then told the dispatcher that the suspect was running.
Zimmerman apparently got out of his car. Still on his phone, he told the dispatcher he was following the suspect. “Okay, we don’t need you to do that,” said the dispatcher. At some point during the call, Zimmerman lost track of the suspect. The conversation continued, with Zimmerman saying he would meet law enforcement. Then he hung up. The time was approximately 7:13 p.m.
What happened next remains controversial.
Martin’s defenders maintained that Zimmerman provoked a physical confrontation with Martin, then shot him in cold blood.
Zimmerman claimed that Martin confronted him and demanded to know why Zimmerman was following him; Martin, said Zimmerman, then punched him in the face.
Whatever happened, Zimmerman clearly fell backward onto the ground.
At this point, witness testimony takes over. Trayvon jumped on top of him and began beating him savagely, pounding his head into the ground. Zimmerman, according to witnesses, was screaming for help. According to one witness, Trayvon was pummeling Zimmerman “MMA-style”—mixed martial arts, a brutal form of combat with no holds barred.
Zimmerman then reached into his waistband, pulled out his handgun, and shot Trayvon in the chest, killing him.
Zimmerman’s story was corroborated by all available evidence, including the physical evidence: Martin’s body was undamaged except for the gunshot wound and injuries to his knuckles, indicating that he had been hitting someone, while Zimmerman’s head had massive lacerations, he had two black eyes, and his nose had been broken.
The Sanford Police Department arrested Zimmerman and brought him to the police station for questioning. He asserted self-defense, and the police found no evidence to disprove it. While the police filed a “capias request,” which suggests that criminal charges be filed, investigators decided that such a request was inappropriate in this case.
ANATOMY OF A RACIAL BULLYING: THE SMEAR CAMPAIGN
And that’s where the case lay for one day. Two days. A week. A full eleven days. While local media covered the story, that’s what it remained—a local story, one of dozens of shootings around the country every week.
Then, on March 8, 2012, the mainstream media finally decided to weigh in.
The Associated Press wrote a nationally syndicated story highlighting specific facts that made the killing seem racial in nature. Trayvon’s family’s attorneys, the AP reported, “said they believed Trayvon Martin was being profiled at the time of the encounter be- cause he was a young black man. The neighborhood watch leader is white. The attorneys also questioned why a neighborhood watch leader would carry a gun. ‘He was stereotyped for some reason,’ attorney Ben Crump said of the victim. ‘Why was Trayvon suspicious? There are hundreds of children in that community.’”
It was an entirely one-sided hit piece on Zimmerman—and the fact that it labeled Zimmerman “white” sparked a firestorm. Now the story wasn’t a Hispanic man killing a young black man who was ramming his skull against the sidewalk. It was a white guy straight from Birth of a Nation stalking a young black man and murdering him in cold blood.
This was a much sexier narrative than the truth. And so it became common belief. Only later, when it came out that Zimmerman was in fact Hispanic, did the media back down—and they did so only by coining a new term, “white Hispanic,” since Zimmerman was of mixed parentage. By that standard, Barack Obama is “white black.”
In any case, the media coverage was black-and-white.
Al Sharpton—an alleged news host for MSNBC, which would be like Fox News hiring David Duke to do a show in prime time—quickly jetted down to Florida, eager to get his shaggy mane before a camera. It wasn’t enough that this was the man who had disgraced himself repeatedly in the Tawana Brawley case, in which he falsely accused a white man of raping a black woman, and the Duke lacrosse case, in which he falsely accused several white men of raping a black woman—now he wanted to play the race card on George Zimmerman, with the help of the NBC News brass. His National Action Network immediately released a statement calling for a “full investigation”—and then simultaneously stated, “The fact that a young unarmed man could be killed by a neighborhood watch captain while his family was blatantly misled by local police as to the background of the shooter is disturbing. Further, the fact that we are told that racial language was used when the young man reported his suspicions to police…is a compelling reason for NAN and I to become involved.” So Sharpton had two problems: he didn’t care about the facts, and he didn’t care about grammar.
The next night, Sharpton interviewed Martin’s family attorney. The attorney called Zimmerman “white.” Sharpton didn’t contradict him. But then again, you couldn’t expect Sharpton to “resist he much.”
The media quickly supplemented the narrative by presenting George Zimmerman as a racist monster, and Trayvon Martin as a darling little angel. Charles Blow of the New York Times wrote a race-baiting masterpiece centered on a simple fact: “Trayvon is black. Zimmerman is not.” He continued, “As the father of two black teenage boys, this case hits close to home. This is the fear that seizes me whenever my boys are out in the world: that a man with a gun and an itchy finger will find them ‘suspicious.’ That passions may run hot and blood run cold. That it might all end with a hole in their chest and hole in my heart. That the law might prove insufficient to salve my loss. That is the burden of black boys in America and the people that love them: running the risk of being descended upon in the dark and caught in the cross-hairs of someone who crosses the line.” And then, ominously: “that is the burden of black boys, and this case can either ease or exacerbate it. In other words, if Zimmerman wasn’t arrested, tried, and convicted, it meant that America was deeply racist. Even if he was arrested, tried, and convicted, “black boys” would still carry their burden. But if he wasn’t, it just showed that America was still racist.
Zimmerman’s 2005 arrest mug shot (for battery) was flashed across televisions throughout the nation, unshaven, heavy, and menacing. Meanwhile, the pictures of Trayvon Martin used by the media and supplied by the family showed a kid who did look like Obama’s hypothetical son: twelve years old, clean-cut, bright smile. To look at the pictures, you’d assume that Zimmerman was a linebacker attacking a waif; in reality, Zimmerman was five foot eight and 185 pounds, while Trayvon was five foot eleven and clocked in at 158 pounds. Newer photos showed Trayvon sporting tattoos and a grille, and looking significantly more menacing than he had at age twelve. When this was pointed out, of course, the left-wing media called that racism, suggesting that it was fine to bias the pictures against Zimmerman, but to do so against Trayvon was George Wallace lite.
The New Black Panther Party showed up outside the Sanford, Florida, police headquarters three days later demanding an arrest. Three days after that, a massive crowd, including leaders from the NAACP, the Urban League, and the Sanford City Commission, massed at Allen Chapel AME Church to call for Zimmerman’s arrest. Local city officials called on the police chief to resign. Rev. Jamal Bryant, a Baltimore preacher, came to put the Zimmerman case into a broader racial context: “We call for an immediate arrest. We want him behind bars,” said Bryant. “Because you have arrested a lot of black men without probable cause.” He then led the crowd in chants of “If there is no justice, there is no peace.” He railed, “This is a wake-up call for the state of Florida, and for any racist who has a gun and thinks it’s a license to kill our children.”
This was disgusting. Bryant and company spoke from complete ignorance. Was Zimmerman a racist? There was no evidence to that effect. Did he hunt down Trayvon in cold blood, looking to kill him? Certainly not. But that didn’t matter to them. They wanted a race case, and they were going to fit this square peg into that round hole no matter what. The Zimmerman lynching had begun.
And it was a lynching.
On March 23, President Obama stepped into the case—not coincidentally, just three days before Obama’s signature health-care legislation came up for hearing before the Supreme Court. Obama wanted Americans’ attention on what was happening in the Florida courtrooms, not the halls of Washington, D.C. It was brilliant misdirection. And it succeeded.
Now Obama had opened the floodgates. The next day, the New Black Panthers led a protest in Sanford. There, leader Mikhail Muhammad—someone who certainly needs a day job—put a bounty on George Zimmerman’s head: ten thousand dollars. Someone asked him whether he meant to cause violence to Zimmerman. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” said Muhammad. The Panthers also suggested that ten thousand black men should go on the hunt for the fugitive Neighborhood Watch volunteer Zimmerman. “If the government won’t do the job, we’ll do it!” he yelled. The city begged for quiet. The Panthers wouldn’t let up. Instead, when the police arrived to keep the peace, Muhammad shouted, “If you’d had shown this much concern, Trayvon may still be alive today!” Even black residents were getting freaked out by this point. “I’m as much for black power as anybody,” said one puzzled resident. “But this is going to alienate the white friends we need to get things done.” The Panthers were less concerned about alienating whites than about milking blacks for cash—they wanted to raise $1 million for their anti-Zimmerman campaign.
Where there’s money to be made, Rev. Jesse Jackson is never far behind—and he, too, told the fictional story of poor little Trayvon, stalked and killed by George “Hitler Youth” Zimmerman. Preaching before 1,600 people in Eatonville, Florida, the Rhyming Race-baiter launched into full campaign mode. He compared Trayvon’s death to the murders of Emmett Till in 1955, civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963, and Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Because as we all know, pounding a man’s head into the ground and then being shot is the same as leading a struggle for equal rights for millions of black Americans.
But at least Jackson was honest. He didn’t care about Trayvon in the slightest. He cared about using Trayvon as a tool to push his brand of liberalism. Trayvon, said Jackson, was “killed because he was black.” Trayvon, said Jackson, was a “martyr.” And that meant it was time for some leftist solutions to America’s problems. It was time for war. “How do we go from a moment to a movement that creates fundamental change?” he asked. “If it’s a moment, we go home. If it’s a movement, we go to war.” What kind of war? Political war. “I would hope that movement would turn into Trayvon Martin voter-registration rallies,” said Jackson. Now, put aside the passion for a moment. Martin was seventeen years old. He had never voted. And Jackson was using him as a martyr for voter registration?
And in his efforts to advance his cause, Jackson appears to have misstated the facts of the case. In reports from the church that were later pulled by the media, Jackson reportedly said, “Zimmerman told police he had killed him. Shot him in the back of the head in self-defense.” Jackson’s surrogates across the country echoed the malicious and false charge.
His allies in the media, meanwhile, were spinning away furiously on behalf of Obama and his team of race-baiting liar allies. On March 26, NBC News played a tape on the Today show from the Zimmerman 911 call. It had been selectively edited to make Zimmerman seem racist. “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black,” said the tape. As you’ll remember from the more complete transcript above, Zimmerman said that Trayvon looked like he was “up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.” The 911 operator then prompted Zimmerman on Trayvon’s race, to which Zimmer- man said that he looked black.
But the media wasn’t done lying yet. CNN isolated audio that made it sound as if Zimmerman used a racial slur, mumbling about “f—ing c--ns.” Mediaite repeated the falsehood. Soon it was zooming around the news sphere—Zimmerman was a racist! He’d used a fifty-year-old slur that nobody knows anymore! CNN even called their favorite legal nonexpert, Jeffrey Toobin, to explain that the finding was “extremely significant” and could lead to hate crimes prosecution for Zimmerman.
Oops. As it turned out, Zimmerman had said that it was “f—ing cold,” since it was raining that night. Now Toobin retracted his former enthusiasm for the “c—n” charge: “[T]his certainly sounds like cold….Again, everybody wants this case to be wrapped up tomorrow. This just shows why it’s important to say, let’s get all the best evidence we can.”
That was a laugh. A few days later, the media doubled down on its opposition to Zimmerman. Now he wasn’t just a racist—he was lying about his own wounds. And he wasn’t the only liar—the police lied, too, to cover up the murder. On March 28, ABC News released a poorly pixelated videotape of George Zimmerman in the police station after the killing. The report by Matt Gutman pulled no punches: “A police surveillance video taken the night that Trayvon Martin was shot dead shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman….The initial police report noted that Zimmerman was bleeding from the back of the head and nose….” NBC News agreed. The video, they said, “shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman.”
Oops. Within a week, ABC News released enhanced video showing massive gashes on Zimmerman’s dome.
It was obvious that the so-called objective news media was in the tank on the story. And they were going to ruin a man’s life to achieve their political ends.
But that was the media. Surely government officials would be more responsible.
Or they could wear hoodies and complain about Zimmerman’s supposed racism on the House floor.
They chose the latter. On March 20, just before President Obama took to the Rose Garden to announce the skin color of Trayvon Martin, colorfully behatted Representative Frederica Wilson (D-FL) got up on the House floor and went berserk. “Mr. Speaker, I am tired of burying young black boys. I am tired of watching them suffer at the hands of those who fear them and despise them. I am tired of comforting mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters and brothers after such unnecessary, heinous crimes of violence.” She wasn’t tired, however, of a permanent black underclass brought about by a purposefully implemented regime of government dependency—after all, that’s what she does for a living. Well, when she’s not blaming whites for all the problems of blacks, that is: “Trayvon was running for his life. He was screaming for help, fighting for his life, and then he was murdered, shot dead….No more racial profiling. I am tired of fighting when the evidence is so clear, so transparent.”
The evidence was clear and transparent: Frederica’s hatband was too tight. But she was too busy bullying George Zimmerman—and white America—to worry about either poisoning the jury pool in the Trayvon case or pursuing the facts.
She wasn’t the only one. Representative Maxine Waters (D- CA), who routinely defends violent action by black Americans, called the situation a “hate crime.” Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) joined Waters in her outrage. He claimed, “The issue is the low esteem in which black life is held, particularly black males.” He neglected to mention that the people who apparently hold black life in least regard are other black males, who murder blacks at rates that far outpace white-on-black murder.
Meanwhile, congressional Democrats invited Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, to a hearing where she announced, “Trayvon was our son, but Trayvon was your son.” Actually, his behavior was such that you could argue he was nobody’s son—his parents were divorced, and he was on his way to his father’s girlfriend’s house when he had his fatal encounter with Zimmerman. Yet now, both of Trayvon’s parents were touring the country preaching about their son. And they were toeing the liberal line, suggesting that people live “the legacy of Trayvon and [make] sure that he did not indeed die in vain.”
Democrats took up the battle cry. “If you review the case, every aspect of it has been handled very poorly,” said Representative Corrine Brown (D-FL), whose district includes Sanford. “I don’t know whether it’s incompetence, or whether it’s a cover-up, or all of the above. But we have got to make sure that what has happened in Sanford, with the police department and how they have handled this situation, never happens again in the United States.” Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) said she wanted Zimmerman arrested, too.
But the mother of all rants was reserved for Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL). Rush bought into the press angle that it was Martin’s hoodie that led to his death—a meme repeated by celebrities from LeBron James to Chris Brown to Jamie Foxx to P. Diddy, who all donned hoodies to proclaim their support for Trayvon. Of course, one of those folks urging kids like Trayvon to go to school, stay away from drugs, and not steal things might have been more useful to Trayvon. Maybe it wouldn’t have stopped him from being killed—maybe Zimmerman really went off that night. But it would have served him better during his life. Then again, such advice wouldn’t have been nearly as emotionally cathartic as whining about hoodies.
Bobby Rush wanted that same catharsis. So he headed for the floor of the House, wearing a hoodie sweatshirt. There, according to the Washington Post, Rush delivered a “rousing speech.” “I applaud the young people, all across the land who are making a statement about hoodies, about the real hoodlums in his nation, specifically those who tread on our law wearing official or quasi-official cloaks,” Rush ranted. “Racial profiling has got to stop. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.” Rush was then tossed from the floor for breach of sartorial protocol.
There was only one problem: hoodies do make you more suspicious. Or at least they should. Within days of Rush’s House speech, hoodie-wearing gunmen shot thirteen people and killed two in Rush’s district in Chicago. As it turns out, wearing a hoodie to commit a crime is a great way to cover your face and prevent identification.
The Los Angeles Police Department actually admits as much. The LAPD North Hollywood Division is fine if you wear a hoodie—but they don’t want you to do so inside places of commerce. In October 2011, they told store owners in the area to be on the lookout for people wearing hoodies, and asked customers to take off their hats and pull down their hoodies to prevent suspicion. “The LAPD isn’t anti-hoodie,” said LAPD Lieutenant Alan Hamilton. “If you walk into the LAPD academy, one of the first things you will see selling are LAPD hoodies. We are not asking you to take off your hoodie. Just take down the hood when you enter a business. It is not raining in the bank.” As the Los Angeles Times reported, “The anti-crime tool dates at least to King Carlos III of Spain, who banned the wearing of broad-brimmed hats in the 1700s to deter robberies and other crimes.” Of course, the article doesn’t mention that King Carlos III did it because he hated black folks.
But the fight for hoodies was a transitional moment for the Trayvon story. Until the hoodie fight, everyone had focused on Zimmerman himself, as well as the local police force—were they racist? Should Zimmerman have been arrested? With the transition to the hoodie conversation, the left was beginning to direct America’s attention to policy.
And that was the final step in the Race Card Mazurka.
ANATOMY OF A RACIAL BULLYING: THE PAYOFF
While Martin’s supporters—or supposed supporters—marched throughout America, protested on the floors of legislatures, and generally kicked up a fuss about the shooting of one young black man by one young Hispanic man, they didn’t give a damn about Trayvon’s case. If they had, they would have stopped poisoning the jury pool, making it that much more difficult to convict Zimmerman in a trial by giving his lawyers the ability to appeal any verdict.
No, they were interested in something much more valuable than Zimmerman’s scalp: they were interested in political point-scoring. And if it took violence to make those political points, so be it.
Even as the left decried racial profiling and violent action from Zimmerman, they had nothing to say about the violence they were themselves breeding. When Zimmerman was actually arrested and then released on bail, Twitter went wild with thugs calling for riots across America. And the left said nothing at all.
That’s because the violence they were breeding was good violence.
The leftist philosophy of violence is simple: It’s good when it’s being used for leftist causes. It’s bad when it’s being used for any other purpose. When Twitter nuts call for the murder of George Zimmerman, or when Al Sharpton threatens the entire town of Sanford, or when Spike Lee tweets the address of Zimmerman’s parents’ house (and gets the address wrong, threatening the lives of the actual residents), that’s not really a huge deal because…well…shut up, you racist! But when anyone speaks out in favor of policies that the left doesn’t like, they are quickly lumped in with the racists. They’re just like George Zimmerman, gunning down black folks at will, if they don’t approve the straightforward leftist agenda….
The left used the Trayvon case to push anticapitalism. The same day that Barack Obama claimed quasi-parentage of Trayvon, smelly, anarchist Occupy idiots joined the “Million Hoodie March”—and then proceeded to sprint through the streets of New York, overturning barricades, assaulting and taunting police officers, climbing public monuments. The videos flooded YouTube. And the mainstream media said nothing. The New York Times reported on the rally but said nothing about the violence; the Los Angeles Times talked about the glory of social networking, which had allowed the rioters to organize.
But the Occupy movement knew exactly what it was doing: they were bullying the American public with the race club, pushing for their own agenda at the same time. They didn’t give a hoot about Trayvon. They just thought Trayvon would be a good excuse to bash capitalism. As Natasha Lennard, a former freelance New York Times reporter and Occupy Wall Street organizer, said, “It might at first seem confusing that a solidarity march over justice for a murdered Florida teen would involve mass support from Occupy Wall Street. But those who still see Occupy as limited to contesting corporate greed and the influence of money in politics have fallen behind the movement. Occupy actions take aim at all oppressive, hierarchical systems—capitalism and racism (and their interplay) among them. Indeed, a popular printed-out sign held by many on Wednesday’s march read, ‘You can’t have capitalism without racism.’” And you can’t have riots without falsely invoking racism, these days….
Capitalism wasn’t the left’s preferred Trayvon target—after all, they may be nasty bigots, but they’re not idiots. They knew that they weren’t going to overthrow the American economic system because a black teenager got shot after pounding a Hispanic man’s noggin into the ground.
But the left could, at least, take out some smaller, more cohesive targets.
One of the first targets they settled on was the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is an organization dedicated to advancing “the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level.” They’re highly successful, and they pose a huge threat to Democrats at the state and local level, since they lobby effectively for their positions. That’s why ALEC became a target. Thanks in part to ALEC, at least eighteen states enacted or were poised to enact measures opposing Obamacare, including six states proposing constitutional amendments. Thanks in part to ALEC, states have opposed raising taxes and greater encroachment of federal legislation. They had to be destroyed. So the left went to work bullying them by wielding the corpse of Trayvon Martin.
ALEC happened to back state legislation like Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which provided, essentially, that if you are in a place where you have a right to be, and you’re attacked physically, you don’t have a duty to retreat—you can stand your ground and “meet force with force, including deadly force” if necessary to save your own life. This isn’t self-defense, which is a defense to a charge—it provides immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action. Florida isn’t the only state with such laws; over twenty other states have them.
As soon as the media focused its ire on George Zimmerman, it began claiming that Zimmerman had not been arrested due to the stand-your-ground law. Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post called the law “insane” and suggested that it was a “license to kill” invoked by police to protect Zimmerman. So did Eugene Robinson of the Post. Robinson went further—not only was the law wrong, it was…wait for it…racist! “Imagine that Martin, not Zimmerman, had been carrying a legal handgun—and that it was Zimmerman who ended up dead. The law should have compelled police to release Martin, a young African American in a hoodie, without charges. Somehow, I doubt that would have happened.”
There was no actual evidence that Zimmerman had been released thanks to “stand your ground.” In fact, there were zero contemporaneous media reports claiming that Zimmerman had cited the stand-your-ground law to justify his actions. He instead said what all nonlawyers would say: self-defense. As for the police, while later reports claimed that they cited “stand your ground” to release Zimmerman, contemporaneous reports said he was released because they had no evidence to contradict his self-defense claims.
Yet the stand-your-ground meme was picked up by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and virtually everyone else in the mainstream media.
This was deliberate. Zimmerman wasn’t arrested initially because police often don’t arrest in clear cases of self-defense, which is what Zimmerman claimed. Only after an arrest does stand-your-ground come into play—a lawyer can ask for a hearing on the stand-your-ground issue, which can result in a case being dis- missed. But Zimmerman’s first lawyer suggested that stand-your-ground wasn’t even applicable to the case—“this is self-defense, and that’s been around forever,” he said.
But if Zimmerman had claimed self-defense, the media and Obama’s organizational allies would have no weapon to wield against ALEC.
So the left homed in on ALEC for pushing for stand-your- ground laws—even though such laws were completely irrelevant to this case. On March 29, the NAACP, the National Urban League, the AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Van Jones’s ColorOfChange, People for the American Way, and several members of Congress, among others, all came together in front of ALEC’s headquarters to demand that ALEC stop supporting “Kill at Will”—that is, stand-your-ground laws. All of these groups are heavily linked to the Obama administration in terms of donations; many of them have a revolving-door staff relationship with the Obama White House.
They simultaneously targeted ALEC for its support of voter identification measures, which would require voters to show ID before casting a ballot….With the newfound publicity surrounding ALEC, the Obama administration and its allies knew that the campaign against voter ID could be piggybacked onto Trayvon Martin and the associated anti-ALEC cause.
“We are organizing. We are not agonizing,” railed Representative James Clyburn (D-SC). “We have staffed up.” ColorOfChange tweeted “@CocaCola is helping undermine voting rights. Tell them to stop.” “The clear and simple message was that you can’t come for black folks’ money by day and try to take away our vote by night,” blathered Rashad Robinson, ColorOfChange director. ColorOfChange, it is worth noting, has been a powerful tool for the left, standing behind boycott attempts on Fox News’ Eric Bolling and Lou Dobbs, among others. Overall, ColorOfChange supposedly got 85,000 people to sign an anti-ALEC petition directed at Coke.
Coke quickly pulled out of ALEC. “The Coca-Cola Company has elected to discontinue its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),” Coke spokespeople told the Washington Examiner. “We have a long-standing policy of only taking positions on issues that impact our Company and industry.”
By April 18, 2012, ALEC corporate sponsors, including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Kraft Foods, had pulled their involvement from the group. And so, that day, ALEC’s legislative board voted without dissent to shut down its noneconomic focuses. “We hate to see any members leave,” said spokeswoman Kaitlyn Buss. “[W]e hope to work with these companies that have had problems again in the future.” In May, Wal-Mart followed suit.
Suddenly, one of President Obama’s greatest political adversaries had been castrated.
This is how the left bullies. They use a racial incident to stir up fervor about the generally racist United States of America, portray conservative legislation as emblematic of that racism, and then fight to shut down any groups promoting that conservative legislation. And they crucify innocent men like George Zimmerman in the process.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).