Dear Mr. President,
On July 19, 2013, after George Zimmerman was acquitted by a jury of his peers of the charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter relating to the death of Trayvon Martin, you said this:
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.
There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.
Mr. President, with all due respect, the life Trayvon Martin led, like the life that Michael Brown led, are nothing like the super-privileged, star-studded, hyper-protected lives your daughters lead. Although you and your wife rightly keep your young girls from the public eye, it is no secret that the First Daughters attend a private school with a tuition to rival that of most universities, rub elbows with celebrities, and take luxurious vacations the likes of which the rest of us can only dream. No, Mr. President, if you had a son, that is the kind of life he would lead.
There are other parents out there, though. Parents who can point to the blood on the ground, Mr. President, look you in the eye, and say “This! This is my child, my son! Where is your outrage now, Mr. President? Where are your protests? Where is my son’s justice? Where is our peace?” These are the parents, the siblings, the husbands and the wives, the coworkers who, when you and your political hacks walk by will slowly but surely to a man, turn their backs on you.
On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, freeing the slaves. Between 1860 and 1865, 596,670 soldiers were wounded, captured, went missing, or were killed to prove that all men have the right to be free, regardless of their skin color. Constitutional Amendments 13, 14, 15, 19, 24, and 26 all acted together to level the playing field when it came to citizenship and voting rights for all, regardless of race, skin color, or sex. Jim Crow laws were abolished fully with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
No, Mr. President, right now, in this country, the biggest problem you have is not a couple of teenage thugs who, most unfortunately, ended up on the wrong side of the law. It is not an extremely obese man who got caught selling loose cigarettes, resisted arrest, and died of the complications thereof. Were their deaths necessary? Of course not. As has been said so often in the last few days, life is precious, no matter whose it is. Mr. President, you have been complicit in inciting riot across these fruited plains, together with your soon-to-be-former attorney general, Eric Holder, and professional race-baiting lap dog, Al Sharpton, even in your silence:
Obama added that he “institutionally” could not say whether he thinks the grand juries should have indicted the police officers, because his comments may compromise ongoing federal investigations. (Huffington Post, 12/08/14)
“It is clear that I think that acts of violence threaten to drown out those who have legitimate voices, legitimate demonstrators, and those acts of violence, cannot and will not be condoned,” (Eric Holder, 11/25/14)
“What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Now!” (Protesters at an Al Sharpton march, 12/13/14)
Well, Mr. Sharpton. You have gotten your wish. On Saturday, December 21, two members of the NYPD were assassinated while sitting in their squad car in Brooklyn. Their murderer took the coward’s way out and committed suicide before he could be arrested. Yesterday, a Florida officer responding to a noise complaint was shot and run over. In less than 72 hours, Mr. President, seven children are left fatherless. Three families will have to deal with an empty chair at their Christmas table. Where are the marches for their families? The protests? Those two policemen in New York were both of minority races – will you send Mr. Sharpton to eulogize and professionally mourn their deaths? The deaths that he called for?
Every day, those who walk that thin blue line go in knowing they might not come home. It is a thought they merely push to the back of their heads, as they will do what needs to be done, no matter what. Each of them chose to walk that line for a different reason. For some, yes, it’s a way to get back at the people who treated them like crap growing up. For others, it’s a true desire to protect and serve. For others, it’s a legacy, that thin blue line a family crest. Whatever the reason, they will step in front of a bullet, literally, for a stranger.
Mr. President, so often you speak of “hope” and “change”. You, sir, are the leader of this country. The change needs to start with you and your administration. Take them to task. No more words, sir. No backhanded support while communities burn themselves down. No more blanket condolences while allowing Dr. King’s dreams to come apart at the seams. No more silently condoning a return to “separate, but equal”. Start by looking at your Secret Service. They are your first line of defense. The local police are ours. They are MY family. MY brothers. MY friends.
Don’t let your ego or your legacy kill any more of them.