BOSTON (CBS) – President Obama has been criticized by some for having said, when the Trayvon Martin story went national 16 months ago, that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
They say he inflamed racial tension surrounding the case, but I think that’s unfair and inaccurate.
If you go back and look at the transcript of the president’s remarks, he made no reference to race.
He suggests that “every parent in America” should understand the horror of what happened and the need to find out why it happened, and tries to console Martin’s grieving parents. It was a very human response to the story, not a political one.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
Since then, controversy peddlers across the political spectrum have tried to dehumanize the key figures in the case, a poisonous practice Saturday’s not guilty verdict did little to dissuade.
And their self-serving exploitation of the story stands in stark contrast to President Obama’s statement Sunday.
The president again does not mention race. Instead, he calls for “calm reflection,” for a focus on “compassion and understanding” and on stemming gun violence.
And he suggests that the way to honor the memory of the deceased is to “ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this.”
To the politically-inflamed who want to score points off the whole fiasco, that is surely too vague, the soothing nostrums of a pol who just doesn’t want to get too involved.
To me, it’s exactly what responsible adults of all races should be saying.
Let’s tune out the hate-peddlers, so the rest of us can work on building a society where a nothing beef between two strangers on the street hardly ever leads to violence anymore.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.