This image comparing the response to Trayvon Martin’s death with the response to Abdulrahman al-Awlaki’s death has gotten a lot of circulation through social media.
In a moving speech this week, Obama said “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” If he extended this empathy to teenagers like Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, a 16-year old US citizen killed by a drone strike, this world would be a better place.
Obama making statements that are ironic in context is an established theme of his second term. Last December, speaking about the massacre at Sandy Hook, Barack Obama wiped a tear as photographers snapped away and peace activists asked “what about the hundreds of innocent children massacred by your foreign policy?”
In Northern Ireland for the G8 summit last month, Obama told a group of children “to those who choose the path of peace, I promise you the United States of America will support you every step of the way.” In Dublin soon after, parliament member Clare Daly asked “Is this person going for the hypocrite of the century award?” and pointed out “that by any serious examination, this man is a war criminal.”
Now it’s this matter of Trayvon Martin. Friday, Obama made an unscheduled appearance at a White House briefing. He seemed to enjoy having surprised reporters, then launched into somber reflections on last weekend’s verdict which declared George Zimmerman not guilty of murder, or even of manslaughter, in the death of 17-year old Trayvon. As usual, the president’s speech hit all the right notes.
Obama started with a few words about Trayvon’s family and remarked on “the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through…it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.” That’s certainly true, and it’s good to hear it said. The way Trayvon’s family has handled this is inspiring.
Then Obama talked about the “professional manner” in which the trial was conducted. He said “reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works.” Okay, it’s the president’s job to tell us the system works. We should forgive him for that if he wasn’t doing so much to actually make the system worse. But here’s the words that made the most headlines:
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.
Obama then explained some stuff that a lot of white people don’t want to hear. He said 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.” He gave more examples and said, “I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.”
He said a lot more, and it’s poignant. You can read the transcript. But that’s what makes Obama so dangerous. He’s an amazing speaker, even his opponents admit to that. What he said about Sandy Hook was moving. His speech to the children of Northern Ireland was expertly crafted. Every time he opens his mouth, it’s awesome and inspirational if you ignore the reality of what Barack Obama’s administration actually does. For example, murdering Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki.
Abdulrahman was a 16-year old American citizen born in Denver, Colorado. He was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen on October 14, 2011 along with his 17-year old cousin and eight other people said to be on their way to a barbecue. His father, an “alleged terrorist” had been killed two weeks prior. Some people wondered why the US is dropping bombs on a country it isn’t at war with. Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary, defended the teenager’s murder and said he should have had “a more responsible father.”
Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki had a brown complexion, just like Obama’s hypothetical son. And like that 16-yeat old killed by a drone, Obama was born in the United States (well, we think) but he moved to a Muslim majority country while still a minor. One might hope that parallel would engender as much empathy for Abdulrahman as Obama seems to have for Trayvon. Some say Obama cries crocodile tears. No one can see inside his heart, but there are good arguments for that.
The fact is, through the policies of his administration, Barack Obama has murdered thousands of innocent people. Hundreds of children are among that number. A study released last year by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law looked at drone strikes in Pakistan and said “from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 – 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 – 881 were civilians, including 176 children.”
That’s 176 human children who are dead because Barack Obama plays the role expected of him by the financial-military complex that paid for both his campaigns. That’s just the number on the books, in one country, in one period of time, killed by drones. It doesn’t enumerate this administration’s death toll in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia or anywhere. It doesn’t look at the people shot in the head with bullets or even killed by bombs dropped by planes that have pilots.
George Zimmerman killed one boy and he’s one of the most hated men in the America. So is Dzohar Tsarnaev, suspected of killing three people and injuring many more in a terrorist attack at the 2013 Boston Marathon. But what do people hate Obama for? Conservatives hate him for his healthcare plan, their worry about increased gun laws and, in too many cases, the color of his skin. But every week there’s evidence that Democrats still love Barack Obama.
Let’s hope the era of liberal Obamadolotry is ending. Some realized our president is a villain when Bradley Manning went to jail or when Edward Snowden joined him. Some got the message as cops beat unarmed protestors affiliated with the Occupy movement and Obama said nothing. Some saw the truth when they lost their jobs and homes to banksters awarded billions by Obama’s bailouts. And for certain people in the military who once supported Obama, participating in the carnage of US government sponsored terrorism has changed their minds.
Barack Obama is a confidence man. He’s just like a handsome cad who bilks an old widow out of her fortune. He knows the words and gestures to make people feel good, and hopeful, and alive again. But well-chosen words doesn’t erase a death toll. Sympathy for Trayvon Martin doesn’t bring Abdulrahman al-Awlaki or anyone else back to life. Here’s a video from Abdulrahman’s grandfather: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQlbnulmnEw