Sunday, March 25, 2012

Politicizing A Tragedy

I've written many posts which highlight the ridiculous things that the Republican presidential candidates are willing to say in order to cast President Obama in the worst possible light.

However, when it comes to using a tragedy such as the killing of Trayvon Martin for political gain, this is absolutely disgraceful.

In his first public comments about the incident, President Obama said that "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon". Obama proceeded to say that we are going to get to the bottom of this case, and talked about how this affected him on a personal level, saying "...when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids...".

What I heard was a heartfelt statement from the President, who I am sure during his life has had occasion to worry about just such events happening which involve his daughters.

Apparently, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum heard differently.

An article on The Huffington Post contains a quote from Newt Gingrich, responding to the President's comments during a Hannity Radio interview. Gingrich began with "What the president said, in a sense, is disgraceful. It’s not a question of who that young man looked like," and also said "Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be OK because it didn’t look like him. That’s just nonsense dividing this country up... Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong. I really find it appalling."

Rick Santorum accused the President of "politicizing" the death of Trayvon Martin, and of "us[ing] these types of horrible and tragic individual cases to try to drive a wedge in America".

To any sensible person, these comments by Gingrich and Santorum are a reprehensible attempt to use Obama's message to the parents of Trayvon Martin to drive a wedge between President Obama and potential voters, not the other way around. It seems clear that Obama was merely attempting to inject a bit of a personal touch into his message. If he was trying to instigate a race war in the U.S. or condone the killing of white teenagers, then I certainly don't see it.

The Republican candidates have said many things that are ridiculous or flat-out untrue during this campaign... but this is something that these two should really be ashamed of.

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