Taste the Rainbow Coalition
(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
After 47 days of infuriating inaction and a less-than-glacial progress in the Sanford Police "investigation", George Zimmerman is being charged with murder in the second degree.
This is the result of some legal soul-searching by the Special Prosecutor who decided that she couldn't win a case of first degree murder, which would've required the tricky process of impaneling an impartial grand jury and, if Zimmerman were to be found guilty, the possibility of the death penalty. It's not this reporter's job to judge the more pragmatic wisdom of any attorney, much less Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, nor will I uselessly bloviate about how a compelling case could've been made proving that Zimmerman did have malice aforethought, that this was a hate crime and that the legal definition of premeditation, on which the decision to go for 2nd instead of 1st degree charges appears to be based, could be more elastic than previously thought.
I have come not to bury Zimmerman or the stupendously callous and casual Sanford Police Department or the special prosecutor for what could've been a cowardly decision to try a case carrying charges with a higher percentage of success. I've come here to praise President Obama and the American people for a job well done.
Because it's obvious to any thinking person that were it not for Mr. Obama elevating the Trayvon Martin murder to the presidential level and were it not for the American people, starting with the late Mr. Martin's family, this needless death would've been quietly swept under the rug in Sanford, Florida and Zimmerman would likely still be patrolling his neighborhood with the same zeal and seeming impunity as Samuel L. Jackson's Abel Turner in Lakeview Terrace.
Take a bow, Mr. President, and the same goes to everyone in this notoriously and infamously indifferent country that gets more upset at the temporary loss of internet and cable access and standing in line for more than 30 seconds than the intolerable injustice of a wrongful death of and bureaucratic apathy toward a fellow American of color, a child who was killed while carrying candy.
If significant action hadn't been taken, it would've proved to us and the rest of the world that we have not progressed one inch since the 1955 murder of 14 year-old Emmett Till. And if anthropology teaches us one thing, it's that human evolution always favors or at least seeks out progress and not mere Protean change for its own sake.
Hopefully, this will create a ripple effect and many officers working under former chief Bill Lee will be disgraced and fired or forced to resign. I will not dwell on the fact that the video of the Sanford Police booking Zimmerman was done with all the zeal of a routine DUI (which, on reflection, would've proved more efficacious, as that would've involved a BAC, which was not done on the shooter but the 17 year-old victim).
But I'll widen my scope even more and say that this article isn't even about just the Trayvon Martin shooting and how catalytic the American people showed they were in the wake of this most intolerable of urban vigilantism. This is about Planned Parenthood. This is about Rush Limbaugh. This is about SOPA and PIPA (with the help of some corporate self-interest.). This is about ALEC. This is about the Koch brothers now having to do their dirty work under the withering light of growing public scrutiny. And lastly, this is about Occupy Wall Street which is gearing up again after a short winter. And this is about all the things that the American people have stopped, altered or changed through countless grass roots efforts through online petitioning, protests and other forms of progressive activism.
The Trayvon Martin case is a textbook example of the power of the American people when united by a righteous and just cause. We derailed SOPA and PIPA just as we derailed the first vote on the bailout in 2008. We cost Rush Limbaugh and Premiere over 130 sponsors. We made Intuit, Coke, Pepsi, Kraft, Wendy's and other Fortune 500 companies to stop funding the endlessly evil American Legislative Exchange Council. We forced the Susan G. Komen foundation to refund Planned Parenthood.
The fight is just beginning and the American people are just stretching and realizing how much strength its body has. And, as if preordained by a didactic deity, all these examples of the might of We the People are taking place in an election year in which more seems to be at stake than usual.
Yet, even in a nation of over 300,000,000 people, there are so many destructive influences at work that seek to undermine the very foundation of our Republic and ALEC is just one of them. We still need to pick our battles and to not scatter our resources. But the waking giant of our population is beginning to raise its collective voice through human microphones and petitions and those at whom our outrage is aimed cannot help but hear us.
Occupy Wall Street and its countless analogs across this vibrant country is but mere prologue.