Recently, Reverend Al Sharpton wrote an op-ed on huffingtonpost.com.  He called it Advocacy and Action Brought Us Here.  I would hope that advocacy would not be blamed for everything that has happened.  Advocacy is supposed to be a positive action that brings about positive change.  Advocacy is not what the media does bringing trivialization, exploitation, and hatred to the airwaves.  Advocacy is defined as the act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support.  It is often considered a political action.  The justice system has a lot to do with politics, but it should have nothing to do with politics.  Politics is full of booby-trap lies and patronizing placating.  Our judicial process is supposed to be independent and is not supposed to be about agendas, but about fairness and equality and justice.

Rev. Sharpton has the audacity to claim that all everyone wants is a trial, a fair shot, a test in front of a jury.

“It took some time to get here, but this is exactly what Trayvon’s loved ones and all those on the side of progress wanted: a day in court.”

If all everyone wants is the truth then why laden your article with prejudicial language?  Is there going to be a fair trial with these kinds of things out there?  The truth is that the media cares about money first and accuracy second.  If the truth doesn’t make money, then they change it.  I don’t know what happened the night that Trayvon Martin was shot, but I do know that people won’t be satisfied with a fair trial if it ends in a not guilty verdict.  The side of “progress”, huh?  What is progress to Mr. Sharpton?  Is it a fair verdict, it doesn’t sound like that to me.  To me, in his context of writing it sounds like progress means putting away George Zimmerman.  How does that further civil rights and liberties?  Putting away a man on the heels of a trial by media.  MSNBC just had a terribly prejudicial commercial on the other day with a shadowed man standing in a hoodie in the rain.  Why?  Well, obviously for sensationalism.  Of course, MSNBC is affiliated with NBC, who edited Zimmerman’s 911 call to lie to the viewers to make them believe he was a racist when in reality he said nothing racist.  MSNBC has fallen to the side of HLN when it comes to trials apparently.  Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman both deserve dignity and do not deserve to be some kind of entertainment punching bag, corporate punch line, or exploitation of the century.

I think it is 100% wrong to put the history of racism on to Mr. Zimmerman.  The case of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin is about them and only that incident.  It should be an outrage to people that this is happening.  Not only does the media lie to us by editing a 911 tape to create racial tension, but also everyone is attempting to subjugate and subvert justice with some kind of red herring historical argument.  Just because other cases of black teenagers being murdered exist and they are for racial reasons has no bearing on this case.

Mr. Sharpton begins his article with a description of Trayvon Martin and writes that he was “killed by a self-described neighborhood watcher.”  What kind of language is that?  Biased.  “Self-described” gives a connotation that George Zimmerman was some kind of wannabe superhero.  This is how Al Sharpton sees George Zimmerman, as some kind of neighborhood thumping thug.  It is the same way that certain people see Trayvon Martin, what’s the difference?  Nothing.  Both sides have made their mind up early and that is wrong.  He talks a lot about how sad Trayvon’s parents are.  There is no doubt that there is “pain in his mother’s eyes” and that “nothing ever will replace the joy” and that they will “never hug their son again.”  But, if George Zimmerman is innocent then what right do you have to lock him away from his family?  This is America; we don’t lock people away because people’s feelings are hurt.  We have rules.  In every crime, someone’s feelings are hurt, but that doesn’t mean we can just hide the truth and just punish anyone to make people feel better.  Why do people want to live in a fictional world full of lies?  We should thank our lucky stars that we live in a country where people are not just punished as some kind of sacrifice to those who are injured.  The “look for the guy that’s good for it” attitude just creates more victims.

“It has always been my position that no matter what the defendant’s alleged reasoning or defense may be, he should have been arrested and the matter properly investigated. If you don’t follow the basics of law and order, then how are we to believe that justice will be delivered effectively?”

The police did an investigation according to law.  Obviously, Rev. Sharpton didn’t like the outcome and is trying to force the public to agree with him.  A preconceived notion is not justice.

Al Sharpton in fact openly lies in the center of his article:

“…We never rendered our own verdict; we instead urged authorities to follow proper protocol and have him arrested, an investigation put into place and a court of law to decide…”

This coming from the man who only a little while later writes:

“They try to paint us as the abusers, when we are just highlighting the abuse…we work to give voice to the voiceless and the oppressed…we are just shedding light on the wrong in society. But that’s ok. Because we know that we’re on the side of justice…One where the police won’t assume the role of judge, jury and executioner. One where a person who commits murder will be arrested no matter what his/her story or personal background…”

While I agree that neither police, prosecutors, or the public should assume the role of judge, jury, and executioner, I disagree with the image that Al Sharpton is, I believe, knowingly giving off.  He is saying that they were highlighting abuse in this case, giving a voice to the oppressed (Trayvon Martin), and shedding light on a wrong in society and that they (meaning those that support Trayvon Martin) are on the side of justice.  How is any of that fair, impartial, or just looking for a proper investigation?  No, it is looking for an investigation that comes to a specific end, which is wrong and exactly what Al Sharpton says he wants to stop.

“The seemingly endless organizing, and advocacy work on behalf of her son has undoubtedly taken its toll. But it’s because of her devotion and the devotion of Trayvon’s father in seeking justice that we are now all paying attention. If they weren’t the initial advocates for their son, it’s likely that this case may have just been swept under the rug. Despite the horrific loss of their precious Trayvon, they remained active because they knew that their son’s killer hadn’t even been arrested, nor charged with anything. Zimmerman was free to walk around as if nothing had occurred…”

The mother of Trayvon Martin in one interview had doubts, early on, and expressed that she just wanted a fair trial, but it outraged people, so she took it back and said she didn’t mean that, she really wants “justice”.  Regardless of whether George Zimmerman murdered their son or defended himself against their son, it won’t change the fact that a life was lost and certainly, a false guilty verdict will only cause more families more pain and create more oppression.  What everyone should want is the truth, regardless of how hard it is to realize.  What everyone should know is that both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman are people and their families deserve goodwill.  Whether Trayvon Martin was a troubled kid who did something stupid and violent, like so many other teenagers his age, a victim of Zimmerman who misread the situation, or a victim of an overzealous neighborhood watchman, it doesn’t change that his death is sad.  All death is sad.  Whether George Zimmerman is a violent man who murdered Trayvon Martin for whatever reason, a victim of an overzealous prosecution and media, or a man who is troubled, doesn’t change the fact that he is a person, a human being.  He deserves rights and dignity.

What should set society apart from people who are guilty is our compassion and our belief in the future.  We shouldn’t be blood lusting and bullying, what does that do for our next generation?  What does that do to our justice system?  If civil rights leaders want rid of hate, they need to stop contributing to it.  To erase hate, hate needs to be erased.  It is that simple.  Hate is hate, there should be no excuses for it.  Hate only destroys, it never restores.  He ends with:

“It’s only through advocacy that justice prevails. And prevail it must.”

This is great on one hand and completely scary on the other.  Advocacy can be great, but it can also do a lot of damage to innocent people.  Social media trials are extremely dangerous as are trials by media.  There are no rules on the Internet and anyone can be slandered.  Protests can be used for good, but they can also be used for bad.  Ever seen a KKK parade?  I think that it is scary that in 2013, it’s like 1692.  We can be arrested merely because people want us to be.  Armchair investigators are bad for people.  “Internet-sleuthers”, as they like to call themselves, are bad for people.  They can be good, they can help solve cold cases and even exonerate an innocent person.  Although sometimes it fails like in the case of Troy Davis, who was executed, but may have been innocent.  We will never know.  Advocacy doesn’t always make justice happen.  Look at Nancy Grace on HLN she calls herself an advocate for justice.  I don’t know what kind of justice she’s talking about.

Justice isn’t an opinion.  Justice is the truth.  Even if everyone doesn’t like it, it doesn’t make it any less true.  You can be wrong, period.  And the only way to find out if you are wrong is to listen to the other side of things and openly, unbiasedly evaluate it.  It makes me sad to say this, but Rev. Sharpton isn’t doing that.  As a civil rights leader, he should feel ashamed and guilty for not full-heartedly supporting and advocating for the presumption of innocence.  As a Reverend, he should feel repentant for being so judgmental before the facts are out and he certainly should be advocating for more peace and less hatred.  He should be above the media’s games, but he is more part of the media now than the civil rights movement.  The truth is that like many prospective jurors of all races have pointed out, the case isn’t about race.  One prospective juror thought the protests were “ridiculous”.  Another pointed out that nobody seems to care about the, on average, 40 black teens who get killed in Chicago everyday, but they blew this case out of proportion.  What is Rev. Sharpton saying about this?  Why isn’t he helping their protests?  Why don’t they have a place in his heart?   Why doesn’t he do a segment on his show or write an article about these teens?

What I find ridiculous is what Al Sharpton wrote:

“…As jury selection takes place, we are going to see many methods of distraction. But none of it can negate the fact that Zimmerman stands accused of second-degree murder in a court of law. It is now up to the judge and a jury of his peers to listen to the facts and make a decision. But for a boy whose voice has been silenced forever, we can take a semblance of comfort in knowing that we did not give up.”

He’s already padding his language to account for a loss.  Just like in the Casey Anthony case, it wasn’t about the facts or what really happened, that was the distraction.  It’s the excuse for people to act like barbarians and bullies.  Being arrested doesn’t mean you are guilty.  If George Zimmerman wins, it will be because of the “distractions” used in jury selection to pick a jury to win, not the facts.  If the State wins, well they should have won, right?  That’s absolutely, unequivocally hypocritical.

What people think isn’t always the truth, most of the time it is just an opinion.  There was a particularly revealing and insightful interview on The Independent by Director Kevin Macdonald:

“Think before you shoot…It has become as easy to write a blog as it is to make a film or take a photograph – you don’t need any particular skill…There’s a democratizing side to it but it also means that a lot of stuff gets sprayed out there. Nobody thinks before they switch on the video recorder…There are terrible things going on in journalism…Nobody is spending the money to actually send journalists out to find the facts anymore…do we really need more Huffington Post and more opinion pieces? No, we don’t, we need people that are actually going to find out the facts…”

While in the interview, he is speaking about British media; he is also speaking internationally and most relevantly about U.S. media.  The media industry all over the world has suffered from a cheap and tawdry journalistic revolution.  The world is full of opinions, but we should all want the truth.  Even an opinion article on CNN, ironically, stated how sad it was that all people believe are opinions and won’t even open their minds up to others anymore.  The article was titled:  Don’t Be Like Washington; Listen to Other Views and was written by world affairs columnist Frida Ghitis (The Miami Herald).  Living in an echo chamber, surrounded by others that agree with you, does not reveal the truth.  Just like a courtroom, listening to both sides without misinformation entertainment reveals the reality.  The veracity of television media and Internet media has failed too many times when it comes to straightforwardness.  The truth is that falsities sell and the truth is expensive.  It’s a sad fact of the media corporations and their business.  The problem is that we let these people shape our perspective of the world and thus we all live a lie.  For this day and age, for progress, I would settle for people not automatically hating a defendant on trial.

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Comments
  1. Lon Spector says:

    You’re NEVER going to trump the EMOTIONALISM of RACE!
    The consitiution says that we are endowed by our Creater with equal rights, being life, liberty
    and the persuit of happiness. But nothing can erase the fact that there was a segment of
    society that was denied these rights 200 years ago.
    If we’re using history as our guide, there can never be a “Payed In Full” voucher for the
    sufferings of minorites. That’s why only a “spiritual live-in-the-now-all-is-forgiven” solution
    is the remeady for racial hysteria.
    Humanity is not yet developed enough for that to occur, not as long as there’s dollar$ to be
    made.
    As for Sharpton, the only difference between the Sharpton of yesteryear and Sharpton of
    today is that MSNBC has provided him with a wider platform for extortion and terror.
    Look for his already lucritive body-count to raise.

    Like

  2. yolanda says:

    I like your article and what you say a lot. But I do believe that Mr. Sharpton brought this on his show when no one else was speaking about Mr. Martin. I do not know the family nor do I know what happened that awful night, but there are two things that we know for sure Mr. Zimmerman had a gun and Mr. Martin did not. Mr. Martin will not be able to tell what happened that night, but Mr.Zimmerman will, and to the fact that he should not be taken away from his family, but his family would still be aloud to see him, and talk to him. Mr. Martin’s family will not be able too. Your article is very interesting, but let us not forget that African American Males are twice as likely to be stopped for no apparent reasons, and they are the first to be locked up for longer periods of time than their counter parts. Mr. Sharpton may ad some things that may not be accurate, but when you make the statement that we should find our own way to investigate things and people did not nor do not hate Mr.Zimmerman for who he is, the problem comes in when what he did on that night the police asked him to stay in his car, and he chose not too. I am an African American woman with 3 young men, and I teach them to put their hands where the police can see them, and go to a lighted area instead of have fun and be careful. I have teach them that the police are right until we get an attorney instead of stand of for yourself. We live in two different worlds when it comes to color and no one wants to speak about it honestly, and that is the true travesty in this whole trial.

    Like

    • You are absolutely right about African Americans being racially subjected to arbitrary arrest, but George Zimmerman is not a police officer. He is a citizen claiming self-defense who deserves as we all do, regardless of color, to be heard honestly and unbiasedly. Innocent people can be of any color, gender, age, or socio-economic class. Yes, they can still go to the prison to see him, but that has no reflection on his guilt or innocence. If we are wrong and convict an innocent man, his family will get no solace in the fact that they can still see him. I would love people who think prison is cushy (like Nancy Grace) to spend one year there and then see if you can take the small amount of visitation you get. It is not the same and no innocent person should be subjected to it just because people feel bad and they can still see their family. I would recommend everyone teaching their children to keep their hands where the police can see them and not saying anything until a lawyer is present. I applaud you for being a wonderful mother and teaching your sons that.
      I am not an African American, but I was taught as many people who suffer from being in poverty are, that you keep your hands where the police can see them. Thankfully I’ve never had to actually do that. Some places are worse for different races. In some areas, the police harass African Americans for absolutely no reason, but racism. I have had no severe experiences like those Hispanics and African Americans who are harassed in the stop-and-frisk incidents and I will never be racially-profiled, but we are all not as different as we seem. Poverty is color-blind. But, none of that has any relevancy to this one case. I don’t believe if you do the wrong thing for the right reasons it makes it any better. Rev. Sharpton brought attention to the case, but he certainly has not done it in any way that has integrity or represents the civil rights or liberties of others. Racial history of the United States and the world for that matter is marred and scarred with indifferent attitudes and flippant disregard for the humanity of those with a different skin color. Everyone deserves rights and dignity, as I mentioned in the article. We should have an honest discussion about race relations, but Mr. Zimmerman should not suffer from racial history and the choices of others. I would also like to add that racial disparity also effects Hispanics in the justice system and George Zimmerman is an Hispanic man. Statistics are great for analyzing, but the case we are watching might not fall into that statistic. We don’t know that George Zimmerman didn’t follow the instructions of the 911 dispatcher. Yes, we can’t know Trayvon Martin’s side, but the State will have a good go at it. It is important for all sides to discuss their views and be open-minded so that we can all understand one another better and grow as people. I look forward to us discussing this case as it goes forward maybe we can learn from each other.

      Like

      • Mary says:

        “We don’t know that George Zimmerman didn’t follow the instructions of the 911 dispatcher.”

        911 dispatcher, “We don’t need you to do that”

        Doesn’t that say a lot?

        Like

        • How do you know not to do something if no one tells you? He was already doing it and then they told him he didn’t have to and he said, paraphrasing, ‘okay’. We don’t know that he didn’t stop doing it. The media has flat out lied, which seems to be their pattern these days, about this case. For example, in initial reports they portrayed the layout of the suburb one way and then the other day they did a drive-through on HLN and it was completely different. I always thought from the beginning that most of time George Zimmerman was out of his vehicle, that isn’t the impression I got when I watched the drive-through recreation. I will wait to understand where everything took place. The most important facts, I think, are going to be where everyone was, what their movements were, and where everything occurred that night. For instance, I don’t know if it is true, but HLN claimed the other day that Trayvon Martin was ‘getting out of the rain’ by some mailboxes as George Zimmerman drove by. Also, it was claimed that the first time that George Zimmerman noticed Trayvon Martin was when he was standing in Zimmerman’s friend, Frank Taffey’s yard. Remember this is all back dropped with a recent rash of break-ins in the neighborhood. I don’t believe that enough due diligence has been paid to that fact. There is so much misinformation and conflicting reports, that is one of the reasons why fair trials are the best place to get real information.

          Like

    • Mary says:

      I agree about two worlds when it comes to race. I can’t even know how that would be. I see it in my area with the poor.

      I have 4 sons. I’ve always told them to be respectful but to keep their mouth shut without an attorney there. Never, ever give a statement. I’ve seen too many times where it’s used against a person who was being cooperative and helpful.

      Remember, to police and prosecutors, everyone is a suspect.

      Like

  3. Mary says:

    Your blog points out the problems with the coverage on one network. Over on Fox, they are doing a lot of blaming the victim. I agree with some of your points but not on the race issue. After reading statements of Zimmerman’s brother and father, you really have to wonder if there isn’t endemic racism in that family.

    I don’t believe Casey Anthony or Jodi Arias were guilty of the charges. This case is so much different. I will still wait until all the evidence is presented but it’s already smelling bad imo.

    Like

    • Thank you for your comment, Mary. I don’t watch Fox, but I have heard that they are being biased toward Trayvon Martin. We don’t know if he is the legal definition of a “victim” yet, that is the question in a self-defense case. As far as I understand it George Zimmerman’s brother and father never said anything explicitly racist and it all is up for interpretation. Besides, I don’t believe in guilt by association. What Zimmerman’s family does is a reflection on them not on him. It is understandable that some of the insensitive things that have been said could lead people to wonder if it is familial learning. I know people that have overcome bad families and people who haven’t. I would add however, that I don’t agree with things the Martin family has done. I would never indict Trayvon Martin for something his family has done though. Neither side has been very cooth, but these things are emotionally charged for those involved. Trayvon Martin’s family is upset and George Zimmerman’s family is upset. The Martin family has lost someone and the Zimmerman family could lose someone. People say things in moments like this that they don’t mean. They say things that don’t come out right either. Families should never be looked to for a complete truth or the facts. There are too many factors at play inside their grieving process. For example, I’ve seen victims’ families be upset when a person is exonerated. I agree that this case is different than the Anthony or Arias cases. I also agree that everyone should wait for all the facts to come out before rendering a decision in their own mind. I think things are going to come out in the trial that haven’t been said. I also think that some people will never accept whatever truth comes out.

      Like

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