27 Mar
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All My Sons

Last week, President Obama commented on the death of Trayvon Martin.  Obama said that if he had a son, his son would look like Trayvon.

I found this comment to be extremely disappointing and totally inappropriate.

First, what does Obama’s comment mean?  Is it because Trayvon was black that he looks like Obama’s hypothetical son?  Suppose Obama was white and looked like the now son (once daughter) of Cher.  Would the President have said that if he had a son, his son would look like George Zimmerman?  (As an aside, doesn’t the most frequently shown photo of Mr. Zimmerman bear a striking resemblance to Chaz Bono?)  In either case, what does this mean? How is the physical resemblance of any individual an appropriate factor in this case?

Instead of pandering, what Obama should have said was that we should reserve judgment until we know all of the facts of the case and, as things stand now, we still need to learn what actually happened that night.  Obama should have reminded people that, in America, one is innocent until proven guilty and that Mr. Zimmerman has a right to remain silent in the face of the current ongoing media maelstrom.  He should have reminded us that Mr.  Zimmerman’s silence is not indicative of his guilt, but rather, may be a carefully planned legal strategy.  (As both an attorney and a law professor, Obama knows darn well that any lawyer worth his salt who may be advising Mr. Zimmerman would tell him to keep a low profile given the current situation.)

As the President of all the United States, Obama could stand to take a lesson from Joe Keller, the protagonist of the 1947 Arthur Miller play All My Sons.  After cheating on a government contact which resulted in the death of Americans, Joe Keller realizes that his greatest sin was not cheating the government but rather was failing to realize that all Americans are his (and, by implication, our) sons.  Unlike Joe Keller, Obama is wrong not to realize that George Zimmerman could just have easily been his son too.

Joseph Mendola, a native New Yorker and a graduate of Columbia Law School was the 2009 Republican candidate for NYC Comptroller.  He received nearly 200,000 votes, the most of any Republican running for office in NYC in 2009 except for Michael Bloomberg.  Joe is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey and Florida. He works in the securities industry and holds 10 different FINRA sponsored licenses.  A direct survivor of 9/11, Joe lives with his 2 young children in one of America’s greatest liberal bastions, New York City’s Greenwich Village.  He may be reached at jmendolanyc@aol.com.

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