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Zimmerman, a morality play that failed

By Rich Lowry

The George Zimmerman trial is the racial metaphor that failed. Every day that passes makes it clear that none of the ideological baggage heaped on the case ever made any sense.

George Zimmerman is not a symbol of white America, or — to borrow the stilted phrase The New York Times used to refer to him in its reports — white-Hispanic America. The case is not about race relations. Incredibly enough, even the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s family now says, “We don’t believe the focus was really race.” To the extent that the trial has any larger meaning, it is a tale of the left’s desperation to indict contemporary America as a land of rank racism, different in degree, perhaps, but not in kind from 1950s Mississippi. That’s where Emmett Till, to whom Trayvon Martin has often been compared, was brutally murdered for whistling at a white woman. Mentioning Martin in the same breath as Till is an offense against history and common sense.

When the national controversy over Martin’s killing first erupted, I thought it was wrong that Zimmerman wasn’t charged. I still think it was foolhardy of Zimmerman to get out of his car and trail Martin and that if he had had the sense to leave the matter at his call to the police, a tragedy could have been avoided.

But that doesn’t make him a murderer. There was always a perverse wishfulness to the Zimmerman-haters: Look how rotten and backward this country is. Look at what white-Hispanics are capable of. Look at the corruption of our criminal-justice system. Look at this poor child murdered in cold blood. MSNBC tried and convicted Zimmerman, executed him by firing squad, then propped the body up at the defense table so it could do it all over again. Host Lawrence O’Donnell said Zimmerman shot “a black teenager to death for having done absolutely nothing,” and opined that “I believe what we have here is evidence of a police cover-up.” At a rally, another of the network’s personalities, the Rev. Al Sharpton, compared the injustice done to Martin to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ — and that may have been one of his cooler-headed moments.

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