Ford delivered a fascinating talk without notes. He's clearly the real deal as a politician, and I don't think he'll long be in the private sector. He took questions from the audience afterward (including mine, in which he in rapid fire answer to my question of "who he fears as a running mate for Romney"--Ford being an enthusiastic backer of the President--answered "Mitch Daniels, Condi Rice, Marco Rubio and Rob Portman"), two of which focused in some way on the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Mr. Ford made one of those off the cuff comments, so often delivered by those who have earned their stripes in the world of civil rights discussions, that the killing of Martin "...proved how far we have to go..." in race relations in this country. I have to admit to being a bit flummoxed by that statement, as trite as it was. Exactly how does the horrible, sad killing of what appears to be a blameless black boy by an Hispanic cop-wanna-be prove that we have far to go in race relations? Indeed, Mr. Ford seems to be on the restrained end of the reaction to this tragedy, as Messers Sharpton and Farrakahn (or is it Reverends?) have already descended upon the scene of the horror to fan the flames.
Today, our President took the opportunity to remind us that "...all of us have some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen.." after--for whatever reason--telling us that "...if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon". Putting aside the narcissism of bringing comments about this tragedy back to himself, I take issue with the suggestion that I need to do any "soul searching" on this front. My soul is clear, if not troubled by the terrible killing of this young man. The hopped up actions of a vigilante neighborhood watch brownshirt (who had made 50 reports to the cops previously) don't--to me--rise to the level of something requiring national reflection and introspection. Read my words, people getting ready to respond to me, I am NOT SAYING that the death of Trayvon Martin is not a tragedy.
It simply is not a new chapter in the racialist narrative. Trumped up comparisons to the killing of Medgar Evers just don't stand up. Most in the victimization racket simply don't acknowledge that we live in a different time and place in 2012 than we saw in 1964 Mississippi. The very existence of the national sense of outrage over this crime ought to be evidence enough of that. Yet there seems to be no end-state sufficient to the merchants of racialism, as acknowledging such would deprive them of their estimable meal-tickets.
I am saddened by the death of this young man. I have great sympathy for his parents and friends. And I grieve for a society that seeks to squeeze more meaning from his incomparably senseless death than its inestimable sadness already warrants.