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Op-Ed – Division in America: Trayvon Martin

By: Phillip Singleton

Tallahassee – I never intended to speak on the Trayvon Martin situation. In all actuality, I didn’t post a picture in my hoodie for Facebook or Twitter, I didn’t march and protest for justice, and to say the least, I had no particular interest in joining the movement. Yes, I do have a heart and believe that it is a sad day in our country when one of our youth loses their life, but in all actuality, this happens in the American community daily.

The problem that has stirred since this young man’s death is not the fact that George Zimmerman chased him down, Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, a possible police cover up or that Mr. Martin only had Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea. The problem with America, at this breaking point of history, is that we as American’s cannot put our race and/or political differences aside to have some reverence for this young man’s life.

Yes, there are pockets of Americans who are sad and upset over this case, and those wanting justice have protested. In the same light others have cashed in their “Claim for Fame” tickets (Toure vs. Piers Morgan to be exact) while political rhetoric has continued to grow along with the criticism of Reverends’ Sharpton and Jackson for their efforts.

When you really step back and analyze this case, listening to both sides of the argument, we as an American people must realize that we still have a great divide in this country. In my honest opinion, the division has grown since the first Presidential campaign for then-Senator Barack Obama. The onslaught from conservatives linking Barack Obama to Muslim ties, socialism, William Ayers, Reverend Wright, and the About Face prejudice from that campaign have spewed over into the everyday lives of Americans. And the underlying divide in our country has continued to grow over the past four years into what some could call a more civilized Civil Rights Movement.

The Trayvon Martin case is one that should open America’s eyes to the reality of our ignorance. The ignorance we have of not knowing the ramifications of our actions, words and how it is perceived by the people we market it too; not the common insecure definition linking ignorance to stupidity.

We live in a society today where we must choose between our Democratic, Republican, liberal and conservative ideals to justify everything in our country. Even this situation has spewed over into a political battle as liberals, especially those in the African-American community, are calling for justice in the wake of this tragedy. While conservatives have essentially discounted the life of Trayvon Martin, argued the notion of people making this a racial issue, Black-on-Black crimes, and Mr. Zimmerman’s right to bear arms.

The real issue here is that America is still broken, better than the past, but still broken. We want justice but only when it benefits a particular race, political party or our individual identity. We are selfish to the fact that we are still immature and insecure as a nation because we consistently use our race, circumstance and situations to define who we are. More importantly, we have removed Trayvon Martin from this situation, listened to the ignorance and continued to divide our country over a senseless act of murder.

At the end of the day, Mr. Martin’s family does not want their son to die in vain and that should be the premise of every action for this case. The marches and hoodie movement were quite intriguing, but that has not brought immediate satisfaction for this case, it has only fueled the anger on both sides of this issue and increased the American divide.

Phillip Singleton is a lobbyist and political advocate based in Tallahassee, Florida. (www.PhillipSingleton.com)

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