Obama’s Violence of Choice

President Obama declared his reaction to the Zimmerman verdict today, quoted in CNN, as saying:

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”

We are, in fact, a nation, not of laws, but of people who create laws, flawed and otherwise, laws based on the value of the people, the value of life itself. Ideally, our laws protect value and restore a measure of justice. We can stand with the parents who are asking for calm reflection, noting that such reflection requires a proclivity for truth and an awareness of the lessons love would teach us in these confusing times.

We can, on this day, note that in the state of Florida one man, not African-American, has walked away free of the charges against him, charges in agreement with value, with life. He walks free ‘though he killed another. And while he walks in freedom, another is enslaved, imprisoned by a system, for the “crime” of firing a warning shot, a shot that did not kill or harm another life. Marissa Alexander shot down by the violence of choice, by the flaws in a system so surreally corrupt, we cannot know what we stand for any longer, as a nation, if we look to the “nation of laws, and a jury.”

Much like the indiscriminate work of drones honing in on the allegedly guilty in lands far from our own soil, Obama’s violence of choice rings a discordant vibe in our world as he asks us to choose calm, to honor Trayvon Martin, “to stem the tide of gun violence.” The exacting accuracy of our guns do not serve a President who would rather sit and push the button every week, sending innocent children to their deaths as he rests in the executive shelter of “collateral damage,” children and innocents banished from life itself by a nation not consulting her own people or the laws of their own making.

And so we see what Obama means by calm reflection. He asks that we not reflect too passionately on the value of life itself, that instead we remember we are a nation of laws which we dare not break, especially if we are African-American. We should, indeed, “ask ourselves how we can prevent tragedies like this,” as we sit complicit in our silence while he sends hundreds to their death, well beyond our borders…

without regard for the value of life,

without regard for justice,

without including the people of the U.S. in these choices we have seemingly no choice but to accept.

Good people of the United States, Obama’s violence of choice is drone-warfare, not gun-violence. He asks we partake in a violence of twisted logic, choosing one form of brutalization over another. See, we must lay down our arms, our awareness of truth and surrender our minds to his greater, elitist view of what is truly valuable. We are, after all, a nation of laws, not humans bleeding the same color, not humans on a planet roiling in the aftermath of a bully-nation’s actions. We are at the mercy of Obama’s violence of choice, but thankfully, thus far, apparently not on the receiving end.

So, let us calmly reflect with passion on our value, on the value of every person on this planet we inhabit. Let us reflect on the duplicity of the powers that be and ask ourselves how we can prevent the further rape of justice, and the intimidation our system exacts with rapid-fire insistence in these trying times.

How can we embody a fierce and fearless love, a love refusing the obfuscation of value in the name of law itself?

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2 thoughts on “Obama’s Violence of Choice

  1. It appears the only portion from CNN is the quotation of Pres. Obama. The expression the U.S. is “a nation of laws, not of men,” means the government, despite its power, is not above the law. Of course, this applies to government officials who exercise power. This meaning helps the position of the op-ed author in criticizing the Obama Administration’s use of drones. Therefore, I do not understand the reason for the reformulation.

    1. The only portion available was the one I posted here in my commentary on his focus. There’s no reformulation of anything here. The quote above is Obama’s first response to the Zimmerman verdict. He spoke again on the issue a week later.

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