What passes for "leadership" in the modern "civil-rights" community has frequently compared the shooting of Trayvon Martin to the brutal murder of black teenager Emmett Till in the 1950s. One of the people who did this is billionaire Oprah Winfrey, fresh from nearly destroying the life of an innocent Swiss shop clerk by falsely accusing her of racism. Asked about Winfrey's comparison on MSNBC Friday morning, Emmett Till's cousin Simeon Wright replied:
The comparison to me is similar; there are a lot of parallels between Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin. Number one: Trayvon was killed by a white boy that got out of his truck armed to the teeth -- chased him down, did kill him. And then the jury did the same thing they did in 1955 with Emmett Tille: they came back with a non-guilty vote. That broke my heart. That tells me that things have not changed as much as people would like to say they have changed. I asked my wife this morning if she had ever been consulted on one of these polls. I've never been asked about one of these polls.
Every single thing Simeon Wright said about George Zimmerman is a lie. He's not white, he's not a "boy," he wasn't "armed to the teeth," and he didn't chase Trayvon Martin down. Zimmerman killed Martin in self-defense, quite unlike the heartless murderers of Emmett Till. Of course, the MSNBC anchor, Craig Melvin, challenged not a word of this ludicrous slander.
This is about more than the production of Trayvon mythology, which proceeds at a furious pace, moving the manufactured false narrative further and further away from the facts introduced during Zimmerman's trial. Oprah Winfrey's cooked-up anecdote about racist Swiss clerks refusing to show her an expensive handbag, because they assumed a black woman could not afford such luxuries, was not about Winfrey deciding to annihilate a random store employee for kicks. I doubt Winfrey gave the clerk a second thought. She clearly never imagined that her version of events would be challenged. She was just trying to throw out a quick talk-show-ready anecdote about how racism persists around the world, even in nations renowned for their peaceful tolerance, never mind squalid, hateful America.
The point of all this is to manufacture despair. The polls Simeon Wright disparaged, by claiming he and his wife have never been consulted for one, are polls about the improving state of race relations in the United States. He's saying those polls are full of baloney, because there's still racism everywhere. And he doesn't mean the kind of racism that led a couple of teenage black gang-banger wannabees to shoot Australian college student Chris Lane in the back while he was out jogging. Wright means institutionalized white racism, a fog of hatred and disdain that hasn't cleared much since 1965.
The most obvious difference between the Left/media response to the Lane murder, and the Trayvon Martin shooting, is that mighty efforts were made to portray George Zimmerman as the agent of a cruel and racist system, not merely a trigger-happy racist himself. He became a pinata for gun-control activists. Loud and repeated warnings were issued that a legion of heavily armed, bloodthirsty homeowners and neighborhood-watch volunteers lurked from coast to coast, waiting to prey upon any young black man who wandered into their suburban kill zones.
The aftermath of the Zimmerman trial has been a concerted nationwide effort to attack Stand Your Ground laws, which had nothing to do with the shooting of Trayvon Martin... but they're supposedly a totem of the evil System that keeps minorities down. The group that camped out in Florida's capitol for a month, demanding a special legislative session to erase the state's Stand Your Ground law, called itself the "Dream Defenders." The implication is that the dreams of innocent young people are under attack because of SYG laws, which is absolute rubbish... but quite consistent with the sustained atmosphere of despair hanging over America.
The racial grievance industry isn't the only smokestack pumping into that atmosphere. Despair suffuses every aspect of our political culture. Those who would rule us as our permanent protectors want us to believe ourselves surrounded by unbeatable villains. Take one step onto the frozen tundra of the free market, and you'll be torn apart by corporate wolves. You'll need tax-raising politicians to help you get even with the rich bastards who stole your rightful prosperity. (Excepting millionaire politicians, entertainers, and athletes, of course. They earn their fortunes!)
ObamaCare is a broken-down wreck, and if any private corporation had been responsible for it, you'd be told to view it as a swindle whose perpetrators belong in jail... but instead, the people who want to shut it down are depicted as callous brutes who enjoy watching poor people get sick. You'll die without government insurance subsidies, you'll starve without food stamps, you'll go broke without a government-managed financial system, the Earth will be destroyed without government-enforced environmental orthodoxy, and if politicians weren't insisting on higher pay plus mandated benefits, you'd be enslaved by evil corporate overlords.
The most powerful President since FDR, a man whose assumed powers would be labeled despotic by the Founding Fathers, excuses his failures by claiming he's just a victim of these shadowy racist villains, too. He's not responsible for anything that's happened since 2009, no matter how many times he seizes new executive powers. The dead-parrot economy and moribund job market he's delivered are the best you have a right to expect; it would be even worse, if President Obama hadn't done whatever he did with all those trillions you're supposed to forget he spent. If the government borrows or spends a dollar less, America will collapse into a pile of dust. If the dull, selfish people of the United States reclaim an inch of the ground they have lost to the State, mere anarchy will be loosed upon the world. Despair, helplessness, doom.
We are actively encouraged to see ourselves as children. Grown men are frequently referred to as "boys," and officially treated as such by ObamaCare. Teenagers sigh that they have nothing meaningful to do, and nothing is expected of them. They're treated the way earlier generations would regard children half their age. Prolonged adolescence is another form of despair. People who are held responsible for nothing see little reason to make extraordinary effort. Responsibility is a core component of dignity, liberty, and achievement. If people are not accountable for their failures, who cares about their successes?
All of this is alien to human nature. It is enforced upon us by a vast political system armed with gigantic resources. In our hearts, we know we're not supposed to rely on other people's money for food and shelter. We know we're meant to compete and cooperate with our fellows, not regard ourselves as hapless victims of their perpetual disdain. Economist Walter Williams, who is a person of color, recently observed that competitive sports teams don't accept the low standards and excuses for failure found throughout the educational system, and black people do just fine on those teams. When much is expected, much is accomplished... and the soul of every young person, black or white, boy or girl, yearns to hear the call to excellence.
Perhaps one reason kids love sports is that big games are played on lofty peaks that ride high above the fog of despair. After years of trudging through dumbed-down courses, lowered standards, and assurances that the deck is forever stacked against them, they long to step onto a brightly-lit field of honor and show what they can really do, win some victories, earn some applause. It's not just about earning big bucks as a star athlete or entertainer, although the money is nice too. It's the dream of commanding respect, standing tall, exceeding expectations, and taking your well-deserved seat in a great brotherhood of equals.
But who respects hapless children who believe they can never win? If you accept the right of the State to use compulsive force to correct inequality of outcome, you believe the targets of that force are your enemies, they deserve to suffer, and you could never beat them on your own. You can't beat any of the Left's boogeymen on your own. Your perpetual fear and despair are the source of their power.