The world of American politics, especially presidential politics is blatantly and unashamedly opportunistic. It’s all about hype, slogans and who can capitalize on the latest story capturing the short attention span of the fickle public in the 48 hour news cycle, and/or trending within the world of social media.
Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich can learn from the master politician, President Barack Obama, on how to jump on an opportunity like a pit bull on a 4 year old. When Rush Limbaugh referred to Sandra Fluke on February 28th as a “slut” and “prostitute” for voicing her support for birth control during an unofficial House Democratic hearing, 2 days later she got a call from the President asking if she was “okay”. The parents of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was murdered in a racial motivated shooting on February 26th, has received no call (as yet) from the President to ask if they were “okay”… and they probably won’t.
See… Obama knows he needs the white woman vote to get re-elected, so he strategically decided to show empathy for Fluke’s hurt feelings when she was called a couple of derogatory names. On the other hand, he knows he’s got the Negro vote sown up, so why would he need to show any concern for their pain? Why risk his re-election by being accused of showing favouritism (i.e. sympathy) to people with the same skin colour as him in their time of grief for their murdered son… a grief caused by the imbedded racist attitudes of the “other” people he needs to support him for a second term in office?
The Republican contenders should take a page from Obama’s playbook and call Martin’s parents to offer their condolences. They should also put on a hoody, have a bag of Skittles in one hand and an Iced-tea in the other, take a pic and post it on their Facebook page with the caption: “We’re All Trayvon Martin!” Sure it’s blatantly insincere and strategically opportunistic, but that’s what American politics is all about. It’s about taking advantage of the hot story and manipulating the story line for your own benefit. After the Fluke affair the media was on them, particularly Romney, for not calling Fluke or publicly admonishing Limbaugh, especially after President Obama did so. By calling the Martins, maybe the media… and African-Americans… may finally wake up and realize that “Barack Obama doesn’t care about Black people”. The republicans may even get a few more black votes.
Hmmmm… I doubt it.