Australian historian, Dr Anna Blainey Warner, sent The PRODOS Blog the following insightful note, which I’d like to share:
(Links, bracketed items and emphasis added by me)
It should be realised that this points to an underlying current in trial commentary that goes beyond Jesse Jackson or the Zimmerman trial.
I’m referring to the widespread assumption that the judicial system should be primarily for the alleged victim’s retribution rather than for the rights of the accused to be presumed innocent till proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
For example, you often hear people ask why the accused has all these rights and why aren’t we concerned with the victim, or why do we interrogate the poor victims after all they’ve been through.
Not only are victims to be presumed totally honest and credible through virtue of their alleged victimhood – the idea is that justice is not first and foremost about testing the truth of allegations, or protecting the accused against unjust accusations while protecting the wider society from criminals proved guilty.
Rather, it is about retribution for the victim on behalf of the individual victim.
This idea is encouraged not only by political advocates like Jackson but also by the culture of psychotherapy which has come to present trials in terms of ‘closure’ for the victim with the victim’s feelings being the first consideration.
A recent article at Legal Insurrection also touches on this interpretation, quoting part of Obama’s recent speech:
When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said this could’ve been my son.
Another way of saying that is, a Trayvon Martin could’ve been me 35 years ago.
When you think about why in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened.
I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.
As Robert Tracinski at RealClearPolitics writes in response to Barrack Obama’s recent speech on the George Zimmerman trial:
But there is a whole load of crushing disappointment carried in this line:
“I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”
Shorter version: this is never going away.
The racial politics laid bare in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case is never going to be healed. At least, not by him.
Pain and more pain. Therapy and more therapy. As far as the eye can see. For all eternity.
In contrast, here’s how “miracles are made” — A speech by Ronald Reagan — a man who never wallowed or traded in the pain-and-therapy scam.