Where My Empathy Fails Me

I can, almost, put myself in George Zimmerman's shoes.

I can imagine being so fearful and tightly wound that simply seeing an unfamiliar figure, wearing the wrong clothes and walking at the wrong speed with the wrong body language, might trigger paranoia. I see enough of what passes for news among the right wing to know which buttons they are trying to press.

I can imagine being the right mix of arrogant and protective that I didn't think I could wait for the authorities, and had to take action myself before the Unfamiliar Figure did the things that the poison poured into my ear for years has led me to believe were about to happen.

I can imagine tracking the Unfamiliar Figure down, confronting him, and after a scuffle pulling my gun.

What I can't imagine doing, ever, is listening to these screams, listening to the Unfamiliar Figure beg for his life... and still pulling the trigger.

Trayvon Martin 911 Call

His father says he's not a racist. I have no reason to doubt him. Maybe George Zimmerman still pulls that trigger if Trayvon is Hispanic, or white, or whatever.

This is worse than racism though. This is a complete denial of one's own humanity. I don't comprehend how you can hear those screams, and then silence them with a bullet, without already being dead inside yourself.

I can't even say I'm angry at Zimmerman. If his life wasn't a miserable ruined hell before, it certainly is now.

My anger is reserved for the Sanford police, for not doing their fucking jobs, and for forcing Trayvon Martin's parents to listen to those screams.

How Democrats Dog Whistle

It's a little on the nose, but you have to respect Robert Gibbs' effort here.

It comes right at the end of the piece in the wake of Santorum's wins in Mississippi and Alabama, right about the 3:10 mark:

Look, Mitt Romney has said... his campaign has said that it would take an act of God for him not to be the nominee. Usually, a campaign with divinity on its side would be doing better than they are tonight.

Translation: he's not a Christian, he's a Mormon heretic.

Since the whole point of dog whistles is to inflame someone's prejudice without actually naming the prejudice, and that Romney's biggest weakness will be his difficulty in getting the GOP's evangelical base to muster any enthusiasm for him at all, it's nice to see the Obama campaign is already locking and loading their anti-Romney attack lines.

The Empty Suit

CNN is missing something interesting in its exit polls tonight.

According to the numbers they showed earlier, about half of the voters in the Alabama and Mississippi GOP primaries said that Romney was the most electable candidate. Of them, roughly two-thirds actually voted for him. Two-thirds of one-half = one-third of the whole.

Now look at the votes coming in. Romney's getting roughly one-third of the total in both states. That means that the only people voting for him are those who think he can beat Obama. Nobody is voting for him if they don't think he can win the general election.

Santorum and Gingrich are both pulling in votes for other reasons. People might not think they're the best candidate to beat Obama, but they get behind their guy anyway.

Romney? Basically nobody is voting for him for any kind of ideological reason. They are only voting for him if they think he can beat Oboogeyman.

Ask the Democrats in 2004 how well it works out when you nominate a candidate purely because you think he's your best shot at beating the other guy, and not because you actually like him or anything.