DE GRACIA: Race, fear and greed distorted George Zimmerman’s trial

The Zimmerman trial has brought out the very worst elements of modern culture. Photo: AP File Photo

HONOLULU, July 8, 2013 – No matter what the outcome of the highly publicized George Zimmerman trial may be, America will never be the same again.

We may never know the full truth of what happened on the fatal night George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin met in the rain. Nevertheless, America’s reaction to that incident and the resulting trial is a perfect case study in how people project their prejudices and desires on to situations and other individuals.

SEE RELATED: Zimmerman Trial: Rachel Jeantel and the politics of soft bigotry

From the moment the shooting became national news, the incident served as a pretext for a divided nation to grandstand for selfish attention rather than uphold justice. Both Zimmerman and Martin have been demonized as villains and beatified as heroes by opposing media factions, political interest groups and a judgmental public with a heroin-like addiction to reality entertainment.

From the viral dissemination of pejorative, false photographs of Martin on social networks to violent threats made against Zimmerman and his family on Twitter, the ongoing trial has brought out the absolute worst of modern society.

The trial of Zimmerman was supposed to determine whether or not laws were broken.

Instead, it revealed America was broken.

SEE RELATED: Stand your ground: Uneven enforcement might be adding to racial divide

For the mainstream media, the trial was about exploiting suffering and fanning strife to attract attention.

For special interest groups, the trial was about using death to promote an agenda at all costs.

For the public, the trial was about pitting perceived representatives of one way of life against another.

Anyone who values truth, justice and honor should be ashamed of how far we have fallen as a people. This is not the kind of behavior expected of a nation so civilized as to claim leadership of the “free” world.

SEE RELATED: George Zimmerman reportedly tried due to web of activists, politicians

Just what kind of America are we becoming when the demons of race, fear and greed drive our perceptions of our neighbors? What kind of laws and elected leaders can be expected to issue from a nation so divided and hostile?

The great legal philosopher Frederic Bastiat once wrote “Law is the common force organized to act as an obstacle of injustice. In short, law is justice.” He said further “As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose – that it may violate property instead of protecting it – then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting at the door of the Legislative Palace, and the struggle within will be no less furious.”

In the future, when two total strangers who meet in the rain decide to pull out an umbrella for each other rather than fists and a pistol, we will once more have an America worthy of leading the free world.

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Danny de Gracia

Dr. Danny de Gracia is a political scientist and a former senior adviser to the Human Services and International Affairs committees at the Hawaii State Legislature. From 2011-2013 he served as an elected municipal board member in Waipahu. As an expert in international relations theory, military policy, political psychology and economics, Danny has advised numerous policymakers and elected officials and his opinions have been featured worldwide. Now working on his first novel, Danny resides on the island of Oahu.

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