Dinesh D'Souza's thoughtless tweet is especially cruel to Trayvon Martin's parents because of what they must have hoped could have been.
“What if [Barack Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan anti-colonial behavior can you begin to piece together [his actions]…?” That bit of science was dropped by one Newton Leroy Gingrich in a 2010 interview with the National Review. The inspiration for Newt’s piercing insight into our president? Well, it came from this guy: Dinesh D’Souza–prolific conservative writer, armchair psychoanalyst, and diviner of ‘Mau Mau’ revolutionary transference through a single meeting between a Kenyan father and his Hawaiian-born son.
And the man, who up until last October, was president of King’s College, a Christian college in Manhattan–only to resign amid allegations of infidelity he denied.
Never one to allow a little setback to sideline him, Mr. D’Souza stormed back into our national consciousness this week via Twitter with this Thanksgiving wish:
That of course was meant to be an insult to a president who outraged the right by stating the obvious fact that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin–and that 35 years ago, he could have been Trayvon–the black teenager who was shot and killed by a stranger in Sanford, Florida in February 2012 (an incident, I should add, for which the shooter was acquitted by a jury).
But Mr. D’Souza’s tweet, which I’m sure he thought was quite clever before he deleted it, can only have been an insult if you’re one of those people on the right who, for some reason, decided that they really, really hated Trayvon Martin–that he was “Traygone;” that he needed to be “put down like a rabid dog;” that because his death could even potentially cause people to question the proliferation of guns and the profiling of young black men in our society; that he couldn’t just be a shooting victim, he had to be evil, he had to be hated and vilified and mocked–very much like some on the right hate and vilify and mock President Obama.
But to Trayvon Martin’s parents, this D’Souza sideswipe was especially cruel because of what they must have hoped could have been. For one thing, unlike Barack Obama, Trayvon Martin had an involved father. His mom enrolled him in horseback riding lessons and flight training school and a really good high school. And, yes, he got into some trouble like a lot of teenagers do–which is why his mom sent him to Sanford with his dad in the first place: to get him back on track in the hope that one day, their son could be like Barack Obama, who has admitted to getting into some trouble as a young man, but whose family did everything possible to keep him on track.
Mr. D’Souza, Trayvon Martin growing up to be like Barack Obama was exactly his parents’ plan. And preventing her precious, black son from winding up like Trayvon Martin was Barack Obama’s mother’s triumph.
So, indeed, I am thankful this Thanksgiving that this country is big enough and great enough to survive the thoughtless, ugly haters, and to work toward ensuring that all our Trayvon Martins have the opportunity to grow up to be Barack Obama.
Happy Thanksgiving, Dinesh.