I heard President Obama’s remarks today about race relations in the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal in Florida.
The president was on point.
This is the kind of talk — you can’t call it a “speech” because he delivered it without notes — is what you get when an important person has no more political campaigns to wage. He’s done. Three-plus more years and he’s gone, heading back to Chicago to write his memoir, give a lot of speeches and start working on his presidential library.
The president’s tone was stunning in its personal nature. He made no judgment on the rightness of the verdict that acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. He has left that for the judicial system to sort out. He didn’t weigh in on whether the Justice Department should file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
No. Instead he spoke of the deep feelings he harbors about how people treat African-Americans. The president spoke of knowing — as an African-American — how it feels to hear car doors lock when a black man walks across the street, or when he enters an elevator and a woman clutches her purse a little more tightly.
Yes, we need to have some serious talk among ourselves about race in this country.
Who better to lead that discussion than the president of the United States of America?