Today we are going to get final arguments in the Trayvon Martin trial. I expect that the case will go to the jury today. Millions of Americans have followed this case, just as we followed the OJ Simpson trial from years ago.
A couple of thoughts:
As far as I can tell, there are no heroes in this case.
No matter what the verdict there are going to be some folks that are very, very angry. A young man is dead. There is nothing that we can do to bring Trayvon Martin back. Another young man is on trial for murder. George Zimmerman isn’t a model citizen. He is like most of us, a flawed individual.
Once again, we see a close-up view of our legal system. Once again, we see that our legal system isn’t close being perfect.
I think that it is clear that if this happened 20 years ago there wouldn’t have been a trial. The police would have swept this under the rug. “There is nothing to see here… move on.” The fact that we have a trial is testament to the power of the internet and social media.
Neither attorney in this case has impressed me. (Granted, I haven’t followed every minute, or even every day, of this case.)
One big question that will not be answered in this trial concerns the role of the police. Will the police department get a critical review by an independent body?
In a nutshell, yuck. Simply yuck. There will be a verdict. There will be a movie, and probably a mini-series, which will be watched by millions. Look for several books which will do nothing to resolve the national debate but should make several folks a large pot of money.
Do you remember all the hoopla over the immigration bill getting to the Senate? This happened less than a month ago. The mainstream media went crazy. There was a lot of discussion about how many Republicans voted for the final bill. Would the final bill have only one or two Republicans to support it or would they have more like 10-15 Republicans? The number of Republicans who supported the bill somehow would have a huge influence on the House. As I recall, I really didn’t make much mention of this bill for a reason. I thought it was going to die in the House. As it turns out, I was right. Immigration reform is dead.
The House Republicans simply have little or no interest in immigration reform. Their position on immigration has been crystal clear. Send all illegal immigrants home. That’s it. There’s no further discussion. Sure, they probably want to build an electrified fence along our southern border. They’ll even go for electronic surveillance systems along our southern border. They may even go for increasing the number of border security personnel along our southern border, but as far as figuring out a path to citizenship is concerned, that is simply a nonstarter. You can poke. You can prod. You can jump up and down. You can present charts and graphs about the benefits of making millions of these economic refugees into real, honest-to-goodness American citizens, but they don’t care.
From my standpoint, the benefits of immigration reform are clear. First of all, I don’t believe that in the United States we should have two or three different classes of citizens. If you are here, you need to be here legally. Making immigrants pay a reasonable fine for breaking the law and then giving them a reasonable path to citizenship simply makes sense. It is fair. I also believe that we should work to close the border. When I say the border, I’m not just talking about our southern border. I’m talking about all of our borders. We have hundreds of thousands of miles that are simply unguarded. If you want to walk across the border with Canada, it is very easy in multiple places. If you want to come to the United States via boat, that is also easy in a number of places. Close the borders.
Let’s be clear. None of this is going to happen. There are powerful forces on both sides of this issue which create the stalemate. From a political standpoint, Republicans have to make a decision. They can either have pain now or they can have pain later. There is going to be some pain. If they pass some sort of immigration reform now, a large number of those immigrants will become Democrats. This will cause short-term pain at the polls. If they continue to resist immigration reform, as I suspect they will, they will have a lot of pain later as immigration reform will get passed at some point as this population of “new Americans” go to the polls and will invariably vote Democratic. Currently, this crop of Republicans have decided that they’re going to postpone the pain for as long as they can. I wish them luck with that strategy.
For those of you who’ve been following my blog, I don’t need to explain my love for big corporations like AT&T. For those of you who just started following my blog or stumbled upon it in some Google-crazed click-a-thon, let me explain. In my opinion, large corporations are designed to efficiently suck money out of your pocket. That’s it. They do not exist to provide service. They do not exist to produce a product. The name of the game is relieving you from as much money as possible.
So, my local telephone carrier is AT&T. On Sunday I had a dial tone, but could not dial out and nobody could call in. So, on my cell phone, I called AT&T. I went through the automated menu and finally spoke to a real person (initially, I went to the Internet and after clicking through several screens and supplying the prerequisite information, which they should already have had, the AT&T website told me that they were unable to complete my request over the Internet and that I needed to call AT&T). The operator assured me that my phones will be turned back on by Wednesday. That was on Sunday. I’m not sure about you, but to me this seems like an unreasonably long period of time to be without your home phone. So, I did what I think everybody tries to do, which is to expedite service.