Among many things one could say, this one seems to have been significantly underplayed, probably because the flaming, brutal injustice of the murder obscures more subtle truths.
See the thing is, a whole political party presumes that white (and male) privilege is simply the atmosphere we breathe here in the exceptional land of exceptionality. This presumption is so deep and so accepted that it is unquestioned, and indeed, to question it is to do something akin to "running down the country." And you know what Merle said about that: "If you're running down the country hoss you're walkin' on the fightin' side of me."
Trayvon's murder should be, for white America, a moment of consciousness-raising, a moment when the blindness is peeled away and a reality obvious to people of color becomes obvious to those of us who started out in the lap of privilege and never realized there was a lap there at all. Because no one should actually want to keep these blinders on, now should they? No one should want to actually encourage this sort of racism. Surely not. Surely neither major American political party would stoop to utilize the endless generational cultural racism that goes along with white privilege and slowly rots the country from within. Surely all of us would want to see Mr. Zimmerman for what he is--a sick fantasist with a dangerous weapon who needs to be at the minimum charged for murdering a kid in more or less cold blood. At the very bare minimum, surely we'd all agree that Mr. Zimmerman deserves to be tried for this act--with a serious prosecutor and a serious jury of his peers--peers meaning pretty much a cross section of all Americans.
Surely. Where's Mr. Romney on this?
Update. It's so much worse. A quick perusal of the discussion via my DSL internets tubes connection this Sunday morning reveals that a number of Republicans are now arguing that Treyvon's photo was "lightened," thus making him less scarey-looking than he "really" was. I'm not kidding. Really, I'm not kidding. And on the teevee, one famous and ostensibly liberal commentator (the guy who opened Al Capone's vault on live teevee) has cautioned parents about letting their kids wear hoodies, because that was probably the decisive factor in Treyvon's murder.
Here's the thing that really worries me. The Republican Party must be what it has become because it reflects a huge number of American voters' views. Granted, the GOP has also spent thirty years and zillions of dollars "educating" those voters into a deeper and deeper commitment to those views. But still. There's a sense in which democracy is what it is. There are still a few glimpses of light here and there--that's about it. A sitting Republican congressman from New York--guy named Hanna--actually suggested that women had better start supporting the folks that support women's rights. Said that in a speech this past week.