The Obama Watch

Channeling King Henry II

Did Barack Obama just green light the execution of George Zimmerman?

By 7.22.13

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Thomas Becket was a man of great intellect, skill, and influence. In 1154, England’s King Henry II named him as his Chancellor, a post that was second in power only to that of the king. Becket became a close friend and confidante of the king. In 1162, Henry named Becket to the post of Archbishop of Canterbury after the death of the incumbent. For the king, the Archbishop of Canterbury was merely the senior member of the episcopate in England. The Pope did not see it this way. More importantly, neither did Becket.

The 1160s was a period in which Henry was attempting to consolidate his power and influence over the English Church. Henry anticipated his loyal friend Becket would easily submit to his demands. Among the most important to Henry was jurisdiction in crimes involving church clergy. For years, accused church officials would be tried in church courts. Henry thought the church courts were too lenient and he believed this contributed to lawlessness in England. Henry wanted church officials tried in secular courts. He demanded the jurisdictional lines be changed.

While other members of the clergy quickly fell into line, it was the Archbishop of Canterbury who demonstrated loyalty to the Church rather than fealty to King Henry. The relationship between Henry and Becket soured to the point that the Archbishop feared for his safety and fled to France in 1164. Making matters worse was that French King Louis VII was the sworn enemy of King Henry II.

In 1170, Henry convinced Becket they could peacefully resolve their differences and he invited the Archbishop to return to England. Soon after his return, the Archbishop of Canterbury attempted to excommunicate other clergy who had sided with the king over the Church. King Henry II became enraged and famously uttered the phrase, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” It was widely viewed not as a question but as an order.

Shortly thereafter, four knights intensely loyal to the king stormed Canterbury Cathedral in search of the Archbishop. They disrupted a mass that was in service and chased the Archbishop to the altar where they sliced open his skull in full view of parishioners.

King Henry II expressed what many viewed as faux horror at this turn of events.

This bit of history brings us to the fall-out after the George Zimmerman trial. The case should not have been a national news story. In retrospect, it should never have gone to trial. The overwhelming evidence presented at the trial showed Trayvon Martin to have been the aggressor. A properly instructed jury found Zimmerman not guilty of the charges he faced. National headlines should have ended at this point.

Sadly, race hustlers led by MSNBC personality Al Sharpton have stoked the flames of racial tension since the verdict. Twitter is full of thousands of tweets demanding the death of George Zimmerman and his family.

Cable news channels continue to play and replay events from the trial. Some have gone to great lengths to portray the 17-year old Martin as angelic and above reproach. While his death is indeed sad and tragic news outlets have falsely portrayed the young adult as a completely innocent child while painting Zimmerman as a “wannabe cop” and “vigilante.” One only has to review Martin’s own photos, text messages, and troubled past (to include serial fighting, handling a firearm, pot use, and suspicions he may have been involved in a home burglary) to realize he was not the altar boy most news organizations have attempted to portray.

On July 19, President Barack Obama delivered remarks that could very well inflame racial tensions. He could have — and should have — made a statement about the judicial process, noting the jury ruled after the prosecution put forward its best case. Obama then could have ended his comments by appealing for calm and asking the nation to keep George Zimmerman and his family in their “thoughts and prayers” and addressing “the incredible grace and dignity with which they've dealt with the entire situation” (just as he did with the Martin family), knowing full well the very-real death threats faced by the Zimmerman family.

Instead, Obama studiously ignored any mention of the Zimmerman family aside from a not-so-oblique reference to “racial profiling” — an allegation against George Zimmerman leveled by but clearly not proven by the prosecution. He then made matters worse by saying “outcome and the aftermath might have been different” if Martin were a “white male teen.” Then Obama implied the Sanford Police Department was guilty of “racial bias” and did not perform its job in a “fair, straightforward way.”

Obama’s demand “we convene a conversation on race” furthers the notion that our country is full of bigots and racists. This comes from the black man who was twice elected president by a nation that is 72% white. The days of Bull Connor are long since gone.

Now back to the King Henry II reference. It is not lost on anyone that Obama has the cultish following of a president never before seen in U.S. history. Schoolteachers have led young children in the Obama song; people have fanatically praised free Obama phones; and exclaimed not having to worry about paying for gas or mortgage. Entertainers have delusional god-like views of Obama calling him “our lord and savior.” Even national news figures view Obama as some kind of messianic figure with one wondering if “even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity" while circling above Obama’s 2009 inauguration and another claiming “this thrill running up my leg” whenever Obama would speak.

In his July 19th remarks, Obama likened the Trayvon Martin death to a personal attack on himself (“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago”). Could anything possibly more enrage the Obama cultists than the president personalizing the event in this manner?

Thousands of tweets have been sent exhorting Zimmerman be killed. Some have included Zimmerman’s home address and at least one tweet included a photo (since deleted from Twitter) of someone posing with a semi-automatic rifle and the caption “Zimmerman we comin for yo life bitch.” Amazingly, the stridently anti-gun Justice Department has not announced any investigations into these comments, the legality of the gun, or the seriousness of the death threats.

There are countless things Obama could have said that would have quelled racial unrest. But he didn’t. And for good reason. Obama has profited politically from racial discord. In spite of attending the exclusive Punahou School in Hawaii and having four Ivy League degrees between himself and his wife, Obama continues to play the role of impoverished black man.

Moreover, preoccupation with the George Zimmerman trial aftermath by the national news networks, cable channels, and newspapers has distracted attention from the national debate on more pressing matters including the Benghazi attack, NSA domestic spying, IRS abuses, and the collapse of U.S. Middle East policy.

One has to wonder how Obama would respond if one of his cultish followers took it upon himself to carry out a vigilante execution of George Zimmerman.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

This article has been edited to remove misleading references to the "Church of England," which did not exist in the twelfth century.

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About the Author
Mark Hyman hosts "Behind the Headlines," a commentary program for Sinclair Broadcast Group. You can follow him on Twitter at @markhyman.