By TOM HONIG
Maybe it's always been this way, but the American dialogue has been now completely taken over by a sports fan mentality.
The Supreme Court decision. Are you pro-Obama or anti-Obama? That seems to dictate what you think the Supremes ought to do. The guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman? It depends how you feel about race in America. Oil prices? If you're a lefty, blame the oil companies. If you're a rightwinger, blame the EPA.
The realities of these issues are different. T'he legality of the health-care law really shouldn't hinge on whether you're pro-Obama or not. The guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman needs to be decided according to the law -- and not whether we live in a racist society. (It is possible, for example, that we live in a racist society AND that Zimmerman is not guilty of first degree murder.)
Leave it to a foreign magazine to put this shooting into context. Check out The Economist, which weighs in by saying "A shooting becomes an excuse for political point-scoring."
I spent years covering trials, and one thing you learn is that the exhaustive process of a trial is an important guarantee that justice will be served. No, it's not perfect, but the process is important in ensuring that a defendant is truly shown to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Despite hours of opinionating on television and many column-yards in the newspaper, no one -- except for maybe Zimmerman himself -- knows totally what happened. All the opinionating is mere speculation, often based on where one stands politically.
Our civil rights are way more important than reducing them to a political debate. Same goes with the Supreme Court dividing themselves up between "liberal" and "conservative" justices. We the people deserve better.