Saturday, March 24, 2012

Elizabeth Smart and Trayvon Martin are 21st Century America's Children

America has a new national child: Trayvon Martin.

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In 2002, sentiment over the Elizabeth Smart case reached a fever pitch during her abduction, which led to national representatives and countrymen alike viewing her not just one family's daughter, but America's daughter. The beautifully angelic Elizabeth stood as a symbol for all we needed to protect, and as an academic who's written about her case, I'm delighted about her upcoming wedding.

Trayvon's unnecessary death by homicide is the first national event surrounding the victimization of a child to gain so much media attention since Elizabeth's. Present Barack Obama has linked Trayvon to America in much the same way Elizabeth was when he says, "If I had a son he would look like Trayvon."

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 While both Elizabeth and Trayvon's experiences were tragic, I find comfort in knowing that Trayvon is receiving as much media attention as Elizabeth did. As a biracial American, Elizabeth resembles my own blonde sister and Trayvon looks just like a cousin I played with when I was young.

Almost exactly ten years after Elizabeth's abduction, we have a black president stating that his son would look like Trayvon, in much the same way former president Bush's daughter would look like Elizabeth.

While I can't speak for Elizabeth Smart, I'm sure she feels for Trayvon and, like much of the rest of America, wishes his unfortunate death can somehow change the national perception of what it means to be an American and the protection of life and liberty that each American deserves.

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