Sometimes we just need a father figure in the White House. Fathers inject calm into troubled family disagreements and demonstrate that they can rise above it and be impartial. Fathers comfort us rather than stirring up our anger.

President Barack Obama had advantages that made him unusually suited to be our nation's father figure after the sad and tragic death of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen who was shot dead on Feb. 26. The president could have told us that we must have–and will have–justice for Trayvon.  He could have pointed out that we are a nation of laws and that, because we are such a nation, justice will be done. Instead we got this:  

President Obama himself, who had been silent about the slaughter [of black youths who appear to have been shot by African American shooters] in his adopted hometown, weighed in on the Martin case and, unfortunately, highlighted the racial undertones — lamenting that the murdered Martin looked just the way his own boy might, had he a son. The latter statement was true but also, of course, true of some of those murdered in Chicago. And given that the black minority currently commits violent crimes against the white majority more frequently than do the nation’s 70 percent whites against its 12 percent blacks, the president’s evocation of race in the Martin case seemed inappropriate to many.

That is from a piece by Victor Davis Hanson on how the president has engaged in demagoguery on the Trayvon Martin shooting. The president, who in this sad story was offered a chance to lead the nation, personalized and further racialized the case. He said that, if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon, making this story somehow all about President Obama. But should we care about somebody because they do or don't look like us?

In a piece headlined “My Son Doesn’t Look Anything Like Trayvon,” blogger Pat Archbold shows why the president's response was so awful: 

But here is the thing.  I care about Trayvon.  I care about Trayvon even though he doesn’t look anything like me or my boys.  I care about justice and justice requires that I don’t assume that I know Mr. Zimmerman’s mind that night just because he doesn’t look like me.  Maybe he followed Trayvon because he was black and maybe he didn’t.  Maybe he caused the altercation that ended in tragedy and maybe he didn’t.  The Police didn’t think so. 

Maybe the Police in this case are complete incompetents, maybe they are racists, and maybe they’re not.  It is hard for me to judge.  It is hard to judge, not because I don’t have any relevant facts upon which to base a sound judgment, no.  By Mr. Obama’s logic, it is hard to judge the Police in this case because I don’t know if they look like me or my boys.

The Miami Herald has reported that young Trayvon had been suspended three times from school. This doesn’t mean that he deserved to be shot in cold blood, but it is worth exploring because Trayvon’s own behavior that night is important on deciding what is the just outcome to this tragedy. We want justice for Trayvon, but we must also want justice for George Zimmerman, the suspect. Only an impartial investigation can determine what that justice is.

It is completely unsurprising that people like the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have grabbed the spotlight in this sorry mess. But we have a president who could have injected sanity and respect for the law into this tragedy but opted for stirring up more rage.