I watched the President’s Address to Congress this evening, against my better judgment. I say that because he’s not interested in speaking to me. Never has been, and never will be.
As he spoke about the virtues of building a wall on the Southern border, he introduced some of the family of a couple who was recently murdered by an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador. The couple has children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren who are grieving their loss. But he made no mention of a family who wasn’t nearly as fortunate.
Remember the Abbas family? Because I sure do.
The Abbas family was driving north to their home in Michigan almost a month ago. There was a father, a mother, and three children, some of whom were probably asleep as the car sped northward from a Florida vacation.
I’ve made that drive before, whether on Interstate 75 where the Abbas family was, or on many other highways across this country. They slept while I drove, and eventually we ended up back at home, to carry on with the normal routines of our lives in Chicago.
But the Abbas family never made it back home to Michigan that night. A man named Joey Lee Bailey was drunk behind the wheel of his pickup truck, speeding down the wrong lane of traffic on Interstate 75. I wonder if the Abbas family even saw him coming toward them.
The vehicle carrying the Abbas family burst into flames upon impact, and all five family members perished, along with the drunk driver who stole their entire future. There won’t be any children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren to be introduced by a president looking to score some political points from their heartbreaking loss.
Should it matter that the victims introduced by the president were white, while the Abbas family was Islamic? Or should it matter that the evil deed of a Salvadoran killer was acknowledged, while those of a white killer—who wiped out not just a married couple but their entire future as well—was completely ignored? I have a feeling that was entirely the point of what the president was doing tonight.
Of course, there’s no way that every tragedy can be avoided. Bad things have always happened to people, and they always will. But to selectively highlight one tragedy—whose victims and perpetrator fit a preferred racial profile—while ignoring another—whose victims and perpetrator do not—is simply wrong. But what else can we expect from him at this point?