Barack Obama, LeBron James, and Trayvon Martin Gave Us Two Wins and a Travesty

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke looks back on the year the Apocalypse didn't happen.

The world won't end in 2012. Why? Because LeBron James still has more NBA championships to win, Barack Obama has another four years to cement his place in history, and Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, has yet to face justice.

Over the past 12 months, the events surrounding these three African-Americans have shown that the racial divide in the United States remains as wide as the Grand Canyon despite some signs of progress.

It was certainly great to see Hispanics, blacks, gays, and progressive-minded Anglos propel Obama back into the White House, but the presidential race should have been no contest against Mitt Romney.

Obama restored our reputation around the world and killed Osama bin Laden, the world's number one terrorist. During his first four years, the president saved the auto industry, reformed Wall Street, regulated the credit card industry, put a Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court, ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and passed public health care.

But when Republican strategist Karl Rove can raise $300 million from billionaires such as Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers to attack the nation's first African-American president, something is very wrong.

Just as important as Obama's victory was James's return to glory one year after he was unfairly cast as the NBA's biggest villain because he left the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat. The predominantly white national sports media vilified James because he refused to stay on the plantation. Because of James, players no longer have to remain loyal to the hometown team that drafted them. After losing the 2011 NBA Finals, he came back stronger than ever.

James ended the year by being named league and NBA Finals MVP, winning his first NBA championship, and garnering a gold medal at the London Olympics. He is only the third player, joining Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, to claim a title and a gold medal the same year. Sports Illustrated had no choice but to award him Sportsman of the Year.

But Trayvon Martin's brutal slaying proves African-Americans are still treated like second-class citizens. Initially believing Zimmerman's claim that he fatally shot Martin in self-defense, the Sanford Police Department did not want to criminally charge him. It took weeks of national pressure to force Gov. Rick Scott to appoint a special prosecutor, who ultimately charged the former neighborhood watchman with second-degree murder.

Still, Zimmerman has become a cult hero among gun nuts and black haters. The 28-year-old killer has raised $140,000 for his defense and is now offering people his autograph to collect more cash. It's unbelievable.

I hope Zimmerman will be found guilty in 2013. That would be progress.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Listen to Luke's podcast, The Luke Show.