By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) One of the biggest problems with our politics today is that those in office or running for office believe they are free to disparage anyone with impunity, free from legal recourse.
And in many ways, that’s true, but 2020 Democratic presidential contenders Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg may have crossed a line in an attempt to blatantly pander to their Left-wing bases.
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George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch guy who shot and killed Trayvon Martin — which was readily politicized by the Democrat-leaning establishment media and President Obama — has filed a lawsuit against Warren and Buttigieg alleging they defamed him with comments tweeted on the anniversary of the teen’s death.
Zimmerman, acquitted of Martin’s murder in 2012, alleges in his suit that the pair engaged in defamation or â€œat a minimum a reckless disregard for the truthâ€ when they tweeted about Martinâ€™s death on the date of what would have been his 25th birthday.
“My heart goes out to [Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton] and Trayvon’s family and friends. He should still be with us today,” WarrenÂ pandered in a tweet on Feb. 5. “We need to end gun violence and racism. And we need to build a world where all of our children, especially young Black boys-can grow up safe and free.”
Not to be outdone, ButtigiegÂ included a Black Live Matter hashtag andÂ wrote: “Trayvon Martin would have been 25 today. How many 25th birthdays have been stolen from us by white supremacy, gun violence, prejudice, and fear?”
The lawsuit objects to the use of the phrase â€œgun violence,â€ since Zimmerman says that he shot Martin in self-defense — and a jury agreed. And by the way, Zimmerman is Hispanic, not white.
Also, the suit claims that the candidatesâ€™ messages are furthering their “political agenda to garner votes in the black community.”
“It is high time that the cheap and harmful use of the race card by politicians of all stripes be made to cease and desist,” said Larry Klayman, who is representing Zimmerman.
“Their despicable ‘race tactics’ are not only causing great harm to persons such as my client George Zimmerman, but also are damaging relations between black and white Americans who are all brothers.â€
It’s not clear what chance of success the suits have, but what is clear is that the remarks made by both candidates are not simply factually incorrect but obviously designed to inflame emotions in an already highly charged campaign cycle.
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If the suits are successful, let them serve as a warning to future pandering Democrats: We have free speech, of course, but like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, even the First Amendment has its limits.
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