Former top SC GOP staffer “jokes” about Trayvon Martin’s death

Former Executive Director of the South Carolina Republican party, Todd Kincannon, spent the Super Bowl publishing a series of tweets joking about Trayvon Martin’s death.

Martin, you might recall, was the black teenager killed during a scuffle with neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Florida. The case became a lightning rod after the police refused to press charges.

Kincannon bristles at the suggestion that he’s a typical Republican bigot, and suggests instead that he’s a freedom of speech patriot, educating America about the importance of speaking your mind.

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

First, a few of Kincannon’s anti-Trayvon tweets from the Super Bowl:

Former SC GOP Executive Director Todd Kincannon jokes about Trayvon Martin Former SC GOP Executive Director Todd Kincannon jokes about Trayvon Martin

Former SC GOP Executive Director Todd Kincannon jokes about Trayvon Martin

Former SC GOP Executive Director Todd Kincannon jokes about Trayvon Martin

Kincannon also throws in a homophobic joke about actor Jim Nabors’ character Gomer Pyle since Nabors announced that he recently married his longtime boyfriend of 38 years.

gomer-pyle-dick

There was a vocal response on Twitter.  Kincannon just ate it up, and kept tweeting filth:

Kincannon claims he’s using satire to offend people to teach a lesson.

And the Trayvon Martin tweets had nothing to do with race:

Kincannon thinks his racist, homophobic tweets “make people think”:

Someone’s a wee bit full of themselves:

Kincannon, above, steps into the usual confused territory that Republicans occupy in the free speech debate.  They think that free speech means they can say whatever they want and no one can respond.  If you respond – if you exercise your free speech in response to their free speech – you’re squelching their free speech.  So basically, it’s free speech for them, and not you.

Kincannnon also makes another common Republican “free speech” mistake – confusing “can” with “should”:

You are allowed.  No one is going to throw you in jail.  But how can you say you wanted to start a discussion, and then when a discussion starts, you accuse anyone who doesn’t agree with you of squelching free speech?

And this:

But it wasn’t thought provoking at all.  All Kincannon did was inflame controversy between the races, and between political parties.  He didn’t get anyone to think deep thoughts at all.  He did, however, reinforce the image of southerners – even educated ones – as racists and buffoons.  Again, how is that “good” and “thought provoking”?

And one more time, Kincannon fails to understand the difference between “you have the right to tell racist, homophobic jokes” and “we have the right to criticize you for it.” For conservatives, free speech is a one-way speech. They get to say any outrageous thing they want, and you don’t get to respond.

Where to begin?

First off, Trayvon Martin.

I had some issues with how people were reaching immediate conclusions on the Trayvon Martin case. I was concerned about some of my colleagues assuming that Zimmerman had to be guilty, had to be a racist intentionally looking for an African-American to shoot, and that Martin had to be 100% innocent, in part because Martin was a young boy leaving a 7-11, and wasn’t armed. As I noted at the time, privately to some colleagues who were using this argument, I got violently mugged by a young boy leaving a 7-11 with no gun back in 2002. He and his friend tried to strangle me to death, and did a fairly good job of it. So I took issue with some of the assumptions that some progressive were bringing to the discussion. And I was warned privately to stop weighing in, even privately with friends. It wasn’t safe, I was told, to offer any point of view that didn’t agree with the general consensus that Martin was 100% a good kid and Zimmerman 100% a racist.  That bothered me.

Now, while I took some issue with the notion that I shouldn’t even dare express any contrary views on the case (as a lawyer, that’s why I do, and excel at – nitpicking the details to hopefully bring the discussion, any discussion, to a higher level for my readers), that is a far cry from Todd Kincannon thinking that the appropriate way to express any disagreement on the Trayvon Martin case is to issue a series of racist, homophobic, and intentionally inflammatory jokes about a young boy’s death.

Kincannon is pulling a Limbaugh. And a Palin.  And a Breitbart.  He’s making statements in order for the statements to get him publicity, period. He’s not doing it to teach people a lesson, or for some greater good. He’s a shock jock who loves attention. And to the extent that he does think he’s doing some greater God’s will on the issue of free speech, then he’s a bit of an idiot.

You don’t teach people lessons, or educate them about freedom, with racist and homophobic comments sure to, and intended to, inflame your audience. How does that do anything other than inflame already-existing passions and tensions? What lesson did Kincannon teach anyone, other than that Republicans (and white people, and southerners) are still as racist and homophobic as always?

Huff Post did an interview with Kincannon, below, in which he attempts to suggest that he’s the second coming of Jonathan Swift, using satire to educate the masses.

Sorry, Charlie. All you’re doing is confirming the concerns a lot of us already had about the South and the GOP.



Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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