Opinion Brief

The Trayvon Martin uproar: Should a congressman be silenced for wearing a hoodie?

Democrat Bobby Rush tries to make a point by donning a sweatshirt like the one the slain Florida teen was wearing, and gets booted off the House floor

The video: Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) was kicked off the House floor on Wednesday after he addressed his congressional colleagues in a hooded sweatshirt like the one Florida teen Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer last month. Rush's point: That the 17-year-old was singled out because of his clothing. "Just because someone wears a hoodie, [it] does not make them a hoodlum," Rush told his peers, before flipping up the hood of his sweatshirt, donning sunglasses, and reciting Bible verses. (Watch the video below.) House rules prohibit the wearing of hats on the floor, however, and Rush was silenced. The sergeant-at-arms escorted Rush out of the chamber, as the congressman shouted, "God bless Trayvon Martin."

The reaction: Shame on Rush, says David Weigel at Slate. All he did was "trivialize" a tragedy, and spur everyone to start talking about his "stunt instead of the facts of the Martin case." The trouble is, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway, the hoodie nonsense "has nothing to do with what actually might have happened" between Martin and George Zimmerman, who says he shot Martin in self-defense. Rush was making a statement about "one stupid comment made by an idiot named Geraldo Rivera," who said Martin's hoodie made him look like a criminal. Rush's grandstanding was "dumb," and "he kind of deserves what he got." Judge for yourself:

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