An Homage to
Fear; Intimidation & Violence
Understanding & Compassion
Our justice system is based on a false belief that that the past has been fair and equitable; a boldfaced lie. It relies on the Constitution as its highest example to guide us into a future that hangs onto the past tenaciously unless we navigate an antiquated quasi-democratic system that was of the wealthy male minority, by the wealthy male minority, and for the wealthy male minority, to paraphrase “Honest Abe” but infuse a bit of reality into our cherished national mythology.
The Electoral College is admittedly antiquated but deucedly difficult to replace. The Criminal Justice system is overseen by the Senate and the President (elected by the electoral college), both representing landed, agricultural interests over populated, industrialized states. Fair elections were never even a glimmer of a possibility until the modifications of the 1960s, only four decades after we (finally) allowed women unrestricted voting rights after Montana, Wyoming, New Zealand, and several other parts of the world fixed this mistake.
And legal proceedings aren’t a search for (or a presentation of) the truth, though they claim to be. Where this really bites is in cases of sexual assault where the victim and the perpetrator are both maligned as much as possible and a jury votes which one-sided exaggeration was convincing. And we believe with all our hearts and minds that punishment and threats of punishment are the best answer to our overflowing and ineffective prison system while more enlightened places like Germany have advanced to rehabilitation for BOTH victims and perpetrators and have the results to prove beyond a doubt that it’s effective AND cheaper in the long run.
And we’re seeing the Black Lives Matter movement — which was going on (by a different name) in the 1968 Olympics of Mexico City but was brutally punished and largely ignored — but still don’t connect it to the underlying injustices that make a mockery of our July 4 celebrations of “freedom and justice” … and opportunity … for all. The legal system upholds ownership rights with far more vigor and effectiveness than human rights and has all along. For 87 years, it upheld each and every law to enforce the right to own other people. After that, it took a century more for their descendants to start to gain the right to vote or be treated equitably…all the while being overseen by the Supreme Court and a biased system appointing new justices at all levels of government and adjudicating the biased law itself.
So our courts are systematically biased; half our congress is systematically biased; and we are told that the products of their deliberations are fair and equitable??
“Americans” (as we egotistically call ourselves, knowing full well that we’re not talking about the Americans in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean nations, Central America or South America) believe that guns and punishment deter violence despite a massive amount of study and experience that show decisively that this isn’t true and probably never was true.
What we do know decisively is that when we punished the Germans after World War I, they came back stronger and more ruthless, but when we befriended them after World War II, both sides blossomed!! Doesn’t this tell us something significant?
When we fought the Chinese and treated them badly, they treated us badly. But, when we greeted them as a “Preferred Trading Partner” back when we were led by Tricky Dicky, they stopped being a menace almost immediately and we welcomed their products into our homes and retail shops as they welcomed ours into theirs.
So why do we have so many “enemies” today and so few “friends”? Could it be our attitudes toward them?
What do you imagine might happen if we stopped the blockade of North Korea and welcomed the people of North Korea as friends and trading partners, ignoring, for the moment, their form of government or their leadership? If we stopped threatening them, might they find it harder to look at us as the “bad guys” as well?
What do you imagine might happen if we stopped criminalizing addictive and psychotic behavior and treated the underlying problems and symptoms? What if an addict could turn himself or herself in and get fair and compassionate treatment? Might they then be more willing to name their pusher and his boss? What if we befriended even the source countries which we fund with our drug money and black market goods? What if we addressed the problems rather than the symptoms and the victims?
Jesus (please don’t add “Christ”) said “love one another.” He thought it was a good thing to forgive. He told us to have compassion for each other … even “enemies” (the Parable of the Good Samaritan) and the poor. So I submit to you … are we a nation Jesus would be proud of? Or are we a nation that Jesus might find far too wealthy, far too proud, and far too oppressive?
Might He ponder why we sometimes call ourselves a Christian nation and wonder why call ourselves “under God” but spread fear, conflict and warfare all across this fragile ecosphere?