Sunday, June 7, 2009

The great injustice.

A great injustice has been started in our nation, perhaps one of the worst it has seen. In these times of economic uncertainty and fear, injustice has fertile ground in which to grow, and has been lovingly germinated by falsehood, fear, and political acumen that has less to do with truth than with the accumulation of power.

We've had our injustices in the past, but never have we walked into them so willingly with eyes open, and with hands outstretched to mete out our hatred. Abraham Lincoln spoke glowingly of the necessity that all men be treated equally under the law, and we fought a war to see to it that it be so. We desegregated the schools, and stood out against injustices in the past, from the internment camps for the Japanese Americans, to the lynchings and cross burnings of the KKK.

But we fear to speak against this injustice. We complain when the rule of law in other countries denies people their rights, their liberties, and grinds them into the dust under the uncaring heel of a law... but in this state of powerlessness over the economy, over our own lives, we fail to recognize what we, ourselves are doing, and doing not to other nations, but to ourselves.

We, as a nation, are a whole, and any injury to the parts injures the whole. It matters not if it is a toe that is gangrenous, or a sucking wound of the lung, both can be fatal if untreated. Just so, the festering wounds of injustice are left untreated in this country.

Our country was founded on the simple, and infinitely brilliant thought that all humans must be equal under the law, that the rule of law must levy no heavier upon one person than another, nor could the rule of law single out any person for additional punishment, nor could that rule of law by writ seize any property, from real property such as land, to intangible property such as rights.

We fought a war for this, losing tens of thousands upon our own bloodied fields, and many brothers fought against brother for the cause, so no men would remain slaves, and so the union could remain strong and true in the face of adversity.

It was considered the strongest measure of a republic that the law must apply equally to all, and that even the people had not the right, nor the power to levy the law against any group without equally having it affect themselves, and that even so, they had not the power to become a slave.

But we do have a class of persons whom have no rights, and not just one class. We have a class of persons pushed to the margins of our nation, by deceit, by misleading information, and outright fraud. We talk of liberty, and how it must be for all men, but nobody will speak for those whom they suspect might be guilty of a sex crime.

We refuse to face that we have colonies of persons forced to live under bridges in hurricane zones, where malaria stands as only one of the dangers possible, by the rule of law forced into homelessness and danger. They are held up in the false light of the registry, placed under the microscope, denied work, housing, and opportunity, not entirely for things they have done, but also for things they fear that these persons might do.

We must ask ourselves as a nation, if we can punish, if we can incarcerate, not for crimes, but for the possibility of crimes, if we can make people weak and destroy them not for what they commit, but what they may commit, and arbitrarily change the punishments for things done in the past... what can be done to us today? If we control the lives of others, their protection, their property, are we not their owners? If we indulge in the bitter cup of slavery, are we not turning our back on all that this country stands for? Are we not reverting to barbarism and the rule of the mob enforced by the rule of law?

If we do not come out against this fiercely, and with forthrightness, and bring the light of truth back into the law, we bind ourselves and our children into the same unhappy slavery, where any politician when needing political boosts may change any law, any past offense in a 'regulatory' measure, that of course they snicker behind their hands claiming it is not punitive, even as it limits the activities of everyday life, their avocations and callings, their ability to speak and learn and live.

Should we not hold our nation to a higher standard? Should we not ensure that our politicians are telling us the truth, reading their bills and understanding them, and holding their own group to the truth? Perhaps that is a goal for another, forgotten age... but if it were so, then I pray that this nation awakes from the darkness it has bound itself in, before the shackles are bound more fully onto the people the government itself is supposed to serve.

What can be done to any, can be done to all, and injustice and tyranny anywhere, is a threat to justice and liberty everywhere.

…Bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me, whether you can hereafter love, honor, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your land? If you cannot do all these, then are you only deceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing ruin upon posterity. Your future connection with Britain, whom you can neither love nor honor, will be forced

and unnatural, and being formed only on the plan of present convenience, will in a little time fall into a relapse more wretched than the first. But if you say, you can still pass the violations over, then I ask, Hath your house been burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife

and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands, and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor? If you have not, then are you not a judge of those who have. But if you have, and can still shake hands with the murderers, then are you unworthy the name of husband, father, friend, or lover, and whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward, and the spirit of a sycophant.

-- Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

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