4.12.2007

One Good Thing/Another Thing

One Good Thing

Well, the Duke boys were falsely accused, it appears. The justice system has pronounced that to be the case. It must be true.

One good thing has come of it, however, and that was a lesson learned by one of the players. He says in the paper today "This entire experience has opened my eyes up to a tragic world of injustice."

Wow. I just can't help but think about how amazing a place the world would be if only everyone could have that happen to them too.


Another Thing

Too often these days i see the public--lefties and righties both--hanging their hats on the landmark law case. All hopes, all theory, all levels of understanding bow to the big legislation. In short (and hyperbolically), i see a kind of mentality that makes pronouncements like "Well, the state has decided that "marriage" is between one man and one woman. Thank God the Lord has prevailed forever." Or conversely, "Well, the state has decided that "marriage" is between one man and one woman. I guess that means everyone is a cave-dwelling homophobic fart-knocker." We allow these cases, these decisions, to become huge...well, we allow them to become big ole effigies. We set up these giant, soft-sculpture compasses and then, whichever way they point while they burn there in the public square, is the way we let them point forever...or at least for a really long time.

Although, as individuals in the crowd, i'm sure we all see some of the subtleties at work in the big effigies of "Gay Marriage!" and "The Duke Lacrosse Case!" and "The Ultrasound Bill!," the "crowd" itself doesn't. I mean, that's just not how mobs work. Immediately we all want to divide up and start throwing stones at each other. Meanwhile, the mainstream media, with its dependence on big profit, does nothing but relish in this polarization. Informed discussion is a rarity. Case in point: My first reaction to reading the news this morning was to reach for this blog and throw out a big, old f**k you-rock at the folks on the other side of the square.

But I don't want to do that.

What i do want to do is this: I wanna ask, do you really think that Duke kid learned that?

Here. Instead of taking his inventory, allow me to talk about me for a second: I, like him, grew up a privileged white boy. I got to go to private school, too. I was raised to be a caring, conservative Christian, and between the ages of 13 and 21, i was what most folks might call "all boy," i.e. I raped and pillaged my way through as much of life as i possibly could. I threw beer bottles at road signs, hollered whoohoo! from open t-tops as i passed funerals, and stuck both hands down as many girl's pants as would let me without belting me across the face. If all had gone well (and i hadn't become a raging drug-addict), i would have married some sweet Christian girl, had a couple of sweet, white children and sent a small portion of the money i earned from my career as an attorney for mission work in Haiti.

In short, if i had continued on that path, i wouldn't have a clue. I would have thought I had gotten where i was because we live in a meritocracy. I know better than that now. Do you think that's what the Duke boy means? That for the first time in his life he's gotten to see that the world can be unfair to lots of folks?

Whatever the lesson that young man walked away with, i know that most of the rest of us are just gonna scurry to opposite corners of the public square and come out swinging. "The left's premature rush to condemnation has destroyed three innocent young men's lives!" says one side while the other side yells...well, exactly what i'm yelling here, i guess.

Listen, i hope that what happens (although i know it won't) is that folks come together and discuss the real issue here. This Duke case resonated with our entire nation. It was a 24 hour-a-day media sensation. There is a reason for that and it isn't just because a black woman might have been raped by some white men, or that white men might have been falsely accused of committing a heinous crime. It isn't even that "our country's 'liberal media' was too quick to judgement." No., the reason this event resonates, and the place to start the real conversation is found in that guy's observation:

We live in a world of tragic injustice.

How do we plan to fix this?

4 comments:

claire said...

Yes. And yet, as you note (so, yes again) we have no consensus on what the tragic world of injustice is that we are supposed to fix. Ugliness abounds, but some of what I see as ugly others just call the way it is. And what I can't figure out is how they get to call ugly what I think is doing something about this tragic world of injustice.

Bookninja said...

Raging drug addict?

Biffle said...

yes. raging drug addict. well, recovering, raging drug addict. it's old news. if i look and find a blog post that covers it, i'll send you a link.

Deborah Siegel said...

just wanted to send congrats (GO ALISON!) on another good thing: the dropping of the sc abortion ultrasound rule:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18076915/

sending shouts of joy and kudos from up here in nyc!