Friday, March 03, 2006

"Just Act Like Nothing Happened..."

"...and maybe no one will notice." Several times throughout my life I've both received and given this advice. And probably, in either instance, because it actually holds a measure of truth. I once witnessed a shoplifter in a high-end store just up and walk out the exit as if all was well with the world; all the while, his arms full of unpaid merchandise raised overhead to avoid setting off the security screens at the doors. Apparently, no one noticed but me. At least no one reacted but me. In response, the clerk told me "security in the mall will probably get him". Somehow, I'm not sure that actually happened. I could see him leave the mall and enter the parking field unhindered so I suspect the clerk's assurance was more like wishful thinking. Or maybe, and more likely, it was just standard rhetoric to discourage copy cats. Besides, to try to stop him would probably be more costly than to let him go. Between the expected lawsuit and high risk of injury at the end of a weapon, no one person could carry enough stuff to make it worth getting it back. Or so it seemed. Sometimes it appears to me it happens just like this in our daily lives. For example, this clip from a news story about the new Nebraska law that just might kick start the juggernaut of overturning of Roe v. Wade:

“The U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision established a woman's right to abortion".

As I read the line, it was just slipping past my focus as just another line in a news story. Yet something about it snagged my attention and drew me back for a second look. This time I read the line more slowly, more carefully to try to discover what it was about it that would not let it go. Slowly, it struck me that the sentence clearly stated that it wasn’t a law written by legislators, representing the will of the American People, that allowed for the destruction of millions of beating human hearts; it was simply a Supreme Court decision to do so.

In real, everyday terms, just a minivan load of guys who decided that somehow, what wasn’t written in so many words giving the “right” to kill millions upon millions of Americans was, in their wisdom which surpasses all others', present in spirit. At least to them, this was the intention of the Founding Fathers who somehow managed to keep secret all these long years, this colossal, momentous and hitherto, unthinkable idea: to allow for the mass murder of millions of inconvenient Americans in the name of privacy and freedom, however invented by the courts since it doesn't appear in the wording of the Constitution in any way. Such a small number of people felt empowered to call “right” that which previously seemed unconscionable. At least it used to be viewed for what it was: the ending of a human life.

Of course, we can look at all the ways that Privacy and Freedom are readily thrown to the side in the name of the law. Just about any action that’s committed daily, yet called a crime, is done so in private and with a sense of freedom on the part of the perpetrator. Yet that individual's declaration of freedom and privacy falls on deaf ears when he is taken into custody by the police. Unless of course the crime he committed paid more taxes than it likely would cost the taxpayer in the end, not unlike an unborn child to an unwed mother or a commercial developer of other people's homesteads. But that’s really another discussion.

This leads me to question what else we might see as "right", previously having been unthinkable. Of course, in good conscience, one would have to scrutinize this point. After being aware how evil grows by increment; the Nazi party for example, came to power and bit by bit, that which had previously been unthinkable was more than thinkable, it was reality. In wisdom, one probably should question radical shifts in the mainstream. The terror of the Third Reich happened with gradual public acceptance. Not because the mass murder of millions was such a natural and obvious thing to do, but because the authority that declared it as “right” went unquestioned, having convincingly argued justification for its own evil ways. Perhaps when so many can make so much money from an idea, its rightness will have to take second place to its profitability. Are there any not-for-profit abortion mills? ...simply because it's such a right thing to do?

However, if we allow profitability to shut the mouth of justice, then we begin to accept that which was ordinarily unthinkable. Eminent domain seizures of private property for commercial gain of private citizens seems unthinkable until you do it a few times.

I wonder, if it could have been arranged to end all the lives of all the unborn all on the same day, if many of us could view it with such complacent acceptance. The thought of stopping over 40 million human hearts on the same day in one great and massive, limb-tearing slaughter would probably make all those people who gathered to hold “hands across America” put their hands to their mouths in sheer horror. "Que sera, sera" can't apply simply because the translation is contradictory to the facts. "What will be, will be" doesn't explain "What once might have been can now no longer be."

In the words of the philosopher, Voltaire, "Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit atrocities." Just as absurd as it seems to accept the forfeit of your home to someone who is willing to pay more tax on it; just as absurd as it seems for a man to marry another man or a woman to marry another woman; just as absurd as it seems to have a handful of fallible humans decide that it’s okay, in the absence of any supportive law, to kill the innocent who cannot defend themselves so likewise, it is patently absurd for the American people to accept the madness and evil that passes for jurisprudence. Neither “juris” nor “prudence” preside in the decisions of the Supreme Court on these matters.

Nevertheless, maybe, if we all "just act like nothing happened…”

[And even though the esteemed Academy thinks Brokeback Mountain is so great that it's worthy of an Oscar, it's barely in the theaters and already, it's no longer even in the top ten. Just act like nothing happened...'cause nobody's looking anyhow!]

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