Justice Served

You’re driving along the highway enjoying the beautiful, sunny afternoon and peaceful scenery. You glance at the speedometer and notice that you’re traveling ten-miles-an-hour faster than the posted speed. You ease off the accelerator a bit so your car is going 60 instead of 70. You engage the cruise control so you don’t go too fast again.

The moment you click the cruise control, a state patrol car approaches from the oncoming direction and zips past. During the next several minutes you keep checking your rearview mirror because you’re worried that you were caught speeding by radar and that the cop will turn around to apprehend you.

Nothing happens. There are no flashing blue lights. Either you weren’t noticed or the cop didn’t want to bother pulling you over for a ten-mph violation. You take a deep breath of relief. Yet, you don’t feel entirely good. Deep inside, your conscience says you didn’t do something right. You got away with a traffic crime. You’re glad you didn’t get caught, but there’s still that niggling feeling you did something that isn’t morally right.

If the tables were turned and you noticed a fellow driver had been speeding and the patrol didn’t chase and issue a traffic ticket, you might be angry about justice not being served. After all, you’re a law-abiding citizen who wants just punishment for wrongdoers. You utter, “Where’s a cop when you need one?”

It’s interesting that we aren’t usually willing to take full accountability for our actions. Even when we “dodge the bullet” we feel the jolt of adrenaline and enjoy the thrill of getting away with doing something bad. Moments like these are when we’re unwilling to assume accountability for our mistakes, we’re being dishonest with ourselves and others.

The thrill of the moment blinds us to an important opportunity to use the mistake as a lesson. The lesson isn’t to make sure we don’t get caught. The lesson is the broader one of accountability and taking responsibility for all of our actions and owning them. Doing so, means we really and truly are warriors for justice.

Speeding down the road and not getting caught might be a close, thrilling brush with the law, however, it should be a wake-up call to pay closer attention to the business of driving. Once we honestly acknowledge we that screwed up, we are free to correct our actions and empower ourselves to make better, more mindful decisions about safety. After all, that’s the right thing to do.

As we go about our day to day lives we notice unfair speech and behavior by pundits, politicians, and even clergy. We rightfully wish that appropriate justice be served to make those people pay for the wrongs and injustices they do to the public. Oftentimes, it seems like they just get a slap on the wrist and special kid-glove treatment. The public seeks justice but is thwarted by a lenient judge and jury. The public feels burned and resentful.

The law, the truth, and fairness represented by justice is important to maintaining civilization. People just doing stuff willy-nilly and inventing their own rules is a recipe for chaos and anarchy. Life would be a nightmare. The interesting thing is, there would still be an informal type of justice, frontier justice. The majority of people desire the truth, fairness, and being called to account for one’s actions. Whether formally legislated or not, people don’t like unethical behavior. When someone behaves badly, we want justice to be served.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”–Haile Selassie

Looking at the bigger picture, we know we are living in an age of corruption and gross dishonesty. We hear about high crimes and misdemeanors being committed by the highest officials in the land. We cringe when reading about corporate heads and religious leaders doing unethical and illegal acts or “looking the other way” when unlawful actions are done by others. When the leaders do wrong, the people who look up to them feel that they can also do wrong. A nation begins the descent down the slippery slope of corruption, lawlessness, and unfairness.

From time to time we are called upon to do the right thing and to make ethical choices. It’s wise to be aware of the impact our decisions have on our personal and overall public well-being. It is the drive to think and behave ethically that enables us to live a good life and to enjoy a clear conscience.

By honestly standing by our choices, individually and as a nation, we stand in integrity and strength. By standing by our decisions and accepting the consequences of our actions, we become more fair and understanding. We become more in alignment with the highest good of all people as a whole.

At a deeper level, the desire for justice is all about the search for truth. We discover that justice isn’t always about black and white. There are ambiguous parts of life that require us to challenge our old beliefs. The deeper honesty helps us to explore the wide spectrum of life. Being more honest about liberty and fairness for all helps us more fully understand our desire for justice for all.

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Robert Kennedy. “The glory of justice and the majesty of law are created not just by the Constitution–nor by the courts–nor by the officers of the law –nor by the lawyers–but by the men and women who constitute our society–who are the protectors of the law as they themselves protected by the law.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Controversy, projects, religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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