humility

Call it question day… a few thought-filled, brief ones…

If the Supreme Court rules that the healthcare law — and specifically, the individual mandate — is constitutional, will all those who have declared otherwise acknowledge that they were wrong?

If the Supreme Court rules that the healthcare law — and specifically, the individual mandate — is unconstitutional, will the President and all those who have declared otherwise acknowledge they were wrong?

If concrete evidence is found that George Zimmerman was unprovoked in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, will his vocal supporters acknowledge they were wrong?

If concrete evidence is found that Trayvon Martin did indeed physically attack George Zimmerman, will Martin’s supporters acknowledge they were wrong?

Oh, how the arrogant grieve me.  They pour out words, full of boasting, crushing those with whom they disagree.  When will they become wise?  We aren’t good at admitting our wrongs.

Chances are likely that in most (if not all) of the above, instead of humbling oneself and acknowledging potential mistakes, those on the opposing side of the proclaimed truth will do one or both of the following:

  1. Attack the judge.
  2. Politicize the judgment.

Dare we ask:  why?  Why is responding wisely so hard?

In Sunday’s blog identifying the prevalent motives for all those interested or involved in the Trayvon Martin investigation, the Intramuralist proposed that justice is an innate human desire.  We desire justice.  We seek justice.  We believe in just consequences.  However, we are often conflicted when someone else’s judgment contradicts our own view of what exact form justice should take.

Note that I did not argue that the need for justice was the only motive for those interested or involved.  Other motives are most certainly in play…

For some, to avenge an eye for an eye… the motive to get even.

For others, to be on camera… the motive to be noticed.

For still more, to make political strides… on the right…. on the left.  Both.

For more still, to be personally satisfied… to fight for something greater than self, to find a purpose bigger than you and me, as that can be satisfying indeed.

And for still others — again on the right, left, or somewhere in between — it is not so much about fighting for justice or injustice, but rather, about responding to a perceived prejudice.  Don’t let me act as if prejudice isn’t alive and well on planet Earth.  I would only add that there exists prejudice on all sides of the equation.  In those who fight for… and in those who fight against.

The only way we can react wisely to all situations when we disagree with the judgment — be that with the healthcare law, George Zimmerman, or simply any messy dispute in our daily lives — is to be humble first.

To be humble first.  To embrace humility.

Did I mention we aren’t good at that?

Respectfully,

AR

justice for all

As we witness the emotional response to the death of Trayvon Martin continue to pour out, I’m reminded of one prevailing, human emotion. We have a need for justice.

Why does Martin’s family cry out, demanding George Zimmerman be arrested now? Because they desire justice.

Why does the Zimmerman family defend the shooter, crying out that he is wrongly accused? Because they desire justice.

Why do Spike Lee and Rosanne Barr tweet supposed addresses of Zimmerman’s family, invading their privacy? Because they desire justice.

Why did Pres. Obama stir the conversation, saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”? Because he desires justice.

Why do Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson appear adjacent to the family before all those rolling cameras? Because they each desire justice.

Why did the New Black Panther Party but a $10,000 reward out for Zimmerman’s abduction? Because they desire justice.

Why has the Sanford Police Department taken so long to investigate? Because it desires justice.

Why did the U.S. Attorney General’s office get involved? Because it desires justice.

Why do Facebook users post continual rants in support of Martin? Because they desire justice.

Why do Facebook users post continual rants in support of Zimmerman? Because they desire justice.

Herein lies the problem. The Intramuralist believes most of us want the same thing. We want justice. The challenge is that we are uncomfortable when someone else does the deciding as to what exactly justice is.

The God I serve is said to be just. Call that radical. Call that conservative. Call it something. Throughout all of recorded history, his justice is both proven and proclaimed. I’ll be honest with you; sometimes it’s hard to trust in that. It’s hard to see that without him having skin on. But I must remember that the God I serve is still bigger than you and me. He’s got his eyes on the planet, and my guess is that there isn’t a thing on Earth that escapes him. Does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see? Does he not hear or see Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman?

God knows what is just.

You and me might necessarily not.

Can we be ok with that? Can we be ok with not taking justice into our own hands or deciding for ourselves what authentic justice looks like? Were we ok when a jury of their peers found both OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony “not guilty”? What about no jury or no peers ever determining the fate of Adolf Hitler? … or never even catching Jack the Ripper? I’ll be honest again. That’s hard for me. It’s hard when thinking about Martin and Zimmerman.

Everything in me says that we can figure this out; we can decipher accurately every, minute detail; we can completely comprehend exactly what happened that night and discern in totality what is true. But we can’t.

We can’t.

Back to that God who is just. Back to all people on this planet finding a way to be ok with that.

Respectfully,

AR

Trayvon Martin

On Feb. 26th, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. The case has made national news. Here are some of the facts:

  • Martin was 17; Zimmerman is 28.
  • Martin was an African-American; Zimmerman is Hispanic.
  • Martin was wearing a “hoodie,” aka a hooded sweatshirt.
  • Martin had no criminal record nor any violent infractions on his school record.
  • At the time of his death, Martin was serving a 10 day school suspension for possessing a baggie with marijuana residue on it; this was his 3rd suspension — the first for possessing a “burglary implement” and second for vandalism.
  • Martin was carrying Skittles and a can of iced tea; Zimmerman was carrying a gun.
  • Zimmerman is a volunteer watch coordinator with Neighborhood Watch, an organized group of citizens devoted to crime and vandalism prevention.
  • Martin was walking from a convenience store to the home of his father’s girlfriend, when Zimmerman — on the phone with the Sanford (FL) Police Department — began following him, saying he witnessed suspicious behavior.
  • The police advised Zimmerman not to do anything.
  • There was soon a physical altercation, in which Zimmerman fatally shot Martin.
  • At the scene of the incident, Zimmerman claimed self-defense; he had a bloody nose, blood stains on the back of his head, and grass stains on his back.
  • Zimmerman has to date not been arrested, with the police department saying on March 12th that they have not found evidence contradicting his assertion of self-defense.
  • On March 13th, ABC News reported there was “questionable police conduct” in the investigation.
  • On March 19th, the U.S. Justice Dept. announces its involvement.
  • The Zimmerman family denies any racial profiling.
  • Many analysts suggest prosecuting Zimmerman is difficult due to Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law, saying that a person may use deadly force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to first retreat.
  • Throughout March, there has been an intensifying, articulate uproar (an observation — not a fact).
  • Outrage has been echoed from many, notably from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the NAACP, and Martin’s family.
  • Others have brought increased attention via their public comments, including Pres. Obama, Geraldo Rivera, and Spike Lee.
  • Also in response, hoodies have been donned by both Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and the Miami Heat. Obama’s presidential campaign unveiled a new “Obama 2012” hoodie.
  • The New Black Panther Party has issued a $10,000 reward to any who would abduct Zimmerman.
  • Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, warned of “retaliation.”

No one has all of the facts. That’s a significant reminder. Hence, here are the Intramuralist’s subjective thoughts and observations:

  • Martin’s death is tragic; may God be with his grieving family.
  • Prejudice is rampant — by both whites and blacks.
  • God is the ultimate giver of justice; on the days I wonder if Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson sleep well at night, I remind myself that God is just. I, well, sometimes, am not.

Additional, heartfelt commentary…

The reality is that none of us were there that fateful night. None of us know what happened. Martin should not be considered guilty because he was black nor Zimmerman innocent because he is not. The color of a person’s skin speaks not to their innocence nor guilt. We cannot judge simply by means of what our eyes see nor what our heart’s believe; that speaks to profiling and social justice. The Intramuralist is thus uncomfortable with society’s immediate rush to judgment… be that judgment by George Zimmerman… or be that judgment by society in response.

While uncomfortable, also, with those who promote or politicize support or opposition for personal gain, I am most disturbed by society’s collective lack of wisdom. We would be far wiser if we would recognize that we don’t know all of the facts. We would be far wiser if we didn’t accuse or support based on skin color. We would be far wiser if we didn’t “profile” based on skin, dress, handicap, weight, party, status, education, income, etc. We would be far wiser if we didn’t think we “knew it all.”

In that respect, Martin’s death is disturbing. So is the response.

Respectfully… always…

AR