Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In the Service of Justice (2.5.09)

Justice is a virtue.  She is represented as a woman, holding a scale in one hand, often with a sword in the other, frequently blindfolded (or blind).  Statues of Justice date back to Greek and Roman times, initially associated with goddesses.  But Justice, as a Virtue, is examined in Greek philosophy and in the Bible - especially as a characteristic of kings or leaders.  The famous story of two women claiming the same child, with the suggestion the child be cut in half, and the awarding of the child to the woman who offered to release her claim (assuming only a mother could not want her child to die), dates back to biblical times and indicates how state justice is built upon individual virtue.  Indeed, Plato and many other philosophers, call Justice an over-riding virtue, one which plays a role in every other virtue, so that a person's character, and the character of a nation (or any social entity), can be judged by its allegiance to Justice.

As a virtue, Justice is not worshiped, but served.  And it is in the service of Justice that I write this blog and perhaps that I blog at all. 

Where is Justice today in America?  I picture her weeping.  Crying out to be heard.  Whether from her blind eyes or beneath her blindfold, she is weeping.  For Justice has ears and hears.  She hears the cries of those in dungeons.  She hears the cries of the poor.  She hears the Constitution crying out.  She waits.  Her scales wait.  Her sword waits.  She waits upon us.  She serves us, if we will but serve her.

This morning, the New York Times lead editorial is titled:  Unraveling InjusticeAnd overnight British newspapers raged about injustice.  I've been thinking of this blog for a couple weeks actually.  But this is a good morning to call for Justice - once again.  British judges are calling us out on the lack of "rule of law" regarding torture and British papers are pondering war crimes and blackmail (to keep them covered up) and considering the potential for international tribunals.  And I'm interested in how the Times puts it, putting our new president on notice with:  "a chance to show how serious he is about repairing Mr. Bush's legacy of harm."   

A legacy of harm.  Justice hears the cry.  Justice in me hears the cry.  And I cannot stop calling out:  Justice must be served! 

Our individual virtue is at stake.  And our national virtue is at stake.  We have not only tortured.  We have covered it up.  We have blindfolded (and tortured) prisoners.  We have tipped the scales of justice so severely, that it will take us a long time to balance those scales again.  How can we ever trust Justice if the very department charged with guarding those scales has not only failed in its duty, but engineered that failure? 

I have already made the case, on a number of occasions, that we are duty bound, by our Constitution and its mandate to fulfill treaty obligations, not to engage in cruel and unusual punishment, and to investigate and prosecute torture and other crimes against humanity.   I have called for simple Justice.  I have written satire about this.  I have made it clear I will not stop writing or calling for Justice.  For equal treatment of persons.  For humane treatment of persons.  For humane treatment of those who did not treat others as I expect our Justice system to treat them.

I am waiting.  The New York Times is waiting.  Judges in Great Britain are waiting.  Likely international tribunals are waiting.  We are waiting upon the Obama administration.  The Obama Department of Justice.

We are waiting.  Without blindfolds.  She of the blindfold, Justice, must be served.



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So clear, Thera P. More good words to help cut through the fog and obfuscation that the perpetrators, almost all neocons/right-wing christianists, have created these past eight years.
And what an immense fan is needed to blow away that fog, as well as the mighty backhoe the Obama administration must have to continue to dig us out of the mountain of lies and cruel injustice that's been piled upon us.
I attended a forum last night, presented by our regional appointee to CDOT, the Dept. of Transportation. This gentleman is still nomimally an R, but his knowledge of who that party is today has been hard earned, beginning as a state legislator starting in the '80s. Our infrastructure is in dire shape, and because we have TABOR, we are nearly powerless to deal realistically with the funding needs. And all the R's have to offer is "NO."
He's able to attest absolutely first-hand that their long-standing SOP is, never support good Democratic legislation. Never. Stop it. Then if it looks like it will benefit them, bring it back next year themselves. They lie, cheat and steal with impunity. Because they're born-again, they believe themselves to be above and not answerable to "infidels."
This man is a highly ethical member of a mainstream Christian church, and he's been attacked, lied to and run over by the right-wing of his party for well over 20 years.
We are in such a world of hurt. We must find the ways and the means within each of us to say "YES!" Yes, we will support and protect Lady Justice. Yes, we will go forward, while honoring the crucial need to face our past and deal with it, not bury it.
Eloquent comment, Ravenwind! Especially this:
We are in such a world of hurt. We must find the ways and the means within each of us to say "YES!" Yes, we will support and protect Lady Justice. Yes, we will go forward, while honoring the crucial need to face our past and deal with it, not bury it.
Seems like we've got a good team in place now to tackle things:
Washington Post: "Holder Seen as a Chance to Right Racial Wrongs"
It's an article about how the new AG, Eric Holder, will hopefully set to rights so many injustices that occurred during the Bush years; and while it deals with civil rights in the article, I think we can effectively extrapolate that MANY wrongs will be righted.
Thanks for your comment and for the link, Deanie. Yes, Holder looks like the right man to lead DoJ back to its rightful place as our watchdog and an equal opportunity enforcer, making sure that those of high estate and low estate, of whatever race, creed, color, or sexual persuasion, receive equal justice, under the law and that no one, past, present, or future is allowed to be above the law.
What is a 'sexual persuasion'? I can see how persuasion plays a part in the heterosexual seduction process, but what could a 'sexual persuasion' possibly be? If it's a proposition, it doesn't fit into your language properly.
Go in peace. That is all I have to say.
Written with a heartfelt sincerity that comes through clearly, TheraP.
The thing that always fascinated me most about a statue of Justice are the scales she holds up high. Balance was the important thing for me. A level playing field. Fairness. I would stare at those scales and, even though I knew it was a statue and just simply could not move, I waited for those scales to move because I knew if they did, we'd all be screwed.
Well, they have certainly become unbalance these past several years. The statue is still the same, but the scales in reality have moved. It's amazing how much a lie weighs...on our shoulders as a nation...and on the scales of Justice.
Oh, wow! Flowerchild, you have written such a moving, moving comment.
What struck me was the word "scales" of Justice. That the scales never moved in the statue. But have moved in our time. And I was reminded that "scales" also can be described as "falling from our eyes." Yes, the scales have fallen from the hand of Justice. And the scales have fallen from our eyes. And it will take a long time, a long, long time before we can see a statue and know that the scales before our eyes are no longer moving either.
Risky to extend metaphors.
We use the phrase "weight of evidence", but the normal use of a double balance is to compare to a standard. Still, we do compare our actions to a standard, whether a statute, a religious command, or the simple aggregate opinion of the world.
How right you are about metaphors.... :)
Yes, dear TheraP, it's way past time for Justice to be served.
But something that makes me weep and scream is this question:
Where were you, New York Times and the British press, when this injustices came to light? Why did you not rail then? Why did you kowtow to the Bush Administration and not call them to account for their actions?
I have trouble feeling these papers' pain, since they are not leading the vanguard but instead are running as fast as they can to catch the train that's already crisscrossed this country without their help.
It's good that they're finally calling for something the rest of us have been calling for for years, but to me it feels more like they're following the winds instead of bucking them.
Excellent rant! Well deserved criticism. And coming from you, that says a lot!!!!
Good essay, personification of justice.
First I wish to see a stop to felonies being committed by the WH. That is of primary importance to me. And we have seen some fine executive orders addressed to that.
Two I wish to see investigations, no one, but several. We need to know what happened. And we do not.
Three, we need to pursue those who broke the law.
I am running out of temp.
Well said, dd. I agree with your plan. Simple. To the point. Should be doable! :)
I highly recommend this blog - and its writer:
What a wonderful blog! And a woman after my own heart too.
Thank you for the kind acknowledgement; though the virtue of Justice is personified by a blindfolded woman, I was named Justice because it is my great grandmother's maiden name; it is my middle name.
I was bestowed as Royal Justice Putnam; I'm known as Roy at home, R. J. during school; but most everyone knows me as Justice.
I will admit to being a testosterone addled male, but Justice is on my feminine side!
Thank you for that explanation of your name... I like that you go by Justice. :)
Just don't call you Johnson? :-)
Justice is a quest in the same sense that education is a quest. Justice is a effort made to go in a better direction. It's not anything or anyplace that you can simply arrive at or not. You have to work at it so that you can keep going in the direction of it. It's only possible to be moving more towards it or away from it. It's clear that the quest of justice is becoming a less important priority in the American grand scheme of things when considering our leadership. Our leaders are more concerned with the presumption of justice and less concerned with achieving it's reality.

Viper, that is a beautiful reflection on justice you've given us. And it's so true. I once considered the virtues that are limitless, and justice is one of them. As you say, all we can do is point toward it or away from it... and it the word "quest" is so perfect here.
Thank you so much for your lovely words. Like many who have commented today, your words ennoble the post.
I was just at Truthseeker's blog again on the torture matter. God I pray we do not have another President who lies straight out so many times. So far, no. Other countries, including GB are not letting this go.
How can there be justice in this country if the elected leader denies torture and denies warrantless wiretaps? All the time knowing what his orders were in this regard.The President's precedence.
Like Viper says, justice is an aim. Yet you 'know it when you see it.'
dd, go over and read this extraordinary comment by SJ:
which fits what you're pondering.
Trust me, his comment needs to be a blog of its own.
Excellent essay, Thera P!
Thank you. I am honored by your presence here.
Where is Justice?
Somewhere behind the veil/net/web of Justification and illusions of The Just
Arrogance justifies or cries out for justification.
Justification is inherently anti-moral. That is, people justify their conduct BECAUSE it is not moral ... we must ask *ourselves* about the differences between justification and justice. The important moral difference is that justice is moral and non-partisan. -- various posts by me at TPM

Thanks for that wonderful distinction, eds. Well put. And very useful. :)
My ego likes recognition of my words in multiple locations, aka "It's nice to find that what I posted there has applicability (use) here! :-)
One of my favorite quotes:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. .MLK,jr.
So true!
Seashell - could you please let me know how you calculated the $525 billion number?
Thanks very much

Seashell - why do you include decreased revenues as part of your $525bn in "spending" that will occur in 2009 and 2010?
Just placing this here for future reference:
Old OLC (under bushco):
"OLC particularly should avoid giving unnecessary advice where it appears that policymakers are likely to move in a different direction"
From: Re: Best Practices for OLC Opinions - 5/16/05
And what is that about doing a "best practices" after they've long ago gutted the constitution in their "tortured" memos?
New OLC (Dawn Johnsen):
we must regain our ability to feel outrage whenever our government acts lawlessly and devises bogus constitutional arguments for outlandishly expansive presidential power. Otherwise, our own deep cynicism, about the possibility for a President and presidential lawyers to respect legal constraints, itself will threaten the rule of law--and not just for the remaining nine months of this administration, but for years and administrations to come.
Posted by TheraP
March 5, 2009 4:00 PM | Reply | Permalink

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