Sunday, May 10, 2009
What's Love Got to Do With It?
Specter, Souter, and some "churchgoers" who think torture is ok. Quite an interesting concoction of views for the past week or so. Different stories that collectively, I believe, call into question the idea of justice and whether that overpowers our sense of humanity and love. Coincidentally, while I was I was thinking through the content for this entry, I walked into my mom's room and she was watching "What's Love Got to do with it," the infamous love story of Ike and Tina Turner, a movie that turns the idea of love completely on its head.
What's love got to do with justice, really? I wrote in a previous entry that we cannot legislate love, it's a sincere human emotion. But what happens when an institution, a virtue, like justice that is decided by humans, is weighed against love, a virtue that can only be projected by humans. Do we keep the two entirely separate? Do we love justice more than we love one another? Finally, how does someone's views on one justify the other? That's a thesis statement of sorts. But why LOVE though? Love, to me, is like a seed planted in society. It yields fruits like compassion, good-will, sympathy. And sure the average person who claims to posses these things doesn't sit on the couch gushing about mankind, but our capacity to do good, comes out of our capacity to love.
WWJD?: Despite my problems with the research supporting this articles finding (a survey of 700 people isn't really alot for a CNN article is it) and how it was presented, I find it disturbing that anyone with a full and truthful understanding of the message of Jesus Christ and that whole crucifixion business would feel comfortable torturing someone, anyone. The only reasoning that I can apply to such a statement would be that some people's sense for bringing people to JUSTICE and seeing them punished is much greater than their compassion for their fellow man. I suppose these might have been the people that believe that Jesus authorized the war in Iraq. :-/ It seems that no amount of mega-churches will move us toward love if that's not the condition of our hearts.
Souter: The replacement of Souter on the Supreme Court fits nicely into this whole business because, of course there is a tremendous amount of pressure for President Obama to appoint someone with equally or more left leaning views. Ideological balance matters, sure. But what is political premise and convoluted logic when seen through the eyes of love. Nothing, really. Let's rewind a bit. This same Supreme Court justice, appointed by Clinton, that supposedly balances the left was around when we were waterboarding folks at Gitmo! While we are bringing some of those folks guilty of such crimes to justice, having a more liberal justice will ultimately not change what people tolerate in their society. No matter how "liberal" we brand our society, any society that values castigation over age old LOVE has got some real problems whose sentences don't end in Ginsburg, Thomas, or Scalia.
What shapes our opinions about love and justice? Ballads? Court TV? C-Span (clearly justice, not love). I think I discovered the definitions wedged somewhere between a Lauryn Hill CD and a Malcolm X speech. But even so, I think that my compassion far outweighs my tendency toward justice. But who says we can't have both. Everyday, I tell my kids " Do the RIGHT thing." but little do they know, but I am fully aware, I push them towards justice, despite what their heart or mind tells them to do. Why? Because when you don't do what's right, you get punished. So even at 3 years old, these kids learn that the right vs wrong things in life hold more weight than anything, including love. In this day and age, I suppose anyone completely inundated with a diet of popular culture and authoritative figures, is pulled in many directions. Follow love? Or the letter of the law? I'm not pretending to know the answer to this one but I can an offer an introspective sociological experiment disguised as a remedy. :-)
Try sitting in a court room for an afternoon and watch the parade of criminal cases...the alleged kidnappers, the child molesters, the murderers. To someone on the right side of the law, these people may seems a world away. Unless you are someone who is brimming over with compassion, you look upon these people with with a sort of disdain. The shame-inducing kind. Why? Because they have done something WRONG. And while they are people too, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, their identity is stripped down to WRONGDOER. And they should be punished. But WAIT, where's this all enduring LOVE? Hiding. Waiting for the societal seal of approval. Which already discounts its value. What's the matter with all of this? We withhold love/compassion, a free immeasurable, gesture but dole out justice and judgment quite freely. Therein lies the problem with a society that views everything strictly through the barrel of a smoking gun.
S0 what, in conclusion, does love have to do with it?!? Perhaps EVERYTHING, and perhaps....well...nothing. One thing is for sure, in the world we have built, we will never be short on ways to torture and punish people, but maybe....just maybe....we could sneak in a little love.