– by David Matthews 2
In the new DC Comics miniseries “Justice League: Cry for Justice”, the Justice League of America, the premiere superhero organization, is split in two when Green Lantern reminds the group of world’s finest heroes that the first part of the group’s name… JUSTICE… has been absent for far too long. Hal Jordan, the galaxy’s law enforcer, reminds the members that they have lost two of their best and longtime friends, the Martian Manhunter and Batman, and the people behind their deaths are still at large.
“What about JUSTICE?” he asked his teammates before going out and seeking it himself.
What about justice, indeed.
Bank executives mastermind conditions where people are driven to bankruptcy and foreclosure and drive the banks themselves into near-collapse. The government gives them billions in bailout money, paid for by the very taxpayers that they are fleecing, and they turn around and give themselves bonuses. Nobody gets arrested. Nobody goes to jail.
What about justice?
Abuses of power amongst those in local police departments have been on the increase. Innocent families are assaulted in their own homes by gun-toting police officers. Family pets have been killed simply because they were doing their jobs. Children have been rousted from their sleep, and in the case of a family in California, were forced to sit outside in public in handcuffs wearing nothing but their underwear. Yet nothing happens to the officers when they discover the error. The victims at fault are lucky to get a half-hearted apology from some public relations spokesman as they clean up the damages caused by the officers and cope with the loss of their family pets and the humiliation they endured at the hands of the officers.
What about justice?
At the same time we are told that we have to WORSHIP the police! We can’t question their actions. We can’t voice our discontent. A lawyer in Washington DC publicly voices his hatred of the police for their actions and he gets arrested for simply exercising his Constitutional right to speak his mind.
What about justice?
Government officials claim that we live in a system governed by the rule of law, and yet they flaunt that law with wanton abandon and hide behind outdated notions of “sovereign immunity” and “executive privilege”. They can start wars on fabricated evidence, destroy lives on a whim, condemn thousands to live as nomads, take away people’s homes and businesses, and get away with it all with a wink and a smile and an arrogant swagger. They can even re-write the very laws they are supposed to be governed under with but a waive of the pen! And yet when the discussion comes up about bringing these people to account for their actions, we are told that we should just “move forward” and not “dwell about the past”.
But what about justice, sir?
WHAT ABOUT JUSTICE?
When you have gross abuses of power, where harm has been made and damages have been done, why does our government - a government supposedly by the people of the people and for the people - suddenly change their motto to “do as I say, not as I do” and expect the rest of us to mindlessly go along with it?
Do you not remember the riots of the 1960’s? The riots in Miami of 1980? The riots in Los Angeles in 1992? These things did not happen out of the blue! These things did not just materialize. People didn’t just suffer from a momentary loss of sanity.
In EVERY ONE of those instance, you had people being fed a continual diet of injustice and social inequality. Continually being stepped on. Continually being overlooked. Continually being abused and neglected. And then finally you have that one incident, that one action that puts it over the edge. In EVERY instance, you have neglectful, mismanaged, abusive, and corrupt government FAILING to do their jobs over and over again. And in EVERY instance the real question that needs to be asked is not HOW did it happen, or even WHY did it happen, but rather what took it so long TO happen.
But even worse is what happens when government is the problem.
Do you know how unions got started in the first place? Unions were created to fill a void caused by abuse and incompetence in management. In EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE where there is a union, you find gross mismanagement by those in business preceding it. As my father once told me, and I can attest to, in EVERY INSTANCE where you have a company that did not start out with a union that ended up with one EARNED it!
Likewise, organized crime became powerful because of inept, negligent, and incompetent people in government that FAILED to do their jobs! They came to be because of a void caused by government corruption and incompetence. People turn to organized crime because the system FAILS to do what it is supposed to do! Organized crime did not create Prohibition. They simply watched as those in government made that self-serving, self-righteous decision all on their own, and then waited with glee as the masses turned to THEM.
Street gangs, no matter where they are in the world, were created to fill a void caused by bad parenting and gross incompetence. They turned to the worst, and in turn they BECAME the worst, because parents and social organizations FAILED to do their jobs.
Even on a more personal level, in pretty much every instance of a murder-suicide that you hear about or read about in the news can be traced to a FAILURE somewhere in the system. A FAILURE in institutions, a FAILURE in agencies, a FAILURE in peers or family members to do what they are supposed to do! The perpetrators do not wake up one morning and just arbitrarily decide to play out their end-game scenario. They are COAXED into it. They are GOADED into it. They are prodded through demons and desires and desperation over a system that FAILED to help or support them. And even if they were the ones at fault, even if their own demons were the cause of the situation that led to this tragedy, it is a situation that DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN, and WOULD not happen if there was true justice.
Is any of this sinking in yet?
In every instance where you see acts of vigilantism, where people take the law into their own hands, where they cheer on and support criminal activates, that is a FAILURE of the system to do what it is supposed to do!
In every instance they are looking for JUSTICE and our system is found to be woefully deficient.
Let’s get brutally honest here… the balance that we have in society between order and chaos is dependant on three simple words: JUSTICE FOR ALL! Not justice only for the rich. Not justice only for the powerful. Not justice only for the banks and the big corporations. Not justice only when it is convenient. Not justice only when it is written into the budget. Not justice only when it is put on the 6 o’clock news.
And justice for all MUST INCLUDE those in government! From the President of the United States of America all the way down to the guy that cleans up the town park, they must ALL be held to account for their actions! You are only courting disaster if you do not adhere to this.
Indeed, the United States of America would never have existed if not for the gross abuses of power that were committed by the British Empire. If the monarchy and Parliament and the various governors were competent enough to do their jobs in the 18th Century, then there would be no Revolutionary War that would give birth to a nation. Likewise, the monarchy in France could have kept their heads - literally - if they were better stewards of government instead of treating the people like their personal playthings.
“Justice for all” is the whole embodiment of the rule of law. It REQUIRES… not suggests, not theorizes, but MANDATES… that people be held EQUALLY under the law, no matter who they are or what they do. From President to homeless pauper, they each must be held to the same standards and to the same system of accountability. ANYTHING LESS THAN THAT is not the rule of law. Once you start parsing out who should and should not be accountable for their actions, you shift the system to one that is governed by the rule of man, quite literally the rule of TYRANNY, and even the most benevolent of tyrannies are still tyrannies subject to abuses, failure, and chaos.
A competent government does not have its people asking “What about JUSTICE”. They would not have to ask, because the answer would be right in front of them. It would be in the news reports of the powerful being led away in handcuffs, of predatory institutions being required to make immediate restitution, and of systems working to right that which was wrong. It would come not from rhetoric, but from RESULTS.