Friday, July 7, 2006

Friday Reflection: Liberty and Justice for Each

I have a little assignment for anyone who imagines that liberals are always civil-tongued, play nice with others, and never descend to calumny. Just read some of the comments I've been getting at my Daily Kos diary.

Yesterday, I began by attempting to point out that polarization just keeps us fighting; and as the Bushies have so helpfully demonstrated to us, word-battles can very quickly lead to blows, bombs, and burials.

But I agree that we have an obligation to expose evil wherever we find it; that's part of why I and my blogging partner write in this space. Still, I feel that anger clearly and brightly articulated can remain free of the spit of warlike rage. So when I say that Cheney or Coulter or Rumsfeld or O'Reilly are ill, I mean that quite literally. I am usually (though not always) able to combine my angry horror at their destructive madness with a genuine desire that they get the help they need to heal within. I don't want to say that I feel compassionate toward them, because I do not.

Nevertheless, I know that every individual has a core of truth, however buried it may be amid a toxic swamp of greed and belief. I tend to recall the unique core in every body; and sometimes wonder what it would take to hear John Bolton say, "I love the U.N. and what it stands for," or to read a piece by Ann Coulter on the Huffington Post. I have occasionally wondered what America would be like if we ended the Pledge of Allegiance with "liberty and justice...for each."

Very well, I'm going over the edge...indulging a psychotherapist's fantasy. Never mind: here's our Friday Reflection. It's about Justice.


Justice is not a game; it is not something you win (though you can certainly lose it). Justice is not gained via combat, but realized through clarity. When you try to grasp it, to turn it into stone and own it, like a garden ornament or a temple of government, then justice is lost to you.

Justice is not a blind stone statue fixed into the ground you own. It is a lithe, perpetually young, whirling dancer of infinite energy. Perhaps to the narrow and slow vision of ego and its institutions, she will seem wild, disordered, unpredictable. But this is a distorted projection of artificial weakness, onto the body of natural strength. Ego tends to like its objects dead or disabled, in order to better control them. So it turns Justice into stone and wraps blinders over her eyes.

Justice does not happen when my enemy is destroyed or humiliated into subjection or payment. Justice only occurs wherever there is accord, or truce, or the dispersal of enmity.

We do not have much of Justice in our midst today; perhaps it is time to take the sword out of her hand, the blinders off her eyes, and the concrete out of her body. For we cannot hope to own Justice, or lock her into a cage on a Caribbean island, dressed in an orange jumper.

The best we can do is to touch her as we join her in the dance.

No comments: