We’re all too aware of the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. The onlooking crowds, the lawyers and press members quietly bemoaning the verdict’s injustice and of those well versed in legalese citing the “burden of proof” argument inherent in the judicial system as vindication. While both arguments are legitimate, it’s the lack of action and outrage from both sides of the fence that raises a huge red flag with me.
When the drag queens of Stonewall in the summer of 1969 had had enough of police profiling, the distribution of publicly humiliating photos and lists of the names of its patrons along with the obvious fallacies of the law as written regarding gay folks, they simply said NO! And in no small way either. They barricaded themselves inside the bar, thus defying the harassment of the police while ultimately venturing outside to physically and verbally demand their equality and the right to simply be left alone in “the pursuit of happiness”.
In the late 60’s there was an unlicensed after hours bar in Detroit named the Blind Pig; frequented almost entirely of local blacks. The police profiled this bar because of the racial makeup of its patrons under the guise of enforcing liquor laws but they made one huge mistake. On the night of July 26, 1967 they decided to raid the place. What ensued were five days of demonstrations reeling in anger, violence and retribution. Those involved were simply not going to “take it anymore” as notably quoted from the film, “Network”.
While you may not agree with the manner in which these two events took place; there is an undeniably inflamed commitment by both groups to demand equal treatment within the law. The Revolutionary War was just that: a war. It was the refusal of a people to continue to be burdened with extreme taxes and unfair treatment by a monarchy which did little or nothing to ensure their well being. When an existing judicial system condones the practice of discrimination and alienation of any people, history shows us that a display of oneness and courage does indeed create change. Action produces results. The definition of courage is taking a stand even though fear is present in those trying to induce change. All of these groups were certainly unsure and afraid of what they were confronting, but they did it anyway. After countless measures well within the law to produce non-discriminatory legislation, they laid aside the niceties of being compliant and subservient. They did not wallow in the passion of apathy so evident in the silence of those unwilling to walk through their fears and demand change.
And here we are today. An errant mother accused of murdering her child who receives a not guilty verdict by a jury of her peers. While the verdict personally enrages me, the lack of vocal or physical response from the public who side with me is the epitome of apathy and the execution of a political correctness that ignores the validity of common sense. The shame of the jury is evident in their refusal to talk to anyone, the call for calm from the local police projects the fear of knowing that wrong has been done, and the silence of even her parents hints at the same shame; but I DO believe they all followed the law to the letter. Therein lies the rub.
I’ve received some concerned comments about condoning violence to reach resolution. I don’t know that I can calm those concerns. Believe that I wholeheartedly encourage going through the processes that exist first. The other side of that coin is that sometimes, and less often than not, something more than signing petitions, embracing lawmakers or massaging the quills of the opposition is necessary.
So when you’re stewing in your own juices about demeaning and obviously incorrect legislation, I urge you to stand up, walk through the fear, and make yourself known. Trust your gut and be heard.
Kirk Sparrow 7/6/2011