A friend from Europe once quipped that the United States has, “The best justice system money can buy.” It was one of those jarring cynical remarks because at first you think it means we have the best, but then you realize we have one of the worst, at least when it comes to impartial criminal justice. Take for example, Missouri, covered this past weekend on CBS Sunday Morning. It featured two men of color currently languishing in prison with life sentences, despite being proven innocent and the real perpetrators serving their own sentences, all because they had run out of appeals. Nor can they benefit from a presidential pardon because of state charges.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson has the power to pardon both men but has declined to do so. Anyone who knows me, knows that injustice makes me angry. But I’m not alone, just search Wikipedia about Cutting in line. Injustice in the U.S. seems epidemic, and it’s making us sick and tired. Then you have those who handle injustice with grace. DNC Chair Jamie Harrison in a wonderful homage on the one-year anniversary of Congressman John Lewis’s death wrote, “There was not a shred of bitterness or frustration in him for what he endured.” The same grace and strength of character showed on the faces of those wrongfully imprisoned men in Missouri, as they told their tragic stories of unjust incarceration.
Contrast that with the smug sniveling boors on Fox “News,” or TFG, or the insurgents, all who appear to have never had to face any consequences for their actions. Or if they have, they justify it, or continue to deny, deny, deny. Just this weekend we saw the horrifying anti-trans protests in Los Angeles where far-right protesters returned chanting baseless claims about a trans-friendly spa, using slogans taken up by QAnon conspiracy theorists. Inexplicably, the LAPD lined up in riot helmets and used less-lethal weapons against counter-protesters even after a judge’s ruling against LAPD’s use of projectile launchers. It turns out Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show put the spotlight on the spa in June inciting the first antitrans protest, and it’s not even clear if any transgender customers were even present in the spa. So, Fox New is once again behind this hateful violence.
Meanwhile, those of us on the left continue to take our cues from heroes like John Lewis, and President Biden, intelligently planning and legislating, respecting the rule of law, showing patience as the criminal prosecutions slowly make their way through the system. When necessary, like the legislators in Texas, make Good Trouble.