Truth, Justice, and the American Way. This past week has made Americans question all three. Let’s talk about it.
In a few days, my class of teenagers will recite from memory the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution. During our last class, no one said anything. I was looking at 7 blank stares. I couldn’t help but wonder if they had been following along with the Senate hearing on the charge that Judge Brett Kavanaugh had committed a crime against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when they were the same ages as the kids I teach. My homeschool students surely were not “into” learning about “We the People of the United States….establish justice.” They were not into hearing about the process that led from the Declaration of Independence to the first Constitutional Convention. Maybe the original American view of law and government is in such conflict with what we saw on our television screens that it doesn’t match up for our young people -or even for us.
First, the Senate has a process and the Senate was following that process during the hearing on September 27. Tacky and sticky as it looked on TV, they must follow Senate rules and they were doing so.
Next, there is due process of law. But the Senate hearing is not a trial. It’s a hearing. Both the accuser and the accused had their say. This is justice at work. Here’s the problem. Dr. Blasey Ford and Judge Kavanaugh were both credible. They both gave riveting testimony that brought many of us to tears. Now we must choose.
What are we choosing? Here is where truth comes in. If we confirm Justice Kavanaugh, some say that we are telling all women in America that women don’t matter. Others agree that there is not one shred of evidence to prove the charges against Judge Kavanaugh. Historically you cannot be declared guilty except on the testimony of two or more credible witnesses. There must be some credible evidence that a crime has been committed. Let’s break down these choices:
Does confirming Justice Kavanaugh tell all American women that they don’t matter? Why him? Why now? Why not earlier in history? Why is holding one man responsible for the foolishness of youth in 2018 more significant than it was in 1880? 1940? 1960? 1990?
2) Should anyone be believed because they exist? Everyone has a right to be heard with kindness and compassion. However, sometimes these issues cannot be resolved to our satisfaction. The American system of justice is “innocent until proven guilty.” If you don’t accept that outcome in one case, be careful. Such a standard can now be used against you, your children, your parents, your grandparents.
Common Sense Civics and Citizenship would indicate that it is wise to understand the process of justice in this country and apply that standard to all Americans, not just to our preferred outcome. Here’s the thing… Common Sense Civics and Citizenship also accepts that there is not “your truth” and “my truth.” There is THE TRUTH. So many have fallen into the trap of believing the relative truth, not absolute truth. Some of my students answered a question on a test that truth is relative. Americans who are reading this, listen up. If everyone believes they are right in their own eyes and we fail to stop seeking THE TRUTH, we will still have a country. It’s just not this country or the American way. It’s Common Sense Civics and Citizenship to pursue truth, justice, and the American way. And it’s not just for Superman.