First, though, I share with you a link to the second installment of my new regular column in Meridian Magazine:
And, while we’re at it, here are a quintet of the other items that are currently up on the Meridian site and that caught my interest:
That last one, of course — I probably should have warned you before you read it and were traumatized by it — comes from the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File©, which, as you know, is dedicating to chronicling the horrors and atrocities visited by theistic faith upon a world that would otherwise be a utopian paradise.
And something else. A reader of this blog who prefers to remain anonymous shared a poem with me that s/he has written. So I’m sharing it with you:
To walk a ways
While burdened on a lonely path
And senseless of the journey’s end,
While crossing roads my own would pass,
The world, unseeing, came and went.
Then one day from a nearby trail
Another traveler perceived,
And left the goings of his day
To come and walk a ways with me.
He lifted, but the load was such
The greatest part must be my own,
But I felt the weight not near as much
Because I did not walk alone.
Then as we walked, I came to see
He also labored on the way
From burdens borne through trying years,
And such that I would shrink to trade.
Though now departed to his trail
And duties he had made to wait,
On parting till another day,
I knew he gladly would have stayed.
Yet still with me he travels on,
For of this friend a part remains
Which makes the burden not so strong
And inspires, with his own, my strength.
Now on my way I look to see
Who struggles on without a friend,
And knowing what it meant to me,
I go and walk a ways with them.
We’re just back from watching (and discussing) the first rough cut of the first half of the two-part docudrama, Undaunted, that we’re preparing as a sequel and a support to the Witnesses theatrical film. Tomorrow afternoon, Thursday, I have three hours scheduled for interviewing an expert who will appear either in the docudrama or, more likely, in the “snippets,” or perhaps even in both. This project is really taking shape now.
I’ve been asked whether I have any thoughts on the subject of Derek Chauvin. I do. (How, realistically, could I not? And not merely because of our almost identical names.) And here are a few of those thoughts:
- In my judgment, Derek Chauvin was properly tried and properly convicted.
I didn’t follow the case very closely. I have lots of things on my plate and I couldn’t really see any reason for me to watch the trial or spend a great deal of time on it. I’m not on the jury and I don’t need to know the details of the case in order to meet my responsibilities as a citizen. From what I know, however, the jury was rightly constituted and the jurors were evidently attentive — though I was worried by the lack of sequestration. Legal counsel appeared competent. I’m perfectly fine with the verdict that was reached.
- That said, I will not join efforts to canonize George Floyd.
He certainly didn’t deserve to die, but he was also apparently not a law-abiding citizen, let alone a martyred saint.
- I take no joy in any of this. I feel sad about the way Derek Chauvin has damaged and, now, basically destroyed his own life. I don’t rejoice in his conviction, even though I think that justice was done. I feel sorrow for his family, and I mourn for the family of George Floyd. This has been, and it remains, a horrific tragedy. What a mess we mortals so often make of life!
- I strongly object to efforts to intimidate or coerce jurors and jurists by means of demonstrations, mobs, and threats of violence.
- I believe that Maxine Waters – a long-term member of Congress! — deserves condemnation for her attempt to compel a particular verdict in the trial by extra-legal means.
- If there is a disproportionate tendency among American police to oppress blacks or other minorities or any other particular sectors of our citizenry, that should stop. And tyrannical violations of equity in law enforcement should be fiercely punished.
- However, policing is not and should not be a federal matter.
Local control is preferable in almost all cases to control by a distant and inevitably often unresponsive bureaucracy. And I sometimes wonder whether any member of Congress has ever read the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
- I’m not convinced by rhetorical claims that something of a war is being waged by police against blacks. The data don’t seem to support that, though I’m open to being convinced if somebody wants to make a case. And please recall that more than a few police are black.
- Unless I’m misinformed, there appears to be an enormous problem of black-on-black crime and violence in the United States.
I’m amazed at the silence about that subject that seems to prevail among people who are very vocal when it comes to cases of apparent police overreach. The police don’t seem to be the principal threat to young black men living in America’s inner cities. Unless I’m much misinformed, other young black men appear to be the principal threat. This problem badly needs to be addressed. Honestly and without demagoguery. Its causes are evidently complex, but they should not be ignored. Yet they are being currently ignored in many quarters.
- I’m astonished at people who are infuriated at police misconduct, injustice, and oppression and yet who, at the same time, seek to grant more power to the state (which, essentially by definition, has a monopoly on coercion and police power).
I’m very fond of a stirring declaration that appears in the book Up From Liberalism, which was written by the late American conservative writer and intellectual William F. Buckley, Jr.:
“I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of sorts, is it not? It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and Liberals at bay. And the nation free.”