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Turning the Trayvon Martin Case Over to the People

The American "public mind" has dwelled for some time now on a series of cheap, ephemeral political ideas. But one event after another today is testing us and reminding us of principles almost forgotten, like the bands of iron tying consensual self-government to character, self-control, goodwill, patience, and tolerance. Without those qualities, self-government is neither possible nor even desirable. We can't keep our spirits up about governing ourselves if we are pessimistic about our people's character and prospects, seeing only the negative, only the problems, only the failures and doubts and resentments.

It is therefore not, in my opinion, very intelligent to adopt an attitude of pessimism and disdain about our neighbors. We are better and more trustworthy as a people than the media noise would have us believe. But I think the processes of law will allow the voice of the people, and the people's character, to speak clearly and distinctly over that media noise: not because our law makes us good, but because with God's help, we the people, regardless of race or ethnicity, make our law as reliable and just as any human system can be.

4/16/2012 4:00:00 AM