Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Quality of Mercy

Last month, Barack Obama became the first American President to visit a federal prison. That matters, especially to many prisoners who, at times in their exile, begin to wonder if they are Americans anymore. Still, we must ask:  How futile will that visit be if he and other leaders - governors, senators, representatives - refuse to acknowledge that in America money is the standard, not justice?

"Justice" is a word, an ideal. We use that word to justify our actions (and inactions). We hope, in the course of the judicial process (and throughout the criminal justice system), that justice is, somewhere, achieved.

Justice is a nebulous concept. We barely understand the law (because it varies depending on the people and the amount of money involved). Money is the constant. The more money you have, the more malleable the law; the more merciful is American justice.

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