October 29, 2004

Commentary

The true meaning of the word

Justice could determine election

By Joe Ortiz

One of the few things in life I have always trusted is my understanding of the true meaning of the word justice, and its implementation. Not just the righteousness of American Justice, which has been the bulwark and envy of the entire free world for the last 200 years, but the justice that always prevails by its original author. The American concept of justice, which was designed to justly enforce the laws that protect its citizens, was the bedrock upon which our nation’s Constitution was formed.

According to Webster’s Dictionary the word justice is the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments. It also means the administration of law; especially, the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity. Justice is the quality of being just, impartial, or fair; the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action, conformity to this principle or ideal, and or righteousness, the quality of conforming to law. Actually, our American system of justice was fashioned on those laws set before mankind, which can be found in the Ten Commandments.

I’ve always felt a great degree of comfort and security in this great concept of justice, as well as most of the laws enacted yearly by our legislators, locally and nationally. The right to a fair trial, regardless of race, religion or economic status, is the fairest privilege in the world. While a few court decisions against persons who committed crimes have been bungled throughout history (some would say the OJ Simpson trial was a good example), the American justice system is undeniably the standard by which we base much of our faith and trust in any democratic society. Basically, we hunt down the criminals, provide them the opportunity to give their side of the story, prosecutors present their case against their wrong doings, jurors analyze the evidence and decide their guilt or innocence, and normally follow through with the appropriate punishment.

On 911, terrible people committed one of the greatest crimes against not only American citizens, but against humanity itself. Therefore, we had the responsibility to seek out the perpetrators, arrest them and bring them to justice. Instead, we declared war on all the ideologues sympathetic to those murderers and chose to launch military action against any nation or governments that were sympathetic (openly or secretively) to the perpetrators and their heinous attacks against free world peoples.

“Who do we go after first,” said our political leaders.

“Let’s go after that big bad guy in Iraq who has been committing similar crimes,” said our law enforcement. So we did! Yes, he hated our guts and was probably up to no good; his past record clearly demonstrated his disdain for humanity and the American way.

“Besides,” our leaders said, “you remember his overtly aggression against one of our friends in Kuwait, don’t you?”

I often wondered why we never finished him off then. His dastardly deeds were clearly visible to the entire world. We knew he was guilty! Hey! I was patriotically rooting for us to take him out completely, right then and there. But we didn’t. Now our government felt it had a reason to go after him again, somehow believing that he may have been connected to 911. Supposedly we had evidence he was arming himself to attack us, all the way from his already decimated country.

Obviously we are mad about 911 and we (emotionally) feel justified by our action in Iraq. I mean, why not? If a bunch of gang members murdered an innocent family in San Diego, let’s not focus on hunting down those specific goons, who might even be hiding in nearby Chula Vista. Let’s instead get our revenge by going after all the gang members in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. They are all bad guys, que no?

During past wars, such as WW1 and WW11, and during the Korean conflict, the world agreed that America was justified in going after the bad guys and bringing them to justice. They even understood the dropping of the atomic bombs in Japan, which killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Sadly, our current form of American justice, once the envy of the free world, has now become suspect. No more can humanity view our concept of justice the way it used to.

I guess from now on I will wonder what will be going through the minds and hearts of our kids in school, when they’re being told by their history and civics teachers and law professors about our great system of justice. Maybe they will believe that our response to 911 was an aberrational and isolated case, and that true justice will once again get back on track. Who knows? Maybe when they get inside the voting booth to cast their vote on November 2, they will recognize that true justice is not based on emotion or even patriotism, that it’s all about identifying, capturing, trying, convicting and punishing the actual wrong doers. One thing is for certain. The intelligent and informed American citizen has a greater understanding as to what the word justice truly means! At least I hope so!

Joe Ortiz lives in Palm Desert. The former radio-television talk show host is the author of a new book, The End Times Passover. Web site: http://groups.msn.com/TheEndTimesPassover

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