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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
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Justice Is Not Delivered by 51 Percent

North Miami Beach, FL 01-11-2005
A.H. Schectman

Justice delayed is justice denied.  This is a truism. We Americans have this belief in voting and are satisfied when the result is a bit over a half on one side over the other.  It works somewhat in voting but not necessarily in determining true justice.  A case in point is the recent reopening the murder case of Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner, three civil rights workers who went to see what they could do to help the cause of Civil Rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The posse of whites who included police was not going to allow outsiders come into their land and inspect conditions there. The outsiders were given a kangaroo court hearing, immediately executed and dumped into a makeshift, unmarked grave in a dam.

Those are the elements of the story but a half century passed and the murderers avoided justice.  Justice back then included disenfranchisement of almost all black people and it was white justice that was meted out to outsiders black and white.  The murderers were not considered murderers but protectors of the way of life a white half of the community thought was threatened.  The perpetrators of the crime of murder were basically let off without appropriate punishment.  One of them, now over 80 years old has just been re-indicted for the part he played back then. Justice was delayed AND denied. Justice measured by 51 percent is a joke.

Justice is not achieved by a number.  A majority does not decide what justice is.  Justice is not involved when two political parties pay for the votes of REGISTERED and ELIGIBLE voters.  If ALL voters were registered and eligible to vote in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1964 there would still not be enough to permit half the population a voice in efforts that outsiders were trying to get for them. 

That is the problem with the one more than 50 percent rule that we believe in so fervently.  It keeps things moving and there is continuity of government, business and life but there is no justice if the whole society is rigged in favor of the ruling half.  This is the way our National Government operates under the rule of a winning party. Justice requires that much more than a bare majority is needed to radically change established norms. We can call it democracy but it is not justice and justice is required. Our schools should teach the truth about how rigging and favoritism changes the odds and that real majorities result from true elections where knowledge of all the facts and enough time is provided to fully debate what everyone should know.  Decisions can be made on the basis of 51 to 49 % but good sense tells us that RADICAL changes such as proposed by the second Bush Administration need support by a larger, a much larger majority. Justice is constantly delayed AND denied. 51 percent does not do it for this Democrat and Secular Humanist.






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