Making it better

Many of the ideas and ideals in our constitution and rule of law are there because the founders of our country were intimately acquainted with the results of an unfair society. One of our most important ideals is “Innocent until proven guilty.”

The reason for this is subtle, so it’s important to go deeply into it and really understand how it works.

Here’s the crux of the matter: It is impossible to prove innocence.

Guilt is not a lot easier. As we know from watching movies, and maybe even reading mystery novels, it can be quite complicated to prove guilt. Especially if a person is really good at hiding their tracks. But we as a nation have decided that it is much more heinous to falsely imprison an innocent person than it is to let a few bad guys go. So: Innocent until proven guilty.

We are based on the ideals of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The thought of whizzing in on someone who is just living their life, accusing them of a crime and locking them up, when they are innocent, is abhorrent to us.

Like many freedoms, the idea of Innocent Until Proven Guilty takes constant vigilance. That’s because it is human nature to jump to conclusions based on little facts.

I remember when my children were young and I was trying to teach them that they can trust friends, but they need to be wary of strangers. I really did explain it the best I could, but the next day we were driving down Main Street and there was a man with a big limp and a cane. He was also overweight and dressed shabbily.

“Look!” Shouted the kids – “there’s a stranger!”

You and I both know they totally missed the point of what I had been trying to teach them. They took my words, put them together into what made sense to them, and then jumped to a conclusion that was not my point at all. And you can imagine me trying to explain myself out of that one… because yes… that guy was a stranger. But so was the really nice woman over on the other side of the street. This was a case where I was trying to teach “Stranger until proven innocent…” and even that was tricky.

In an unexamined society everyone will quickly follow the path my children took. Some crime happens in the neighborhood and everyone will jump to blame the weird looking guy with a limp and bad clothes. There are cases where a good alibi would get him off, but other than that the mob could quickly descend on the poor fellow and hang him.

Hillary Clinton is a perfect example. She is the weird guy with a limp. Years ago people started picking on her with every conceivable allegation, and she has been cleared of each one (often against very hostile judges.) She’s never been proven guilty of a single thing, and yet our society holds on to every rumor and small fact as truth.

She’s never been proven guilty. But it is literally impossible for her to prove herself innocent.

Another good example is O.J. Simpson’s trial. In that trial he was declared not guilty of killing his wife. I have to say that I, personally, think there is a good likelihood that he did it. But I wasn’t there when the crime was committed, and I also wasn’t on the jury who examined the full case. All I know is what I heard on the media. That’s my only evidence against him, and I know it is incomplete. So, as an honest and decent citizen, I am required to follow the verdict of “Not guilty.”

As it turns out, O.J. ended up in jail anyway. It was from another crime… but I can judge that it follows a pattern. I also believe that people get a certain karma for their misdeeds, and that dishonest person often gets caught in the end. But we have to still consider him innocent of the first charge. That’s our rule of law.

We need to stop holding Hillary Clinton hostage to accusations that have never been proven. We need to look at the actual facts as we know them. It’s easy to get online and watch her speeches. Does she really look all that evil? Does anything she say make sense? Does she have a consistency that we can follow? And most important – where does she get all those pant suits (snicker.) But really, come on. In our most honored ethics she is innocent. Let’s all treat her that way.

Now on to Donald Trump (you knew I was going there… right?)

Right now Trump is being accused of all sorts of things from bad business deals to collusion with the Russians. We have to, with all our integrity, hold him innocent of anything that has not been proven against him.

We can, however, judge him for things we have actually seen. And this is what has me pulling out my hair every day (okay, well I don’t have any hair right now, but you get the picture.)

We have all seen the constant look of straight-out meanness that constantly adorns his face. We’ve heard the sneers and sidelines that come from his mouth. We’ve heard him mock a disabled person (no, it wasn’t taken out of context, what the hell would be the context of that!) We’ve heard him call for a Muslim registry, we’ve heard him call Mexicans rapists and murders. We’ve heard him call for second amendment people to take care of Clinton… and then quickly add a few more words at the end of the sentence to make it seem like he didn’t really say that.

These are things we have seen him do with our own eyes. This, people, should be enough for us to make a judgment of his character. Perhaps he was only a willing dupe with the Russians. We have to hold him innocent of that. But we do have enough empirical evidence to judge his character… and in that line he is (and has been all along) guilty as charged.

I’ve seen nothing but intelligence and thoughtfulness from Hillary Clinton. I also know that many upstanding people whom I trust have backed her and supported her: Bernie Sanders, President Obama, Joe Biden, to name a few. There is no evidence to suggest that she is not what she seems, when we really look at her. Hillary Clinton is innocent.

Donald Trump is probably not guilty of everything, but he is guilty of being a thin skinned bully.

These are things that we know.

Letter to Editor
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