By RALPH DOTTERER JR.
The word trilogy is sometimes used by the movie industry to link together three different movies.
All three movies would share a number of unifying factors.
The word free, used in conjunction with elections, press and speech or expression, are all separate tenants.
When joined together, these tenants form a foundational trilogy of a free, functioning democracy.
In a previous article, I pointed out to my readers that “free elections” are a misnomer because we use a “pay to play” system of elections, where candidates sell their souls for campaign cash, thereby enslaving themselves and taxpayers to certain special interests.
Another article looked at the phrase “free press,” which has a responsibility to objectively inform and educate the public.
This phrase has also become a misnomer because there are news outlets openly and covertly taking sides in the battle over our divided culture.
This article will look at how free speech and expressions are also a misnomer. Our speech and expressions are actually regulated because I think that if everyone said and did whatever they wanted to we would have anarchy among the people.
That type of personal behavior could ultimately destroy any democracy.
How about a Congress mired in the muck of their own making, waging the epic battle of gridlock?
Some might even say this scenario describes our current President, and how his actions have also made the White House a dysfunctional branch of government, with the President’s unpredictable tweets, having an adverse effect, both domestically and internationally.
By law, we have placed limits on what we dare say and do. Some of the more recent changes to our laws define hate speech and hate crimes, giving certain groups of citizens more protection.
If we define the application as artistic in nature, does hate speech get a free pass when used in something like rap music?
But what about those limits used to squelch speech and expression not defined by law?
Are they an arbitrary form of regulation often referred to as “political correctness.”
I want to use a local event as a focal point with which to define my discussion.
This past summer, Millbrook Playhouse’s production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” was presented on the main stage.
Harper Lee’s fictional book of the same title was published in 1960, but was written about an incident the author witnessed in the 1930s. The incident occurred in the segregated South at a time when negro citizens were treated harshly by the white society.
Within the play, or book’s storyline, is the plight of a negro man named Tom Robinson. He was accused of sexual assault involving a white woman.
Despite Tom’s testimony and the defense presented by his white attorney, Atticus Finch, there was little chance for justice.
It was a time when the allegation in this case could result in a death sentence for negroes without protection of the judicial system. At one point, a mob of vigilantes was formed, to take Tom Robinson’s fate into their own hands.
In today’s #METOO movement, how many accusations have been made, public judgments decided, and fates been sealed outside the due process of law? Where is the outrage over the pornography industry’s abuse of women?
Where is the public outrage over sex trafficking?
Like the good Christian people of Maycomb, how many of us have hardened our hearts to the truth, allowing abuses and prejudices to rule?
What about the system that allowed Catholic priests to victimize young people within the protection of their own culture?
Or the system that allows pornography to use and abuse its victims, making a profit over their broken lives?
Tom Robinson was eventually shot 17 times by sheriff’s deputies during his frantic attempt to escape injustice. Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer in 2014, when the teen walked away from the officer.
City officials feared that violent outbreaks of unrest would engulf their city, as had happened in other cities following police shootings.
On the other hand, did two police officers deserve to die in New York City after protestors marched through the streets shouting, “What do we want? Dead cops!”
Some argued the shootings were the act of a lone individual, not an act defining a movement.
But why do we allow wrongful shootings by police to define all of law enforcement? Hmmm…
“Black lives matter” is a grassroots effort seeking to draw attention to abuses from a prejudicial subculture inflicted on African Americans. It’s a time when black and white people come together to protest what they feel are injustices toward blacks.
Sometimes I’m left to wonder, where is the outrage and condemnation over gang violence among black youth? Gang wars routinely leave black youth dying on city streets and heartache among mothers knowing more killings will come.
There is also an elephant standing in the room that “Black lives matter” and the press conveniently ignore. It is the genocide of millions of unborn children of all colors who have died in our nation’s abortion clinics. It’s intellectual justification that assures the public that these lives don’t matter!
Both those on the left and the right side of our cultural divide are prone to advance their positions based on what I would call false “intellectual justification.”
I also define the so-called reasoning as arbitrary reconciliation of the facts driven by opinion or preconceived judgment made outside of an absolute, moral framework found in theistic values … values that both Christians and non-Christians might conveniently ignore when it suits their purpose.
This nation’s Founding Fathers knew what was true when they agreed on this, “All men are created equal, endowed by their creator with these unalienable rights.”
History has shown us that these individuals had their own personal failings and even fell short of such high ideals.
They justified their actions intellectually to suit their personal needs.
Despite this, we haven’t thrown out the baby with the bathwater.
We still credit them with the birth of a great nation, founded on sound principles that have carried our nation through trying times.
Unlike our current government, which aborts the baby and is giving its citizens their bathwater to drink!
Ralph Dotterer Jr. is a lifelong Nittany Valley farmer, hayseed philosopher, barnyard artist whose roots in the same soil go back almost 200 years.