Letter: We need King Richard
Definition of criminal — a person who has committed a crime.
Sandra Lopez was an adult when she willfully entered the United States without permission. That’s a misdemeanor, and it makes her a criminal. Not much use arguing about that. But oh, to live in a country where legal is synonymous with just. Slavery was legal until 1865, and helping slaves escape was a crime. Then there’s segregation to consider. And 5-year-olds working in mines and factories. All legal. In the face of so many awful and perfectly legal injustices, can we believe that law is the prime dispenser of justice in our country? Step forward people of the book! “Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live, and inherit the land which the Lord your God gives you.” (Deut. 16:18-20)
Most of us like the Robin Hood legend about men who merrily flaunt the law to help themselves and their friends to others unjustified riches. In the original legend injustice triumphs when Robin is betrayed. But we like the Hollywood (per)version, in which Robin and friends help ransom King Richard who returns to pardon and reward Robin and his criminals because he recognizes the pure justice underlying their crimes; crimes like working on land they no longer own to avoid starving and freezing while the wealthy, who took that land from them by force, thrive on it.
Where are you, King Richard? Sandra Lopez needs you to change some laws. Most of us need you to change some laws. We seem to have become incapable of doing it for ourselves and as a result, “the law is an ass, a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.” (Charles Dickens)
And then of course, there’s simple kindness towards one another to consider. “And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” (The Beatles)
Thank you, Sandra and Unitarian neighbors, for sacrificing to help us think about these things.