Thursday, December 31, 2009
THE RULE OF LAW
Most Americans are in love with the phrase “The rule of law” however, many on the bottom seem not to connect with such a phrase whether they know it or not. The rule of law is slightly reminiscent to the term democracy, for it implies that the law, which is birthed by the majority, is indeed absolute; therefore, concretely saying that he law will always rule. However, when we begin to examine this social phenomenon in its complete context, we come to find that, depending on the political structure within a society, the majority can easily be those who are the richest, or those who are in ideological control. Anyhow, this is a term most likely to be stated by strict constitutionalists or even most republicans. BUT!!! What does this term mean to those who haven’t the power to stand up and have their voices be heard? Is it morally ok to allow the rule of law to descend onto those whom circumstances are not aligned with that which has been prescribed by law? For instance, if a young female is shoplifting for her hungry child whom is waiting for her under a bridge, is it morally ok to allow the rule of law to affect her?
The problem with the rule of law is that, the law itself is written by humans and oftentimes humans who cannot or simply refuse to sympathize with all walks of life. As a result, the law ends up ignoring the lives and tribulations of others, while only keeping up with middle classed and above values. Therefore, when one says he has respect for the rule of law, he is most likely showing praise to his own superiority over other people in a cheer of knowing that his values are indeed protected by law. He knows he doesn’t have to worry too much about being confronted by law enforcement, because it is either himself or someone within his lane who had written the law. When a society seems to only have poor people locked up within its prisons, clearly that is concrete evidence to the fact that poor people voices are not included in the orchestration of the criminal code. So again, is the rule of law a reputable phrase to be using if one is to consider his society a civilized place to reside? Well some would say that depends, and that is true, for the evidence would have to be present to show injustice. However, what if your society does show the injustice, would it be in upstanding nature to allow such injustices to continue on? Why is it that in America, the evidence shows and yet most of the citizenry are oblivious, notwithstanding, a plethora of human testimony that exists as well?
Yes, we have the rule of law, albeit people are so called breaking the law; however, the deeper philosophical question is whether or not the law is right within the unique circumstances of the law breaker? This is an intermediate step that isn’t included in the process of defining law nor is it recognized in the court of law. If the court’s job is to determine the truth, then why not acknowledge the totality of the situation that led one to committing crime? I can only concede to the fact that once a person is accused he/she hasn’t the right to explain his/her reason as to why, even if that reason is as logical as they may come. This ensures that the rule of law continues on, while never fully giving the accused the full right to explain their defense and have it be heard and examined by reasonable people (juries) who may agree. The rule of law exists the way it does to ensure proper control over those who are not fortunate enough to orchestrate the law itself. It is used as a social control mechanism, to keep certain persons in check. Checking the latest statistics on arrests and convictions will show who is being kept in check and who isn’t. Sure one would be keen to find that it is almost all the time those who are without.
So now the question is how can the rule of law be fixed so that the trust of all can be given to it? The only way to grant that is to allow all backgrounds from all people to be acknowledged when writing the law. Society cannot condemn situations that it creates. Is it fair to say that most poor people are unfairly jailed for things that are out of their control? Society would have to do better on social issues and programs if it chooses to criminalize petty property crimes and it be justified. People mustn’t be allowed or forced to live in conditions that would ultimately end up forcing them to commit “crimes” just to survive. Rational choice theory tells us that criminals are well aware of their actions; notwithstanding, it could also be possible that their choice to commit that crime is likewise a reasonable choice based on their circumstances? The language in law must be attacked to benefit all in order for the rule of law to demand respect from everyone. The law must learn to acknowledge all possibilities and not just the possibilities of a select few.
Where is the justice in someone violating antitrust law and getting off with a slap on the wrist compared to a man who received harsh time for drug possession? Since when it is ok for the system to predict future crime by charging someone with intent to distribute, just because the system feel as though a person had too much drugs within his possession? Yet such an add on is nowhere in sight when it comes to crimes that are committed by people who are in the upper echelons of society. BUT, the rule of law is supposed to be respected?? The rule of law means nothing if the entire society isn’t involved in defining the law. As result, a second classed juncture within society comes into fruition, and within that juncture people usually feel oppressed and unheard of by the dominant society. They are made to feel low and like that of a criminal due to the labeling by dominant folk. Their life experiences within that juncture cannot be reasoned by those who are not apart of that juncture, which is primarily why the second classed people end up in literal captivity, usually due to circumstances out of their control, for a person cannot help what he/she has been born into. Yet such a reality is not recognized in the court of law, even though it is truth, which the court claims to stand for. But we’re supposed to die for the rule of law in our nation’s wars? We’re supposed to be the emperors of the rule of law! All other nations that don’t have the rule of law are deemed uncivilized and not up to date! Sadly, many people uphold that fallacy without even noticing what the rule of law means to their own society! There are two sides to every coin. What says you?