I have thought a lot about this as 2019's #metoo morphed to 2020's #BLM and on to an election year where justice issues were a no show. I have not frankly read any political party's "platform" since I got old enough to see no correlation between platforms and action, but other than a reported statement that the Democratic platform called for the restoration of all prisons to government management (away from corporate run prisons about which I have great ambivalence since I have personally have seen a well-run "corporate prison" in FL and plenty of scary things in Missouri where prison management has always been in-house) but I heard no real plan to make that happen and certainly very little common sense commitment to changes in how our country responses to the causes of wrongful arrest and conviction, excessive sentences, "plea bargaining" blackmail, societal encouragement of recidivism, victimization of crime victims AND
- prosecutorial misconduct,
- judicial misconduct,
- officers of the court misconduct,
- barriers to empowerment of the citizens in the most wounded communities,
- needed educational reforms in support of fewer children quitting that so important job of staying engaged in school long enough to be able to care for themselves and their families,
- better and earlier interdiction in the domestic violence and sexual assault epidemics that drive overwhelmed and under resourced foster care and all the other factors that make too many children highly vulnerable to being trafficked
And guess what! No law, no law maker, no law enforcement professional, no prison employee, no social worker, no educational or medical professional can drive the changes needed. BUT maybe, just maybe, if we are LARGELY willing to walk with people we don't understand, give others a hand UP without using our limited understanding to "deem them worthy of help," and embrace the possibility that we don't really understand much about those we fear; then, maybe we can give mercy and offer grace by being PRESENT with people who, like us all, are struggling, sometimes lonely, sometimes fearful of being ENOUGH, sometimes wondering if anyone cares about us much less loves us ... then MAYBE we can start to make more effective use of tax dollars and private agency dollars rather than by trying to "help" with a check to a faceless need without a check in with the person we propose to help.
MAYBE we can stop thinking about THEM versus US and start remembering that WE are both the problem and, with God's help, the solution.