Recognize these words? They end our Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. To me Liberty means freedom and Justice means equality and fairness. These words can evoke deep emotional and intellectual reactions among Americans as they are sacredly held beliefs and very personal. They have given courage and determination to take action to protect and improve our nation and its society.
Here are the words of just a few great people from history. Do you know who said them?
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."
"To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace."
"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."
"The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose."
(They are: Fredrick Douglas, Eleanor Roosevelt, Desmond Tutu, George Washington and Ronald Regan)
Freedom is fragile, expensive and priceless, and needs constant protection. D-day fatalities of American and Allied nations were 4,413.
Have we become complacent over the decades and allowed the common good of the middle path to become pulled and stretched to polar opposites? Whatever office holders’ or candidate's motivations are we have a polarized and tribal population and government. Non-cooperation and obstruction have paralyzed real progress from being achieved because the tribes need to make their beliefs right and the other wrong. The victims here are truth, national wellbeing and future generations’ financial security. Our children and their children are being buried by an outrageous national debt.
Equal Protection is in our fourteenth amendment and it provides that no state can deny any person equal protection of the laws. Most people hold this to mean everyone has equal justice under the law. That phrase in sculpted into the US Supreme Court Building. What an elegant mission statement for the judges!
Closely linked to the above is the concept of "rule of law". Simply, everyone must obey the law and no one is above the law. Everyone is subject to equal prosecution as well regardless of who that person is.
In practice it's not so simple. Legal concepts are codified in words and therein lay its weakness. Words are interpreted to support one side or the other and judgment has to be decided. Depending on the level of the court, judges are either appointed by Congress or the President, or elected by the people.
Money and power buys the best lawyers and legal teams to secure the outcome they want. Some people use the law as a tool (or weapon) to get what they want. This is simply bad behavior and bullying. The law is just another means to reduce their risk exposure. It’s just part of their game.
Most of us don't operate that way and thank goodness for that because if everyone was like that our society would be hellish and ugly. You can see this nearly every night on TV. I like to believe that bad actors will eventually get what they deserve. Maybe that’s naive but it keeps me going.