Thursday, September 27, 2007

Emotionalism vs. Rational Thinking (And The Rule Of Law)

My generation is regressing. Instead of being the savory sages that dole out words of wisdom to the younger generation, some of us are exacerbating the youthful impetuousness of our younger generations.

Today, war protesters desperately try to make the comparison of this war, with the Vietnam War. Although there are some similarities in some areas, to include the guerrilla tactics of the enemy, it really isn't a re-creation of that conflict (as much as some would like to have us all believe). The fact is, it's a war and like all wars, they are not good. But it's a unique conflict unto itself and must be treated as such.

Follow that up with the fact that civil rights leaders are desperately trying to compare the case of six boys that brutally attacked another, with Rosa Parks not wanting to give up her seat on the bus. In my wildest imaginations, I cannot figure out where anyone with an ounce of sense could even imply such a thing. These are two entirely different situations, in two entirely different times.

But before we go any further with this, let's focus on something here, if only for a moment.

There is a desire on the part of some to re-create their youthful experiences. For many, it was a safer time in their lives. They had less responsibility then, now they have aging parents that require attention and at the same time, they have older kids that need launched into the world. Many feel sandwiched in. Maybe it's a lack of feeling a certain sense of accomplishment or as in the case of Cindy Sheehan, who suffered a serious trauma with the loss of her son. I don't know for sure, what everyone's case is. But one thing rings true, many are looking backward and trying to re-live something that cannot be fully re-lived. As a result, they are getting it wrong.

As I look back to my youth, I remember a lot of emotions, impulsive behaviors, and lack of real understanding of the world. This was not because I was stupid or dumb, I just didn't know any better. I just didn't have the experiences necessary to properly analyze things enough, in order to form adequate judgments on things. I didn't have the impulse control that I have now.

But today, I see people that should be wiser and more prudent, leaving an angry legacy to the next generation. Much of this is because of this regression that I have described.

In some cases they are fueling the fire of anger that naturally occurs with youthful inexperience, exploiting younger people's passionate feelings for their own purpose. In other words, they are using emotionalism as opposed to sound judgment and reason, to advance their causes. Anytime you can create a cause based on a feeling, you can create a certain mob reaction. When emotions take over a person or a cause, rational thinking can fall prey to them quite easily; and as we saw from the Duke case, it can lead to so much hysteria that common sense is cast aside, in favor of the impassioned moment.

One of the biggest things that will invoke inflamed emotions is a racial issue, real or imagined. But sometimes, after the emotion has subsided, if we stop and look at the situation in a reasonable manner, we might just see things from a different perspective.

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have manufactured many injustices, for the sole purpose of justifying their own existences. They have used a number of overblown incidents to incite emotionally charged reactions. It comes as no surprise to me, when they beat their drums for the cameras. They love the limelight.

But beyond all of this, I want to be clear about something here.

I know and understand, there have been countless well-documented instances of injustices done to blacks, throughout the course of history. From the days of slavery to the Jim Crow era, there have been some bad things done. There is no denying this, whatsoever. Still today, there are instances of true discrimination and acts of real racism that occur. But even so, it's important to note that there are injustices done to people of all colors, nationalities, and religions, for a variety of reasons, from time to time. Injustice, as an entity itself, knows no boundaries.

Now, we have all heard the complaints from Jesse, Al, and many others in the Jena 6 case; they have been well-documented through media reports and have received more than their rightful share of exposure. But how many people have tried to see this through the eyes of the prosecutor of these six kids? How many can honestly say, they would feel the same way if the roles were reversed? And, how many can say they know and understand the laws that the law enforcers have to work with, in this situation?

If you have yet to consider these things, maybe you should read something from the perspective of the prosecutor in this case. Maybe you should look at this from the eyes of someone that has to uphold the existing laws and make sure that the law is fairly applied to all. But more importantly, you have to see the bottom line here: A crime was committed. The man, the people elected to prosecute that crime and others, has a story and it deserves to be heard.

After all, isn't that the reasonable and rational way to judge an argument?


Greg said...

I was waiting for you to do a post on this. I think you did a great job analyzing the issues.

You know, from the first time I read a news report about the story - in le Monde or Liberation - I knew that they weren't telling me everything.

There's a name for what the media and so-called civil rights activists are doing in Jena: race-baiting. It's terrible. Maybe that should be a hate crime. I can't even imagine what it must be like for the prosecutor, faced with a gang beating by a bunch of thugs (some with extensive juvenile records; one with a conviction for punching a girl in the face), being told he's racist for treating it as a serious crime. One more example of why good people think twice about public service.

Anyway, I watched the US Attorney assigned to investigate the case last weekend on CNN. He happens to be black. You can read what he had to say here:

I think you've hit the nail on the head with your point about the downside of the civil rights era. I saw this guy Shelby Steele on tv a couple years ago and have been meaning to read one of his books (link below). He says the best thing that ever happened to him was being a black man born in America before the civil rights era. Seems backwards, but his explanation is compelling. I think his theories may help explain why thousands of people would march in support of 6 kids who viciously ganged up on another. How they could convince themselves it was just a "school yard fight" or somehow provoked and justified. How they could manage to completely forget the kid who was loaded into an ambulance with blood pouring from his ears, and proclaim his attackers to be victims of a legal lynch mob. How they could seemingly ignore that the victim wasn't one of the 3 kids who hung nooses from the tree.

LASunsett said...

Thanks Greg. I would do more in-depth analysis of issues like this, if I only had more time or could figure a way to make some money off of it. ;)