Thursday, September 22, 2011

Troy Davis, Al Sharpton, Starr Jones...and Watching Dreams Come True

By now we've all heard that Troy Davis was executed.  We've probably all heard, too, that he didn't do it...or, at least, was warranted a new trial.  Many, many opinions from many, many people.  Does the judicial system work?  Is it fair?  Was this a racially-motivated execution?  Wow....all these questions, I'm posing them, and they're driving me insane!  I have to admit, my opinion is....I don't know.  I'm torn by what I've read.  Let's review - the judicial system has reviewed this case at least four times on appeal.  Those are exhausted.  But what happened?  By some accounts, the witnesses recanted (some of them) their testimony and said they felt coerced.  Well, yes, they did, however the opposing side of that is that these witnesses were interviewed again by the courts and, in their (the court's) opinion, there was no reason to warrant a new trial.  I watched Today today (sorry, I had to do that) and Al Sharpton and Starr Jones were weighing in on the topic.  Get ready for this comment...because I never thought I'd say it, but....Al Sharpton made a point I agree with.  Too often, he and Jesse Jackson show up only when there is a visible, viable black man that can offer them some free publicity and camera time.  Today, though, I found myself agreeing with Al.  His point was this - he thinks, in cases where the death penalty would be warranted, that it should be removed as a consideration if we are convicting solely on eyewitness testimony alone.  Hmm....I....well, I have to agree.  Think about it.  If a person is killed and someone points to you and they are eyewitnesses that get you convicted, should you be put to death?  I have to mention, too, that this is in the absence of any forensic evidence.  There was no weapon (though the bullet was fired from a gun used by Davis previously), no DNA, no nothing.  Period.  There were, however, eyewitnesses.  Like I said, I have to agree with Al.  Pro- or Anti- Death Penalty, you have to consider that life without any chance of parole is a safer bet if we are to be humane.  Al's right - how do we stand at the UN and argue about other countries inhumane treatment of their citizens when we are doing this?  Okay, genocide, this isn't, but you get the point.

So why did I mention Starr Jones?  Because she was on the Today show and made a glaring comment that sent shivers through me.  It was, "You'll never see a rich, white man being put to death in America."  Wait, what now?  You just....did you....really, Starr?  Yeah, for the life of me I cannot figure out WHY we have any race issues in America.  Let me get started here, Starr.  First, watch the evening news.  Who do we see most prominently displayed on the news as committing crimes and killing others?  Why are there race issues?  Let me tell you, as a country, we have not done enough to help that divide, however it will NEVER be fixed if people have that attitude.  Please stop blaming the whites for your lot in life.  I have black friends, Asian friends, Indian friends.  I blame them for nothing.  I am not racist and, if you are going to play that card, you best be ready for the racial inequality to continue.  She then said it was because rich white men could afford, and had access to, better lawyers.  really, Starr?  Let me throw out one name, then we'll continue this conversation.  Ready?  OJ Simpson.  Okay, want to go on?  Didn't think so.  Let it go.

Now, on to watching dreams come true.  I am/am not a fan of reality TV shows.  I love some, I cannot stand to watch others, and yet others, still, I have to watch to prove that money cannot buy you brains, class, or style.  But the new Simon Cowell show, The X-Factor, was on last evening.  There was a 42-year old woman with three children who, for the past twelve years had been beaten down by her boyfriend (who she got rid of) and he told her she would never amount to anything.  Just a tiny little thing - a single mom - who came on to sing Aretha Franklin's, "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman," and she....well, she nailed it.  It was moving and to watch her wow the crowd was amazing.  The best, by far, for me was the 28-year old former drug addict who has been clean for 70 days.  He has a two-year old son and wants nothing more than to be a good role model for his kid.  When he told the judges he wrote his song, "Young Homie," and would perform it, they gave him the, "This ought to be good," sarcastic look.  Then, as he began to sing his hip-hop tune related to getting clean, how important life is, how he values it and that everything is precious to him...he won them over.  Simon's exact words, I believe, were, "The part I love most about doing this is when I sit in this chair and meet a star for the first time."  This kid is a trash collector.  He is now on his way to a chance at $5 Million to give he and his son a better life.  Even if he doesn't make it, he realized his dream last night.  Too often, though we want to think we can still dream, we let them go and never realize them.  To watch someone actually make it happen, if you have any feeling inside you at all and cheer for the underdog, is powerful.  It was moving. I think music takes us there...but performers sell it.  The power of a dream is amazing...and to see it, alive and well, was really kinda cool.

Until next time...........

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