In my opinion, the whole world is a stage. Everybody puts on their best face no matter how bad things are, be they rich, poor, athlete or corporation. Getting specific, this could be South African Oscar Pistorius, General Motors, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and yes the Bureau of Prisons.
The dilemma? Seeing is not necessarily believing. Truth can be very elusive amidst all the self serving spin and “plausible deniability” that is cherished amidst any inquiry. Often nothing ever changes until something so outrageous occurs that the facts just cannot be denied. Feeling skeptical? Fair enough. How about the Chevy Cobalt ignition fiasco and belated recall at GM; world class corporate resistance and layered denial to those grieving families seeking the truth. Chevy ads will never resonate with the same down to earth homespun Americana. Truth took a hit on the automotive stage. Prior to Pope Francis, who I think is the real deal; the Catholic Church’s response to international predator priest accusations over decades has been breath taking in scope and persistence. Behind the stage of grand pomp and circumstance, has been subtle obstruction of justice with appropriate denials of course. Children have been the victims, pretty low in my books. Then there is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who spent a cool million of state taxpayer dollars for a Bridgegate report that cleared him of any wrong doing. Pure whitewash on the national political stage, truth was collateral damage, just another day in politics. Sadly, there is Reeva Steenkamp, shot by Olympian Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner, while she was cowering in a locked bathroom armed with two cell phones. Amidst the high drama and conflicting testimony, quietly lies the truth. Intruder versus a heated domestic dispute, you can debate but a female South African judge will render her verdict on the world stage.
How does this relate to Marriage Behind Bars, the Bureau of Prisons or your relationship with Jesus? Ultimately it relates to the truth, pure and simple. A witness in court is under oath, sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God. How about John 8:32 “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Aggressive prosecutors and skilled defense attorneys often massage the facts in their zeal to win at all costs. The results? Truth and justice can be distorted, families ruined, legal careers made, freedom lost and harried reporters often mangle the truth to meet deadlines.
The good news is DNA testing has started to free inmates who were framed and federal sentencing guideline changes are fast approaching, supported by conservative politicians no less. Fame and power coveted by so many, also brings intense media scrutiny which forces true justice to be rendered despite the best efforts of $900 per hour lawyers. Thus General Motors, Oscar Pistorius, the Catholic Church and Chris Christie are taking serious heat. Discerning leaders brave enough to buck the status quo, real truth seekers empowered with faith, values and morality are amidst us. They should be celebrated not criticized, regardless of the size of the stage upon which they advocate.
Who are they? On the big stage, Attorney General Eric Holder, Pope Francis, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), David Rothenberg with the Fortune Society, the late Chuck Colson and Nelson Mandela to name a few. They seek or sought change, justice and freedom for those lives damaged by dysfunctional courts, overcrowded prisons and harsh sentencing guidelines, long before it became politically correct to do so. There is hope for those behind bars, forgiveness for those who have done nothing, reconciliation amongst enemies and quiet heroes striving for real change in a town near you. These heroes seek results not ratings.
Reeva Steenkamp is lost forever, but perhaps rampant domestic abuse in South Africa will finally be addressed, courtesy of Oscar Pistorius, whether found guilty or innocent. Future lives will be saved driving safer GM cars after billions are lost in market share and class action legal settlements. Bully politicians will think twice before dishing out serious paybacks or they risk seeing cherished careers take the George Washington Bridge to nowhere, all lanes open; thanks Governor Christie.
Those who have broken the law will hopefully receive realistic sentences based on the truth honestly presented in court to discerning judges who stop pandering to voters for re-election. Thank you Eric Holder, Chuck Colson and Nelson Mandela for taking a risk helping those behind the wire, those without a real voice. Finally, Pope Francis, a humble man of God, is making changes in a huge global bureaucracy unaccustomed to legal accountability, now that takes guts and faith.
Bottom line? Hope is good, hypocrisy is bad; truth is good, legal overkill is bad; God is good, case closed, we’re adjourned.