Meditation on Justice

Justice is a made-up thing, one of the best things humans have attempted, IMO. It is designed to make up for the injustices of nature. Since justice is administered by humans, it’s not perfect, but its imperfections reflect the very imperfections in humanity justice exists to rectify. Laws were formed that all people could follow and a rule of law to establish justice in the case of a law being violated. The people administering justice are supposed to know the law well and have the ability to detach their own biases, beliefs, and experiences from the whole shebang.

That can’t be easy.

Justice is a very wonderful thing. There was never any need for humans to come up with it. Nature works in the opposite direction. It doesn’t give the weak and alien a chance at all. I guess when we decided to form the uber-organism of a society, we began to see survival as something beyond an individual thing. You’ll have to ask Lamont or Dude on that one. I don’t remember the moment myself 😉

I got justice this year. Medical science had found a way to rectify my weakness so I’m not going to be left behind when the tribe moves on, and I won’t be stealing food from the young.



Metal joints — justice


There is injustice here, too. By sheer luck (and possibly some merit) I was born into an upper-middle-class family with parents who both had college educations. I was also born with a pretty good mind and an extremely strong will which helped me compensate for some learning disabilities (and no one had learning disabilities in the 50s and 60s). My family also happened to have been from the Great American West where few people lived (or live now). I consider this good luck — the tensions of highly populated areas were not part of my childhood.

On the other side, why did my dad have to die at 45? Why was my mom a nutcase? Why was my brother self-destructive? Why am I left here with no family? What the fuck? Fate’s injustices were made up for by a large and loving extended family. This is an example of why justice is represented by a balance. The philosophy I grew up with is, “You gotta’ take the bitter with the sweet,” “Count yer’ blessings,” and “Keep on keeping on.”

I think every day we struggle for justice in one way or another. We want people to listen to us and hear what we’re really saying. We want to be respected for the person we are.

I’ve been — out of the corner of my eye — watching all the stuff involved in the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I will now weigh in.

First, when the Republicans (I believe illegally) obstructed the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice during Obama’s last year in office, they asked for what’s happening now. They’re getting a species of justice but it might be called revenge. Not having the votes to make any impact on anything Mr. Trump and his minions choose to do, they have resorted to dirty politics, and it’s just the kind of dirty politics that will deflect attention from things that (I, anyway) think are more important such as tariffs on Chinese goods. I think they’re playing into the Repub’s hands in their ire and search for justice. I think it’s awful.

Second, men vs. women. I grew up during the 50s –> now. I was inappropriately hit on by a wide variety of men from my college poetry professor to a kid in one of my classes. In between those two? I don’t want to detail this at all. As a friend and I were talking the other day, it was a different time. That kind of behavior — and the fact that it was more or less considered “OK” — is one of the reasons behind feminism. But back then I think we mostly went around with the idea that the only reason a man wanted to hang around a woman was on the off chance that he could “do her.” It wasn’t and isn’t true, but it was a common defensive posture.

On the other side…

There was a time in my life when my eyes were completely open to sexuality in the workplace. One was the office Christmas party at the large law firm where I worked. The woman who ran the one and only word processor (it was the late 70s), a formerly hot chick now in her late 40s, too much make-up, slinky clothes, cheap nylons, teased hair dyed strawberry blond, emphasis on the strawberry, showed up that day even more decorated with robin’s-egg-blue eyeshadow and jewelry than usual. That day I learned (in the lady’s break room) that she had been the “mistress” of one of the partners years before and had not let go. Her hope was to re-ignite the relationship — which I think she did that afternoon, if only temporarily.

The other was when I had my annual performance review and I was told (by the smarmy, nasty, ugly, polyester-pants-clad office manager) that the only reason I had the job I had was because one of the associates had recommended me. The law firm had the idea that in order to get him to go with them (he was a judge’s son) they had to hire me. They thought the judge’s son was boinking me. He wasn’t. We’d met when he attended the law school where I was working. He respected my work and thought I’d be a good paralegal. It really WAS that simple. But the culture was what it was. The undercurrent in that place was a lot like Madmen. 

Our rationale for all of this was “all men are pigs.” I would add (though we never did), “and some women, too.”

Sex is NOT rational which is why there are laws about it. It’s that justice thing again.

We don’t live exactly in that world anymore, but many of us HAVE lived in that world which makes justice difficult. The response of some is, “That’s how it was.” The response of others (younger women? angrier women?) “That’s not to be borne!” Both are right. That’s how it was and no, it’s not right. That it’s not right is WHY we’ve worked to change our world.

Which brings me to what’s going on now with the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh. This is politics. This is retribution. The guy deserves a fair hearing. I don’t like him. I don’t like anything about politics in this country right now. It’s all of a very corrupt and angry piece to me and justice doesn’t enter in.

11 thoughts on “Meditation on Justice

  1. Impressed, I am. That was truthfully and honestly written with a clear eye on what was happening, did happen and is happening, in a nutshell! I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Thank you for this well-written summary. I completely agree about sex not being rational — for that reason, I expect we will continue to see these issues. Whether in school or in the workplace, the playgrounds or in the courts, the best we can expect is mutual respect. Hopefully this morning’s action will lead to improved respect, at least in the Senate.

  3. Dude: “Dude, this so reminds me of that time when, like, Conquerin’ Billy and them French Vikings–you ‘member what I’m talking about, Lamont?”

    Lamont: “Oh, yeah, Dude, you mean the Battle of Hastings!”

    Dude: “Yeah, dude, like, that was some Justice with a capital J shit, remember? I ‘member after King Eddie croaked, dude, Harry’s bro’ Toasty–”

    Lamont: “That’s Tostig, Dude.”

    Dude: “Right, dude, I mean Tostig, and that creepy Norway king, Harald Hardrider or whatever–”

    Lamont: “Uh huh, HardRADA, Dude.”

    Dude: “Right, right, Toasty and Hardrider, marched over here and whupped up on us at the Battle of Fulford, then King Harry God’s Son–”

    Lamont: “That’d be GodWINson, Dude.”

    Dude: “Oh, yeah, dude, you’re right! Anyway, Harry God’s Son was one righteous dude, dude, remember? Yeah, we kicked their traitorous asses, bro’, like, we got us some serious Justice that day at Stamford Bridge! Man! I miss those days, dude!”

    Lamont: “Uhh… Dude, don’t you remember how that whole shindig shook out?”

    Dude: (Inhaling deeply, swinging imaginary sword with free hand) “Mmmm, JUStice cough, cough-cough. Hmmm… on further thought, I’m thinkin’ maybe things didn’t go s’well after all?”

    Lamont, sighing: “You could say that, Dude. King Harold got an extreme close-up look at a Norman arrow, remember? Shit, that shit isn’t justice, it just is.”

    Dude: “Just is? Oh! Ah ha ha ha hah haaa! I getcha, bro’!

    May justice rain down like arrows, Martha.

  4. I think you are move into karmic justice than I am. As far as where and how we fall in the scale of human relationships, I give the Universe a big shrug. It is what it is. I got two smart parents, one of whom was a child molester, but I also got an incredible amount of grit and determination to somehow make a life for myself. My brother didn’t commit suicide — he just died really early of cancer. My sister didn’t, as far as I know, commit suicide, but she might as well have for the difference it has made in my world. But I have a son and occasionally, a granddaughter, depending on finances.

    I think of justice as a legal thing. I do not think of it is something which is part of my fate or the quality of my life. If I thought that way, I think I’d totally lose it. Was it justice that I have had one medical catastrophe after another, from pretty young until today? I don’t think justice is involved. That’s just what happened. I would say I’ve had some really atrocious luck, but that’s not justice or injustice. It just IS.

    Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Then I remember how many other people have plenty of their own issues and mine are neither better nor worse than theirs. And unlike many of them — I’M STILL ALIVE.

    • I don’t know if you understood what I wrote. Justice is a man-made thing that humans devised to compensate for the injustices of nature. That has been the impulse of justice forever. It’s not divine or karmic or anything like that. It’s based on law and it is mechanical and we made it up. We have only ourselves to blame if it isn’t working.

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