Today I was stupid enough to read the newspaper. I think I am going to be depressed for awhile now.
The the caption was, “Executed teenager’s conviction thrown out- 70 years later.” My first act of stupidity was to read anything about executions. But I read the whole article. A fourteen-year-old boy, George Stinney, was arrested for murdering two little girls. He was black; they were white. After a one-day trial George was was pronounced guilty and sentenced to death by electric chair. When he was executed, the straps to the chair didn’t even fit his arms.
George was innocent.
George was a little boy the same age as my sister Sif. Sif is a beautiful, imaginative, compassionate person. She is fairly shy at the moment, but soon everyone will know of what a genius she is. I have no doubt that she will change this world for the better.
George had barely started life. He was held in utter contempt because of his skin color. According to the American “justice” system, his life wasn’t worth being lived. The decision was made in cold blood and with the approval of the national government.
This happened in 1944 when America and the other free countries of the world were fighting against the oppression of Hitler. Hitler held Jews in such contempt that he was mass murdering them. It was senseless. All of these people, guilty of being alive, were dehumanized to such an extent that killing them seemed like nothing more than weeding out an invasive species of weeds.
Why must human beings hold other people’s lives in contempt? Every nation and time period has had a hated group. In Ancient Rome female babies were regularly left to die of exposure because their parents only felt that boys were worth their love and time. Who cares if another woman dies? The Ancient Romans were not the only ones who held and hold this attitude.
Slaves’ lives have always been considered valueless as well. They are humiliated and stolen from: their families, freedom, identity. And if they die, it is only a temporary, monetary loss. More worthless people can easily take their place.
As the human race, why do we hate? Why do we decide whose lives are valuable and whose are not? This brings up an even worst question, does anyone’s life have value?
At the moment I almost don’t think so. We are a race of hate and blood and backbiting. What point is the little good we accomplish during our short lives?
Besides hate, there is another similarity every human shares: we have all asked the question and look for the answer. As The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says, it is “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.” We either seek the answer for why the world is wrong or we look for distraction from the question. I have to believe there is an answer to the question. Because why do people keep going on? Why do parents do everything they can for their children to live to adulthood? Why are there justice systems that attempt to keep innocents unharmed? I think it is because we all have the hope that there is answer to our question.
I am Christian. Because of this I think I have at least part of the answer to the question (I am pretty sure it is not, in fact, 42). I believe that God loves all the people of the world and doesn’t just want them to survive. He wants them to truly live. The world we are supposed to be in has no hate and death. Doesn’t everyone feel that? We don’t belong here. We know that injustices are not supposed to exist. Maybe that is why people continue to survive; because they want to make the world be the way it is supposed to be, even as they hate and backbite and kill.
Perhaps I’m unrealistic. Maybe there is no answer to the question. Maybe the best way to live is by being distracted until we finally die. I don’t believe that. God help me, I am going to drive out hate with love until we are in the world we were made to live in, even if no one else cares to do the same.
But I doubt that I will be alone.