Tuesday, February 07, 2006

An obvious statement of unfreedom

While slavery has been outlawed, the condition of unfreedom has bloomed like a fungus, like a flower of death, in the centuries of this nation's existence. Here's the most contemporary example of unfreedom on the march.

Number of U.S. prisoners serving life sentences with no parole for crimes they committed while juveniles: 2,225[Human Rights Watch (N.Y.C.)]

Number of prisoners serving such sentences in all other countries worldwide: 12
end quote.

In a democratic society, people are entitled to start their lives over again if they have acted foolishly in youth or even in middle-age. Even the so-called backward world that surrounds the ponderous prison island of the United States seems to understand the need for this kind of cultural and social space in human interaction.
It also demonstrates a failure of forgiveness and a failure of generosity on the part of the society. The capacities to forgive and be generous are counted as virtues in my culture. Implacability is a horrible vice in both Catholic and Protestant understanding.
The refusal of mercy is a degenerate act. One committed time and time again by those who hold power but no authority in this nation.

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