Wednesday, June 14, 2006

You'll get it back later.

I'm no lawyer. I'm just a small town news photographer who loves to witness events that shape the world. Smarter folks than me have weighed in on the conflict between the "bad-guy rich land developer" and the "good-guy poor farmers" down in South Los Angeles.

From early on, the farmers had my sympathy. I'd gone out there last year and I saw that the farm was a benefit to the people who were making use of the land.

My support for the farmers has just about gone away completely.

I've seen the cultural benefits of the farm. It does fill your heart to see families doing work that is so basic to our nature. Surviving by putting their efforts into the land is special and fighting to preserve that opportunity is probably a very worthwhile battle.

Has anyone stopped to think about what else you're teaching here?

The protestors make good points in their arguments, but I've heard enough rhetoric. Nobody is considering how much damage is done to our society if we pick and choose which laws we should obey. We'll fight for our individual rights and be outraged if anyone tries to restrict our rights of expression.

Why does it end there?

People seem to be willing to support our system of laws only if it favors the outcome they'd like to see. It's happening again. Outrage and a willingness to break the law when the system favors the opposition is the path that supporters of the farm seem to be taking.

That's a horrible message to send.

I was out at "the farm" Tuesday night. I got a chance to see for myself the protest being mounted over the decision by the owner of the property to evict the farmers who have been using the land.

Earlier in the day, people were arrested for not leaving the property when ordered to vacate.

Is this the way it's supposed to work? Follow the legal system and obey the law as long as the law gives exactly what's wanted. If the legal system doesn't favor a popular cause, write it off as being biased and prejudiced and then ignore the law.

Is that how it's supposed to work?

I don't think so.

If you just want what you want, that's childish. You're supposed to look beyond that and want what's right. I'm not seeing that from the protestors. Part of the responsibility of living as an inter-dependent society is the willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

Right now, that's not what I'm seeing.

It seems like advocates for the farmers are starting to outnumber the farmers. With so many advisors and organizers, I wish more of them were advocates of the legal system. I can't understand why adults with common sense, good moral judgment and a shred of legal knowledge would allow themselves to take sides.

I'm not trying to insult anyone's intelligence, but something keeps coming back to me from my childhood and from raising kids myself. If you have something two kids want, but they're unwilling to share and they're fighting over it, you take it away. You put it up in the closet and don't let either of them play with whatever it is.

Most of the time the two kids will find other individual things to play with or they'll forget what they were fighting over and just go back to playing nicely together.

I know this situation is too complicated for that solution, but it makes at least as much sense as what's gone on so far.


turdpolisher said...

We saw the same thing in New Orleans after Katrina. The Arch-Dioocease shut down a church because there were not enough members to support it. The few members barricaded themselves inside.

Then a professional protest group sound out. They eventually outnumbered the church members. They Co-opted the protest and refused to let the barricaded parishoners speak to the media.

The media left.

beFrank said...

turdpolisher - I guess in a perfect world, we wouldn't have these problems. There is no perfect world, so we just have to know the difference between the con artists and the folks who really need our support.