There are many reasons to feel relieved and even hopeful at the results of the trial and conviction of Derek Chauvin. That justice was served at least this one time; that more marches expressing anger at injustice were not needed for this one incident; that maybe lawmakers, governors and mayors might come to realize the extent that racism festers in our court systems and police systems and commit to doing something about it.
But what stands out most for me is the reality of how this event underscores once again the necessary connection between justice and truth. There can be no justice without truth.
On the day George Floyd died, the Minneapolis Police Department put out a written statement that was full of lies. Consider the title alone: “Man dies following medical incident during police interaction.” Medical incident? The entire article is as accurate as is the title.
One wonders how many other police departments have gotten away with lies like that over the years? What cut through these lies was the truth that was revealed in the video filming of the event—especially the filming by seventeen year old Darnella Frazier (who, along with other eye witnesses, spoke movingly and directly at the trial under oath). Were it not for her video, it is likely that the perpetrator may have literally gotten away with murder.
Frazier is to be commended for her courage as well as her presence of mind to film that sordid happening. Also, for her sense of right and wrong (along with many other bystanders) that thoroughly surpassed that of the four police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd.
Once again (as in the case of Greta Thunberg and students at Parkland High School for example), we are honoring the courage and strength and truth telling of a young person! Without her truth, there would have been no justice. With lies, there is invariably injustice.
Cultural critic bell hooks, in her book All About Love, tells us that “the heart of justice is truth telling.” One cannot build justice on falsehoods. Police should know this by now, all adults should know this. Those who perpetrate the “Big Lie” that Trump lost a free and fair election should know it. Those busy bringing new Jim Crow laws to prevent the poor and people of color from voting ought to know it. Those who stormed the nation’s capitol on January 6 should know it. Those who are engaged in lies cannot also be engaged in justice-making.
Our culture seems to be going through a truth crisis with “fake news,” incendiary news, and very often cold indifference to the truth. There must be a reason why Satan is called “the father of lies.”
“The proper objects of the heart are truth and justice,” says Thomas Aquinas. The same heart where courage (a “big heart” in French) is found hungers for both truth and justice. God bless the truth tellers and justice makers!
*Jake Tapper on Twitter: “Seriously, read it again knowing what we know: https://t.co/XqPWCpoxeQ” / Twitter to see the entire press release.
See Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 101-112.
Banner Image: George Floyd Protest, 6/5/2020, Rockville, MD Photo by Kevin James Shay on Unsplash
How did the trial and its verdict touch you spiritually? What lessons do you derive from it? Does your heart too hunger for truth and justice and admire those who bring it about—especially when they are young people?
The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times
A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
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