JUSTICE RIDES A SLOW HORSE
There's an old saying in the criminal justice system that is often used, "justice rides a slow horse", but the quote attributed to country singer Kinky Friedman continues, " but it always overtakes". This saying is on my mind a lot here lately after too many years, on both sides, of the justice system. Also, I think this is because of a long life of observations spanning from the 1950's til now 2023.
So, I would like to share a short story based on these thoughts including a pithy account of life observations. Beginning with lofty thoughts of our countries' founders, including our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. These ideals were that all men are created equal, with unalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. During this period of time, our country was in its seminal period and these creators of high standards were slave owners. But, lets not pretend that any of us are so brilliant and of high moral standards that we would have been able to live a life of today's standards during these tumultuous times! History shows that every nation of the day was a product of slavery. Indeed, all of the way back to biblical times good God fearing citizens were told how to treat their slaves. So, lets not try to judge history by today's standards, as justice rides a slow horse!
Gods timing isn't our timing, but I cannot help but think of the remainder of the quote, "but it always overtakes". For instance these lofty words of our countries' founders set a standard, but people are people of their time. As we grew as a nation we were one of the first to try to set these high standards on the world stage, but that was a hypocritical attempt as we were too a slave nation. With the world becoming entangled in dealing with each other in the trade industry and geopolitical issues nations developed into their hierarchical positions. Of course, each nation was vying for the top. States in the U.S.A. had a bit of their own sovereignty, that doesn't exist to any meaningful way today, but as a nation we were one on the world stage. But, some developments were occurring and we had a civil war to eradicate those differences among the states, during this strenuous and difficult era slavery was ruled illegal, if not actually, at least somewhat legally, remember, justice rides a slow horse!
After the not so " civil" war, America stayed its journey to be a beacon of freedom for the world stage to hopefully observe. But, injustices remained as we continued our experiment with our republic. God has a way of using the errors of mankind and his interests to continue a trip towards justice, in spite of our errors!
So, in spite of all of our faults our entertainment industry developed, theater, vaudeville and finally movies. Automobiles came on the scene to further bring lives closer together and in contact with various groups of people. The Italians, the Swedes, the Irish the Scottish, the Jews, indeed even the blacks were living in closer contact with one another. Something was happening, people were making their own observations as opposed to being told what to think or believe. As people traveled and enjoyed entertainment they were becoming exposed to various ways of life.
White entertainers were a huge impact on life, dancing, singing, telling stories etc. Comedy proved a big hit, and who better to poke fun at than the blacks, and other "different groups". Anyway, the black populace begin to arrive on the scene, Mr. Bojangles dancing, Fred Astaire attributed " Bojangles" of teaching him much. Singers like Etta James and many others made their way to stage and finally television and movies. They were highly regarded by their white contemporaries. Someone named Elvis grew up alongside these poor people and we know what happened. Anyway, our entertainment was on the cutting edge of working with and sharing life with a varied group and was pretty quickly labeled liberal. Justice rides a slow horse.
Then, the civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's came on the scene by deeds and works when a man, MLK jr. arrived on the scene. Not another war, but much disobedience, riots and civil unrest, all in the pursuit of justice! Finally, and long over due, the lofty words and ideals of many were being revived into reality!
I didn't intend for this observation to be such as it is, but it is what it is, an account of a kid's observations of his era into adulthood!
To conclude, we are still on a journey, a journey hopefully towards justice and a more perfect union. And I believe our history isn't being written by us. We are only the instruments, and history, ours, theirs and creations' is being written by God! This, I believe is why we are moving towards a more just civilization, but it's not our timing either, that too belongs to our Creator. So, let's all remember, justice rides a slow horse. But it always overtakes! Godspeed to all.
Rex B. Abernathy