Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Freedom is Everybody's Job

It seems like lately, every day there is something else in the news about some case, some injustice, that tears our heart out. The recent case, where the man who raped the little girl was deemed a man of such stature that he didn’t belong in jail. Not him. What does that mean? If one who would harm the least among us doesn’t belong in jail, who does?

The country was reeling when the Wall Street Bankers, who decimated the world’s economy, usurped the savings, and ruined the lives of untold numbers of hard working citizens, they too were declared of such a stature as to not belong in jail. Countless numbers who dared to protest those injustices were locked up instead.

The teenager who got drunk and went on a killing rampage with his car, he was declared so rich he didn’t know any better than to get drunk and go around killing people. So he didn’t belong in jail either.

The prosecutors who go bat shit crazy putting as many people away for as many years as possible, for unimaginably trivial reasons, they don’t belong in jail either. Even when they destroy the lives and take away the freedom of innocent individuals, when the evidence was there the whole time that they were innocent, they don’t belong in jail either.

So who exactly belongs in jail? At this point in history, the United States of America has more people incarcerated for longer lengths of time, for less serious infractions, than any country on this planet. I don’t just mean countries on the planet today, in 2014. We have more people locked away for longer lengths of time for more trivial reasons than any country in the written recorded history of this whole freaking planet, since God created this earth, or whatever way you think it came into being. What I am getting at, is we have more people locked away than any other country in the recorded history of planet earth. This is not a trivial matter.The vast majority of them are locked away for drugs and other non-violent crimes. Read that, they never hurt anybody.

But a man who goes around raping innocent children does not deserve to be locked up. Wall Street Bankers who destroy countless lives are of such stature, jail time is not even a consideration for them. The kid who gets drunk and kills ever how many people, poor little rich kid, he doesn’t deserve jail time either. People who figure out creative ways to lock away as many people as possible for as long as possible, whether or not they are guilty of a thing, they don’t deserve jail time either.

So what does that leave us? Who exactly is being locked up? How in anybody’s worst nightmare did a country that is known as the “land of the free” get to this point. We are the laughing stock of the world, as we sing our songs about freedom and lock up more and more innocent individuals for ridiculous bull shit while freaking baby rapists walk free and people who destroy untold numbers of lives are deemed above the law, not the kind of person you would put in jail. Whom exactly would you put in jail?

When I was a kid, I really loved Red Skelton, he was a comedian, and I’d watch his show every time he came on TV. I loved him so much, my Uncle Raymond used to call me Clem after one of his sketches. In one of my absolute favorite sketches, he talked about the flag, actually the "Pledge of Allegiance to the  Flag."

We all used to say the "Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag" every day in school. Somehow, when we said that pledge, we stood taller. It wasn’t just empty words, it meant something. When I hear these things in the news, more and more of our loved ones locked away, lives destroyed, while certain, the most well-to-do among us are deemed above the law, too important to punish, too rich to jail, no matter how many lives they destroy or how the heinous the crime. That is not what this country is supposed to be about. That is not what those who came before us died for. 


 “...with liberty and justice for all”

Those words either mean something or they don’t. Some of us think they still do. Quoting Red Skelton, “freedom is everybody’s job.” It is not just the soldiers on the battlefield who are responsible for the freedom of the people in this country. It is all of our responsibility. If we, as a people, do not stand up and demand justice and freedom, there is not going to be any justice or freedom left for the next generation. At a certain point, we can’t let it go, freedom really is everybody’s job—and so is justice.

If you haven’t listened to it before, listen to it now. Even if you have heard it before, listen to it again. If you don’t remember anything else, remember this, freedom is everybody’s job—and so is justice.

Copyright 2014 Regina Garson


  1. There are too many questionable sentences. Far too many where the punishment doesn't fit the crime. The state of Alabama is one of the worst offenders as these things go. As much as some claim to believe in forgiveness and rehabilitation, it sure doesn't show.

  2. You are right about that. As much as I love this state, we got a long way to go. Thanks for sharing.