Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 01/13/2020
This was a week of escape. Carlos Ghosn, an arrogant, profligate businessman who led a life of nearly unrivaled opulence, was spirited out of Japan in a plebian box otherwise used for concert equipment. But his treatment by what is by any account a draconian Japanese justice system, with a “thumb-on-the-scale” in favor of conviction (prosecutors have a 95%+ conviction rate), creates a certain sympathy for him. He was denied seeing his wife for months over the holidays, for example, and the case could easily have dragged on for years.
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, decided to head for North America, a slap in the face to the royal family, to shed the flypaper of royal claustrophobia, and live in Canada and probably southern California. What might seem like a forfeiture of the accountability that accompanies privilege for the couple, pales in the face of aggressive, non-relenting racism by the British press and even the royal family (Princess Michael of Kent flaunted what was deemed a racist broach in Meghan’s presence and made a later, lame apology). This is a country where the tabloids should have been indicted as co-conspirators in the death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana. And now they pursue his wife.
Normally, I don’t like people who run away instead of staying to fight, or prove their innocence, or change the system. But there comes a time when you realize the very institutions in which you are embedded are implacably against you.
Which is why, paraphrasing Jefferson, “I tremble when I reflect that God is just,” when I consider the US education and justice systems. Unless we can manifest fairness in society, we can expect people to try to opt out of it.
Children need to get a high-quality education, avoid violence and the criminal-justice system, and gain jobs. But they deserve more. We want them to learn not only reading and math but fairness, caring, self-respect, family commitment, and civic duty. — Colin Powell
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