Enlightened Conflict

innocent until proven guilty

October 30th, 2016

 

i-was-innocent

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“Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made, or by dark images you hold about yourself.

 

They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused. “

 

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Alan Cohen

 

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Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

 

One of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system, holding that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

In other words, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, each essential element of the crime charged.

 

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I used the opening quote in this post in my ‘recognizing the real person’ post in which I suggested judging people is more difficult than many of us make it out to young innocence decisions context inspiresbe <“I could tell whether that person was guilty or not”, immediately, being one of the most misguided, and potentially damning, things we do>.

 

Thinking someone is guilty of something is an insidious little thought.

 

Like John Green said …

 

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 “Once you think a thought, it is extremely difficult to unthink it.”

 

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John Green

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That is the reason why innocent until proven guilty is difficult to grasp, difficult to do and difficult to practice.

 

And it is even more so in today’s world.

 

While our court system continues to practice ‘innocent until proven guilty’ … this practice continuously crashes into a society, and certainly a social world online, that immediately rushes to a “guilty until proven innocent” verdict world.

 

And if you do try and suggest that someone should wait until the facts come out … or that maybe, just maybe, someone is innocent … you are blasted for be being naïve or ignoring ‘common sense thinking.’

 

Well.

 

The whole scenario bothers me.

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5.0.2

You are either a believer of innocent until proven guilty or you are not.

 

It is not contextual or situational or ‘right for one person and not right for another person.’

 

It is one of the basic beliefs of the American society.

And maybe we need a lesson in social studies or civic studies to remind ourselves of that.

 

 

I once wrote … we all have guilt for something. The something could be big … it could be very small. But that is the funny thing about guilt … its size doesn’t matter. Normal laws of space & weight do not apply to guilt. A sliver of guilt can bear the same weight as a mountain of guilt.

All that matters is how we choose to bear that weight.

 

 

innocent no_one_is_innocent-graffitiI sometimes think because we all know we are guilty of something that we struggle to find innocence in others in the public eye. And, yet, I should remind everyone, that while we may be guilty of something, we are more likely than not … innocent of more than we are guilty of.

And, maybe we should all self reflect a little, I tend to believe we would all like to be judged more often by the bulk of our innocence than on the sliver of guilts we may bear.

 

We should sit and think about that.

All of us.

 

There is no such thing as an innocent word.

 

They are all going to end up being guilty of something.

I say that because we should use words wisely with regard to people’s innocence.

 

Anyway.

 

I could get extremely philosophic with regard to why we people may err on the side of wanting to jump to ‘guilty’ rather than innocence but I will not.

 

I will not because America actually makes it much simpler.

 

Innocent until proven guilty is part of who we are as a country.

 

Just as a right to bear arms.

 

Just as a right to speech.

 

Just as a right to believe different thoughts.

 

Just as a right to your own religion and religious thoughts.

 

And, yes, even people in the public eye deserve the right to be innocent until proven guilty.

 

And that means people in roles of responsibility … well … have a responsibility to maintain that same belief and vocalize it.

 

This presidential election has not only been crazy but it has brought out craziness with regard to who and what we are as a country.

 

What someone is guilty of is not something to be speculated.innocent-until-proven-guilty

 

Why?

 

Because they are innocent until proven guilty.

 

The right to be presumed innocent is one of the mainstays of who and what we are as Americans. And, yet, the presumption of innocence is undergoing an uncomfortable change in ‘society law’ which is encouraged by an increasing amount <oddly> by extreme conservative websites & spokespeople <who are supposed to be the ultimate purveyors of the constitution and constitutional rights> as well as … uhm … natural human behavior <which embodies a natural instinct to ‘where there is smoke there is fire’ attitude>.

 

We cannot, and should not, ignore these dynamics. But the right to be presumed innocent is one of the main procedural safeguards in the framework of an American criminal system. And it should remain one of the main procedural, mental, safeguards in the societal framework.

 

It not only benefits the accused but it benefits society.

If we sacrifice that we sacrifice more than just the right we sacrifice a significant part of … well … a ‘better society’ and better citizenship.

 

As Ben Franklin noted … giving us liberty for the sake of security means we are not deserving of the freedoms.

 

Look.

 

Yes.

 

Presidential campaigns seem to bring out the worst in everyone.

 

One of the things that forces us to bring out our best is … is … well … innocent until proven guilty.

 

Yes.

 

The worst thrives in a public social online universe that feeds on ‘guilty until proven innocent” <which our forefathers inherently understood that ‘perceptions of guilt are almost unrecoverable in the public eye and thought to head that off at the pass>.

And that means ‘our best’ needs to have some backbone and resolve and resilience in the face of our worst.

 

Innocent until proven guilty.

 

This is a constitutional right.

 

And maybe some Republicans <and the RNC> need to be reminded of that. It is part of what makes America different and makes America fair & reasonable & … well … makes Hillary different from Trump.

 

I believe if you feel like you have done nothing wrong of course stand up and say so.

 

I believe if you have done something wrong of course stand up and say so.

 

But ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is not about what you have done right or wrong … it is what America stands for.

guilty-until-proven-innocent

Someone smarter than I needs to figure out how to remind everyone of that.

This is simply my small attempt to do so.

 

I have no idea whether Hillary Clinton has done anything criminal or is a criminal. What I do know is that we are all innocent until proven guilty.

And shouting from the mountaintop that someone is guilty, without specific proof, does not make it so.

 

If I were the Clinton campaign I would make the ‘high road’ pivot in the last week based on ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

I believe they have the opportunity because of this new FBI thing to pivot against the so-called law & order candidate and his “law” surrogates who seem to have forgotten that the whole foundation of law & order is innocent until proven guilty. The heinous “they look guilty” is at the root of profiling, stop & frisk, prejudice against Muslims, Jewish people, Catholics as well as ‘anyone who does not look like me’ … and the rights of everyone in America.

we-are-innocent-until-proven-guilty

Regardless.

 

This is bigger than any presidential election.

 

Innocent until proven guilty is institutional.

 

And to defray this part of our institution is to seed rot in our house. And, at this time and place, I see far too many responsible people irresponsibly planting seeds of this rot.

 

Anyone shouting guilty, without any real proof … and I mean REAL proof <not speculation or innuendoes or ‘common sense’> is rotten.

 

We need to eliminate the rot. We need to refind who and what we are as Americans. Americans who are innocent until proven guilty.

Enlightened Conflict