A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

April 14, 2007

What the Duke Case Means for John and Jane Q. Citizen

Reading MissLittleChatterbox today, I came across this post about the Duke case.

A vital statement about society was echoed by these players, and then by Rush Limbaugh this week, about the trend to accept the authorities word as always being correct. This is a view that people far too often put into practice, and is one of the better aspects of having strong discourse in the public sphere. This case shows the need and the continued existence of diverging ideas, agitation, free speech, and continued demands by the public for the furtherance of transparency of government.

While I am happy that these young men have deservedly had their names cleared, a great burden falls on society to consider what of those who do not have the means to combat and defend against incidents of prosecution, which resembles practices more commonly thought of with the Third Reich and Stalinist Russian than the United States. It must never be forgotten that terms such as a presumption of innocence mean something. That government exists by the consent of the governed. That the little people, collectively, mean in the end a great deal more than the power of the state. Yes, I am a strong believer in the principles of Federalism, and want a strong government. I also want them off my back, out of my wallet and bedroom and to do what they are Constitutionally mandated to do; provide for the common defence, ensure domestic tranquility, and promote the general welafare of the people. Also, while they may need to watch people to secure these objectives, must always be watched by the people. That’s all of our jobs, and not those who are elected into power.

Our Constitution is meant to protect the common man from overzealous government. It is time that John and Jane Q. Citizen remember that by bringing back a healthy dose of skepticism towards government and defense of the guarantees of civil liberties and rights enjoyed by common citizens we demonstrate the values of the Founders of our Republic. That is called Patriotism, and it is neither a Republican, Democrat, Conservative or Liberal responsibility. In that view, to paraphrase Jefferson’s inaugural address, we are all Republicans and we are all Democrats.



  1. Excellent post. You are so right.

    The question is, how do we get John and Jane to care about something outside their limited sphere? It seems for most that as long as they’re not directly affected by something, they don’t take their eyes off the tv long enough to notice.

    Comment by honestpoet — April 14, 2007 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

  2. Great post.

    Comment by scoty32 — April 14, 2007 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  3. Great post, one of the Duke players actually brought up your point about how they were lucky to have the resourses to defend themselves.

    Comment by mpinkeyes — April 15, 2007 @ 12:05 am | Reply

  4. Overzealous government?!

    Sure, the DA was fatally flawed in this case but these young men were skewered first and foremost in the court of public opinion. The verbal beheadings were spearheaded by vocal and politically motivated minority and/liberal leaders. The press covered their unconfirmed lambasts widely without criticism. But worst of all, many reasonable folks sat on thier thumbs and said….almost nothing. Such is the result of years of overconditioning that says “playing nice” is the same as being just or fair.

    The healthy dose of skepticism needs to be applied to OUR OWN RESPONSES to such events, as much if not more than to our governments. Otherwise, we may conveniently overlook the true source of problems and obscure real solutions…which would invariably invite more big brother into our private lives.

    Comment by lorraine — April 15, 2007 @ 12:25 am | Reply

  5. Another point that falls into (close to) the same category. Look how much credibility the government has lost. The next time a white Duke lacrosse player is arrested for raping a black stripper, it will be thrown out quickly. But what if a white Duke student rapes a black girl in town? I suspect he could get the case thrown out quickly too, just by drawing comparisons. Can anyone on either side get a fair trial in/around Duke? Probably not. Thanks to this DA, the government has lost too much.

    On Thursday, April 12 I listed 4 (now 5 thanks to David) lessons to learn from the Duke case. Mostly lessons we should have learned as Children.

    Comment by Randy — April 15, 2007 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  6. When a prosecutor is overzealous it is overzealous government. The very mentioning of an indictment or a subpoena are often enough to ruin a person’s reputation, and this is understandable, but when lawyers, who have significant statutory authority and usually a very large warchest maliciously go after citizens for their own gain, and let’s be honest, prosecutors like anyone else are concerned with their win ratio, and the headlines they can gather, the public at large can be victims.

    Lorraine, you are completely right in the idea that people bought into the story, and it had so many elements that made it inviting, a sex crime, race issues, class issues, that the byline was too good to pass up, but in this case, everyone who bought into the story, and I will say I wasn’t overly interested in it, did needs to remember that everyone has an agenda. Everyone.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — April 15, 2007 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  7. hi there and it should bring to light the horror of stripping and all the pain and devastation that goes along with that “industry”!

    Comment by Angel — April 16, 2007 @ 3:18 am | Reply

  8. Excellent post. These things needed to be said- more like proclaimed from the rooftops.

    Comment by totaltransformation — April 16, 2007 @ 6:10 pm | Reply

  9. Well, I’m all for law and order, but let’s remember what this nation was founded on and what our Constitution is about, individual liberty and keeping government from becoming taskmaster of the people, rather than the people’s servant!

    Comment by avoiceofreason — April 16, 2007 @ 10:44 pm | Reply

  10. Well said!! I have to admit that until the past couple of years I believed the prosecution 90% of the time. But when I saw the Florida prosecutor go after Rush for purely political persecution I started to re-evaluate it. Now we have had numerous examples of prosecutors going after people for purely political purposes and it is something to be concerned about. I definitely don’t believe someone is guilty anymore until I see the evidence. It is a good reminder for us all.

    Comment by Little Miss Chatterbox — April 17, 2007 @ 2:34 am | Reply

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