Sunday, October 15, 2006
It was a Spring that never came
But we have lived enough to know
That what we never had… remains
It is the things we have that go.
To the Lacrosse players and their families, last Spring surely was a Spring that never came. That beautiful season of renewal, eternal rhythms, that season of confirmation of hope... instead was hijacked by the horror of this Hoax. And, what "never happened" (to paraphrase) STILL remains...as Spring became summer and, now… fall. But it is the last phrase of that poem that has been resonating with me lately, almost haunting me: "it is the things we have that go."
Yes, some things have gone. Even those of us outside the real circle of pain of this case, even those of us just reading, or posting, or blogging about the case...even we have lost something, I fear. How can you read about the injustice, the betrayal, the casual lies and misrepresentations...the cowardice and callous agenda baiting...and still remain unchanged. I think you can't.
I have always been a pro-prosecution, "where-there's-smoke-there's fire" type of gal. Never could I have imagined a District Attorney as flawed, as flagrant, as odious as Michael Nifong. Never. And even if somehow, I could have imagined such an egregious villain of the piece, I believed he'd be stopped in his tracks by good people, in positions of power, to whom TRUTH meant something. Dumb, huh? I guess I 've watched too many old movies…where people stand tall on principle, choose the harder right over the easier wrong...look straight into the camera and say, "This is wrong. This must stop." I've been waiting, for certain people in positions of power and influence, at Duke, in Durham, in North Carolina, in the media...to take a stand and say these things. There have been a few. But too few. Most stand silent because truth is secondary to them. Secondary to what is good for their careers, their pocketbooks, town-gown relations, so-called righteous agendas, advancement of themselves and their cause. They REFUSE to look at this case as containing three innocent young men, victims of prosecutorial abuse.
When I was a child, the St. Patrick's Day parade in NYC was a grand event, as it remains today… supported by many wealthy and influential Irish Catholic families. One year, they invited the head of the IRA to be the Honorary Grand Marshall...at a time when bombs and gunfire were the mainstay of protest for that organization. When they would not rescind the invitation, the Cardinal did an amazing thing...not a political thing, not what was best for promoting his pet projects or donations to the Church. He pulled every Catholic school out of the parade and for the first time in history, as that much smaller parade passed St. Pat's cathedral… the doors of the Cathedral were shut, the stairs empty. For the first time ever the Cardinal did not hail the parade. One local paper ran a picture of those closed doors as its front page. My father put it on our refrigerator where it remained for weeks. The right thing is simple, clear, brave and strong. It's easy to see and easier to do...when unclouded by agenda and personal self-promotion.
In contrast, we have folks at Durham and at Duke...who now speak of this case in tortured convolution, because the simple truth is something they don't want to know. After all that has been revealed, all that is available to read, ALL we know of Nifong and his abuse of power… ALL THAT…and they, like the Dean of Duke Chapel...stunningly have no opinion. Brodhead apparently has no opinion. Governor Easley has no opinion. The officials in Durham have no opinion. Many want to talk about broader Issues… because that is SAFER FOR THEM than talking about THIS case, THESE boys, THESE families. They would never close the doors to the Cathedral. They'd be thinking of the wealthy families who'd stop giving to the church, the parishioners it might offend. The larger role of the Church in the World, how they might fare personally. They would speak instead of the joy Parades bring, their ignorance of Irish politics, the importance of participating in a day of Irish pride, or some other benign abstract. The kind of courage shown that long ago day in NYC is passé. Now it's... what's in it for me, how will this affect the ratings the donations, my career, my retirement. ME, ME. ME. The Me Generation married Political Correctness...and this is their Off Spring.
Tonight, we pray that the Sixty Minutes piece brings some plain speaking, clear truth and a focus on the Three young Lives in Jeopardy. WE pray more will move out of the safe cocoon of the grey zone into the bright light of courage. We pray for the families, for Reade and Collin and Dave.
My father called people who feigned ignorance for their own promotion, the "Know Nothings." He would tell us time and again that the Know Nothings were the worst of the lot. They had neither the courage of their convictions, nor the respect of either side. This case has brought the Know Nothings out in force. And, when the Hoax is ended, they will forever have to wear the tee shirt.