Injustice floods upon the young. Or so you would think listening to playtime grievances.
My grandsons brought the expression “That’s not fair” back into my life. Two brothers, close in age, have a strong sense of right and wrong, right being any food treat, movie choice or general advantage that goes in their favor.
Challenged to a foot race, one will inevitably be off the starting line early. “Not fair.”
Heading to the ice cream shop, one will get to order first and attain more cherries for their sundae. “Not fair.”
At the swimming pool, one will get a slathering of sunscreen before the other and therefore be first in the water. “Not fair times two.”
Come to think of it, playing, eating ice cream and going swimming seems like a pretty good life for those kids. I should be crying “not fair.”
Obviously, they did not invent this phrase or expand the sentiment.
In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” author Harper Lee lets Jean Louise Finch express her youthful injuries on several occasions.
Nicknamed Scout, the girl swears to her father, Atticus, that she will begin walking away from fights. She does this until an obnoxious second cousin named Francis said Atticus had besmirched the family name by defending a Black man in court.
Actually, the two-word epithet he used carries such offense that I care not to quote it here.
Scout said, “(I) split my knuckle to the bone on his front teeth.”
The adults, including her Uncle Jack, who spanked her, did not want to listen to her side of the story.
“You ain’t fair,” she implored. “You ain’t fair.”
The child would learn greater lessons of unfairness as the novel progressed.
Apart from the Jim Crow South, cries of unfairness have arisen in recent weeks about the deportment of Americans regarding a flexibility in voting.
As a matter of civic education, it must be known that the United States has national candidates without having a national election. It has 50 elections, in all the states, plus those in territories from Puerto Rico to Guam.
And within those entities, all sorts of election authorities exist. In Missouri, a state of medium size, there are at least 114 people responsible for ensuring the conduct of fair elections, most of them earnest souls in small courthouses.
The diffuse nature of this setup lends credibility to the whole. The broadness of the endeavor makes it a difficult target for mischief-makers.
Some states not named Missouri have long operated vote-by-mail programs. They have continued because no widespread corruption has been associated with them.
This year, however, as mail-voting takes on a public significance because of the pandemic, high-level doubts have been cast. Those postal people may be up to something.
The attorney general, William Barr, warned in a Chicago newspaper about “capricious distribution of ballots” and “undue influence, outright coercion (and) paying off a postman.”
For decades, I worked across the street from St. Joseph’s main post office and I never guessed at such shenanigans. The folks at the window seem very hospitable, and the lady who delivers mail to my home has a friendly bearing.
In complaining about mailed ballots, the man in the White House, accomplished in feeling wronged and masterful in breaking down trust in public institutions, has been compared to a tin-pot dictator.
Unfair, I say. Tin-pot dictators do not whine nearly so much.
The Yiddish proverb goes, “The girl who can’t dance says the band can’t play.” Trouble is, everyone hears the music.