Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Jack Lewis on Rosa Parks' Pardon

This is post for Jack Lewis.

SUMMARY: Lawmakers are in a quandary in Alabama, wanting to pardon Rosa Parks for her arrest in the 60's, as well as other people arrested under various Jim Crow era laws, but a pardon carries with it a presumption of guilt. My solution: They're lawmakers, make a new way to handle those found guilty of crime they should be applauded for violating.

TEXT:

From NewsMax...

During the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott last year, civil rights leaders called for a pardon of Rosa Parks over her arrest for refusing to give up her seat to a white man.

But now, some — including the pastor of the church Parks attended in Montgomery — are coming out against the idea....

Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright said he would be uncomfortable pardoning Parks and others.

"They came up and resisted unethical, illegal and inhumane laws. I feel horribly inadequate to pardon someone who did nothing wrong," said Bright, who is white. "We should be asking them to pardon us for the way we treated her and others in that period."
Whether an innocent person can and should honestly accept a pardon has been a question for a long, long time. I seem to remember something about a guy named Dreyfuss accepting a pardon for crimes he didn't get, and losing the support of some who had defended his innocence.

If there doesn't exist a means of removing the legal stigma of a record violating an unjust law, then wouldn't lawmakers be the very people to create such a means? Call it a "Justification" and note in their record that not only are they no longer under any legal consequences of violating that particular law, but have society's gratitude for their courage in doing so. That way not only does it remove the negative stigma, is preserves the positive aspect of their act. The original record can be stamped with a large red "JUSTIFIED".

I can't see why anyone would have a problem with that. In fact, I think it makes the best out of the situation and could serve to heal some wounds, as well as send a message to those who did sacrifice to fight the unjust laws.

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