I just wrote a post about the philosophical meaning of fair and equal as I feel about the concepts to me. I read the thing to myself a couple times and thought to myself, what a load of crap. Just spit out what you wanted to say without justifying.
Fair and equal are not the same thing. Given a choice I'd rather be treated fairly every time over being treated equally. Fair means sometimes my expectations of myself and the expectations of others of me are much greater than for others. Fair means a recognition that my skills and abilities in some areas are below par and due to my nature I may never reach average or adequate in some peoples eyes. I want this recognition of me as an individual. I do not want to be just lumped into a mass and treated equally.
This subject is particularly striking today. Our system here in the US is based upon "all men are created equal." To me a fallacy in concept. None of us are equal. We all have differing strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, fairness is impossible to achieve on a mass scale so we settle for a flawed but easy concept of equality.
As parents we tend to waiver between fair and equal. How many of you with more than one kid has caught yourself saying, "If I do this for ____ then I have to do that for ____." A recognition that maybe you are doing something for one person that they need but in an effort to be "fair" we try to make everything "equal". Guilty as a parent here at times, equal is so much better than hurt feelings or explaining yourself.
This is weighing on my mind today because Alex is once again in court. This time he could be looking at up to 90 days in jail for driving on a suspended license. He got caught driving to work a few weeks ago and I didn't even know he had a suspended license. The harsh reality is that when he was using he got his license suspended and got caught once driving then too. Now he is facing the consequences. I am all for consequences but this is where the concept of fairness and equality get thrown into the mix and I struggle.
I don't envy judges and probation officers. How do you look at a person and recognize sincerity versus a con job? What does our justice system have in place to facilitate rehabilitation and restitution instead of punishment? And how do people in the system make an educated decision about a person when from what I have seen in courtrooms you usually get 10 minutes with a public defender and 3 minutes in front of a judge?
Why am I whining? I was an advocate for locking him up when he was using, we wanted him locked up and believe each time he was incarcerated that was a step forward that helped all of us to get to the point we are today. We are at a point today that my son is a different individual with very different values than he had 6 months ago. 6 months ago my son was suffering from an active disease and its symptoms called addiction. Today he is struggling but his disease is in what I think of as remission. Never cured but controlled.
My hope is that today in court someone recognizes that the young man standing in front of them this morning is not the same person that has been in that room so many times before.
case continued - waiting on background reports. (whatever that means, I'm not very literate in all this court stuff)