I woke up this morning with a post on my mind.
This is not that post.
I jotted a few notes about that post and ran off to meet with a good friend and mutual mentor, the savvy, talented and heart-driven entrepreneur and author, Tom Ruwitch.
I left that meeting pumped up and ready to be productive, with that blog post uppermost in my mind.
Then I took a little detour.
It’s a girl thing (I think for the MOST part it’s a girl thing anyway) but I do some of my best thinking sitting in one of those big massage chairs with my feet in hot water. So I took my trusty notebook and walked into a nail salon for a mani/pedi. (for you non-believers out there, a manicure/pedicure is a well-known wizard’s trick to lift your spirits and pump up your self-esteem.)
The televisions were on - a distraction for me since living without the noise and motion of a television screen has made me hypersensitive to one if it’s in the same room with me. (I grew up without a television and made the choice to turn mine off forever several years ago. I SAID it was so I could stay positive and productive, but the truth is that the remote that came with the new television was smarter than I ever hope to be!)
It was on a commercial, I had no idea what programming it was tuned to, so I settled back into the pummeling of the chair and sank my feet into hot sudsy water. I counted my blessings and opened my notebook. Ready to WRITE that post! (yeah I know, there are things called laptops, iPads or even PHONES that I could post from, but for thinking, I like paper and a pen I can chew on!)
So there I was. Feeling great about my productivity so far on this beautiful Saturday, treating myself to some pampering, and anticipating that I’ll go home with a great post, type it up at lightening speed and then relax in my garden with a good book.
Except the televisions were all tuned to the aftermath of the Casey Anthony trial.
I am not going to discuss our legal system. I’m not going to discuss the trial (I didn’t watch it, I read enough to make myself physically ill.) Nor am I going to discuss the trial outcome.
What stuck with me was the public outrage that the defendant and the jurors could sell their story and potentially profit from their part in the experience.
I heard a lot of talk about “there outta be a law.”
I didn’t hear one person ask “where is that money coming from and why is there a demand for the story?”
There ARE people willing to pay for that story (their views, book purchases and attention all equal money to someone) and it gave me pause to wonder why people are so drawn to these stories that there is a market for them.
I asked myself to keep my own biases out of it. To keep my emotional reaction out of it. I asked myself to just pose the question - “What value do people derive from seeing accused killers interviewed, from reading their books, or from listening to a juror’s version of the trial from the perspective of the jury box?”
Where is the value?
And, if a law to prevent people from paying them is in order, then I have to ask, “Where is the harm?”
Not, “is it RIGHT?” That’s my judgement, according to my values and my sense of highest right. No, by MY values it isn’t right. Nor, by MY values, is it right for me to feed on those stories, whether the content is given voluntarily or for pay. It violates my sense of highest right.
But laws are there to protect people, not to mandate that they follow MY sense of highest right or align with MY values (or any one else’s.)
So who are we protecting if we pass a law that no one tried and acquitted of a crime, nor anyone serving on the jury can be PAID for telling their story?
The other function of law is to establish guidelines for punitive justice. So if we were to pass these laws who are we punishing? The jurors? Why? What wrong did they commit other than to give up days of their lives and submit themselves to intense scrutiny and stress in order to perform a civic duty that many people do their best to dodge? The defendant? IF they are innocent (and public opinion and beliefs aside, legally a defendant who has been acquitted is innocent and remember this law would apply equally to those accused who had they sympathy of the public as well as those, like Casey and O.J., who don’t) so why are we punishing them?
On the other hand, perhaps there are people who have something to learn from seeing, hearing or reading those stories. We all learn from experience, and we can also learn from the experiences of others. So if there are people who would in some way be served by having access to the perspective of the defendant or the juror, and we cannot force these people to tell their story for free, then passing a law against paying them for their story is actually doing the public a disservice.
If the public doesn’t want them to profit from their experience all the public has to do is to not view, not read, not give it their attention. WE are in complete control, the purest form of majority rule. Why should we NEED to pass a law?
You can probably tell I’m still searching. I know I’m likely to get a lot of emotional rhetoric here - go ahead, vent if it helps you. But I suspect that a lot of the emotional rhetoric is the same as I was trying to quell today - the rational mind’s way of trying to distract us from the deeper lesson, to avoid challenging our own beliefs, searching our own souls, and to keep us from noticing that we aren’t always reflecting our highest self either.
Okay, the floor is yours. I will delete anything that is purely hateful or uses foul language. That’s just my sense of “highest right” not to expose myself or my readers to such content.
I’m going to head for the garden, I need to visit my “rose nymphs” and “daisy naiads” and reground myself in my own purpose and light. I hope each of you have a place you can go to do the same.
Here’s to YOUR highest self - and to you right to follow where it leads!