Kill Selfhood = Kill Empathy = Kill Troy Davis

RSAnimate’s productions get 5 of 5 stars from me pretty much every time. This 10 minute bit of Jeremy Rifkin’s Empathic Civilisation is worth every second and reflects beautifully on how the internet is providing an outlet for our soft-wiring towards empathy. Case in point: Troy Davis. The world saw, the world came running. Solidarity. But the Georgia Board of Paroles missed a few steps in the selfhood stage maybe? They couldn’t see past their agendas for “justice” and political posturing.

I realize this issue was about more than empathy. And for some it wasn’t as much about Troy Davis as it was about the barbaric reality of the death penalty itself. For others, it was simply a miscarriage of due process, of justice. But in the final analysis, our ability to experience empathy is what mobilized us. What if this were my son, my neighbor, my grandchild? So, we look at the failure of the Georgia Parole Board and how their adherence to their rules blinded them to the inaccuracy in their verdicts. So, what kills selfhood? Many things. But one things stands out to me today: The abortion of radical grace. We need radical grace in order to develop with healthy boundaries and a sense of self without shame. We need radical grace in order to be motivated to move beyond our destructive habits.

So what is radical grace? Radical grace is a revolutionary force of understanding and empathy whereby we facilitate merciful justice in order to inspire and facilitate opportunity for change, healing or closure in and for others, so that we might ALL THRIVE. Sometimes radical grace wields fierce, and even brutal words in the face of tyranny, oppressive deceit and corruption. Why? Because it is inspired by the empathetic response. Tyranny, deceit, corruption all divorce us from our humanity, from the value of selfhood and the habits of radical grace. We instinctively snarl at their destructive tools and that, that is radical by sheer virtue of the fact that we’ve been told from grade school to high school and on that we must NOT disrupt the status quo or we risk being branded.

Go ahead, brand me. Brand me radical grace activist, radical truth advocate, radical status quo disruptor. Why? Because our lives, our living, our loving, all…all are so profoundly precious.

Capital Verdicts – No Accuracy Required

‎”Whether the trial witnesses against him were lying then or are lying now, by fighting against his requested relief Georgia is saying that its interest in the finality of its capital judgments is more important than the accuracy of its capital verdicts.” Andrew Cohen said here: http://bit.ly/p0eCnB

There are so many perspectives to embrace on any given day. Choose, Ruth, choose. I go with where my heart flows and this one story has gripped me, mocking the conspiracies of love and universal blessing. Why? Troy Davis doesn’t appear in this predicament as innocent on any solid level. He loaned a gun out and was at least at the scene of the crime before it all went down. But he doesn’t appear to be guilty of the crime he’s going to die for tomorrow.

What grips me is the loss and the ugliness of the refusal to acknowledge the miscarriage of a process that is meant to protect us from tunnel vision, inappropriate police behavior and prejudice. What does it mean to a woman in her little home in North Carolina struggling to make ends meet and raising three kids in a neighborhood nothing like the one Davis had to endure? It means everything because we’re all connected. I obviously can’t chase down every tragedy out there and take a stand or I’d abandon what I can change here with awareness and effective presence. But I can feel and I can speak and I can add to the uproar against capital punishment standing a bully watch at the door of “justice.” Just the simple act of agreeing that something is what it is is a powerful spiritual work of defining value and creating a climate for protection of that same value. We have failed on this count but how great it is that so many have spoken, so many have added to a shift towards a real conspiracy of love for truth.

My words clearly cannot measure up to the real experts out there pronouncing things beyond my level of expertise but as a mom in a home with three kids I’m thinking how it touches them, what they are inheriting. When we cannot uphold integrity in due process, when no physical evidence is needed to send a man to his death, when a nation can blatantly lie about landmark tragedies, insist on harmful injections to vaccinate against life itself and bail out the bankers, I question the ohm-festival sitting blithely by. We need to stew in our longings, expect great things, keep our eyes wide open and our attention alert for all of it, ready to speak and act to embrace the good and oust the ugly.

This is an ugly week for Georgia and for the United States. And I’m saddened by the loss of this opportunity for growth where it is needed so badly.