The Social Justice Dilemma

It happened again. Someone said or did the wrong thing and it was captured on video and placed on social media.

Most recently, the Covington Catholic High School students were recorded in an apparent confrontation with Native American Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The first version of the video went viral covington_catholicand led to the wholesale condemnation of the students and their school. In contrast, it led to the elevation of Phillips to hero status. Later versions of released videos showed a different context, facts and circumstances. Now, there’s a backlash about who said what, who did what, what their intent was and why did he have a smirk on his face…

This is now common place. The goal- very clearly- is to destroy the Catholic school and specifically the young man featured in the video. Sides are being chosen, the battleground defined and we go one more day, one more week into the social justice abyss.

This set of circumstances is disturbing but so is the one that will occur tomorrow, the next day and the next week. So are those that have occurred over the past several social justicemonths and years. American social media members have become judge and jury based on photographic or video evidence, in some cases lasting only a few seconds. Facts are secondary to first impressions and this leads to premature but overt attempts at destruction of individuals and institutions. The entire video of the student/Native American incident lasted one hour forty-five minutes, but judgements were made from 30 seconds of video.

Most troubling of all is the people’s willingness to engage in social media lynch mobs. We leave our families, our employers and our friends to take time in social media crusades because after all, our opinions must be heard. We adopt these issues as our own. We bring them into our homes and share them with our families.

By participating, we are practicing judgment of others. The same judgment that many when-you-judge-anotheractivists oppose. The same judgment we are advised against in elementary school, Sunday school and at most dinner tables. We are judges and seem to be proud of it. We practice hypocrisy to point out that others practice hypocrisy. What other issues relevant to national security, the economy, or the welfare of our communities do we put as much effort into? None.

We get to decide today, and every day, if we want division or unification. We must choose every day and with every contact whether to divide or unify. We teach our children and those who seek our example how to behave. Our children are the future of our communities and of our country but just as importantly, so are the lessons they learn from us.

We are not justified being angry at something someone said or did; nor are we justified participating in the punishment of those suspected of doing it. To let these issues impact our lives and allow them to cause a visceral reaction from us is mere arrogance. We are practicing arrogance, and practice makes perfect.

The irony of the Catholic student/Native American confrontation taking place at the Lincoln Memorial should not escape you. Here is an excerpt of Abraham Lincoln’s speech given to the Republican State Convention:

“Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention.

If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.

We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation.

Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented.

In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as newNorth as well as South.”

                                                                    -Abraham Lincoln, June 16, 1858


I submit to you we are enslaving ourselves to social “justice” and the unnecessary adoption of problems which are not our own, and about which we lack sufficient information to form a conclusion. If we do not first look inward to improve ourselves and those close to us, there can be no justice for anyone.