One of my favorite novel is To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. It is one of the books that I read during my literature class. Kept the book on my shelf and it’s story in my heart.
There were 2 plots going on. First on Atticus defending a black man and the reclusive Boo Radley. Just today, lets talk about Atticus defending Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. The story happened during the Great Depression, Atticus’ actions, had the town calling him a “nigger-lover”. In the story, Atticus establishes that the accusers—Mayella and her father, Bob Ewell, the town drunk—are lying. It also becomes clear that the friendless Mayella was making sexual advances towards Tom and her father caught her and beat her. Despite significant evidence of Tom’s innocence, the jury convicts him.
I’m no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system—that is no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality. Gentlemen, a court is no better than each man of you sitting before me on this jury. A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up. I am confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this defendant to his family. In the name of God, do your duty.” (20.52)
I remember the long discussions with our teacher on the topic. This is, after all, not just a court case. It is about fairness in the American Legal system to the other races. It would have been EPIC moment if Atticus had won. I really wondered why Harper Lee didn’t give it a good ending.
Well, the truth is Atticus won. Nope he didn’t win the court case. But to have jury take half a day to consider to come out with a consensus, that is A WIN. And because of that awakening of ideas, although not full accepted, one day the legal system would be change.
Yet, I am in Atticus’ skin, it is hard not to feel overwhelmed by the slow changing society. Especially, when we are advance in our thinking, our ideas, our dreams. This is how I analyze it
1) Move on to a new place that is more accepting of our ideology
2) Be the change. Be the light and change that the society needs. It means getting down from the clouds and being with the people to help them understand. They are “young” in their thinking. Of course, we assess is the environment is worth any of our effort.
Regardless of the decision,
HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH.
You have been the change.
You have started a spark.
Yes, it is only a small WIN, the jury may not have accepted or understood your intensions.
This is progress.
HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH.
If you don’t, they will know that your beliefs are shaken.
The fight it not over, it is only a start.
So HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH.
As me if I should pick 1 or 2, I don’t know. I am in that dilemma too. Until I have clarity of mind and heart. Until then.
“You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
― Harper Lee