The recent deaths of civilians at the hands of police, bank fraud with lost homes and environmental disasters, despite surface differences, share a common root: our society’s belief in the exceptionalism of power.
We have become a nation in which we support those in power, whether or not they are right, whether or not they break the law. We see people in power (or those who serve the people in power) as too important to society to jail or even to punish in any but a very superficial manner.
When those who make mistakes or knowingly commit crimes are not held accountable, minor penalties are just the cost of business.
Thus, the mistakes are repeated and crimes increase — if not by these same people, then by others.
If civilian deaths, lost homes, environmental disasters — and many other social ills — are to end, our belief in the exceptionalism of power also has to go.
Amrita Burdick of Kansas City is a retired medical librarian. She came to the area as a Vista volunteer and remains passionate about protecting the planet, social justice and peace.