The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What is Compelling?

All the original talk about Justice Sotomayor was about her 'compelling' life. She was raised essentially in poverty with both of her parents being immigrants (not really though, Puerto Rico being part of the US)etc., and she went on to do well in ivy league schools and become a federal judge.
Everyone is justifiably impressed with someone overcoming the odds to that degree. Even Rush and Sean H confer that much to her, but I have another take.
What is 'compelling'? Is it just doing something opposite, or other, from what one would normally expect? Escaping from a rut, or what might seem to be a natural destiny? This kind of history is not at all uncommon in America. Our system is dedicated to making this possible for its citizens every day, and we all know it as the American Dream. There has to be another, higher element to make what we might call a regular occurence in these United States, so compelling.
Rising out of a lower caste where the caste system almost always predicts correctly might beget a compelling story. But, what if that person then turns around and uses that new position to his advantage, imposing the same caste system to control and deprecate his former neighbors? Not so good then after all. What if that person sees his new position as one she can use to control and/ or deprecate her new neighbors? Still not so good. Even if the goal is to bless and to elevate the lower casted group into better realms, it is the method that must be disparaged.
If a person is abused as a child, suffers some physical malady, is constrained unfairly but rises to become CEO of a big company or non-profit, then he has an impressive story. But what does he do with his position? If he only has selfish aims, or greedy intentions, his story begins to fall flat.

If Sotomayor has risen from such depths, to such heights, her story will only be 'compelling' if she uses her acheivement to judge with the blindness of lady justice herself. If the black robes suggestive at least of the colorblindedness a judge must have, impart their effect. If, on the other hand, all she brings to the bench is a heightened form of street fighting, using her power to impose only a 'fair is fair', or 'two wrongs make a right' mentality, then all the 'escaping of poverty' and 'beating the odds' rhetoric becomes less compelling, and ultimately, repelling.

1 comment:

  1. Good points all, Mike. I will have to look Sotomayer up now, and find out more about her.


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