Whenever I lay eyes on lady justice, she’s always wearing a blindfold which indicates that justice is blind; but I’ve always been curious to find out what’s it she’s really blind to? Some have said that her blindfold indicates that she’s willing and able to execute justice regardless of whom breaks the law; however, the lens of reality doesn’t share this view. Since the inception of society, lady justice has been blindfolded by wealth and power, and even when the force of history unfolded her blindfold to the crimes and injustices of the wealthy and powerful, she refused to open her eyes. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. once said, ” A man’s respect for law and order exists in precise relationship to the size of his paycheck.” But what’s also true is that society’s respect for people exists in precise relationship to their paycheck and this is especially true in regards to law enforcement and justice. I’m convinced that if twelve years old Tamir Rice was playing in a playground that was located within a wealthy zip code that law enforcement wouldn’t have turned that playground into a crime scene, leaving him there lifeless. I’m also convinced that law enforcement wouldn’t have turn Breonna Taylor’s bed into her grave if she was sleeping in a bed of luxury in a zip code for the wealthy. And what if Eric Garner was selling stocks illegally on wall street rather than the loose cigarettes that he was selling on main street, would NYPD have still sentenced him to death via choke hold? Law enforcement is the only profession in which the employees (the police) can abuse, brutalize and even take the life of their employers (the taxpayers) yet face little or no consequence and oftentimes they still get to keep their job. It seems as if blue crimes are only seen as true crimes in the eyes of lady justice if they have affected the wealthy few.
Wealth, power, and justice have interwoven themselves together to form a monolithic force in society; each protects the other and promotes each other monetary, political, and legal interests. And due to the rich and powerful intimate relationship with Lady justice, she has granted them immunity from her justice. We’re living in a paycheck justice society, where lady justice has to first unfold her blindfold to check out the size of our paycheck before she could render her verdict. In a paycheck justice society, the rich and powerful live a few stories above lady justice, who’s always looking down on main street for crimes but almost never looks up in high places nor on wall street for the same. We’re living in a society where prosecutors can knowingly send innocent poor youths to prison for years and even decades so that they could tout their perfect or near-perfect conviction rate in order to run for higher office. And when these injustices are brought to light, they go unpunished because lady justice has immunized these selfish careerist prosecutors from justice. We’re living in a society where workers are losing their lives due to unhealthy and unsafe working environments but instead of paying a criminal price, their wealthy employers only paid a small financial price from their piggy bank. Society has been transmuted into an everything-for-sale marketplace, but the moment a price tag is put on justice, the poor and those who cannot afford it will pay the price of injustice. And even if the size of our paycheck can afford the price of justice today, as its price inflates, we may not be able to afford it in the coming tomorrow.