Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a relaxing break and enjoy your turkey and watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special and eat way too much pie.
Yesterday, I watched the prosecutor for the Michael Brown case announce that the officer who shot and killed him would not be charged with a crime. I went with a few of my friends to get a snack at Annenberg, came back, and watched the New York Times live update feel fill up with tweets, photos of protestors, and eventually, violence. I went to check Facebook: many of my friends were posting about Ferguson, some outraged, some sad, many a mix of both.
At the same time, I was also working on a comparative government essay about what form of constitution (presidentialism, parliamentarianism, or semi-presidentialism) is best for a new democracy. Although I considered many factors that contribute to regime stability, one I never addressed was the judicial system. The judicial system seems to be separate from much of the government, and I suppose that’s for good reason. It is the government branch with the longest time horizon, and as such, is an indication of what values and ideas our society considers most important.
From what I’ve learned, the grand jury needs to believe that probable cause exists that the accused committed the crime (DOJ). In the light of the grand jury’s decision, many have pointed to a “failure of the system.” They believe that the case must be brought to court in order to determine whether or not Darren Wilson committed a crime. Much has been made about the history of the prosecutor, his treatment of the evidence, the composition of the grand jury (9 whites, 3 blacks) and the testimony of the officer. Ferguson is a complicated issue. I think the problems have been more procedural than systemic, but the reason this story has garnered so much attention is because of the uncertainty of the actual event, and the death of another young, unarmed, black man. The indictment wasn’t just about Michael Brown’s death. In a way, it was a statement about the way our society views police brutality, racial issues, and the media. And a lot of us didn’t like what we as a society had to say.
On a more personal level, I had pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. A bunch of people contributed to what turned out to be delicious meal. There was homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing, Turkey (obviously), tiramisu, apple and pumpkin pie, and baked macaroni. It was nice to see everyone in my entryway together, which has become more and more uncommon as the semester gets on.
I am likewise excited about Play-In-A-Day, though I don’t know whether I’ll write/direct or act.
It’s time for me to take a greyhound (but not on the Hudson River line), so I’ll have to end it here.