The Accused Deserve Fairness Too
An often-quoted passage from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland mocks the “stuff and nonsense” of the Queen of Hearts.
Because she’s eager to reach her desired conclusion without knowing the relevant facts or fairly applying the law to the facts.
“‘Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.
“‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first – verdict afterwards.’
“‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. ‘The idea of having the sentence first!’
“‘Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.
“‘I won’t!’ said Alice.
“‘Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.
“‘Who cares for you?’ said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) ‘You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’.”
Everyone deserves fairness.
This includes the accused, no matter who they are or what they’re accused of.
The burden of proof is never on them. It’s never up to them to prove the negative. That is, it’s never up to them to prove that they didn’t do what they’re accused of.
Those reaching conclusions without knowing the relevant facts or fairly applying the law to the facts are like the Queen of Hearts.
Readers of this column six weeks ago will recall an episode involving some Queen of Hearts-like opponents of by-then former President Donald Trump.
Another episode involved some Queen of Hearts-like opponents of then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh when Trump nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018.
Those who have wielded this sword shouldn’t be surprised that it’s wielded against one of their own: Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y.
Those objecting to today’s column, perhaps because they believe they can benefit from Cuomo’s trouble, should beware: The same sword can be wielded against them, and painfully so.
Some Cuomo opponents have undermined their point – and perhaps also belied their sincerity – by calling for an investigation of him while simultaneously, or nearly simultaneously, calling either for his resignation or for his impeachment and conviction.
If they’ve already concluded Cuomo should resign, or be impeached and convicted, why do they want an investigation?
We can do much, much better than this.
Besides, if big players, with all of their power, aren’t treated fairly, what chance do little players have?
¯ As for one accusation against Cuomo, some have complained he’s a political bully.
Let’s assume, just for purposes of today’s column, that the accusation is true. Here are a few questions for the accusers.
Cuomo was first elected governor in 2010. When did you first notice this about him? Was there a delay between then and your citing it to support resignation, or to support impeachment and conviction? If so, why?
Is being a political bully cause for resignation, or for impeachment and conviction?
If so, are there other bullies in Albany? If so, what about them?
If not, is the political-bully charge not really what underlies the call for resignation, or for impeachment and conviction?
¯ As cause for resignation, or for impeachment and conviction, some have recently cited Cuomo’s ordering in early 2020 that nursing homes in other parts of New York – not here – admit people testing positive for Corona Virus Disease 2019, or COVID-19. This led to the horrible, unnecessary tragedy of thousands of people dying.
It’s conceivable that some horrible, unnecessary tragedies are cause for resignation, or for impeachment and conviction. It’s also conceivable that others aren’t.
Those who cite this particular tragedy now need to explain why it’s cause for resignation, or for impeachment and conviction, and why they’ve delayed in raising this.
They should offer their explanation carefully and patiently. Neither demagoguery, raising their voices, nor pounding the table should be persuasive here.
Or is the nursing-home charge not really what underlies – or not what initially precipitated – the call for resignation, or for impeachment and conviction?
¯ As for accusations that Cuomo conducted himself inappropriately toward women, or inappropriately afforded COVID-19 testing to family members, why not wait to learn the relevant facts and then decide whether they counsel in favor of resignation, or of impeachment and conviction?
Properly learning the relevant facts entails neither rushing through nor slow walking the process. It certainly doesn’t entail political games.
Those wanting to proceed without waiting to learn the relevant facts should beware: The same sword can be wielded against them, and painfully so.
Everyone deserves fairness.
And what goes around comes around.
Dr. Randy Elf joins those from across the political spectrum who believe everyone deserves fairness.
COPYRIGHT ç 2021 BY RANDY ELF.