This is not a writing post: Thoughts on Troy Davis

Posted: September 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

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I’d like to take a moment to discuss the state of Georgia’s recent execution of Troy Davis (September 21, 2011 at 11:08 p.m. Eastern Time).

Yes, I know. This is a writing blog.

But I am a political person, and I can’t let this go.

I would venture that, like me, the vast majority of people who rose up to decry this exercise of capital punishment had no idea who Troy Davis was before this week. You’d never know that by watching the news.

We, as a culture, put on a good show of loving justice, though we each have our own ideas of what exactly that is. More than this, we seem to love the chance to rail against injustice. Maybe it’s because this is an easier path–a quick flash of indignation and rage, a little seething and grousing after, then back to our regularly schedule program. I’m not blaming anyone for this cherry-picked approach. Because once you start looking, really looking, you’ll see injustice everywhere. This is our world. And living with eyes open to this is exhausting. I know this from experience.

This is a blog about writing, a blog about the creative process, a blog, ultimately, about imagination.

And this is where I fail you.

Because I cannot imagine how the execution of Troy Davis was just. I cannot imagine the world as a better, safer place because one man is no longer in it. It doesn’t even matter that he was very likely innocent of the charges which led to his conviction and execution.

A man died last night to feed the machine.

Each of us has the individual responsibility of deciding how this does–or does not–effect their life.

And the wheel spins on.

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Comments
  1. I think everyone has those moments in their lives where they rally behind something seemingly out of nowhere not because their passion to do something is being cherry-picked, but because something sparks them to look up and realize that they can no longer sit by and do nothing. That’s the situation I found myself in with Troy Davis.

    A couple weeks ago, as you said, I had no idea who he was. But then someone posted a petition on Twitter and it got my attention. I don’t go looking for these things, and maybe that makes me a lazy human, and maybe I am at times disappointed in myself for it. However, I know how far down that particular rabbit hole goes. I live my life and try to do what I can when I can.

    I don’t know what it is about this Troy Davis issue that hit me so hard but it’s still in my thoughts repeatedly this morning.

    • Yeah, that’s an awfully deep rabbit hole. I know some people, very well-meaning people who seem to live in a constant state of near outrage, ready to fly into “boycott ALL the things!” mode at the slightest provocation. And I don’t see that as any way to live, either.

      I really do hope that I am able to find my own path of moderation. That balance between awareness and ignorance, hope and cynicism, is one tricky bastard. And I suspect it will be a life-long work in progress for me.

      And I really don’t mean to be dismissive of people rallying beyond this incident. I agree–there’s something about this that caused a spark. And I really do hope that enough people DO something with that spark–that it sparks a fire to make some changes in an inherently unjust system.

      • I didn’t think you were dismissive at all. This situation brought out a lot of strong feelings and there’s going to be tension and frayed nerves for a while. I really do hope that the feeling of sickness this brought on will be a lasting reminder and maybe a motivator.

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