page 75, John Lewis et al., March. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf Productions, 2015.
The speech bubbles in this panel do a really good job of conveying panic and fear, with their harsh edges and various underlines. This panel really stuck with me because I can’t imagine being in the middle of a race riot where a cab driver refuses to drive just because there were black and white people in the same car. This makes me think of the insanity that is some laws, how people get in trouble for trying to give food or water to the people imprisoned at the border, or how helping Jews during World War II got you killed. It is very interesting to examine “bad” laws and to think about what the purpose of a law is if not to protect the good of the people. I saw this quote the other day that read, “without ethics, laws are just the stories we tell to justify horror.” Earlier in the year we talked about the distinctions between laws and ethics and how they are related. People are not legally bound to make decisions that are ethical, and there are generally no punishments for unethical decisions. For example, in my opinion it is unethical for Jeff Bezos to not have to pay taxes, but there are no legal repercussions for him doing so, since it is technically legal inside many different loopholes.
I suppose the laws about giving food to those at the border do protect the good of the people, if the term “the people” has a very narrow and exclusive definition. Thinking about bad laws raises many questions. Is it bad to break bad laws? How are lawmakers punished? Is not following bad laws enough to get them to notice, and eventually change them? Who is above the law? Should anyone be above the law? What should be done about laws that harm instead of protect?
Throughout 2019, I have really began to question the basis of law in this country. Glossing over many questionable decisions made by our president, the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest court in the land, really made me lose faith and trust in our upholding of the law. He himself is a rapist, and he will use his power to allow other rapists to get even fewer repercussions than they already do. Bringing up another example of ethics vs law, many people find it ethically okay to coerce people into sex, although actually that is considered rape and therefore a crime. However, since rapists so infrequently get jail time or any sort of punishment it could be considered legal since nothing is done to enforce or uphold these laws. Ironically, many of these same people consider abortion unethical and want it to be illegal because they find it unethical. As we have previously discussed, laws do not exist to correspond directly to a certain individual’s moral code, and are there instead to protect the good of the people. At least, that is their role in theory.