Please, indulge me for a while…I promise I’ll get to the point, eventually.
- If you sent your child to school with a yummy lunch and someone used the threat of force to make your kid ‘sell’ them their whole (and much more valuable) lunch for a dollar – would that be acceptable? How would you react?
- If you (rather than your child) bough a lunch and someone used the threat of force to make you ‘sell’ them your lunch for a dollar – would that be acceptable? How would you react?
- If you bought a pair of shoes and someone used the treat of force to make you ‘sell’ them these new shoes for a dollar – would that be acceptable?
- How about a car – would it be acceptable for someone to use the threat of force to make you ‘turn over’ a new car to them for one dollar?
- What about a house? Would it be acceptable for someone to use the threat of force to make you ‘turn over’ your house to them for one dollar?
- And if you purchased some land and planned to build a home on it – would it be acceptable for someone to use the threat of force to ‘turn over’ that land to them for one dollar?
- And what if you purchased some land and planned to build a more than one home on it – would it be any different? Would it be acceptable for anyone to force you (using threats of violence and imprisonment) to turn the land over to them for one dollar?
What is worse, even though I took some time before writing this up to wait for a single news outlet to report this for the travesty that it is, not one of them has.
Each and every one of the mainstream media outlets has interviewed only the people who are doing the forcing – and what is worse, they feel it is righteous of them to do this. Every single one of the reports on this ‘story’ have been deeply empathetic to the bullies and not the victim in this case.
An eternity ago, when I was in high school, we studies a short story called ‘The Devil and Daniel Webster’. If you are unfamiliar with it, here is the story in a nutshell: a farmer has bad luck and eventually agrees to sell his soul to the Devil in exchange of 7 years of good luck. The Devil fulfills his end of the contract, even letting the farmer have an extension. Still unwilling to pay the price he had agreed to in the contract, the farmer hires the famous orator Daniel Webster to argue for him in front of a jury. Instead of judging the contract on the basis of facts, Webster manipulates the jury’s emotions to judge on the basis of ‘people=good, Devil=evil’…and gets the farmer off.
When we discussed the story afterwards in the classroom, every single student – excepting me, of course – was happy with the way the story ended, hailing is as a ‘victory of good over evil’. I was not sure what I was more horrified at: that the story permitted the victory of ‘wrong over right’ or that so many of my classmates had been manipulated of their perception of ‘Devil=evil and therefore must be defeated by any means necessary’ and could not perceive that in this situation. the ‘evil’ Devil was actually in the right.
By the way – my hubby had attended a different high school, but he, too studied this short story and he also was the only one in his class to argue ‘right vs wrong’ rather than ‘good vs evil’….
Why do I bring ‘The Devil and Daniel Webster’ up in this context?
Because in today’s world, it is difficult to imagine someone more ‘devil-like’ than a land developer…except, perhaps, someone in the ethical oil/gas industry.
In the Ottawa permutation of the story, a land developer had purchased land with the aim of building homes on it and, well, selling them. But, the City of Ottawa had decided that on the property this land developer had legally purchased, there ‘might’ have been some old and/or significant trees….and if the city’s agents deemed that this was so, the developer would be forced to ‘turn the land over to the city for one dollar’.
In other words, the City of Ottawa was both the prosecutor and the judge – and, should they issue the arrest warrant, the executioner.
It was the City of Ottawa who raise the issue and it was the City of Ottawa who would judge if they have the ‘right’ to demand the land be ‘turned over’ to them for one dollar…
Am I the only one who thinks this is not just plain wrong, but truly evil?
Yet, every news source I heard or read is empathetic to the city, not the ‘evil’ land developer….
How does this happen?!?!?