So our pastor gave a good homily Sunday. He mentioned the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire via forgiveness and mercy. He said the problem with a society based on justice or revenge is that invariably the person or group wronged will see the act as a greater wrong than had actually occurred, and the person or group perpetrating the wrong will see it as a lesser wrong than had occurred. That means that retaliations must always be greater and greater because of this natural amplification. Perpetual war.
A simple concept but a true one. We are not Spocks, emotionless judges of wrongs. And speaking of judges, we see a sample of it in the political discourse today. Whereas a generation ago someone like Sonia Sotomayor might have argued vigorously for equality for women and Hispanics in the legal profession, she overreaches now and says that she's more worthy. (Can you imagine a white man saying today, "I would hope that a wise old white man with the richness of his experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn’t lived that life."?) But there is always overreaching, it's built-in, even among judges who are supposed to be the wisest and most dispassionate among us.