Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner #1: Turkey, Pool, and a Grand Jury

As a plebe, Thanksgiving dinner at the Academy meant getting to the dining hall an hour early to set up the tables and prepare drinks and appetizers for the table. It also means running to the galley on a schedule to pick up the next course, or to replenish a depleted delicacy. As an upperclassmen, Thanksgiving dinner begins when the meal starts, and ends with the departure of the VIPs. As a senior, Thanksgiving dinner begins after class, and continues to the end of the night. That is because dinner is fit in between two social hours: the first is a reception to receive the guests, and the “pub hour” afterwards is an aperitif for the invited guests- including faculty who happen to be alumni- who are still young at heart. After two winning rounds of pool (thanks to having a partner with more experience at the table), there was a mishap with whipped cream- witnessed by spectators including myself. No need to elaborates, but to make sweetness of the situation, I grabbed some eggnog to share- topped with the remainder of the whipped cream bottle. Then the TV was turned on to the news. A rare occurrence after breakfast (when the news remains high-paced and full of drama), and only done for important events. I am not an avid current-events fan, instead preferring big-picture topics like public morals and economic policy. So I was intrigued that a bunch of young men, and women, would want to watch a press conference. The last time was when the President announced action against the ISIS militant group. I was not a fan of former press secretary Jay Carney, so I tended to avoid watching direct coverage from the Press Room of the White House. But in watching this speech, I was more sympathetic to the President than I had been: In contrast to the legislative force which Mr. Obama had in his first two years of the presidential office, Mr. Obama appeared to be a more humble man. He no longer had the House of Representatives, and by this time was predicted to lose the Senate as well. He was a bit aged by a contentious relationship with the House. Tonight, at a press conference beginning at 8:15pm Missouri time, the decision came down from the jury, as read by a civil minister. It was a lengthy talk, detailing the pains with which the jury took to avoid misleading rumors and biases of the media. But about six minutes in, squished between two other sentences, it turned out that Police Officer Darren Wilson was not guilty of any of the five potential charges. I was one of the few to catch it before Fox News posted a banner with this highlight. This was the desired verdict for many in my crowd, as a number had a police officer as a parent, cousin, or a close family friend. Quite nefariously, one person confided to another that it was “A good day to be a white guy”. But that logic is wrong and divisive. Justice is supposed to be colorblind. I was relieved that justice was administered based on all evidence. The same class of person who says that this case was a verdict for the Caucasian race is the same type of person who fears visiting foreign ports. This turkey season, Darren Wilson has a lot to be thankful for. Our front-line police officers’ families appear to be thankful, too.

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