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To Be Fair

Nature is filled with breathtaking moments. At times, even the most accomplished poets fall short of describing its beauty that can only rightfully be experienced firsthand. It’s not a single tree or the way a branch sweeps in a breeze; it’s the entire kingdom of nature that equally harmonizes every component, every element painting the indescribable picture.

It is also possible one could examine this serenity much closer and find pieces of nature upsetting the extraordinary beauty in ways we might find disturbing to witness. Those nature dwellers, however, may call it survival. Their instincts tell them in order to live, they must consume beautiful foliage, or perhaps other members of the animal kingdom.

We humans like to believe we have evolved to a level less reprehensible and not feasting on others among our same species, sometimes boasting that we’ve included other animals as a part of that list. But for most every other member of the animal kingdom, it’s simply a matter of survival.

Even if an animal were to object to the situation’s inequity or unfairness, it would have no bearing over the impending attack in which its predator would soon be engaging.

We often hear, “That’s not fair,” but how often is fairness the result? Having a goal of being fair is not misguided. We should applaud and support those who valiantly seek it. But what precisely is fair? Is it more than objectivity, impartiality, or even justice? How can something be fair for one person or party and be completely unjust for another?


It’s a normal reaction to be upset when someone feels they’ve been taken advantage of. Depending on the enormity of the offense, there are several actions one could take to “right the wrong.” Was the transgression so enormous that it called for retaliation? Was it perhaps minor enough it could simply be forgotten or not worth the time to avenge?

Granted, no one wants to be known as a “sitting duck” for those waiting to take advantage of their next victim, but how often are we fighting or demanding that issues must go our way? Is the system rigged unless you are the one who comes out on top?

Fairness is important yet rarely the outcome. We have all been involved in situations where we were treated unfairly and were left with little or no recourse. These incidents happen more often than we’d like, and it’s difficult to know at the time, if some action or recourse is needed.

I regret to inform you that there is no easy answer for this particular dilemma. But there are cases where I can emphatically state that are worthy of every effort. Those instances are when others are being specifically wronged or taken advantage of and they are already underserved, discriminated against, or marginalized. Plotting against the rights or fairness of those who are targeted purposely because of their vulnerabilities, is some of the most despicable behavior a member of the human race can display.

Under the guise

Some laws were specifically meant to protect society. The troubling part is when those who are charged by the electorate with the responsibility to form these laws, collaborate with a privileged few and purposely design legislation rewarding their accomplices a distinct advantage. Unfortunately, this has been one of the oldest forms of manipulation known to humankind.

One of the oldest set of laws is by the Babylonian King Hammurabi. Inscribed on a basalt pillar, the preamble offers insights on this dilemma. Among other ideas, it states, “…To bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak…and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.”

What fascinates me are the words declaring, “so that the strong should not harm the weak.” It was no less than 4 centuries ago this kind of behavior was fiercely railed against and required such prominence to be noted as one of the first edicts. What we are witnessing in today’s society is nothing new and has been occurring in every generation of human existence.

Fairness, or the lack thereof, will always be a concern. But is it possible we are perceiving the idea of fairness backwards when we proclaim, “This is not fair”? Again, I am not promoting the idea that you remain silent when being treated unfairly. However, the quickest way to remedy this is to ask yourself how fair am I being? Am I playing a part in unfairness to anyone?

Lately, I’ve been guilty of being unfair to some people closest to me. Not that I’m willingly trying to take advantage of them, but the way I’ve been interacting with them shows a lack of concern which in truth, is not being very fair.

It is easy to overlook or take for granted the people, places, and things around us. Thankfully, these obstacles are overcome by practicing gratitude, kindness, and other attitudes positively impacting the lives of others. The compassion and caring can only lead to empathizing and understanding others.

If we are not mindful, we can get caught up in what we believe have been our tried-and-true ways of thinking. That only our ideals, morals, and principles are correct and also ones which anyone “in their right minds” ought to have for themselves.

This kind of thinking leads us to believe that we cannot even give opposing views any consideration or it might corrupt our own. This is nothing more than the miserable excuse of an unconvinced and fragile mind. If what someone else says distorts your thinking, then there never was a commitment in the first place.

Questioning your own philosophies, ideologies, and truths, is not a ticket to destruction. Neither is listening to someone with opposing views. In order for society to exist, we must be willing to listen – especially to those whom society has long avoided, shunned, and rejected. It needs to become an integral part of our everyday actions. Fear is what drives us to this lopsided approach that ultimately leaves massive destruction in its wake.

It’s time we start asking ourselves, “How fair am I?” If we could adopt this simple step, the world would shift to a reality that is much more fair to everyone in it.

My thanks to James Donovan on Unsplash for the fitting picture and I look forward to your comments.

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