What I believe…the questions we should ask about ourselves after the Lance Armstrong resignation

I believe that one of the cornerstones of justice is that we should presume people innocent until proven guilty.

I refuse adamantly the idea that we should delegate to the press the right to try people and tell us what to think and what to believe.

News makes the front page, corrections are an afterthought hidden somewhere most of us don’t go looking.  The press makes many mistakes–and I am not sure who keeps them accountable, but I know they rarely are the ones paying the price.  With regards to the Lance Armstrong saga, there have been journalists who have insinuated that they could not pursue the story when it was hot because it would have cut the revenues of their publications. Wow…is that the same press we should be listening to form an opinion now?

I have always thought that courage was to act in the face of fear…and that we paid dearly for our own convictions.

I will continue to believe that someone is innocent until proven guilty. This is a matter of principle. Armstrong was just an excuse to put these thoughts on paper.  I don’t know what to think about him–and if I lack the knowledge, I am still willing to presume his innocence.

What does it cost me to do so? I admit to my own failings. I don’t know all the facts, I lack the energy to wade through all the evidence that is now being used to say that someone committed doping many years ago.  Who am I to go digging into test results, samples degradation, standards and what we know now that we may have not known then?

How many times in the course of human history have we condemned innocent people?

Maybe Armstrong is not one of them, but I don’t know enough about it. Until then, it does not cost me to see him as a human being with all his failings and some successes.  He survived cancer and used the illness to help others.  How many people can say they have done that?

I would rather see a guilty person go free, then one innocent suffer the humiliation and the injustice of a wrong conviction.  It does not cost me to extend the presumption of innocence to Lance Armstrong. There appear to be plenty of people ready and willing to convict in the forum of public opinion.

For me, the problem has never been about Lance Armstrong, but about our willingness to form a quick opinion without all the facts.

It’s easy to move with the wind, much harder to stand in the face of strong gales…

I am still disturbed deeply by witch hunts–and let us not forget that we, as humans, have a good track record of pursuing the wicked witches. Just read history and you will know how many times we have been misguided.  When we are in pursuit of those wicked witches we cannot see with clarity. We are too thirsty for revenge and blood.  Something threatens us. We don’t know exactly what it is, we attack. Enter the wicked witches. The perfect target for our fears.

We are willing to forget that if one innocent person suffers because of a witch hunt, none of us wins.

Even in this country, which many consider the most sophisticated democracy, the justice system occasionally fails and condemns innocent folks. Please never forget that.

We should use the Lance Armstrong saga not to condemn one individual, but to ask deeper questions of ourselves and those around us.

What do we stand for? What matters most to us? What is it about this story that touches us deeply? Why are we so set on going after one person? What good can we create now? What hope can we give our young people who want to pursue a sport? Do we care about keeping score or about more? Is it so important to win at any cost? Are we so insecure that we have to look for flaws in others? Where is our courage?

Fatigue has set in except for those who like to say “I told you so.”   Maybe I am not fierce enough to go find out more about this particular case, but I am not going to stop believing that the world would be a better place if we pursued less witches and asked deeper questions about our own beliefs and what we can hope for humanity.  We can all do better.

Life is Amazing! Live well.

Anna Grassini


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