I just finished watching “A Time to Kill” again and that movie never loses it’s ability to stir all the dormant feelings to life. I know the movie is framed to portray the desired dichotomy- the rambunctious white boys alongside the calm, family oriented black community; the white’s disrespect for the law versus the black’s law abiding citizens. I see that it’s a picture being painted for me rather than a complete reflection of reality. But I get it. And mission accomplished to start a very controversial chain of events.
The movie does so much more than illustrate the difference between black and white, the injustice that lies in color no matter how hard we try to ignore it. Or no matter how hard we try to accept it. That’s not the first time that reaction has been pulled from this movie.
This time, more blatantly was the underlying tone that controversy is far from clear cut. When one decides to take on a position to defend, it doesn’t matter what the issue, there is always obstacles that leaving you guessing, and then second-guessing time and time again both yourself and the issue. We see how we’re forced into sides. That come strong enough there’s no room for middle ground, for playing it both ways.
And that strikes me at the core for some reason. I think the older I get and the more unclear the lines are that I see, middle ground is the only place that feels safe. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that we can both be right, or wrong for that matter, on any given issue. Maybe it’s because of our current position in the maturation process of said issue that has our heart telling us two distinct differences that we each feel called to fight for. Maybe it’s the way we were raised that blinds us to other possibilities. Maybe it’s fear, or faith, or ignorance, or liberty that won’t allow our minds a different perspective. I don’t know but it makes it all very confusing to me. I don’t even know why i want everything to be so clear cut to me but I can tell that it’s super bothersome that it’s not.
In his closing argument, Matthew McConaughey states that we all have an obligation to seek the truth with our hearts. He issues an abandonment of mind and pleads for an intimate inventory of the heart. Was Matthew McConaughey fighting with more of his heart than Kevin Spacey? I don’t know. And what if they were same amount heart, that Kevin Spacey believed Samuel Jackson’s guilt and corrupt motivation with the exact same amount of heart that Matthew McConaughey believed his innocence and temporary insanity? Then what?
This is why conflict leaves my head spinning. This is why I feel like I avoid taking a stance on a lot of things, that there is no clear right or wrong. But then writing it out and watching a movie that so beautifully illustrates the exemption of middle ground, it beckons the same rule that Matthew McConaughey won with— we have an obligation to seek truth with our own hearts and then roll with it. Let your heart be the judge and allow the passion to follow. Be willing to eat your words if that time comes. Be willing to be humble and be humbled. Be willing to fight for something that will lose. And don’t worry, I’m not preaching to you, simply to myself.
(also written on the way to Hawaii. Better late than never, y'all.)