This past week, Oprah was ordered to appear in court as a result of comments regarding the dismissal of the headmistress of her school in South Africa. For the full story go here. How has Oprah become the villain in this situation? Her highest responsibility is to see to the safety of the children in her care. If anything, we should expect for her to err on the side of caution- reason would dictate the most protective action be taken in response to even the slightest hint of danger.
So here’s the dilemma: the former headmistress is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty; yet strong evidence exists to call her integrity (and innocence) into question. To be clear, no one has declared guilt or innocence to this point, and Oprah does not appear to have made any such accusation.
Here in America, if there is suspicion or accusation of child abuse, normally the children would be removed from the home, or caregivers/teachers are removed from the facility until a decision can be reached. Are we declaring guilt or looking to protect the most innocent members of our society? In my humble opinion, we have an obligation to protect potential victims, rather than worrying so much about the “rights” of the suspect/accused. I would go so far as to say that the laws under which we must live now favor the lawless among us rather than the law-abiding citizens they ought to be protecting.
“Innocent until proven guilty” should not preclude the fact that one has indeed been accused of (at least) improper behavior. Excuse the childish reference here but: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Why are adults so much less secure and fragile that mere words have become so offensive? This is really the issue in this case… in all cases.
We have transitioned from a society where free thought as well as free speech have gone out of favor. This is ridiculous! Lawyers and politicians have stripped us of the right to express our feelings, our thoughts; that is who we are, what makes us the person we are. We are being dismantled as human beings! We must not lose our individual identities to some faceless, nameless social abstract! Even religion has contributed to this attitude, by convincing people that they are slaves to God and his will. We are all slaves when even our thoughts are censored.
I believe that Oprah, like many others, is being attacked because of her success, despite the fact that she has achieved and maintained it through integrity, compassion, hard work, and benevolence. How sad it is that our society now encourages the destruction of those who have done so much good in the world. Why is that desirable? Instead, we should be praising Oprah for taking action. She has taken a stand for what is good in this world. Way to go, Oprah! I support you 100%!