This I Believe

Alborz - Knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on September 25, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: injustice

I believe that only through justice is it possible to maintain peace. With bias and injustice comes tension and conflict. Living in a home with my parents and younger sibling, we are relatively stable and work well together. However, there inevitably arises times when there is trouble. Once my brother Aram and I laid claim to the same ten-dollar bill on a table. Our parents, sensing a conflict and seeing me as the older and more responsible child, interceded on Aram’s behalf. I felt wronged, and thus began an argument lasting several days.

Looking back on that episode and other similar cases, I realize that the simple issue of fairness is one that can be found at the core of most situations today. Everyone, everywhere, pushes to advance his or her own interests. I’ve seen people clash over what seem to be trivial matters. I’ve also fought over such small problems like a place in line at McDonald’s. As I lie on my bed, I think of my past, and remember all the times when our household was chaotic, when simple rules and decisions seemed unfair.. Now, finally, I can recognize mistakes that were made, compromises that would have been just. If I had been allowed to go to my friend’s birthday party at Laser Quest if I vacuumed the house, if my brother could have had buying my brother just one more popcorn packet if he helped clean the house, and so many other instances that could have turned out differently.

Teachers and friends quote that cliché about life not being fair, saying that injustice is simply a part of growing up. It seems to me, however, that life can be fair, and humans can make it so through the use of good judgment and fair dealings. Certainly our own family could have been a little more just, and have had a little less conflict. Yet this holds true for any person or family or civilization. Look at any nation today for a moment to see proof that only honest dealing on all sides leads to harmony. Nations that treat each other with respect and equality find themselves in a peaceful environment that people enjoy living in.

Many times I have doubted even my own central philosophy that we all must act reasonably, fairly. Time and again, as I have grown older, I have been certain that people survive only by looking out for themselves and their own families. Every time, without exception, a deep philosophical moment makes me believe, once again, in the success of integrity and fair dealing. People may always be individualistic and self-concerned, with little attention to spare for justice, but I’ve grown up in a household where I’ve witnessed it firsthand, and from it I hold true that no matter how many troublesome ten-dollar bills may affect human life, the only correct way to deal with them is with an unbiased view and two five dollar bills.