In his State of the Union speech, President Obama said:
“I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon, in Burma, when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American president into the home where she had been imprisoned for years; when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, ‘There is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that.'”
I hope that the people of Burma recognize just as we must, that justice and law must constantly be checked and balanced with fair treatment, equality, mercy, common sense and accountability or we who make the laws or enforce justice will erode what the people of the United States and Burma value most: liberty.
I recognize that our justice system and our laws are a reflection of our values. I am learning firsthand that we are a nation of justice and law that can be very punishing and oppressive rather than restorative and liberating.
In Burma, Obama unclenched his fist to former dictators in the hope for restoration, reform and liberty for all the people of Burma. We the people of the United States need to unclench not only our fists, but our own hearts as we participate in creating a justice system at home that lives up to our values of liberty that can continue to inspire the world.