Retro is back in vogue. But, not necessarily in the way you may think that phraseology implies.
The retro here is for retroactive, such as when say a pay raise is retroactive back to a certain date behind us, but were not compensated at the time at the higher rate of enumeration.
Or when lawmakers have found the courts frown on attempts to make a certain crime or punishment retroactive due to the uproar from the public or their own disgust over a situation.
Lawbreakers have the protection of being tried, convicted and sentenced not on some new law or new enlightenment on a given crime based on the law and sentencing applicable at the time of the crime. To do otherwise would be unfair and violation of one’s civil rights under our Constitution.
Yet, we are seeing a rush to judgment today based on new emotions, new thinking, new intolerance or new toleration for those of fame, money or power when it comes to what is and is not acceptable behavior in dating, in relationships, in attempts to woo or otherwise engage with another in some type of sexual contact.
We thought we had hit the mother lode when Bill Cosby was arrested and sent to his fate before a jury of his peers.
How little did we know that a couple of years later, the whole country is suddenly incensed in a manner similar to the villagers rising up with torches and pitch forks to make the world “safe” from Dr. Frankenstein’s monster.
I can readily understand the desire to get a scrupulous pound of flesh for those within the decade who have been weighed and found wanting in the realm of unwelcomed sexual contact. But when we attempt to apply today’s standards to actions decades (plural) old to destroy a person on what at the time (though wrong at the time) was not activity roundly decried, is not right.
Should these, mostly men acting badly and without thought, transgressors be judged on the distant past and all the good negated and their change in thought and action ignored because now it is suicide to act in such a boorish and insensitive way?
Should the guilty be allowed to continue the good, repent for their past sins and move on?
For those who are still guilty, still transgressing, that is a different venue and the current moral standards and laws apply, no doubt about it.
Remember when Jesus and His disciples were confronted by the mob with a woman who had been caught in the throes of adultery? Jesus squat down and wrote in the sand with His finger.
When He spoke, it was soft, yet firm, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
After the crowd sheepishly melted away, Jesus was left with the woman. He asked, “Where are your accusers?”
The woman noted they were gone.
Jesus then said the immortal words, “Neither do I condemn thee…”
That’s where most of us stop. But stopping there leaves out the most important part of what Jesus had to say.
The final five words were the key to forgiveness, “Go and sin no more.”
From the Cornfield, what these men did was not right, but we must temper our outrage with wisdom.
For those who have moved on, who have gone their way since their sins and crimes to “sin no more“, should be allowed to apologize, make amends and continue to be a benefit to society.
For those who continue to wallow in the mud and slop of their self-delusion and debauchery, let there be a reckoning.