Monday, June 13, 2005

Not Guilty

This Op-Ed was published June 17 in USA Today:

Jury finds no crime in Jackson's difference

The Michael Jackson trial was a circus because a celebrity was accused of child molestation. But what the trial really was about was something else: Jackson's being radically different (“Jackson free: Fans rejoice as jury acquits him on all counts,” News, Tuesday).
Will our society allow the strange behavior of a man who spends the night with boys who aren't family members? Will a jury acquit a man who has changed in appearance over the years to become a virtual freak? Is it believable that a grown man who appears so strange could have such an intimate relationship with boys without having sexual contact?
This jury, hardly of Jackson's peers, answered with a resounding “yes.” Over and over we heard “not guilty.” Being different, contrary to the bitter attacks of the prosecutor in this case, is not a crime.
This verdict is more than a victory for one lonely celebrity. It also is a victory for non-conformity. Bullies such as Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon, the prosecutor, deserve to be punished for abuse of their power. Mercenary mothers who lie for material gain, who prostitute their sick children for personal gain, should be punished.
Yet creative artists and performers who are wildly eccentric, who do not look like the rest of us, who live in a reality unfathomable to the majority, deserve praise, kindness and appreciation for their talent and their gift of genius. Vive la difference!

Jack Miller

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