The case for Fantine

To love another person is to see the face of God. —from Les Miserables

I found some information on post-Revolutionary France in the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia on page 346.

Historical questions: How was King Louis-Philippe installed? Who were the Bourbon kings? How would a prince-president different from king? How would the republic be different?

We are jumping ahead in Kingfisher to ask these questions (by over 250 pages).

More questions: Would we love/accept a Fantine today? Would we accept a Jean Valjean today? What if we found out our local mayor - a good, and even a highly moral man - had been an escaped convict? What if his crime was stealing bread when he was hungry? What if his crime was stealing bread and he was sentenced to 20 years? What if during those 20 years terrible things happened, and he killed a man? Would we accept him as our mayor? Is there a line that we draw with who we allow to represent us?

What do we think of today's Judge Mathis, who had a rap sheet as a juvenile? Do we accept his role as a modern day judge of the court? Are there other public officials who had criminal blemishes that we choose to represent us anyway? (hint, hint, there is a big one).

Anyway, I loved the Liam Neeson movie. I also loved Neeson in Michael Collins.


L said...

Hialeah comes to mind.

We were just discussing a similar vein with regard to juvenile death penalty cases. You can always argue that teens are old enough to understand the concept of right and wrong, but I know I am not the same person I was back then. I believe people are capable of change. However, it's probably a good idea not to place them into situations where they have failed in the past (I'm thinking of Porter Goss's appointment of Michael Kostiw here.)

la Maitresse said...

Right, Hialeah Gardens case does come to mind. In fact, while at the University of Miami, I was asked to do some research for a professor at the State Attorney's office. I had to ask for a list of all City of Miami and Miami-Dade elected public officials with criminal convictions on their records. While I was waiting at the State Attorney's office for the list to be printed for me, the staff member said, "Oh, wait. I have a couple that should have been taken off this list. They've been expunged since they were last recorded."

Most convictions on the list were misdemeanors.