The Verdict on Christmas
No, this is not a post about Christmas. Sure, my kid loved her holiday gifts, and we powered through with the stomach bug, and we played some fun games as a family for hours on end. Good stuff.
But, this speech, this amazing closing argument from a movie made three decades ago still makes me gasp and clap in the privacy of my own living room and act like other people do when watching sports.
This, to me, is the spirit of spirit, of the holidays, of the every day, of what matters. This is a big bite of the taste of awake that is like a transfusion to the heart, the opposite of a lullaby, a rev for your engine that may have been choking, sputtering or coasting in neutral. Aren’t you glad you know how to drive a stick and can feel the change of gears as you hit the gas?
Whatever your holiday or politics, if you volunteer, parent, are an activist in college, at the office or your neighborhood, here’s a little iron-filled fuel for an anemic heart.
Let the words stir you up. It’s better than Stomp, Riverdance and an old-fashioned type writer banging out noise. You can hear and feel the pulsing, the rhythm of the beats and the slaps, the power of the punch mixed with artful and precise pauses and slowed tempo so the delivery gets you everywhere.
Words, words, glorious words, not just because or to be snooty, but to arouse and soothe and stoke the soul towards activism and passion and truth-telling and justice. What could be more non-commercial Christmas.
It’s a big build – up, longer than the closing argument from the Verdict made in the 1980’s. It’s just so good, and today, to still be able to catch a movie on T.V., not planned or DVR’d or ordered but to just come across it, a few minutes in and have the hours to spare, that too is a delight and what holidays are for.
Lovely to luxuriate and it just makes me feel all Merry F’n Christmas and thank you Jesus (or Goddess) because the best parts of me are full and fired and gifted with presence….
And if you haven’t had a dose of that today, and you want one, go You Tube “Closing Argument to the Verdict” for the bonus of seeing and hearing Paul Newman, but here, I’m leaving you with the words.
I would love an ornament filled with quotes like this all over my tree.
Judge Hoyle: Summation?
Galvin: Well…You know, so much of the time we’re just lost. We say, “Please, God, tell us what is right. Tell us what is true.”
I mean there is no justice. The rich win; the poor are powerless. We become tired of hearing people lie.
And after a time we become dead, a little dead. We think of ourselves as victims — and we become victims.
We become weak; we doubt ourselves; we doubt our beliefs; we doubt our institutions; and we doubt the law.
But today you are the law.
You are the law, not some book, not the lawyers, not a marble statue, or the trappings of the court. See, those are just symbols of our desire to be just.
They are, in fact, a prayer,
I mean a fervent and a frightened prayer.
In my religion, they say, “Act as if you had faith; faith will be given to you.”
If we are to have faith in justice we need only to believe in ourselves and act with justice.
See, I believe there is justice in our hearts.