Maybe ‘fair’ should be ‘an excuse’

Published 12:52 am Sunday, January 29, 2012

Here’s a prediction — at the end of this year when the word of the year is announced, it will be “fair.”

Over the next 10 months, especially in the world of perpetual presidential campaigning, the word will be ballyhooed around thousands of times. It will be used as a dividing tool to pit one against another. It will be used the bring “justice” to this America that, if we listen hard enough, just isn’t very fair anymore.

But what is fair? In baseball, if the ball lands on the field side of the white line, or the line, it’s in play. If the ball hits the big pole down each baseline, it is fair.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Unlike baseball, though, the definition in life is not so cut and dry.

Picture a track meet with 10 runners. Each lines up in the blocks for a 100-yard dash. Each runner has to cover the same distance wearing basically the same equipment. That is fair.

Now, if the runner in Lane 1 has been consistently faster than the runners in the other lanes, should the Lane 1 runner have to run 110 yards? Well, if the others can’t keep up, wouldn’t it be fair to make the faster runner run farther to give everyone a chance at winning? Absurd.

So the runner in Lane 1 finishes first and receives a gold medal. Maybe the second two get medals, as well. The losing seven do not deserve medals, even though many will say that it is fair to recognize the others for “trying just as hard as the rest.”

Did they? Maybe runner 1 ran up and down muddy levees in boots, or through a swimming pool with weighted arms and legs. Maybe he trained three hours longer each day, or worked — not tried — harder than everyone else. So why would anyone want to punish that hard work?

America has been, and always will be, the land of opportunity — not the land of fairness. For many years, opportunities for certain groups were denied for myriad reasons, but in today’s society, the opportunity to succeed is there. Is it difficult at times? Certainly. But think of how much more satisfying it is to climb a mountain on foot rather than driving up the slope in a car. Climb the mountain and the air is dewey sweet and the sense of satisfaction is beyond words. Drive up the mountain, though, and it’s little more than a great view.

We will hear about economic fairness and wanting everyone to be winners. With fairness, failure is not an option, but if anything can motivate a person to win it’s failure. That motivation is being stripped under the guise of fairness.

No one can fail. Everyone gets a medal. And if you are faster than your competitors, you have to run 110 yards.