Friday, January 29, 2016

Can Joe Hill Teach Anything...To Us Today?

Books have been written, so have songs. It's been over one hundred years since Joseph Hillstrom was executed in Utah.

Before I took this picture a few days ago, I didn't know much about Joe Hill. And, after checking out a few websites and doing a little reading, I know slightly more about him than I did before.

Looking at this picture reminded me of how things go today, how we view things today. And what I mean by that is this is we live in a society where we believe we are right, in politics, the environment, social issues--you name it. We hold to our beliefs to tightly that we reject opposing opinions even when facts are presented. I look at this huge painting, an ode to a dead man and I think that those who believe Mr. Hillstrom was murdered (as indicated on the painting...) will never change their mind about it. They'll never be convinced that his execution was nothing but illegal and it was murder.

Now, I admit from my scant research there's a good chance he did not kill the two men he was convicted of killing. Then again, most of the websites I checked were written by people supporting him and his causes. There's a lot more written by his supporters than by those representing the other side.

Today we have our views and they're right. They're the only views that are correct. We corner the market on truth. Then someone comes along with opposing views and they have their own "facts" to support their crazy notions. They show us their "facts" which are in conflict with our established facts. We know they can't be right because we are.

I don't know if I had lived in the days of Joe Hill if I would have agreed with the verdict or the other side. If the law ended an innocent man's life then those responsible will pay a price. The painting on the side of a used book store in downtown Salt Lake City reminded me that, as a people, we really don't change very much over time.

And I'm pretty sure I'm right about this.

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