In Franz Kafka’s famous-but-incomplete novel, Amerika, his protagonist treks to our brave new world only to repeatedly find himself persecuted by a bizarre assortment of authorities.
That was fiction. How’s our factual world?
Today, our governments — particularly our police and prosecutors — seem to treat Kafka’s nightmare as a blueprint for action. Accuse. Accost. Ticket. Jail. Innocence is no excuse. Sense is no criterion.
There has to be a better artistic model for our country. There is: The Andy Griffith Show.
Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry never used his toughness in a bullying or bureaucratic way. He was respectful of the public, interpreting both the rules and his own discretion with a healthy dose of common sense.
Unlike modern America, Mayberry was never Kafkaesque.
In searching about for standards, better to reach to Andy rather than Franz. Our enforcement culture sure needs something.
Still, many police are exemplary public servants providing necessary service. So let’s keep our cool, not over-react. Every time law enforcement goes even slightly off the beam, someone, somewhere, starts spelling “America” with a “k” — as in Kafka’s novel. But remember, Kafka had an excuse: He wrote in German, and in German “America” is spelled with a “k,” not a “c.”
For me, I’d like to keep the “c,” and let it stand for . . . Common Sense.
I’m Paul Jacob.