I had a journalism professor in college who was very fond of saying, “Remember, every story has two sides. It is your job as a reporter to take neither of them.”
Frankly, I think that is impossible. Journalists are human, too, (although I realize some might argue this point with me) and we are all prone to opinion. I always thought it would have been much more appropriate for my professor to have said, “Every story has two sides, but it is your job as a reporter to never let your reader know which side you take.”
Last week was a difficult one for those covering the news to avoid taking sides. The constitutionality of several very important issues – including the Arizona immigration law and the Affordable Care Act – were ruled on by the Supreme Court of the United States.
To quote a law school scene from one of my favorite movies – “the law is reason, free from passion.” (The quote is actually from Aristotle but, “Legally Blonde” fans, you know where I’m going with this.) As Elle Woods pointed out at her Harvard Law graduation, “No offense to Aristotle, but I have found … passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law.”
While it might not have a place in the decisions of the court, passion clearly poured from those waiting for and affected by the decisions.
Take the immigration issue, for example. A nation must have laws and those laws must be upheld to maintain order. There is a process in place for those who want to immigrate to the United States, and is it fair to those who follow the rules and go through that process to allow those who don’t to stay in this country? It is understandable why some ask and demand answers to that question.
But the answers aren’t as defined as our borders. What about those young people who are in this country because they were brought here at a very young age by their parents. The reasons their parents came vary. The Indiana Lawyer reported last fall the story of a young woman who was close to earning her college degree but had to drop out of school because a change in Indiana law in 2011 no longer allowed her to receive in-state tuition. She could not afford to pay out-of-state rates. True, she was an undocumented immigrant and the law is the law. But her reality is that she has lived in Indiana most of her life and only in the last couple of years learned of her undocumented status. Whether the change is fair or not can be debated, but the situation for one young girl was still heartbreaking.
While the IL staff recognizes the passion that many who are involved in these cases feel, we strive to report the news, provide ample facts, and allow you to come to your own opinion. On Page 3 we report on the Supreme Court’s immigration decision and its possible impact in Indiana, and on this page immigration attorney Angela Adams explains the potential impact of the policy change concerning young undocumented immigrants announced by the president in June.
While politics is undeniably a part of these debates, more than one analyst has opined that the split of the court in its opinion on the Affordable Care Act could be viewed as dampening arguments some have made about the politicizing of the Supreme Court. That verdict is still out. But as discussions continue about immigration, health care, and many of the other controversial issues on the national agenda – and about the only thing we know for certain at this point is that they will continue – I hope that many of us can spend a little less time worrying about what side we are on, and a little more time thinking about where we should stand.•