Let Freedom Ring
I am often amazed at Americans. We say we value our freedoms, yet we are quick to deny those rights and freedoms whenever it suits us.
We have a number of basic rights granted to us by our Constitution:
The right to bail
The right to a speedy trial
The right to confront our accuser
The right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses against us
The right to defend ourselves
We value these rights for ourselves but can often be quick to deny them to others. Think about the last time you complained about someone under circumstances where your identity would remain anonymous. We have many ways to complain about others anonymously—we can tell our boss, we can tell our principal, we can tell our parents, we can tell our clergyperson—we can complain and remain unknown. We can complain without having to face the person we complain about.
We may fear the person we are complaining about, we fear possible retribution. We may fear that if we become known others may think less of us because we complained. Maybe we know that our complaint is just fluff and we want to make trouble for someone because we don't like something about them. Maybe we just don't want to be confrontational.
When complaints are made anonymously the complaint should be brought to the attention of the person about whom the complaint was made. That should end it. However, many times other actions based on the complaints. A person may lose privileges. They may be required to alter parts of their life or face losing privileges. It often matters little that the person about whom the complaint was made was going about his or her private, legal affairs. It often matters little that the intent was to help others. Acting as judge, jury, and executioner the person whom the complaint was made to works to 'correct' the situation.
Maybe they are trying to achieve harmony. They may even have the best interests of the person being complained about in their mind, believing that their actions are the best for everyone involved. They may be acting with the best of intentions.
Whatever the reason, it is wrong.
The only way an anonymous complaint should be handled is to bring it to the attention of interested parties, any action beyond that is a violation of the persons rights. The complainer should be told that no action will be taken against the person they are complaining about without the complainers name being revealed. The 'defendant' has the right to know who is accusing him or her. If we are to truly have a free society where all persons rights are observed then those rights must be observed at all levels and in all interactions. A person who makes a complaint must be told that their name can not be kept anonymous if any action is to be taken. For one thing, this insures that people will not make frivolous complaints just because they don't like something about a person—their color, religion, height, religion, politics, education, assertive nature, etc—but only complaints that are real and too the point.
If we value our freedoms we must practice what we preach and grant these freedoms in all things at all levels to all people. Anything less is wrong.