The political climate is rough out there, gang. Okay I get that’s an understatement. It’s like saying there’s a bit of rain out there during a Hurricane like Irma, or Katrina- but even so, this talkative lawyer is at a true loss for words.
I am not even going to give the State of the Union more attention than typing out those words right there. There’s no point. It was a speech written by someone plagued by self-loathing and read by someone with, quite possible, the loosest grip on reality without being deemed “incompetent.”
So why the gloom and doom? Why not stand tall? Fight the power? Rage against the machine? You may need to buckle in for this explanation, cuz it’s gonna kinda go everywhere but it will make sense.
There was an episode of South Park I believe it was, and it was about turkeys. The episode was aptly named, “Turkey Slaughter.” One of the turkeys, Gobbles, had a physical deformity which made him unable to lift his head off the ground. When all the turkeys are brought to slaughter for Thanksgiving, a saw comes out of the sides of the walls and chops all their heads off- except for Gobbles. Today, I feel like Gobbles. Hang in there, it’s going somewhere.
The vote to impose sanctions (read “punish” if that’s too complicated for you) on Russia for screwing with our election was veto-proof. An overwhelming majority in both houses said, in essence, “Not cool, Russia. Not. Cool.” SCROTUS, as I’m back to calling him (“So-Called Ruler of The U.S.”) doesn’t care. One more time, with feeling: HE DOESN’T CARE WHAT CONGRESS JUST SAID AND DID. And again, one more for the Gipper: He is refusing to implement sanctions.
Who cares, it’s Donny boy, right? Par for the course? NO. He has ignored the law of the land. He has violated his oath of office. He has flipped the bird to citizens of this country and their elected officials.
Many of my friends, including good old Sunshine Steve, has asked where is the law in this seemingly lawless land? Where has it gone? How is it possible the elected sexual predator can just make executive orders like Hershey’s makes candy and override separation of powers? Checks and balances? Without giving a civics lesson and making myself suicidal, I simply said, I honestly don’t know.
Well, here’s your answer: laws don’t matter. Our illusions about democracy, about “for the people by the people,” about separation of powers- shattered. All that we held dear, the Constitution, its meaning, the punishments about those who abuse it and violate it lay in so many shards across the square.
I almost shed a tear at the thought of our forefathers, who tried so hard to fight for freedom, to make a document securing so many rights and allowing for change hundreds of years in the future, who hated the thought of an all-powerful ruler, standing aghast at a President ignoring all that they had created. Ignoring the blood that was shed, the men who were injured, who suffered, who died to stop a regime so the president can continue to be a petulant child puts a lump in my throat.
As I’ve said before, I’m a lawyer. I don’t bring it up in conversation often because (1) it shouldn’t really matter. I’m a normal person, I don’t say it to brag about it, I’m probably one of the most humble lawyers you will ever meet, (2) it changes people’s views about who I am, and (3) the response is usually akin to saying I have the plague.
If laws don’t matter, why go to work? My job is to help the citizens of my city. Or at least, it used to be. Hang on, another turn.
I am Gobbles because I care about people. I care about my city. I care about my world. I care about all the steps in between those things. It weighs like an albatross around my neck, making it hard to hold my head up high. Especially since I have tried to make my city and its citizens a better place. When I first started here (yes, I’m being intentional vague) there was no policy either internally or in the building about Domestic Violence. None. Did they not care? Don’t know. The point is that I took the stand, said it wasn’t okay to just ignore a pervasive problem, and implemented a policy- that went virtually nowhere. I’m still fighting to get all the information into the right hands. I also worked with a judge to implement a mental health court- something else this place does not have and should. I’ve been blown off. Repeatedly. If my office cared a third of the amount they claim to about the citizens of this city these projects should have been completed quicker than a hot knife through butter.
Why should I bother to stand tall knowing my head will be chopped off?
I’m no martyr. I am a fighter. My next tattoo was (is?) going to be “scientum legis” on my left wrist and “convictionem veritatis” on my right wrist. Knowledge of the law, conviction of the truth.
Maybe I’ve become too disillusioned, too jaded, too cynical, too disenfranchised. Maybe instead of having those be my strengths, they are now my weaknesses. I’m saddened that everything is so political that we have to attempt to explain to people why they should care about other people- sick people, immigrants, refugees, each other!
In light of all this madness, I applied to go to the dark side: criminal defense. I wanted to make a difference, I really did. I wanted to be a prosecutor that didn’t just lock everyone up and threw away the key. I wanted to put people who needed help where they could get help- rehab, or jail, housing assistance, victim assistance, the hospital- where ever! A coworker once told me that the sooner I let this job have my soul the happier I would be. She’s right. But instead of giving up my soul, I’m giving up this job.
While exercises in futility may be the only exercise I can get these days, even the hamster eventually gets off the wheel.