Monday, November 8, 2010

Free Speech and How To Make Everyone I Know Mad

My brother says that if I weren't an asshole I would have no personality at all.  I don't try to be one but I seem to step in it more often than others.  I guess it is because I went to law school and have been in the profession for a number of years.  I'm not using that as an excuse, just an explanation.

A few days ago one of my Republican friends sent me another hate filled diatribe about how Democrats are going to hell because they are directed by lawyers and the Republicans are the good guys because they are lawyer-free. 

At first I just shrugged it off as another "Democrats Suck" jab.  Then I thought about it some more.  I thought it was childish of the author and forwarder to throw jabs without solutions.  Sort of the - if you don't vote you can't complain - logic.

My purpose in providing this witty retort is not to show how blindly some people will vomit what others say, but to point out that you can't sit on the sidelines and get mad at the other team unless you are playing. 

Here it is - straight from the asshole lawyer's mouth:

Free speech is a wonderful thing, even when it is full of lies, half-truths and distortions.

There are 81 Republican lawyers and 123 Democrat lawyers in Congress (I found this in the Internet - it probably isn't updated for the changes of last Tuesday). Not the huge disparity the author pretends.

Lawyers are taught to think critically and to put their client's best interest first. The majority of lawyers do this within the bounds of the law. Lawyers are also taught to be fearless and speak their minds. The fact that Barack Obama was a lawyer and the editor of the law review at Harvard (this position goes to the valedictorian of the class - the person who will graduate number one in their class) was a positive in my mind when I voted for him. I thought he could reason through the issues and attack them with clarity and without emotion.

The one thing that has become clear to me is that people are mad. They are mad at the government for not preventing the economic melt down in 2008 and not getting things back on track once it happened. Whether either of these is or was possible will be the subject of debate for many years in barrooms and civic centers, classrooms, living rooms and the halls of Congress.

Apparently the Democrats couldn't get things done fast enough. Now the Republicans have their chance. The worst thing they can do is react emotionally and make bad legislation and cut necessary government programs for the sake of their appearance. Even worse is remaining divisive and the party of "No", stalling critical advances and wasting precious time.

The Republicans need to rely on their critical thinkers to come up with real solutions that help all of us, not just the upper 5% of wage earners. They need to get rid of selfish wasteful spending for a small minority and make government cuts that will serve everyone well. They also need to find ways to serve our nation without pandering to special interests. We are all in this and we all should be considered when making changes.

The Republicans need lawyers to hash out the critical issues and to agree to dialogue. The Republicans need lawyers who can compromise and who are willing to fight for their clients (the public) but who are willing to be realistic and come to a good solution rather than hold out for a great solution which may never come.

The democratic process (notice I used the little "d") was created by lawyers and in my opinion is the best means of government on earth. It has withstood the test of time and is still serving us all very well long after other options have come to an end. It may be messy and take time, but it is better than the alternatives.

The best thing we can do is to be involved, not as Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Socialists, Constitution Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party, Tea Party Coffee Party members, but as US citizens. Call your congressman or congresswoman and tell them what you want.

If you are angry and don't know what you want, listen to others, for and against your position, and form your own opinion. Hear competing opinions, debate the issues with your friends, write about it, and you will really get a feel for the heart of the issue. Regurgitating what you hear on MSNBC does no one any good. Know what it is you believe and specifically what you want done about it and the labels will take care of themselves. We can't waste any more time yelling across the table.

It is time to sit down and get a few things accomplished or we will be living in a post apocalyptic waste land protecting what little resources we have with fear and anger.

Now is the time to get involved. With enough thoughtful consideration and debate on the issues, who knows, you may decide you want to go to law school.

1 comment:

The Gearheads said...

This is a well written piece. I like how your explanation of the solution does not take partisan favoritism, just plain and simple, get informed and involved.