If I Could Be Atticus Finch

There are definitely days I wish I had followed my friend Mary into law. Today is one of them.

I remember wanting to be a lawyer almost as vividly as wanting to be a writer. I lived for the legal dramas my mother let me stay up late watching with her: « Perry Mason; » « The Bold Ones », « The Defenders. ». I am quite sure I never missed an episode of « L.A. Law. » And yes, the old « Law and Order » franchise.

But if I had have gone to Berkeley as Mary did, the outcome may have been different. Though she is a dear friend and « Aunt » to my son, she enjoyed being the conservative voice on Law Review. My heart probably would have bled from the corporate centrism that I embraced for so long into a fiery defender of press freedoms and human rights. At least I hope it would have.

Especially today, after reading the « NY Times » story on Iraqi citizen Basim Razzo, who’s house-along with his brother’s- were wrongly targeted by a U.S. military air strike. Especially learning that losing his home, his wife, daughter, brother and nephew in a wrongful drone strike due to bad intelligence, the military offered him $15,000 in « condolence » funding. Is that the price we put on human lives when our military makes mistakes?

According to this news report, we are barely willing to ADMIT our mistakes, with civilian death rates in our pursuit of ISIS allegedly 33 times higher than we are willing to own -1 in 5 killed in the last few years have been civilians.

Ironic they also published a piece about how the military pushed a disinformation campaign on the public before the Vietnam Tet offensive to convince folks at home the North Vietnamese were losing steam.  Or perhaps not so coincidental.

I want to be a lawyer to fight Trump from trying to force the sale of his arch nemesis CNN in order to manipulate the Time Warner-AT&T merger. He is abusing the office of his presidency to take revenge on a news organization and Jeff Sessions is letting him use the DOJ to do it because – well – it might make up for him recusing himself on all matters Russia as relates to the Trump campaign. News flash to Jeff Sessions – no matter how much you grovel, Trump never forgives. One day, he will oust you. Talk to Chris Christie about Trump’s loyalty.

I want to defend « net neutrality. » When the « Information Highway » came into existence, it was supposed to be a freeway anyone could drive to find knowledge and information. As it has become increasingly monetized by the companies doing business on it, taking away its last protections will become the equivalent of having to buy the Encyclopedia Brittanica-most houses won’t  afford it. And the organizations willing to plow the most money into it will be prioritized as the voices heard. Freedom of information will be a forgotten phrase. The chance for demagoguery to push further into our civic discourse will be grow exponentially.  The term « free speech » will become an oxymoron.

I want to be a lawyer to defend every woman who has a #MeToo story to tell. They all deserve one and there is only so much of  Gloria Allred to go a round.

I want to be a lawyer to speed up the disability hearing process so 18,000 more people don’t die before their claims are thoroughly adjudicated over the next two years.

« If wishes were horses, beggars could ride. » An old, old adage. I am not a lawyer. All I can do is blog and hope some lawyer somewhere reads this and takes on a just cause.  Even if they are tilting at windmills. We need more Atticus Finches in this world. Sadly, that noble lawyer was not real. But the threats to our ability to speak freely and be treated justly are.

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