Thank God we live in a country where there is freedom of speech, especially with respect to "public figures." Candidates for public office are not only "public figures," but our ability to discuss, praise and/or criticize them is the hallmark of our democracy and the most obvious and significant distinction between our country and those of oppressive dictatorships such as that in Syria. Please understand that I have already been questioned by a Judge in my own divorce about my campaign activities, and statements I made in connection therewith, "off the record" with just the Judge, Mr. Clifford, and myself present. This was a form of oppression and violation of my first amendment rights, so even here in America we must be vigilant and jelously guard our vitally imporant and constitutionally protected first amendment rights. How that Judge came to learn of my comments (which obviously resulted from an ex-parte conversation with Mr. Clifford) is another story, but I happen to like this particular Judge and think she was unaware of Mr. Clifford's actions in general and towards me in particular and thought I was being unfairly mean and derrogatory (even though mean and derrogatory speach enjoys the same status as protected speech).
I am writing a book which will offend many as it is vey truthful and critical of many people, including prominent lawyers and judges. In an effort to be truthful and be perceived as such, I am most critical of myself. The only thing not revealed are attorney-client priviliged communications. As both a lawyer and litigant in our justice system, and now as a pseudo-journalist with my Blog and Book, and having been "on the inside" and "in the know" to an incredible amount of humourous, outrageous, and/or disgusting and disallusioning behaviour by everyone ranging from some of the most respected and promominent members of our society (including the legal profession but non exclusively about lawyers) I have a lot of anecdotal stories which help explain how went from admiring and revering our system of justice to becoming sickened and disallusioned by it, and that includes as a result of the actions of clients, lawyers, and judges. I am most sickened by my role in that system as a happy and willing participant, blind to the oppression and injustice that surrounded me. I have always believed that .action is often as bad as inaction. In my religon, Judaism, we have a sin which we recognize each year on our holiest special holiday, Yom Kippur, or the "Day of Attonement." The sin is "Zeal fo Bad Causes." I was quite zealous in protecting, building, profiting, and participating in a system of justice that needed to be reformed, improved, exposed, etc.
People will say that, with all its imperfections, our system of justice is the best in the world. They are right! I seek to expose, to criticise, to reform and to correct injustice not to destroy that justice system but to improve it. Just because "it is the best there is" does not mean that we shouldn't make it better. I believe that attorneys have an ethical and moral obligation to do just that. What I define as "ethics" does not necessarily mean that it is included in the Rules of Professional Responsibility [Ethical Rules]. Too many attorneys believe that as long as they don't violate the handful of written rules, even if they are withing an angstrom of such a violation, they are doing just fine. I would argue that those attorneys have no place in our legal system and the ebst place for them in our society is far far away from the rest of us. By the way, Judges have more than an ethcial and moral obligation, I believe that they violate their oath of office and degrade the judiciary and themselves when they fail to act in a compassionate and utmost ethical manner. Whether or not they can be "disciplined" for violating a written provision of the Rules which govern attorneys and Judges is analagous to someone arguing that so long as they don't commit a crime they are guaranteed a spot in heavan.
This election, and the role many of us played in it, in my oppinion touched on many of the issues I discussed above. While no one can really no why voters voted in a specific manner, and to what extent general feelings about Democrats v. Republicans affected the outcome as opposed to the educated oppinions of an electorate concerned with the issues I raised in this article/post. All I know is that I had such concerns, and they troubled me greatly, and they troubled a number of people whom I spoke with and explained my concerns to. Whether or not my concerns were justified, is second to the fact that the process appeared to work, in part. Voters were allowed to share (as I did, for example, in my Blog), their oppinions and then cast their vote. And we did it not to destroy a system, but to make it stroner, more just, and more beautiful than it already is.
Like every aspect of our society, we have a long way to go. The more we learn about our environment, for example, the more we learn about the damage we have done and the tremendous amount of work needed to repair, it if even still possible, the damage we have done. But that doesn't mean we just throw our hands up in disgust and give up. To the contrary, we use that most precious gift our founders codified as the "First Amendment" and we educate ourselves and each other and we then decide, through the free exchange of information, thoughts, facts, oppinons, and ideas [yes, even when some of those ideas may seem (and most, but not all, probably are, insane, heretical, absurd, and/or hate filled)] and then we take careful considered, lawful, moral, and ethical action, whether it be the enacting of legislation, the election of citizens to public office, decisions as to whether and if so how to enforce or give effect to existing and new laws, and most importantly, what actions we need to take as private citizens in our day to day lives or otherwise unrelated to governmental intervention so that we can strengthern the very fabric of our great country by strentghening the institutions which, taken as a whole, define our country, while we bear in mind that, just a a fabric may be undone by a single thread, our society may be undone by even a single institution if it is allowed to become excessively rancid.
The First Amendment, and its place in educating our electorate, society, and children holds the key to our future. If we guard that right jeolouslly and use that right extensively and continuously as I suggest above (paying most attention to education of our children), then despite the troubling times we appear to be in, our success as a nation is absolutely assured. If we do not guard that Right, or we squander it and fail to use it, then our demise as a nation is simply a function of time. I, and others, did our part in the election yesterday (November 8, 2011). All that means that as of November 9, 2011, and as long as we exist on this earth, we need to turn our attention elsewhere and use that constitutional right to strengthern the other threads of the fabric of this great nation. That is what I intend to do, and I hope my readers will join me in whatever fashion they find appropriate. But while no one can be forced to join us, I suggest that no one stand in our way, as this heavily loaded mile-long speeding freight train is "not stopping for nobody."
As an aside, in law school at the University of Pennsylvania, I had occasion to do some project involving Freedom of Speech and the restrictions thereon. I came to the realization that some of the most valuable cases which established and enshrined our rights came from some of the most vile organizations who "pressed the envelope" on freedom of speech.