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Like a Mother’s Eye

November 7, 2013

“Every word of it true to the best of my knowledge and ability.”

“It’s quite the story. Maybe a little difficult to believe.”

“You’re telling me, Your Honor. I was there and I still have trouble parsing it all.”

The magistrate shuffled through some papers. She then continued with her inquiry.

“Could you expand on why you think the Court should grant leniency?”

“Yes. Perhaps by way of metaphor, if I may.

“Imagine for a moment that, rather than sitting within this august sky scraper in the lower portions of the Big Apple that it sat instead on a boat. A really big boat. And during the proceedings here, there was a loud crash, people and furniture knocked over, panic, screaming, alarms sounding, the prosecutor over there loses his gold-plated ink pen, mass chaos.

Iceberg. Our ship hit an iceberg and it is sinking.

“We would all, if we are still physically able, begin following closely the instructions of the crew and the captain. In that moment, we would all–temporarily!–accept totalitarian control. We would accept totalitarianism because we would believe that trusting the experts would be our best chance of survival, to get us safely and orderly into the life boats, get us to shore.

“I mean, who amongst us would refuse to accept help based on the political ideology in which it was given?”

The man on the stand paused for that to sink in. He looked around the courtroom.

“Ok. Maybe Chris Hedges. That man is stuuubborn…”

The gavel came down a few times to silence the titter that arose.

“Your point?”

“Yes, Your Honor. We accept idealism that differs from our own when the circumstances require it.”

“And this relates to these proceedings how?”

“We haven’t hit that iceberg yet. Not yet. We can see it. We know it’s there. We just aren’t doing much towards avoiding it except to say, ‘I don’t like how these other people think’.

“That’s denial. That’s delusion. That’s heresy, radical ideology that refuses to accept the possibility that maybe it doesn’t have all the answers in every situation.

“We need all hands on deck right now. And I’ll be darned if it makes a lick of sense to me to leave someone with a 168 IQ out of that discussion. He likely already has, in that amazing mind of his, probably a dozen, maybe more, great, solid, practical ideas how to avoid major disaster. Put his mind to it, he can likely come up with a lot more.

“But we don’t listen. We instead try to bend that brilliant mind to our will, make it do what we want done. Find out the answers to all those important questions like which perfume is Angela Merkel’s dog wearing this week, and exactly where is Silvio Burlesconi’s, one imagines, quite sizable porn collection? Make a few people a little more money while the boat tugs along toward the iceberg.”

“Why don’t they listen?”

“Labels mostly. ‘Anarchist.’ ‘Socialist.’ I flip the iceberg emergency question posed earlier around: who in their right minds would refuse the help of that young man, sitting right there at that table…who would refuse his help to avoid disaster?

“It’s foolish. This country was founded on many things, debate being one of them. Yes, there has always been dirty politics, but how bad it is now coupled with that iceberg…we just don’t have time for it. The people who really created this mess and those who are trying to capitalize on it don’t seem to know what’s really going on. And that is just so ironic, because that’s their job.

“The dirty tricks stuff, this unhealthy infatuation with James Bond and Tom Clancy–entertaining!–but not being a religion, worthy of worship, such as we see today. It doesn’t hold the answers. And it’s destroying us. Might destroy us before we even hit the iceberg.”

“How do you know, were he released today, that the defendent would do as you suggest?”

“I don’t. I don’t know. I’ve done some research, some homework on him, and he seems like the type would see what I’m saying. Or was. Being in solitary can change a person in ways they don’t even realize until it sneaks up on ’em and pop up unexpected.

“But more importantly, can we afford to not let him try? Can we afford to allow a…some would say, God-given intellect like that be wasted on nonsense? Not allow a shot at better solutions to our larger, global problems?

“We can’t afford that. All hands on deck. No more parties. No more isms. No more secret pacts that lead to nowhere, to oblivion. Just the Human Race proving to the cosmos that they are not going the way of the dinosaurs. That we are not finished yet, Universe.

“‘Sides, there’s whole solar systems, galaxies out there for us to go mess up.”

The gavel came down a few times again.

“To the young man I say, that if we–we!–don’t solve these problems, someone else will. They already have a head start. It’s not going to be pretty. Limited resources means having to lower the demand. Famine. Pandemics. Wars without end. The placing of cruelty on top of a pedestal because it helps to solve it the way some desire. You catch my drift?”

“Thank you. That was…an interesting argument. Just one more thing.”

“Yes, Judge?”

“Is there some other reason that you’re here?”

“Come again?”

“You made this trip. You don’t actually know these people personally. Surely there must be some reason for that.”

“Well…I care about these issues–”

“So do a lot of people. They didn’t all make it here today. You have another reason, don’t you?”

“Huh. You been spying on me, Your Honor? Don’t suppose I can plead the Fifth at this juncture.”


“Well…it’s complicated. And I really don’t know the answer exactly. But yes. I suppose there’s more.”

“And if that doesn’t turn out favorably?”

“Then I guess I’ll be real, real sad.”

“And then?”

“There are days when I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t broken my heart already. What’s one more? Status quo. You just try to be happy for the guy in the other Universe for whom it turned out different.”

“Maybe one of our other principles is one to consider. ‘In God We Trust.'”

“If that’s so, then why are so many men trying to play God to so many others? I think that’s what’s got to stop…at least until the iceberg is avoided. Temporary. Another beauty of our system: we can change it, then change it back if we don’t like it. When the system is working anyway.”

“And if the sentencing doesn’t turn out the way you would like?”

“Oh. Then there’s gonna be a lot of letter writing, harassing of people on the Twitter, raising awareness, etc. If it isnt done here today, then that just means it isn’t done here today. Too much at stake.”

“You don’t think you’re biased at all?”

“Biased? Biased? What’s not to love?”

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