Thursday, March 8, 2007

Meeting the President

I have always wondered what it would be like to meet the president of the United States. Like all Americans I have stood in awe of the position which is without question the most powerful in the world. As a trial lawyer, there have been hundreds of opportunities during the course of my career to appear before judges in black robes worn by individuals who, like the current president, were utterly undeserving of the respect of the office. The most notable judge was the guy in suburban Chicago who falsely claimed during his campaign for election to be a Medal of Honor winner from the Vietnam war. He wrongly dismissed the case I had in front of him, a badly brain damaged young child, after his fraudulent claim had been made public and before he was removed from office. (His decision was subsequently reversed on appeal). I remember gritting my teeth during my appearances in his court room, but publicly maintaining the posture of respect for the robe that our system of law requires. There were hundreds of other similar experiences in which small minded, petty demagogues, enthralled by the trappings of power, behaved reprehensibly in the application of the law toward fellow citizens. This morning, my mind wraps around the fantasy of being invited by the current president to sit down and have a chat with him. I have just learned that the war in Iraq has resulted in thousands of maimed soldiers reurning home to inadequate medical care. There is something inherently evil about a president encouraging young men and women to go off and fight a trumped up war leading a government which then shortchanges them on medical care when they come back with wounds that will haunt them forever. That’s something most Americans never thought their country would do. I sit there and sip tea with the current occupant of the White House and bring the sum of all my experience with those who abuse the trappings of power to bear. I lean over and whisper quietly in his ear. "Mr. President, you are a fewking idiot."

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