Friday, August 28, 2009

Let's Kill All the Lawyers

Are Anger and Fear Giving Common Sense and Decency a Run for the Money? One of my favorite John Hughes films has to be Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. Complaining about having to write a paper about European socialists, the young Ferris laments :

“I’m not European. I don’t plan on being European. So who cares if they’re socialists? They could be fascist anarchists. It still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car. Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself.”

Not everyone has taken Ferris Beuller’s advice to heart. In recent months, terms like Socialism, Nazism and Communism have been used to label the healthcare debate. Personally, it drives me crazy when I hear people throw around terms like Nazi and Communist without having an understanding of the meaning behind the terms. * My family originally ventures from Poland. It's a lovely piece of real estate parked between Germany and Russia. (Poland is like the Hartford Whalers of Europe. They have the NY Rangers and the Boston Bruins on either side of them.) As you can imagine, Polish people know a thing or two about the horrors of both isms. As a child, I was able to visit Poland during the height of communism. I had relatives who fled the country for being members of the Solidarity movement. I observed the long lines to buy food. Getting an apartment could take years. Trust me. Cash for Clunkers was hardly a communist conspiracy. And after hearing the stories my grandfather told me about invading Nazis, I can confidently tell you President Obama is far from being a Nazi. Those who make such statements do disservice to those who served in WWII, including our current President's grandfather. * It appears anger, misinformation and fear have somehow replaced common sense and decency. Apparently, discussing healthcare also causes people to lose the ability to control the volume of their voice and to shout inexplicably. Potentially constructive forums have transformed into bitch sessions used to vent frustration through yelling. Personally, I blame Jerry Springer. He was one of the first to put microphones in the hands of insane people. It's fine to be angry, but make sure your anger is based on factual information. I would be angry too if I believed the president was a muslim-terrorist-communist planning to set up mass sterilizations and death panels to kill my grandmother and the remaining Golden Girls. The issue of Health Care is complex. It concerns me that people are basing their decisions on catch phrases, soundbites and rumors. So as lawyers, what can we do about it? * When Shakespeare's Dick the Butcher suggests "let’s kill all the lawyers,” it is not because he feels we charge too much in our fees. Dick understands that to achieve anarchy he must get rid of an informed opposition who understands and enforces the rule of law. As lawyers, I encourage you to take part in the current debate. If you have the time, attend some of these town hall meetings. While everyone else seems to be a constitutional scholar these days, you actually studied the constitution. Whether you are for or against healthcare reform, don't be afraid to educate those around you. _______________________________ Interested in the topic of Healthcare Law, why not check out Attorney Bob Coffield's Healthcare Law Blog.


Melissa Sugar said...

Excellent blog post as usual. As I have written so many times; your injection of humor is perfectly timed. I am of the age that any comparision to Ferris Beuller's day off is going to grab my attention. I also love the comment about blaming Jerry Springer. I never really thought about it, but of course he did introduce the now too common act of putting a microphone in the hands of the insane.
Admittedly, as a lawyer; I do not know enough about the national health care reform and I need to educate myself. I do know that we have a crisis, but it is not being helped by creating an unecessary panic among the people. I have noticed that 90% of the people I hear critisizing our President and his plan (or any other plan for that matter) don't have a clue what they are talking about and when called on it they reference "catch phrases, sound bites and rumors" You nailed this one.
Melissa Sugar

PS> My father's family is from Poland as well. I am assuming "Sugar" was shortened in America from Sugarman or some other derivative

PK75 said...

As much as I agree with all the rest of what you wrote, but Shakespeare, in Dick the Butcher's remark, was definitely NOT praising lawyers as the guardians of sanity or whatever - to the contrary, they were made the punchline of a rude joke. Don't kid yourself - the Poet quite obviously hated them.


Kind Regards from Germany