Friday, October 9, 2015

Trust and Modeling

The judge pointed his finger and intoned, "Ma'am, look at what kind of example you are setting for your son," as he dealt with another temporary restraining case in his courtroom beneath the funky Marin Civic Center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

I was there to handle a matter between myself and two teenagers who prefer to bully, harass, stalk, and post such offensive comments on Facebook that I knew they had to be stopped. And they were: the judge granted me the maximum three-year restraining order against both of them. I prefer not to talk publicly about the specifics of the case.

But as I sat in the courtroom and listened to the above-mentioned mother, whose son was the victim of a racially vile comment, but could not respect the judge, watched two women tussle over guns, verbal and physical threats, child-support payments, and the same man, sat rapt as a 15-year old young woman translated for her nearly blind mother who has been physically victimized by a neighbor she loaned $4000, all I could wonder was, "What is wrong with our world?"

Although the judge was quite adept and sensitive to people, and seemed truly decent, I was befuddled and sad at the state of society. How did we get to the point where it is normal for one kid to text "there is a noose strung across an apple tree with your name on it" or for one young man, not even 18 yet, who I don't know and has never spoken more than one or two words on a basketball court to Miguel, to post such hideous comments about Verna and not understand or care about the consequences of his actions?

I guess I could blame just about anyone and everyone. We have politicians whose comments are beyond fodder for late night comedians, and who truly say such hurtful and outrageous things. Ben Carson said the Holocaust might not have been as bad if Jews had been armed. Trump is a cornucopia of misogynistic and racist comments. 

And politicians are  masters at deception. Just today the Republican congressman investigating Planned Parenthood admitted he was unable to find any wrongdoing on the part of the women's health organization.

Hillary Clinton is not immune to the ills that plague our political class. She is beginning to flip-flop more than a sturgeon on a ship's deck. First she supported the trade pact with all the vigor she could muster. And now, trying to lean leftward in an effort to stymie Bernie Sanders, she is against the pact. She once supported the Defense of Marriage Act. Now she is is--rightly--in favor of same sex marriage. Her trust quotient is inching perilously close to single digits.

Where do these people come from? And how are we regular folk supposed to remain inspired when so many of our leaders are so morally lackluster?

I could also blame bad parenting, bad schools, lack of religious instruction, too much religious instruction. I am not sure where to start. I am not even sure what I am saying. I do believe far too many people make bad choices and also that we don't help people enough figure out how to handle life in the 21st century. Public schools are underfunded and teachers toil overtime to educate our most precious legacy.

Justice was served for me yesterday in courtroom L, but for others it was a twisted Twilight Zone maze of horrendous decisions, economic hardship, racial strife, and some who may be on the road to true evil.

As the two teens across from me were escorted from the courtroom for mouthing off at the judge after he rendered his verdict, I suppressed a smile. What I also felt was sad for the state of things in my corner of the globe.

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