Sunday, December 07, 2014


Sunday Reflection: Protest and Advent

On Friday, I was giving a talk to 30-some people from across the country about working with students on clemency cases.  I was giving the talk in Harkness Hall, which is across Wall Street from Yale Law School and down a block.  While I was giving the talk, a protest was held, involving several hundred students and faculty holding a "die-in" to make a point about the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths.  

It was really an interesting juxtaposition: Outside the window, the protesters were expressing righteous anger about a real and serious problem.  Inside, we were working to mitigate the effects of the law enforcement excesses and racial imbalances they were protesting.  The two projects weren't in tension; rather, they fit together to make a whole.  

At the end of the session, we walked into the street to do down the street to the law school.  The protesters, headed back, were going the same way.  We walked together quietly, the street full of people and meaning.

What a wonderful experience you enjoyed . . .

“America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.” – Ronald Reagan.

If the ‘beacon light’ referenced continues to more closely resemble the ‘light’ from the temple mount and palaces majestic, accessible only to the privileged few, might not the freedom-loving people be guided towards a dismantling, stone after stone, of temple and palace all?

Would my sons ever be involved in the illegal activities young Brown and Garner were before their encounters with the police? Most likely not; though employment and educational opportunities occupy the majority of their time – far too many are not as fortunate . . .

‘American Exceptionalism’ is flickering, at best, when too many middle class families have struggled to access affordable health care and education and rely upon big box retail, hospitality, fast food, undocumented employment and similar endeavors to support their families. If someone would do the math, I venture a guess that filling all of the technology jobs currently needing a skilled workforce would not keep pace and absorb all those entering the workforce each month. Today’s students and youth have much to march for with “meaning” . . .

Imagine the possibilities – the cost of money and current domestic energy expansion (carbon, renewable and prices) are creating a more compelling reason to direct ‘righteous’ (anger) concern toward not dismantling the spires of opulence, but rebuilding the foundation (middle class) that supported the spires and towers that shed light upon our Exceptionalism.

Something is about to ignite and burn, if not attention paid, it might be ‘Rome’ . . .
You and my dad think alike!
Thank you for the compliment. . .
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