Law, consequences, and insulation

My politics are no secret[1. Although for some people it’s impossible to comprehend that one can be both an atheist and an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism.], but I don’t really want to shove them front and center in terms of my writing. However, this is political, and it strikes me as important.

If you or I break the law — and I mean openly, flagrantly flout the law, and admit frankly that we are doing so — there are consequences. We must go before a judge and prosecutor, be obsequious to them, and probably serve time in prison, depending on the law broken. We will suffer from losing our jobs, or at least money we would have earned otherwise.

This is not true for everyone.

Congress is required — by law — to pass a budget every year. The entire congress has been breaking the law for four years. Is even a single congressman serving time for this? Are they losing time out of their lives, being subjected to humiliation and obeisance, losing their jobs or their salaries for doing this?

Yeah, right.

Timothy Geithner, Obama’s first Secretary of the Treasury, cheated on his taxes for years before getting appointed. Did he lose his chance at the position and go to jail? Look at the signature on your newest dollar bill for the answer to that.

Around the nation, police are murdering innocent civilians with impunity. No, really, with total impunity. If you made a mistake in your job that lead to the death of an innocent man, a man who got murdered because he was trying to defend himself from your mistake, would you really get off scot free without so much as a grand jury inquiry? Well, cops and judges do. Everywhere.

Even terribly egregious cases bring no justice. George Zimmerman is the target of a transparently malicious prosecution. The prosecutor has threatened his fiancee in an attempt to coerce “cooperation” from him. When that didn’t work, she made public prior bad acts — a major no-no in our justice system — and what’s worse, those prior bad acts are highly disputable, relying on the testimony of a single witness recalling memories from childhood and requiring a rather unique interpretation of the context from which the accusations are made to even begin to see them the way the bitch prosecutor wants you to see them. And so far this prosecutor, violating laws and ethics and standards left and right for months on end, has been subject to zero consequences.

Even when something like justice is done, the malefactors are cushioned from the consequences you and I would face without insulation. Recall the Duke University lacrosse team last decade. They were falsely accused of rape by a deeply unreliable witness, and the prosecutor, Mike Nifong, pursued them relentlessly without any slightest consideration for the considerable evidence that they were wholly, completely innocent. In the end, after sidetracking their lives for more than a year and causing their families to waste time and substantial money defending them from his malicious and egregious prosecution, he did eventually lose his job, get disbarred, and get sentenced to time in prison.

How much time in prison, do you wonder? How much punishment can a man deserve for breaking his oath, betraying the purpose of his office, besmirching the rule of law, and attempting to destroy the lives of the innocent for purely political purposes?

One day.

One. Single. Day.

So, if you ever read something I write and think, “gee, he seems to have one or two tiny little problems with authority”… yeah.

But I’m not cynical. Just realistic.