Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Confronting my own hypocrisy

I was deeply disappointed in the members of my County Bar Association yesterday.  Yesterday was our monthly meeting and the speaker was one of the Justices from our state Supreme Court.  When the Justice was introduced and walked to the podium I stood while I applauded.  I was the only one.  Others at my table ribbed me: "Do you have something pending in the Supreme Court??  Ha! Ha!"  Well as a matter of fact, yes, I do.  But that is not surprising since I handle appeals.  I pretty much always have a case or two pending in the Supreme Court (actually usually the Court of Appeals).  But that is not why I stood.  I stood out of respect for the office held by the man.

Since I do handle appeals, I can promise you that there have been many occasions on which I was not happy with the opinions out of the Supreme Court.  And I might have opinions, that I will not share, about particular Justices.  But that is not the point.  The point is that the man was one of the handful of the highest jurists in our state judicial system and as such, he was deserving of respect regardless of how I might feel about him as a Justice or about the decisions that come out of the court.

I was ranting about this today to a partner of mine when I suddenly remembered the occasion many years ago when a certain President of the United States visited the little town of Enid.  (We have an Air Force base here).  The President walked, with his entourage, around the little square of our downtown.  Being the senior-ranking person at my office at the time, I authorized shutting down the office long enough for everyone to walk over to the square to see the President.  But... I stood in the crowd of onlookers and when the President walked by I thrust out my fist with my thumb extended and pointing to the ground.  What a stupid, childish and disrespectful gesture on my part.  Even if I could not respect the man, I should have respected the office. 

So, Mr. President (do you still call them that when they are no longer in office?) I humbly apologize. 

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