I hope the tragedy of the killing of the husband and mother of Judge Joan Lefkow in Chicago may bring some appreciation to the service provided by Federal Judges, and all Judges for that matter. (I wrote this before the murders in the Atlanta Fulton County Courthouse, which only strengthens my feelings further.)
Our three branches of government are all supposed to be co-equal. The President parades and pontificates every night on television. Members of Congress are on television promoting their bills and causes constantly. Judges, on the other hand, toil away in relative anonymity and are very often the subject of attack by the other two branches of government. How many times in the last few years have you heard politicians attacking those “unelected judges” who interpret the law. Of course it is their job to interpret the law and now and again we should be reminded that they are due some measure of respect for the daily judgments they must make, and the dangers the face in doing so, for our benefit. It is time for some appreciation of the unity of our three branches.
I am deep in the passion of re-writing my soon to be book. I have had a big breakthrough, a rather significant redirection of its focus. I won’t say the proposed title (it has not been sold to a publisher yet and they always change the title anyway) but the subtitle is something like “How to Create Unity of Effort and Energy in a Fractured World.” The subject of how companies and cultures build unity or disintegrate is much on my mind and it is central to the ability of either a company or culture to remain competitive.
The downfall of every civilization and corporation is not the work of an attack by external enemies, but internal disintegration and loss of will. Internal competitors, blind to their own deeds, raise the dagger and strike their own heart, thinking they are attacking their opponent but failing to realize that they are in the boat together, rapidly circling in a descending whirlpool of debate. The Bible, as well as every other Holy book of every great religion, sought to promote unity even if its followers failed to understand or act accordingly, as they usually did. “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” And the Founder of the Bahá’i Faith said, “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”
George Washington, in his great Farewell Address that should be read carefully by every citizen who loves his country, said “The Unity of Government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is the main Pillar in the Edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home; your peace abroad; of your safety; your prosperity; of that very Liberty which you so highly prize.”
Washington was extremely concerned about the divisions political parties would create, “Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effect of the Spirit of Party, generally.” “One of the expedients of Party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other Districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much from these misrepresentations. They tend to render Alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.” And today it seems that the number one tactic of the parties is to do exactly that against which Washington warned, to misrepresent the opinion and aims of the other to acquire influence.
It is those who pride themselves in this spirit of party, and who are the most strident voices in misrepresenting the views of the other, who are the subversives and cancer among us. Let’s at least take the moment of this tragedy to recognize those public servants who rise above party, our judges, and serve the people with their courage and convictions.