THE FICKLENESS OF WEATHER AND JUSTICE
Updated: Jul 14, 2021
The weather outside is suffering from indecision, shifting from hot and cold to everything in between. I gauge the prior week’s weather by the contents of my laundry basket, which for the past few weeks has included both light cottony and heavy fleecy clothes. My morning walks involve multiple layers, while the afternoon walks are stripped down to a single layer.
I have taken advantage of the terrible weather to finally wrap up the biography about my father, which I’ve been working on for three years. For the past week, I’ve been re-writing the last line of the last chapter in an effort to find just the right words. Sometimes the words appear magically and sometimes you feel like an utter failure. One day it looks just right, the next it’s the worst thing you’ve ever written.
But then something happened to send me a message that I was on the right track. That message came in the form of nature. My day lilies began blooming last week; day lilies were my father’s favorite flower. He devoted the last ten years of his life cultivating hundreds of varieties on our ½ acre yard. His morning routine involved dead-heading his lilies, so that all their energy can be devoted to producing the flowers that last for only a day – thus the moniker “day lily.”
Long ago, after my father died, I visited my homestead and, with the permission of the new owners, dug up about ten varieties of my father’s lilies, transplanting them at my home in Barrington. When I left Barrington, I moved them to my new home in Warner, and when I moved to Whitefield, I brought them with me. Every summer I channel my father as I go around dead-heading his lilies, thinking about my father traversing our yard with my old cat, Squeaky trailing along behind, as the two performed their daily ritual.
So when the lilies magically bloomed on the day I was struggling to finish my book, I took it as a sign that my work was done and I could move on. Of course, moving on tends to leave a void that is hard to fill, which brings me back to the weather and its inability to decide how to behave. As I read and listen to the daily news, I realize the news is as indecisive as the weather.
One day Derek Chauvin is sentenced to 22 ½ years for murdering George Floyd, which is good news and a small step toward racial justice. A few days later, Bill Cosby is freed from jail on a technicality, which is bad news for the victims of his sexual assaults. The culprit who caused the reversal of his conviction was Prosecutor Bruce Castor who promised Cosby he wouldn’t prosecute him. That is the same Bruce Castor who represented Trump in his second Impeachment trial, who rambled unintelligibly on the first day of the trial and was side-lined thereafter. In Cosby’s case, he gets away with a crime because of a stupid prosecutor. But that would not have happened if he wasn’t super rich and able to afford attorneys who were able to subvert justice.
Closer to home, former Senator Jeff Woodburn was convicted of four Class A misdemeanors, including one count of simple assault, two counts of criminal mischief, and one count of domestic violence, and sentenced to serve 60 days in jail. Because the jury acquitted him on five counts, he claimed victory. I’m not sure how one can claim victory when they’ve been found guilty, but he did. This was the case that torpedoed his meteoric political rise three years ago (he was touted as a potential gubernatorial candidate). When he refused to resign after the domestic violence allegations saw the light of day, he was warned that he would lose re-election. He ignored the advice of his colleagues, lost re-election and was convicted by a jury and yet, he still believes he won. Even being sentenced to serve 60 days, which was an appropriate sentence for the violence he inflicted against his former fiancée, Woodburn is planning to appeal thereby continuing to deny responsibility for what he did. His continued insistence that the truth will prevail will only delay the inevitability of accountability.
Speaking of accountability; Rudi Giuliani was suspended from practicing law in New York and Washington, D.C. for making “demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public” while trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election on behalf of the former president. Giuliani’s legal troubles don’t end there, as he is also facing multi-billion-dollar lawsuits filed by Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic over lies he told about their voting machines.
One of Giuliani’s clients who will not be able to benefit from his counsel because of his suspension is the Trump Organization, which has been charged with running a 15-year scheme to help its executives evade taxes by compensating them with luxury perks and bonuses that were hidden from the authorities. One of those executives, Allen H. Weisselberg, is charged with grand larceny and avoiding taxes on $1.7 million in perks. If convicted, Mr. Weisselberg could face more than a decade in prison. The question is will he break under the pressure of the indictment and turn state’s witness against The Donald? Will Trump’s “longtime lieutenant” maintain his loyalty at a stiff personal cost? Trump is counting on that and in all likelihood the Teflon real estate magnate will escape accountability because he’ll sic his huge stable of attorneys (minus Giuliani) in defense of any prosecution and/or will die before the case comes to fruition.
Like the weather, justice is a fickle friend unable to make up its mind with any uniformity or predictability. Some days you feel as though justice has been served, as in the Chauvin and Giuliani cases, and other days, the rich and powerful get away with dastardly deeds. I doubt I’ll ever live to see the day when there is an even playing field, just like I’ll never be able to rely on the meteorologists who are paid handsomely for getting the weather predictions wrong most of the time.