I’ve decided to cut my editorializing in half for the time being: Sundays only. A certain project to which I’ve pledged myself is eating away large chunks of my writing time… and also, frankly, of my moral stamina. I simply don’t have any enthusiasm or vitriol left over at the end of the day to aim in other directions.
Hopefully I can divulge the results of my labors in a couple of months. For now, enough to say that I’m doing my microscopically little bit to publicize the case of a man who, I’m now fully convinced, is serving three life terms for crimes he didn’t commit. The case is so replete with sloppy detective work, bullied witnesses, prosecutorial manipulation, and—above all—stupidity of analysis on the jury’s part that I end every day now feeling as though I’ve hauled away a dozen bodies to the cemetery after the hangman has done his work.
It just so happens that the news cycle is currently bursting with examples of how very unequal our judicial system is. Mr. Mueller has gone at his task like a Gestapo officer with a blanket warrant, pressuring Mike Flynn (for instance) into a plea deal by threatening the man’s son. Meanwhile, Jussie Smollett (never heard of him before, will never write his name again) seems to have played a get-out-of-jail-free card in Chicago after broadcasting a bogus incident that might have incited a deadly race riot. Back to the Mueller Inquisition… an ambitious, semi-pixilated staffer has a conversation in a bar and is forced to cop a plea to a felony; a fully sober Adam Schiff has the same kind of conversation over the phone with a self-identified Russian national and, at this moment, continues to screech from the vanguard of the righteously indignant.
That’s politics, of course. We like to believe that the rules are different in less public arenas… that the rules exist, and are mostly followed. Yet I sometimes wonder if anyone ever goes to jail for a term commensurate to a crime actually committed. Pandilleros looking to expand their illegal empire on American terrain bluff their way across the border with abused children whom they present as sons or daughters—then, as often as not, ship the children back south to do another “run” with one of their Hell-bait comrades. They don’t even pay traffic fines. The addresses they give are false, whatever licenses they have are forgeries, the court can’t find them when they skip out on the trial date, and they can’t be deported. This is how our system rocks.
Now, I can see why a law-abiding Mexican might want to be long gone from Mexico. The hundreds of protesters murdered in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in 1968 are apparently memorialized each year by socialist student organizations that commandeer local buses to converge upon the capital; and it was such a gang of students, annoying but wholly unarmed, that was cut down in Iguala five years ago as all branches of law enforcement and the military either turned the other way or pulled a helping trigger. This is what I’ve learned so far from La Verdadera Noche de Iguala, by Anabel Hernand. Mexico is in civil war, with the sides so indistinctly drawn that one bleeds constantly into the other (and I do mean “bleeds”). Justice there is about two steps above the North Korean variety.
The rest of the “civilized” world isn’t doing a whole lot better, either. In England, you can now be imprisoned for using the wrong gender pronoun in reference to… oh, anyone who chooses to make a stink about references. In Germany, you can have your children taken away from you if you show resistance to a public school system that represents pederasty to pre-adolescents as a reasonable, respectable option. (Why are these psychos talking about sex at all to eight-year-olds?)
In Portugal, you can apparently be detained all day for questioning without food or drink, then threatened with incarceration if you breathe a word about the proceedings to the press—although the constabulary can and will release any version of events it damn well pleases to every press outlet in Europe. This is the sort of treatment to which the parents of Madeleine McCann were submitted. The new Netflix documentary on the topic of the abducted, still-missing girl (I believe we’ve reached Year Twelve of her absence) is the best production of its sort that I’ve ever seen from the typically untrustworthy movie clearinghouse. I probably shouldn’t have been watching it while also researching the case of a man tossed into a cotton-state oubliette and reading Anabel Hernand.
Will I be next? Will you? Will they find something irregular in our taxes? Will they charge us with making an “insensitive” comment somewhere at some time—any time over the past fifty years? Will they break down our door, confiscate our hardware, find a cookie connected to some porn site we accidentally clicked on, and give us a choice between a 100K fine and two years in the calaboose?
Who are “they”? What world is this? Are we being softened up for annexation to the People’s Republic of China, where you receive virtue-points now for self-lobotomy?
I’m in the home stretch of my race. I sense more and more the presence of a higher reality that shoots crosswise through every millisecond of this one like a beam of sun penetrating to the floor of a rainforest. I’m preparing for my exit. I will embrace it when it comes. But what of my son’s life? What of the lives of those thousands of young people who passed through my classroom for more than thirty years? Do they deserve this world? No, of course not. Are they strong enough to face it? Do they even divine the approach, most of them, of the sticky, smelly, toxic cloud that’s about to smack them in the face?