Legal Reform: Long Overdue
We are now mired in a great debate regarding one of our most important institutions and one-sixth of the nation’s economy, i.e., America’s health care system. Should the Affordable Care Act otherwise known as Obama Care be repealed, replaced or instead enhanced? Is there a role for private insurance companies or is a single payer system the preferred course of action? Most importantly, is health care a right of all Americans or the privilege few?
These are important questions to be sure. However, health care is not the only institution in dire need of reform. Such is the case with our system of justice.
Consider the injustice of paternity fraud. A surprising number of men have been forced to pay child support even though the court, prosecutor and mother know that they are not the child’s biological father. Failure to kowtow to this blackmail; to pay-up and shut up subject’s these victims of the law to criminal records and debtor’s prison.
Those who actually fathered these children, not to mention ‘the avatars of justice’ who engage in this legal shakedown are not held to account. While those who bare false witness, lie under oath and otherwise ruin lives literally profit from their crimes.
The few who succeed in ending their coerced child support are seldom if even made whole. They are never reimbursed for their loss or awarded damages for their unjust impoverishment. The mother, judge and prosecutors merely shrug their collective shoulders and move on to the next matter on their agenda.
Even in those rare occasions when justice prevails, the victory is often hollow. The cost of justice so far exceeds the reward that even when you win, you still lose.
In the most recent example of the need to reform our legal system, a St. Louis judge recently acquitted an ex-officer in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar, 24-year-old African American male. Since then all hell has ensued with 3 days of protest and violence.
We do not know the facts of the shooting. Nor do we condone lawlessness. All said misbehavior accomplishes is to confuse the issue and change the narrative from police misconduct to the legitimate requisite for public order. ‘Back the blue’ ribbons blossom like flowers whenever this type of lawlessness occurs and we have long wondered how destroying your own community solves anything.
Nonetheless, equal protection under the law and the fair dispensation of justice, like health care, are the rights of all Americans, not just the highly favored. The meaningful reform of both systems is therefore long overdue.