Saturday, February 18, 2006


Two Americas

This is a comment I left at digby's blog. The first part is a quote from a comment someone left about my observation that Cheney's cocktail at dinner might have been an "alibi" drink, to point to as evidence of intoxication after the shooting in case the sheriff actually did his job and checked for booze on breath. Strangely, Digby's blog keeps losing comments. Maybe it has something to do whith bloggers being labelled as potential terrorists. I knew the 4th Amendment was "acceptable collteral damage" to Bush. so I wonder how much longer we'll have the 1st. All I ask is that the Equal Protection Clause still apply. Fat chance.

"We should also remember that if a driver accidentally runs over a pedestrian and then drives straight to a bar to have a drink because he/she was just so shook up, that is totally innocent behavior. There is no evidence at all that this driver was following a well known pattern of drunk drivers to produce an alibi for a positive alcohol test."

How true in theory but how naive in practice. I work as a public defender, constantly pointing out truisms like this to the cynical, ex-prosecutor judge who rolls his eyes at my indigent client and at me pointing out the presumption of innocence and then throws my client in jail for being so callous as to drink right after a tragedy, usually commenting that "I know why went to the bar." Yet somehow when it's the Veep we're talking about, people who've undoubtedly never seen the difference between the way a cop acts in your neighborhood compared to the way he acts in the 'hood, trot out things like 'remember we can't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt so we shouldn't speculate.'

It's true I can't prove the dinnertime cocktail was a cover up and that digby can't prove he was drinking all day. But it's also true that if this were one of my indigent clients, the suburb raised prosecutor would speculate about it to the jury and at sentencing and the ex-prosecutor judge would drop the hammer over my cries that we shouldn't speculate when we don't know. Of course, if you grew up in the suburbs, where your parents political power guaranteed that the cops treated you fairly or else daddy would call the supervisor, it's difficult to see how these arguments are pure comedy to people who see the way things really are when you're poor, politically powerless and only asking that the same rules that apply to Dick Cheney apply to you.

That rarely happens but most people don't see this because they don't look for it. I'm not asking for special rules for my poor clients, just that the same one's apply. Trust me, it hardly ever happens. Better yet, check this out yourself by driving your beemer through the hood at night. You'll undoubtedly be afraid of being a crime victim but my bet is that you'll be pulled over before you get very far, by a profiling cop who makes up a reason. Tell him this violates your 4th amendment rights and watch him laugh at your naivete. Then you'll see my point: there really are two Americas and 2 sets of rules, despite the Equal Protection Clause. Some pigs really are more equal than others, as Orwell observed. Welcome to Dick Cheney's America.

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