The Great Civics Lesson: The Duty of Every Citizen to Resist, Even DoJ Lawyers like Sarah Fabian

Soledad O’Brien asks a great question of the now infamous Sarah Fabian: What kind of human being would do this [defend the painfully obvious inhumane treatment of children]? Luckily, we have several answers, but more importantly we can understand how we, ourselves, as individuals can avoid being co-opted by our circumstances like Ms Fabian was.

There has been some debate among folks on my various social media feeds about whether Fabian can be held personally accountable for her actions and arguments. After all, the naysayers reason, she is a career DoJ lawyer. She was just doing her job arguing the case that she was handed.

Professional Code of Ethics

All professions have a code of ethics that licensed professionals are required to follow. All employees of the federal government must follow the directives of the Office of Government Ethics guidelines and directives. All lawyers employed by the Department of Justice must follow the DoJ’s attorney ethics code. In addition, we also have our personal code of ethics which are based on social, cultural, and personal values.

Each and everyone of these codifications of ethics makes reference to adhering to social and cultural standards of behavior. Last time I checked our cultural and social values do not permit treating people the way we are treating these children in these concentration camps. Consequently, Fabian was professionally obligated to refuse to participate in this case.

The bare-faced immorality of the argument should have prevented her from participation even if it meant she should resign or be dismissed.

Normalizing the Indefensible

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The Effect of White House Mishegas: Normalization

The further problem of watching her try to defend the indefensible by smearing a very thin coat of legalese over it is that it normalizes it.

We are all shocked and appalled by the conditions in our concentration camps. America don’t do concentration camps, do we? That’s what we thought. We also thought that America don’t do torture and imprisonment without due process and war crimes and illegal wars and crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Convention, but W learned us different.

So, when confronted with such an extreme violation of our cultural norms, the natural response is confusion, especially by those less well versed in and committed to American values.

The bystander effect shows what we do in the face of such ambiguous confusion. We look to others for guidance. What are they doing? And if one of the people we see is a LICENSED FUCKING PROFESSIONAL ATTORNEY WORKING FOR THE DoJ, we are likely to take it as a cue for what is right. It makes it more acceptable. Oh, it’s okay with the DoJ, we think, so, it must be okay. The DoJ wouldn’t sanction something that is immoral and criminal, would they?

Don’t ya see? The DoJ shouldn’t be defending the indefensible criminal amoral concentration camps. They should be prosecuting them! But, the government is a complicated thing that we don’t fully understand, so when the government misbehaves, it is easy for those barely sentient conscious engaged independent uncommitted voters to assume that it must be a-okay! How do you think we ended up with a second W term?

The Great Civics Lesson: Making Democracy Work

That is the Great Civics Lesson: democracy don’t work unless We, the People, make it work. It don’t work unless We, the People, are engaged and in contact with our elected and appointed officials. It don’t work unless We, the People, are aware of what’s going on and know who in the government is responsible for it. It don’t work unless We, the People, VOTE!

It is our civic duty to be know how our society, culture, and government functions. One of the most important parts of how our democracy works is the free press. The free press has a duty to enforce our norms when dealing with the government. When government officials are violating our norms, they must be called out in real time. Lies must be called out as they’re being told.

Our press has spent way too much time wringing its hands, clutching its pearls, and trying to treat this administration and the Repubes as if they were normal. They aren’t. They are bent in transforming our democracy into a single-party, pseudo-democratic, authoritarian, fascist regime that will transfer wealth from the middle class to the upper class just as fast as it can. They are determined to gut our democracy. The press needs to be calling them out at every turn.

If the press isn’t doing it, We, the People, must be calling out the press AND our politicians.

We all must call for accountability by our government, our press, and each other. We must do it every day and in every forum.

We must accept that we are in danger of losing our democracy. We must acknowledge the gravity of the threat and resist by strengthening our democracy.

Call your Congressional representatives and senators. Keep a running list of issues you want them to know about. Call them frequently, no less than weekly. If you don’t know your Congressional person’s contact information, use Call My Congress to locate your Congressional Representative and your Senators by using your zip code. It returns phone numbers, tweeter handles, party affiliation, voting record, and link to C-Span appearances!

If you’re afraid that you’ll miss issues important to you, sign up for 5 Calls.

Fight the good fight and stay engaged!

9 comments

  1. I am no longer amazed by the lengths to which to Trump Administration will go to achieve their ends. I am no longer amazed by the misogyny, the racism, the homophobia, the bigotry, etc of the administration. What still does amaze (and appall) me are the “followers” who think it’s all okay. Seemingly intelligent people who back the govt’s plans and encourage others to accept. They need to be voted out and shamed (IMO) until they never again try to raise the 4th Reich.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Howdy Suze!
      When a person violates social norms, most people will have the urge to “make fun of them.” It is a way of protecting the group from people who cannot or will not conform. These people are violating our norms in really big ways. We should not be expected to tolerate them in our company. And, certainly, we should not be voting for them.

      When we had open naked racism on the run, people knew it was not okay to express racist attitudes and thoughts. The election of Obama brought the racists out. The election of Trump has brought even more racists misogynists out.

      To put an end to this madness from our fellow citizens, we need to point out their racism and misogyny at every opportunity and vote the racists and misogynists out of office.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass — a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.”― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

    It is so much worse when those who are charged to serve the law are accomplices in crime or sniveling cowards in its face. That fool or lackey, whichever, Fabian needs to be disbarred.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Howdy Bob!
      Someone who knows how should file a complaint against her. In general, every avenue of legal recourse needs to be pursued against every government official who violates our social and cultural norms. I wish I had the knowledge, time, and money to personally pursue it.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

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