Never crossing against the light

I do silly things to make me feel better about myself.

Example 1: I never cross against the light, ’cause it forces me to respect rules.  “Dumb,” you say. “Yes,” I reply. Example 2: After becoming a judge, and for the past 25 plus years, I haven’t voted or even registered to vote ’cause it forces me to be apolitical. “Dumb,” you say. “Yes,” I reply.


8 responses

  1. As a law clerk, I never signed any of the online petitions that Large Political Organization emails me twice a day, and I kept my social media profiles vague so I wouldn’t appear to be connecting my opinions with my judge. Now that I’m in private practice, the few petitions I do sign I sign gleefully (though ultimately not without ambivalence at what seems like the laziest possible form of political engagement).

    Voting, however, is sacred to me; in New York City’s recent public advocate run-off, the turnout was so low and the run-off cost so (relatively) high that my vote cost the city about $70, last I heard. Wait, now I’m not sure what my point is… Maybe it’s that sometimes the gesture of respecting the rule (or voting for public advocate) is worth more than the actual value of the action, even if only for ourselves.

  2. With all due respect, sir, your choice to not vote, while understandable and admirable for the reason you state, disqualifies you from complaining about things like the current government shutdown. Yeah, yeah, freedom of speech and all that, but when thinking people don’t vote, it makes it easier for the idiots to get their way.

  3. Do what you must to better yourself or at least make yourself feel good. Both personal rules would be considered even more weird if you weren’t a judge but because you are a judge, they actually make perfect sense.

  4. Al,

    Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, or so I tell myself. Thus, even though I don’t vote, I continue to complain. But you’re point is a good one.

    All the best.


  5. chocolatetort,

    Good point. In a screwed up way, that’s why I haven’t voted. The symbolic act of voting is very powerful to me, and hence troublesome as well when I consider cases (think partial-birth abortion) that are freighted with politics in the minds of many. All the best.


  6. Thanks Daniel. “Weird” and “judge” really do fit well in the same sentence when applied to me. Now, “perfect sense,” that’s debatable. All the best.


  7. It is a secret ballot, or supposed to be. And judges are private citizens as well as professional members of government. And even as a judge, you don’t lose your private citizen status; you just put on a different uniform.

    Do you also not write letters to the editor or to your Congressmen?

    A tale from my misspent yout’. When I was in grad school, the university decided it’d be cool for every department to have student representation on the department’s faculty committee. We were even supposed to vote on professor tenure. In my psych department, I won election to the committee by a vote of 1-0 (out of 15 of us grad students; I voted for that scoundrel, me). The committee wasn’t producing the (grad student satisfactory) results, so I was confronted by two: Why aren’t you doing x,y, and z? I replied: Did you vote in the election (already knowing the tally. I did my homework even then.) No, they said. I represent everyone who cared enough to vote in the election, I said. They weren’t happy. The next year, I failed re-election by a vote of 2-1.

    Eric Hines

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