I have been very busy with life, so I haven't posted in 6 months. I see that PDDude hasn't posted either.
I am very burned out with being a deputy public defender. I used to enjoy the job, but now I don't. Suffice to say that I am an employee, and an employee who has been taught to fear for his job. Very sad that it has come to this.
There was a time when I didn't care. But now I have kids to support. A mortgage to pay. I have to conform to what the bosses want. I have come to realize that I must do exactly what they say, or I will be fired. It isn't about protecting my clients. It is about satisfying my bosses.
I believe that this country, and the State of California, are at a very crucial stage. Our legal system is melting down. The current budget crisis is goign to get worse and worse because it is the natural result of a defective system. We require an informed and motivated citizenry to make our democracy work. But we are overwhelmed on the one hand with ill-informed older people who "think" they understand what is going on, but really don't, and a swelling population of illegal aliens who have no say in the system. The poor are rapidly forgetting that that they have the power to vote, the illegals have no power to vote, and the old white guys who still have sway want something that is impossible to get - a rollback to the 1950s. we have a system that is beset with gridlock and preyed upon by those wealthy interests, such as banking and insurance industries, and the prison-industrial system, who can control our state government with a pittance of corrupt dollars. The disconnect is amazing.
Okay, enough whining, I guess. I still hate those old-style liberals who would constantly moan about things but would never actually try solve them. How about some predictions:
Predictions #1: The budget crisis will get worse. The only way to save our system is to honestly re-think how we do just about everything in Calfornia. Too long we have allowed ourselves to think "the little things don't matter." They do. WE CANNOT AFFORD THREE STRIKES - IT IS KILLING US. I was against Three Strikes before it was popular to be against it. I have railed against Three Strikes for moral reasons and for fairness reasons. Now we are actually closing schools to feed the beast. It's time to re-think crimes, sentencing, prisons, jails, mental health as it relates to crimes, the works. We cannot afford the system that we have, and destroying our future to keep people locked up is madness.
Prediction #2: The feds will not be able to get california to release inmates. In a way, it is a blessing. The anti-federal government attitude is going to harden the already bankrupt Republican Party in california, further alienating them from normal people. The 9th Circuit just ordered the release of 45,000 prisoners within 2 years. Count on the state to appeal, and the U.S. Supremes to REVERSE. It will be 5-4, but it will be reversed. And this is a good thing. Because then the State will be forced to solve this crisis.
Funny thing about crises - they often make the impossible possible. At some level too many people are actually worrying about services in California. Like Schools. Or libraries. Or electricity. Or garbage collection. Or health care. The costs of these things are set to spiral out of control in the next few years. We will have to fix these things. And in doing so, I think that it will make us stronger as a State.
Dennis R. Wilkins
The Guest Blogger