Well, the big day came and went with nary a whimper.
Of course, it is my fault. By calling for a strike without ascertaining local support I set the whole thing up for failure. In my defense, starting up a new blog with a new idea required something, anything to generate some interest. After all, there are a lot of blogs out there and there’s got to be some reason to pay attention to this one as opposed to thousands of others.
I’m left with the problem I would have had at the beginning. I can keep track of judges and prosecutors who seem like good candidates for a strike, but without any sort of prominence for this blog I will have to pick them from other blog posts or media reports. I can then post something and see if any lawyers from the relevant geographic area respond. The likelihood that someone will respond is very low unless my readership expands significantly. More patience is required. That’s okay. I have plenty of that.
More seriously, my concern at the outset was not with the judges that make news because they are bad in some way the media find worthy of reporting. I am more concerned with the routine and unreported perfidy that occurs on a daily basis. The lawyers know about these things, but the media largely do not report them for reasons of their own. This blog could really fill a void there.
There are two other important things about this that bother me. First, for my part, I think I overdid the implied criticism of the lawyers of Texas in my first posts calling for a strike against Sharon Keller. I meant it more as an exhortation to act, but it wound up possibly alienating the opinion makers who are going to be the backbone of any effort to bring off a lawyers’ strike.
Second, I think the reaction from some other bloggers was unduly and somewhat puzzlingly negative. To some extent I think they are protecting their blogger turf, and would react negatively to any other blogger who came up with an idea they didn’t have, whether good or not. Egos are involved: the temptation is to declare an idea unworthy if you didn’t suggest it first. It’s more of a temptation when the idea is a good one – as this one is.
And that, I think, is the bottom line here. The arguments and objections that surfaced about this effort have been entirely unconvincing. The nature of the problem – the disparity of power between police, prosecutors and judges on the one hand, and defense attorneys on the other, is beyond dispute, and no one disputed it. The increasing inefficacy of more of the same is also beyond dispute. No one suggested an alternative approach; no one even made an argument – nor could they – that more of the same will produce anything other than more of the same.
It’s important to call the malefactors out. Blogs perform an important service in that regard. But calling them out and exposing them, without a remedy in prospect, becomes tiresome because it is eventually seen – correctly – as pointless, unless something can be done.
Striking is what can be done. It has been done in India. It was successfully employed in Washington State. And it can successfully be done elsewhere.
Lawyers have a special responsibility to correct a judicial system that has gone dangerously awry. Complaint without an effort at correction, in addition to being tiresome, becomes a self-indictment at some point. And we may be past that point.