Today I saw Patrick Fitzgerald speak. Yeah, that Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel on the Plame Leak case. The guy on your TV knocking out Republican Attack Points in a way that you could say he's SHAFTIN'
The man is impressive. The whole time he spoke, he didn’t use an fancy-pants words and he never said “um”.
He didn't come off an a consummate litigator, but rather a consummate adult. One of the things that bothers me most about the world is that everywhere I look, I see people acting childish and petty (myself included). From the Bush administration's attempts to avoid the consequences of their policies to the Assistant US Attorney I saw in court a few weeks ago claiming that she was offended by a defendant's failure to present any evidence (which BTW is your constitutional right as a criminal defendant). Powerful people acting like children irks the hell out of me.
Fitzgerald didn’t come off that way. He seemed like an adult who appreciated concepts of duty, diligence, and honor. He exuded an appreciation for consequences.
He gave a pitch to people who have doubts about our legal system. He said that if you have questions about the validity of certain laws, don’t write off becoming a prosecutor. In fact, in his words, "you’re the exact type of people I want to become prosecutors. We can always use more thoughtful people in my office." See behavior of above mentioned Assistant US Attorney to validate that notion.
I appreciated what he was saying, but I wanted to ask him a question. I didn’t get the chance, but here it is: What if you are like me, someone who believes that criminals need to be punished, someone who accepts that prosecutors are public servants helping the greater good, but personally cannot stomach the idea of sending someone into our penal system because it has given up all pretense of rehabilitation. Even if you have no issues with how prosecutors do their job, can you separate the job from the fact that it dumps people into the bowels of a system that only serves to consume tax dollars and promote recidivism. Can any prosecutor truly wash their hands of that?
I'd love to know what his answer would be.
I want to be persuaded. I like to say that I'm a bloody knuckle liberal. I want a Captain America to come forward. I want an ACLU superhero. I want someone who will kick ass and take names to expand freedom and justice, not just spruce up the jingoistic trappings of transparent patriotism.
Sue me, I want a hero. Mr. Fitzgerald gave me a glimpse into what one might look like.