Love ’em or hate ’em, there is one redeeming quality about politicians: Every so often, you have a chance to vote the scoundrels out of office the same way you voted them into office back when that seemed like a good idea.
Lest you think I’m about to launch into an attack on politicians, guess again. Having turned over a new rock, I’ve decided to rant against a new target: Lawyers.
Don’t get me wrong. I like lawyers. Some of my best friends are/were lawyers. I myself am a recovering lawyer. There’s one thing you have to understand about lawyers though. Regardless of what great/terrible human beings they might be, when a lawyer is working for a client, all bets are off. The very handsome fees lawyers charge not only compensate them for their time, they buy their best efforts to make things work out in their client’s best interests.
Which might not be your best interests. Or mine. Or the town’s. Or the planet’s. Or, for that matter, the cause of truth, justice, and the Canadian way.
Lawyers are a bit like hookers that way. Except there are things hookers won’t do no matter how much you pay them.
Hard as it might be to believe, this isn’t a knock against lawyers. Lawyers are agents of civilization. Without lawyers to fight our battles — generally within the confines of intricately defined rules of procedure — we’d pretty much be left to beat the snot out of each other whenever we reached an impasse over something. Might would make right.
Interestingly enough, back in the pre-lawyer days, that’s exactly what happened. And when enough rich guys got the snot beat out of them, they started to hire ringers to fight their battles for them. The game then changed from might makes right to money changes everything, which is pretty much still how things are. Lawyers — in an evolutionary sense — grew out of those hired fighters and it wasn’t long before they realized that fighting with words was more conducive to long, lucrative careers than fighting with fists. The rest is history.
If you want someone to fight your battles for you, hire a lawyer. If you want to make public policy, leave it to your politicians; they’ve been elected to represent you and if they screw things up too many times, you can throw ’em out of office.
The one thing you should never, ever tolerate though is letting someone’s lawyer make public policy.