DONALD TRUMP AND THE CIVIL JUSTICE SYSTEM

December 16, 2016

Sorry to disappoint but this is not another blog bashing Donald Trump. God knows there are plenty of such blogs on the internet. Rather it is my intention to identify an observation about the President’s Elect’s modus operandi that, perhaps, those on the far left and the far right can agree upon and how it could affect the country’s civil justice system.

In theory and in practice, the civil justice system is a truth seeking process when a dispute arises between two or more citizens. Who decides what is true? Well, we don’t turn to a panel of wealthy individuals to decide nor do we turn to a panel of Mensa members to decide. We turn to 12 average citizens to serve as a jury. Each one brings to the jury box their own personal experience, values, morals and judgment.  Collectively, they come together as a representative sampling of our community and together they decide what is and is not appropriate and acceptable societal conduct.

Now, about our President Elect.  He comes to us from the world of reality television. But have we forgotten that reality TV is not reality? It’s manufactured reality. There may be no script writers but   scenes are heavily edited. There still are producers and stage designers. Reality TV actually presents someone’s subjective vision of a reality.

It is now becoming evident from the Donald Trump Victory Speech Tour, that the reality of a Trump presidency that he sold to voters was actually a manufactured reality that was never going to come to fruition. He has no intention of locking Hillary up. That thing about draining the Washington D.C. swamp was just a catchy phrase someone told him to say.  And, even now, he manufactures reality when he claims he would have won the popular vote if a million illegal aliens hadn’t voted or that it was China who could have hacked the DNC.

If the populace is led to believe in a manufactured reality, then those personal values, morals, and judgments that they bring to the jury box when deciding civil cases could change. And not for the better. Fair housing and equal employment opportunities for minorities such as Muslims or Mexicans may be judged different since a manufactured reality has painted them with a broad brush of negativity. Will we be able to commit slander or libel because in a manufactured reality it is acceptable to call someone a crook or a liar?

The only place for reality TV is television.  And, whether you supported Donald Trump or not, it is important to be vigilant about fake news and not let it allow us to change our core values of decency and our sense of right, wrong and fair play.  In the future, our civil justice system will depend on that.