2001-11-05 - 2:24 p.m.
I'm reading The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. It's fantastic. It makes me yearn to write again. I find it frustrating though that I have been reading this same book for over a month now and am not half way done. There is so little time for me. I barely have time to read and do the laundry- let alone write. And today I have been recrited to assist in the family project of picking cacoons and worms off of the pine which will be our Christmas tree. I said "Yes I will help, but I have to do it at 8pm with a flashlight after the kids are in bed."
I read a story in the Washington Post about the numerous muslim Americans who have been rounded up by INS in the government's effort to prevent further terrorism. I hate to admit that at this point in time, due to the nature of the Taliban being ethnocentric themselves, that I believe there is some wisdom in the govt using racial profiling when seeking the terrorists (given the fact that there is evidence that Bin Ladidn's supporters are the perpetrators of the recent terrorism.) However, despite the fact that I understand this at this time, I still find racial profiling horrible and wish that I were in a position to assist those who are NOT involved in the community of terrorist but who are being profiled simply because of their muslim heritage. I find that racial profilin is a necessary evil at this time. It is necessary for the govt to do in order to find the true terrorists-- but it is also evil. If I were not home raising small children I would certainly have no shortage of work as an Immigration lawyer at this horrible time. It is so tragic for all the immigrants who are honest mulim people who have come to America and are now being locked up. The Washington Post article compared the current govt methodology of preventing terrorism with that of JFK when he wanted to eradicate the Mob. If a suspected criminal so much as drops a wrapper on the ground, he will be arrested for littering and thrown in jail. The suspect then will have no further opportunity to do more harm. While that may be an effective method of catching the criminal, it still will fill detention centers with many people who's only crime was and ever would be littering- even if they were not arrested for it.
I failed the VA bar, and was not too worried as I was not feeling like I am in a rush to work. I am busy with children and want to savor this time home with them. But I can't help wishing now that I could help represent the many litterers who's only crime was carelessness in discarding wrapper.
But then there another ethical dilemma faced by any defense attorney: How does one reconcile the fact that while you become a defense attorney out of the desire to protect all person's liberty and honor-- and out of a desireer to assist the litterer, that for every few litterers you represent and help, you will also get one who not only is a litterer but also a true terrorist. I in fact never wished to be a defense attorney, but wished to practice Immigration Law in order to help people. My initial desire was based on the general notion that there are alot of immigrants here and few people who spend any time letting the immigrants know of what resources are availanle for them. I was touvhed by the work of a nun ion a Hatian refugee center that I visited in Florida in the ninteen eightys. I was moved by the work at Vive La Casa in Buffalo where I later volunteered and first hand experienced the satisfaction of helping immigrants.
I had wanted to be an attorney ever since Atticus Finch touched my life at the age of 12. I deceided to use law as a tool in what I envisioned as a ministry to immigrants. I never wanted to be a defense attorney.
I realize now that there is little difference. The Immigration cases which are heard are all INS -v-X, with X being the immigrant defendant who is accused of violation of U.S. Federal Immigration Laws. Since my forte truly is in oral advocacy it is trial work which excites me, and which I know I have a talent for. I also know that there are a number of immigrants with legitimate asylum cases, and credible fear of being in their persecutory countries.
So now , as our society becomes increasingly more fearful of the "other" and an outsider who might be a terrorist, I feel saddened that I am now not in a position to do that which I feel I not only CAN do, but MUST do. I have not ony the skills, but the desire to look beyond a person's race and circumstance of our time and try to care about an individual and help immigrant individuals and families in their greatest time of need.
But it is not my time....
So instead I write while nursing the newest baby and think to myself- there must be a reason for this being my calling right now.
She smiles at me!
She makes me smile through the tears welling in my eyes.
My boy came inside, running to make it to the bathroom on time. He stopped to excitedly tell me, "Mommy, I found a new rock for my rock collection!"
He held it up oh so briefly-- too quick for me to see, and is off to the bathroom.
The toddler is calling me from her playpen,
Back to my role at this moment in my life,