Medicine, Law: Stark Difference
As I follow the headlines each day informing me of how our noble politicians are protecting the people by demanding strict enforcement of the death penalty, and the same venal people are demanding the heads of certain judges, I am utterly dismayed. And as I read of the gross inequities in law practiced against women and minorities in the name of a peculiar doctrine termed “reverse discrimination,” and when I hear of the further erosion of the Fourth Amendment by the gutting of the exclusionary rule, I am struck with the stark difference between the twisted path of the law and the broad avenue of medicine.
I am presently recovering from having undergone a total laryngectomy, which has rendered me speechless. And as I contemplate my future without vocal cords I can be heartened by the fact that this has happened at this time in the history of modern medicine. Not too long ago cancer of the throat meant almost certain death; today there is an 85% recovery rate. Just one of the miracles wrought by modern medicine.
Then too we are amazed by the deftness with which organs are transplanted, of the miraculous drugs that have been developed to ease pain and cure sickness, of surgical techniques undreamed of even 50 years ago. Yes indeed, today’s medicine has vastly increased the quality of life we all enjoy. No wonder I am saddened when I compare the progress of these two great endeavors. The great strides made by medical science in bettering human life, and the law that has stayed mired in the bogs of 19th-Century thought.
For a short time in the 1950s and ‘60s there seemed the coming of an enlightenment. The great Earl Warren Court began cutting through the musty cobwebs and began issuing rulings that threatened to bring the legal system into the 20th Century. The desegregation decisions, the “one-man, one-vote” ruling, the monumental Miranda and Gideon edicts, which, for the first time, gave the penniless and defenseless a chance to be heard.
These were indeed days of vigor for American jurisprudence, but the sunshine lasted only a short time and was then replaced by the strange philosophy of men like Ronald Reagan and George Deukmejian whose only purpose under the law seems to be deprivation and revenge.
Without speech one feels totally frustrated but I realize I am not much different than the rest of the citizenry, only that I am literally voiceless.