Written by Nancy Morgan
Then life happened. Enron, pedophile priests, corrupt politicians, and the general politicizing of government and affiliated organizations. By the time I reached the age of 39, the only institution I accepted blindly and without question was the judiciary. The rule of law was set in stone. Or so I thought.
Then, along came Steve*. As a judge, he had society's imprint as 'Honorable'. He also had a sense of humor and a very nice physique. Best of all, he wanted me. Finally, a man with the two attributes I considered essential for marriage, trust and respect. We got married in April of 1992.
Steve presided over civil settlements in the Superior Court of --------. Lawyers would come to him before trial on civil suits, to see if a settlement could be reached. Steve settled most of the cases before him, saving the costs and anguish of a trial. He would come home from work and over dinner, we would talk about the cases he had ruled on that day.
One case in particular was a woman with a disfiguring scar on her breast. Steve estimated the case was worth $50,000. Weeks later, I found he had awarded her $500,000 and I asked him why he awarded 10 times what the case was worth. "Because Lee asked me to", he said. Lee was the lawyer representing the plaintiff and was a good buddy of Steve. A little red flag popped up in my mind. "That's not right", I thought. But Steve was an honorable man, and if he ruled the way he did, it must have been OK.
Over the three years of our marriage, similar warning signs came. I ignored them all. In the PG&E case, of Erin Brokovich fame, I asked Steve what the case was actually worth if it went to trial. In other words, what could actually be proved in a court of law in terms of actual damages. His reply, "One person, $50,000".
Because the case was decided by binding arbitration, the records are sealed. Good thing too, because the first thing the panel of retired judges ruling on the case did was to quadruple their own fees, before finding for the plaintiff, in the millions. This, on a case that was worth only $50,000. I still get infuriated when I think about the massive hoax being perpetrated to this day about Erin Brokovich, 'environmental crusader.' (Further info available at Fumento.com)
The legal profession is a network of good old boys, as it is in many cities. But these good ole boys regularly skirted the law. The governing premise was 'everybody is doing it so it must be OK'. Kinda like, all politicians lie, so who am I to challenge them?
Little red flags kept popping up and I kept ignoring them. Like the reigning godfather of trial lawyers, who regularly appeared before Steve, paying for our Hawaiian vacation. Like another trial lawyer who had cases before Steve treating us to a 4 day cruise along the coast of Mexico. Like the private airplane rides to opening ball games, the box seats at the Hollywood Bowl, and the paid vacations under the guise of speaking fees. Perks, I now realize, that were paid back many times over.
Though the particulars of some of the above events eventually came to light in an expose by Kelly Ann O'Meara of Insight Magazine, they were quickly forgotten. When I asked Kelly Ann why she quit pursuing these stories, her response was, "Nobody cares."
For six years, I hobnobbed with 'elite' trial lawyers. For six years, I refused to allow inconvenient facts to intrude on my carefully constructed reality. Anything that threatened my vision of Steve was ignored. I now understand the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance practised by so many on the left. The willfull, deliberate ignoring of any facts that threaten deeply held beliefs.
During the course of our marriage, I accidentally stumbled across the fact that there was a whole point of view to which I had never been exposed. The conservative POV. Until then, I had always assumed whatever I saw on TV or read in the papers was the truth. Why? Because everyone else did.
I started seeking out publications not available in my very liberal city. The more I read National Review, Human Events, etc, the angrier I got. I felt duped. I had blindly accepted the only side of the story being presented, never knowing there was any other view.
Undoubtedly, my emerging conservatism contributed to the reason Steve left me. After all, trial lawyers are the most liberal of animals, and even though Steve was a judge, he started getting uncomfortable when I began mouthing off. I didn't know then that conservative viewpoints were not allowed in polite society.
Long story short, Steve bid me adieu on our third wedding anniversary. For the following eight years I was the most bitter of women. I resembled nothing so much as an angry leftist, filled with hate.
Finally, unwilling to accept a life of anger and resentment, I sold my business and my home and moved to a small fishing village in South Carolina, 3,000 miles away. I have since regained my faith in human nature. Today, I am happy. I am surrounded by good, decent, moral, God-fearing people. People who, when they say 'Have a nice day', they, by God, mean it. People who are the way they're supposed to be.
Even though I swore I would never be a divorced woman, today I am glad Steve left me. Otherwise, I would still be his wife, an adjunct, a pretty face on a man's arm. I would still be living in a town where the only point of view considered valid is the liberal one. A town where being conservative is forbidden, where conservatives are forced to stay in the closet the gays so recently vacated.
Instead, I'm sitting out on my deck, surrounded by forest and wildlife, expressing views I formerly worked very hard to stifle. I am finally able to voice my opinions without being considered judgmental. I'm free to engage in debate without being considered being argumentative. Today, I am free to be myself.
These days, I thank God every day. And if you ever read this, Steve, I thank-you, too.
* For obvious reasons, the name Steve is a pseudonym
Nancy Morgan is a columnist and a news editor for RightBias.com
She lives in South Carolina