Judge Roy Bean was a dubious character – except when acted by Paul Newman in The Life & Times of Judge Roy Bean – but at least he was consistent in his sentencing; and justice was swift. He hanged everyone he found guilty; and that was pretty much everyone.
It was even fair in an arbitrary kind of way, and very democratic. And at least you knew where you stood – or hanged – whether you were rich or poor. And it kept the overheads down. There were no overcrowded prisons in Judge Bean territory.
Today, in this Great Nation, we seem to have evolved a situation whereby the poor are sent to prison in very large numbers, not infrequently for minor infractions (typically drug related), the Middle Class are punished (primarily for not being rich) through one corporate rip-off after another, the rich are rarely punished unless they are in Bernie Madoff’s class (and he really did push it), and corporate criminals do not even have to admit any wrong. They merely cut a deal with the DA, and, more often than not, they don’t pay the fine personally. The corporation does.
Meanwhile the Feds throw the book at an idiot like former governor Blagojevich. This is pure theatre to distract you.
Amazingly, there is no outpouring of civil protest, no rioting in the streets, no media onslaughts, no spontaneous lynching of bankers. In stead, the Big Banks – the primary villains – have got even bigger, their mass of corporate agents (and there must have been hundreds of thousands of them) have got off scot free, Big Business has never been more profitable – and we the people, those who still have jobs – and our children, and our children’s children - are left to pay for all this. And we are talking trillions of dollars here plus interest.
Is this what America is all about? Is this the best we can do? Nothing!
Consider me gobsmacked. We’re going to sink.
But maybe I’m imagining all this. Hell, I’m primarily a thriller writer and I think up plots all the time. Perhaps I’ve been out in Seattle’s notorious, blazing sun too long. This can’t really be the United States of America. The people wouldn’t stand for it.