Barrett and the Five Freedoms
Amy Coney Barrett was asked at the senate hearings what the five freedoms were in the first amendment. She couldn’t answer the last one. Now, some talking heads are saying it should have been the end of the hearings for her. Barrett’s nomination should’ve been over. Barrett has many answers that the senate should scrutinize her for, but that wasn’t one of them.
I had worked in Information technology for 20 years. Part of my knowledge was networking computers together. If you were to have asked me to list off the networking OSI layers, I could probably have named a couple, but not all of them. Not unless I was taking a test. What I would have done is gone to my computer and pulled up the information.
You may think I should have this memorized, but I didn’t. I didn’t need to remember it. It’s not knowledge for which I required frequent access. I dealt with password resets most of the time. Occasionally, I may have had to reboot a computer to fix the problem. Those were 90% of the issues I faced.
Should I have been fired for not knowing the OSI layers on the spot? Did I always fix your problems in the end? Was I a good employee? Let’s try this a different way. Let’s say I’m the CEO of a company, and you ask me what the company’s mission statement is. I answer but get the wording of the last bit wrong. I’ve looked at the mission statement maybe four times since I’ve been with the company, and I’ve been there for 15 years. Am I a moron? Should the board vote me out?
I can see how it would look bad, but it would be ridiculous to hear something like that in the news.
They voted out the CEO because he couldn’t remember 20% of the mission statement.
Why Memorize When You Can Reference?
You keep your most referenced knowledge on standby. You can look up anything else. It’s the power of archiving knowledge. You write things down so you won’t forget them. You know you need to use the information once or twice and then not need it anymore.
The vital part of a skilled laborer’s job is that if they don’t know the answer, they know someone who does. Or, they know where to find the information quickly. No one ever experiences every aspect of their job in a lifetime. Nor do they experience every aspect with high frequency. Why expect them to have all the knowledge of their position at the ready?
Have you seen the bookshelves at a law firm? Do you think they have it all memorized? They don’t, and you don’t begrudge them for it. There’s a lot of information out there for lawyers, doctors, etc. But, they can reference books, journals, and the internet when needed. You trust these professionals and understand if they must reference their materials to help you properly.
Do We Hold People in High Offices to Impossible Standards?
I think we can all agree that there are some jobs where you can’t mess up. In one of his stand-up skits, Chris Rock said: “I know being a cop is a hard job. It’s hard, and it’s dangerous, but there are just some jobs you can’t screw up. Like airplane pilots. Imagine United Airlines saying, Our pilots land most of the time, but we have a few bad apples that crash into mountains.” There are jobs where people rely on you to be right, or they may die because of a split-second decision.
A Supreme Court Justice does have the power to make changes to millions of people’s lives. Yet, do they ever have to make them at a moment’s notice? No, they don’t. There are no snap decisions in the supreme court. They deliberate over months and even years to ensure rulings have been researched and vetted.
There are teams of clerks and lawyers that specialize in different fields of law. They have access to a vast library of knowledge and case histories. There isn’t going to be a time where not knowing the fifth freedom of the first amendment off the top of their head will curtail someone’s freedom or cause them harm. It’s safe to say they would have time to review the first amendment.
Why is there intolerance of such small mistakes when it comes to leaders in high offices? Only the best minds and people of character should attain such offices. The best of the best should be running the country. That’s true to a certain extent. There should be well educated, confident, rational-thinking, and compassionate people appointed to such important positions, but they are all human.
Bias Judgment and Looking for Faults.
Does anyone remember when Trump said he wanted a stimulus deal, then he didn’t, then he wanted it again? These decisions occurred all in one week. Did his party scold him? Did those who hold Trump as ‘their guy’ make any statements about his back and forth? No, they didn’t. They like him. They chose him. If he makes a little mistake or a blunder, his base throws it to the side. It’s no big deal. People make mistakes.
That’s the bias you have toward someone you like. The opposite is true for those you dislike. You give them no slack. They’re not allowed to make any mistakes because you don’t like them. They could be perfect, and you still wouldn’t like them because they’re too perfect.
Barrett’s situation was similar. The left was looking for mistakes to reaffirm their beliefs that she was not the right person for the job. So, they focused on every move. Even the smallest of words or actions were under a microscope. They looked for anything that would tear her down. That’s how it works on both sides of the aisle.
For example, Joe Biden has been openly racist in the past, but he has black supporters that keep telling you to vote for him. They disregard his shortcomings. Now, in his case, it’s unique because they don’t have a choice. It’s either him or Trump, but even if it weren’t Trump, it wouldn’t make much difference.
Barrett’s stances on specific issues and what she has stood for in the past are what needs attention. It doesn’t matter if she can’t remember the fifth freedom. What is her stance on Roe v. Wade? What about Brown v. Board of Education? These beliefs are what can shape the future of the country.
In the movie Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee’s character tells a student to focus on what is in front of him and to “…pay no attention to the glory beyond.” Don’t get distracted by what is unimportant. Stay focused.
Barrett is a hard-right candidate supreme court nominee. She has a background of strict conservative views, and I don’t want her in one of those seats. I don’t want her there because of the decisions she’ll make. They won’t be for the progress of the country. They will regress the country back to dangerous and immoral times. I believe she supports the ‘good ole days.’ You know, when America was great…for white men.
The fifth freedom incident needs to die. You want to focus on what Barrett says about significant issues. Keep essential problems in mind. Don’t get distracted. Now, more than ever, we need compassionate, rational thinking in our leadership.
It’s not the snake bite on the surface; it’s the venom inside the body that can kill you.