Independence Day: The Freedom of Compromise

Patrick testifying at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. Hearing on SB 3, Medical Marijuana, February 25, 2015.

Patrick Nightingale testifying at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. Hearing on SB 3, Medical Marijuana, February 25, 2015.

Live from the shark infested waters of North Carolina…

One has to wonder wonder what’s going on in the world in so many ways. This blog often touches on the things that we collectively fear– injustice, abuse of authority, the fear of getting arrested with a joint.

America means many things to many people, and therein lies the real beauty of America; our great gift for compromise.

Compromise is something defense attorneys must be good at. It comes with the territory. Even in the forthright adversarial relationship that exists in a court of law, there is compromise. And in order to maintain the ability to compromise, one must have respect for the opposition. It’s never a good idea to call the prosecution or the Judge an idiot. That’s not going to help my client. Even if said Judge or prosecutor is acting in a way that displeases us, we absolutely must look past our personal feelings and find a way to compromise, for the good of those we represent.

As I gaze out on the beautiful beach before me, I am also reminded of the deadly peril lurking just beneath the surface. Sharks do not compromise. They instinctively attack. In the case of a shark, there is no malice, no judgement, no ideology. They are simply doing what sharks do: Attacking.

This is just a reminder that when I see so many people on the internet, refusing to compromise and simply attacking everything they see, I feel safer with the sharks. Sharks can’t hurt my family on land, the internet can’t hurt them if they stay offline.

But, what kind of world are we creating when people begin to feel they cannot freely express themselves without fear of being attacked by the sharks? What kind of world am I leaving for my children, when I feel they’re safer out here with the real sharks?

America is not about flags and ideologies or dogmatic hatred wrapped in false patriotism. It’s not an ‘ism’ at all. It is a willingness to see the great experiment that is the United States in it’s most beautiful state. The state of compromise.

If I saw someone being attacked by a shark right now, I wouldn’t stop to wonder if they’re a republican or a democrat. I wouldn’t stop to wonder if they are gay or straight, if they’re a stoner or a redneck.  I would do whatever I could to save them from the shark.

America has saved more than a few people from the sharks over the past two and a half centuries. I worry that we are forgetting that past and instead, becoming sharks ourselves.

So this Independence Day, look around you and realize, the sharks are out there, but the people who need to be saved need us more than the sharks do. That’s America.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July everyone. And if you need someone to defend you from the sharks, I’m ready, willing and able, regardless of the labels others would slap on your back.

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