Saturday, May 16, 2020

The Refugee

Many years ago, while in city government, I worked with and supervised an extraordinary man. 

He had been a prominent attorney in his native land but had been forced to flee when a dictator came to power. He lived a very modest and quiet life here, partly because he still had family members back home and he didn't want them harmed.

One of the things we used to discuss was the American political and legal system. He was often stunned at the equal application of the law and the lack of a spoils system. Although far from perfect, the American system was a vivid contrast to what he knew even before the dictatorship. When I talked about how our office was to operate, there were times when I felt he was waiting for a wink, a footnote, or some significant exception.

He was used to a system that relied more upon connections and patrons and where if one side engaged in certain activities, it was fine but if the other side did so it was terrible.

I think about him more and more nowadays, particularly when reading the news out of Washington, D.C.

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