Everything impacts family law, because everything impacts families. Our
changing social mores, our political zeitgeist, our econmony even our
environment direcly impact how families operate and therefore, how family
law is done.
Right now I'm seeing much that is in transition and all of it will
impact family law.
Same sex marriage is very soon to become an accepted form of marriage in
all 50 States. This will be true by the end of this decade, if not sooner.
Very soon gays and lesbians will be able to marry just like any heterosexual
couple. And won't that be shocking. About as shocking as watching
a mixed race heterosexual couple stroll hand in hand through the town
square. (Please read a strong note of sarcasm here.) Lions and tigers
and bears, oh my!
Our political zeitgeist impacts our families. Politically we are teaching
our children that we need never get along, we need never find common ground,
indeed, that there may be none. "If he's for it, then I'm
against it." Dialogue and compromise are no longer virtues. They
have become vices.
We are teaching our children that right is defined and determined by our
side, whichever side that may be. There is no ultimate truth, no normative
value to which we can all lay claim. Might makes right is okay. If we
complain about guns, we get threatened with having them used against us.
If we complain about unarmed teenagers being slaughtered by police in
our city streets, the police turn out in tanks and full riot gear to remind
us who is boss.
The intentional economy is decimating the middle class. We are rapidly
approaching a society of haves and have nots.
The overall economy has doubled since the 1980's, but you'd be
hard pressed to know that by your paycheck. Wages have remained largely
flat. Almost all gains in the ecomony have gone to the top 1% of wealth
holders becuase they have the political power (and that's before the
Citizen's United decision). As a consequence, the top 1% have re-written
many laws reducing the top tax bracket from 70% to 35%. Capital gains
are taxed at only 15%. The top 400 wealthiest people in the country last
year paid taxes at only 17%.
This creates huge budget deficits which causes our politicians to constantly
slash government programs. Remember, the goal is to get government so
small they can drown it in a bathtub.
This impacts our children in their schools where the wealthiest districts
are outspending the poor districts two to one. This results in standardized
scores that are decidely lower, college acceptances less likely and, of
course, the consequent disparity in employment opportunities.
Finally, the environment. The IPCC's new report is out. As you may
know, the last time the world leaders met, they vowed to try to keep the
planet's temperature from increasing no more than two degees Centigrade
above the norm. Now the IPCC is reporting that this goal is implausible.
At present rate, if we do nothing we can anticipate a climb to nine degrees
Fahrenheit, (five degrees Centigrade) above normal on average by the end
of this century. As conservative and cautious as the IPCC scientists are,
they are quite possibly overestimating that time frame. Based upon the
quantum changes that occurred between their first report and this one,
mid-century is quite possible. I probably won't be alive by 2050,
but my children will. And so will yours.
In "Six Degrees" Mark Lynas writes,"[w]ith five degrees
[Centigrade] of global warming, an entirely new planet is coming into
being - one largely unrecognizable from the Earth we know today."
"Humans would sit powerless to intervene as their planet began to
turn into a Venus." Our zones of inhabitability will dramatically
shrink. Those of us remaining, climate refuges, would be forced to the
arctic regions, the last habitable places on the planet. There will most
certainly be "[a] dramatic reduction in human population... 'the
cull'". Billions of people will die.
While we still have a chance of stopping this quick descent into hell,
whatever harm we continue to do is irreversible. Our children, our grandchilden,
will suffer for our greed.
All together now.
So how will these elements intertwine, interact, even impact each other?
If we start with the global warming crisis and work backward, I think a
path will become clear. To save ourselves, to save our children, we must
immediately and completely re-direct our focus, our efforts and our energies
to ceasing carbon emissions. The alternative is suicide. Most of us are
opposed to that. Right?
The result in ceasing carbon emissions in and of itself is transformative.
Already, Europe is looking to a day very soon when they can decommission
their power plants, when they will operate 100% on renewable energy. So must we.
We will create a multitude of jobs. We will tremendously reduce air polution
which will keep millions of people healthier. Most importantly, we will
have lowered the pistol from our head. Collectively, we shall have taken
such a significant, life affirming step. By our mutual actions, we shall
have saved life on this planet, particularly the human kind.
From that life-affirming step, many other benefits flow. The myriad of
jobs helps re-create the middle class who abundantly invest in and create
our economy. The collective power to re-create our energy infrastructure
necessarily means that the 1% will have lost the war. No longer generating
their wealth at the expense of our health and wellbeing, their political
power is checked. The common good once again carries political clout.
"Of the people, by the people, for the people." What a concept.
From this common good we return to universal truths,
universal values, such as might does not make right. Such as, you don't shoot an unarmed
man. Such as, police officers are our friends, not our enemies. We create
a safe and sane America.
From this common good we stop worrying about the people opposed to gay
marriage. And they stop worrying too because they've finally come
out of the closet. Even they no longer have to live their lives in fear
and self loathing.
Family law shall then go on. Kinder, wiser, more centered.
So, you see, I want to stop global warming, re-establish the middle class
and ensure universal truths so that I can continue practicing in the profession
I so dearly love.
Won't you help me?