For the last week, I’ve been posting my New Year’s wishes on my Facebook page. I only got to #4 when I was overrun by comments of unrelenting skepticism and shock, albeit affectionate, from my friends.
What was my apparently outrageous hope? I wished that Michigan's State Supreme Court becomes a national model whose every decision embodies intellectual integrity and wisdom.
While I often get many ‘likes’ on my posts, for this I received 14 comments in just a few short hours. One friend wrote: “Sorry Kary, there's about as much chance as that happening as Jesse Jackson being invited to Rush Limbaugh's next wedding.” Another wrote: “If Supreme Court justices could fly….” And one even asked what I was smoking.
Okay, I concede that this particular New Year’s wish is likely not terribly realistic in the short term and I do appreciate the humor. Several justices on Michigan’s Supreme Court have fought publicly and some of their opinions have garnered national attention for their surprising bitterness.
Much of the problem, in my view, results from our system of electing judges rather than allowing judicial appointments. This exacerbates partisanship, results in the over-simplification of complex issues during campaigns, and leads to the ever-present need to raise money.
This is only one of the significant challenges ahead. We must keep pressing towards the way things should be and not resign ourselves to the status quo. We should articulate goals and aspirations for which there can be consensus as the necessary first step to making it happen.
Whether one hoped for the dismantling of South African apartheid, the election of this country’s first black president, the creation of a safety net in the form of social security for the elderly, or a computer in every house – it all starts with ambition and then the generating of the political will and resources to make it happen. I believe in the ingenuity of Michiganders to dream big.
What big dream do you have this year?
By Kary Moss, Executive Director