Sunday, November 27, 2016

Alex Smith and Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill once said, "Never give up."  I guess he didn't, and the Allies won World War II. It's harder for me to understand abolitionist Frederick Douglass, a freed slave, who spent his life fighting slavery. Slavery in this country outlived Douglass by many years. Susan B. Anthony fought for female suffrage, at least for white woman, throughout her life. She had long since expired before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1920 allowing women the right to vote. Some people just keep on fighting. They don't quit, even if they die before their goals are achieved.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said something to the effect, "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."  Of course, he was assassinated before racial equality was achieved, since it really has never been achieved. Mahatma Ghandi and Itzhaak Rabin were both assassinated by members of their own religions while they sought equality.

I am sure if you are still reading this, you may be thinking that my thoughts are depressing. We are on the threshold of a new era, at least a new presidency and, in Missouri, a new Governor. What will the future hold? Are we going to regress or progress or stand still? I fear regression. Maybe the arc of history will bend toward justice. I hope do. We are but inconsequential participants in the arc of history.

Yet, I, along with most Kansas Citians, are watching the Chiefs/Colts game. After all, who expected the Chiefs to just tie up the game against the Patriots with one second left?  Is there hope?  At least for the Chiefs, we may know within 15 minutes. SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME. Winston Churchill never faced that.

P.S.  HOLY SMOKES!  We won!  Is my faith in humanity renewed?  We'll see.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bigotry And Poppycock

This "Alt-Right" revival, or as it more accurately should be called "neo-Nazi" revival, seems to be in full swing. The meeting in D.C. with this guy named Richard Spencer exemplifies the worst in America. After his Anti-Semitic rant, he quoted Nazi propaganda in its original German and then he gets a front page story, complete with a photo shoot in the LA Times. I am sure Steve Bannon is proud big left unchecked, racism, misogyny, and anti-Semitism and their advocacy as set to run amok in America. I guess 8 years of a Black president was too much for a bunch of scared, insecure racists and they want to fight back.

It was a blow to me and I am sure to other women that a highly qualified woman was defeated by a temperamentally unsound man. I thought it was finally time where little girls could understand that their possibilities were limitless.  Not so, America. And now we experience a resurgence of hate.

According to people like Richard Spencer, I am not white because I am a Jew. I am an older female Jew who represents African-Americans, Asians, women and gays in discrimination cases. I know to the misguided White-Privilege deniers, the group suffering the most discrimination in this country are white men. Poppycock. These men do mot see that white men control the world. Depriving people of privilege is different than active discrimination.  The Alt-Right Nazi groups have no use for women like me.  They are too afraid and insecure to respect others. They are motivated by fear and hatred.

White people have privilege in this country. Men have privilege in this country. Is equality even a possibility? I am sure that I will receive troll responses stating about the sorry state of white men in this country. Half of my family is comprised of white men. My husband and son are white men. Yet the men in my family acknowledge that they are not being oppressed because of their whiteness or because of their maleness. They know they have privileges in society that they do not really deserve.

What will it take for there to be a woman in the White House?  Can we eliminate racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia?  I don't know. People do not willingly give up privilege and power.  As Dr King stated, "Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Glass Ceiling

Last night, I watched SNL. Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle made a crack about how Obama was a charismatic 40 year old man, while Hillary was just a 70 year old woman.  While I am a big fan of Obama, I don't think he is a good President because he is young, cool and hip. I guess women have an expiration date which makes them lose their freshness years before a man goes rancid. I am sick of this. Donald Trump is a 70 year old  braggart of avman who admitted to sexual assault, denigrated Mexicans, and bullied other candidates. Most lawmakers are old white men with little charisma. Donald Trump made a crack about Hillary's looks, apparently thinking that he is God's gift to women.  Hillary made some bad decisions, such as the email server.  But Donald Trump's life is filled with horrible decisions.  If Hillary had five children by three different men, you can be sure that she would never have been a serious candidate.

I am sick of the double standard. Women are judged by their looks and their youth, while male politicians can be downright disgusting, old and nasty and get away with it. I think Bernie Sanders is great. However, if he was a woman, do you think he would have come under more scrutiny?  Would Donald Trump have commented on his view of Sanders from the rear?  What if a woman had denied fondling young men by saying they were not good looking enough to be fondled?

When I was a young lawyer, I was told that I had to make sure I did not appear too aggressive or too passive, because women have to watch how they are perceived. I was instructed by a federal judge not to cry in court, although the male lawyers received no such warning. I was schooled in what type of jewelry, shoes, clothes, to wear. And above all else, I was not to get "emotional."  I don't dye my hair anymore and it's gray. I realize that if I worked in big business, I, like Hillary, would be required to dye my hair in order to look younger. When I was a young lawyer, certain older male lawyers called me sweetie and dear. I could go on and on.

I am just sick of the freaking double standard. This isn't about Hillary Clinton losing as much as it is about generations of women suffering concussion after concussion while slamming their skulls against that freaking glass ceiling.  Apparently that glass is bullet-proof.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Trump Backlash? Share Your Stories:

Just since the election, I have heard terrifying stories of purported Trump supporters threatening people of color, women and Muslims. We cannot waste years of progress against sexism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-semitism, etc.  Obviously, many if not most, Trump supporters are not bigots, but, we know some are. For crying out loud, the KKK formally endorsed Donald Trump. If you or someone you know is attacked physically or verbally or threatened because of your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, etc., please speak out.

If a crime is committed against you or you are in fear, contact the police. Also, please email me your story at:



Monday, October 24, 2016

Lucky To Work With Caring People at Bratcher Gockel Law

I have met and served some amazing people in the thirty-three years in which I have practiced law. My job representing civil rights clients brings me immense joy, not in small part because of the kind, talented, intelligent people with whom I am blessed to work.

1.  My law partner Marie Gockel - I am fortunate that among the first people I called when I decided to start my firm was my law school chum Marie.  I remember her exact words, "Can I come, too."  And, a law firm was born. Marie is the hardest working, most tenacious, most intelligent lawyer I know. She never gives up. I kid her that she is the bull dog of the law profession. Perseverance is one of the most important traits of a lawyer. Plus, she and I work well together, brain-storming, with our strengths complimenting each other. For 22 years she has been great. And Marie is a great friend.

2.  Our amazing staff -  Ann Gloor leads our amazing staff. I have worked with her for 30 years, since both of our eldest girls were infants. She is wicked smart, hard working and kind, plus she reads my mind. Nancy Breuning has been with us for 15 years. She is diligent, a perfectionist when need be, and amazingly smart. Both Ann and Nancy are two of the kindest people I know. Within the last 5 years we hired paralegal Mike Bell.  Mike has worked many years as a paralegal and is not afraid to dig into files to assess what went wrong. He, too, is extremely intelligent and hard-working. All three of the staff have been recently been blessed with grandchildren and we see videos of first steps, first words, and wide toothless smiles. What a joy.

People in our office either bring their lunches or go downstairs to the food court to buy food and bring it up. We typically sit around our old conference table, often for a little more than the "allotted" hour, looking out over the Power & Light  district while chattering on about grandbabies, movies, books, our lives, or my stupid jokes to which they graciously smile. We talk about cases and what we need to do, but most of the time we just shoot the bull. We have a great team. We never give performance evaluations, because oftentimes employers feel they need to mark employees down and criticize. Our employees are so great, performance evaluations seem counter-productive. I hope everyone realize how much I  appreciate tand care about them. I know I am prejudiced, but I think our law office is a wonderful place to work.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Tell Trump - We Are Better Than This

I voted already. I am going to be a poll observer in Florida, so I voted here. But, I cannot tear myself away from the horrible Trump train wreck. I just hope that through his horrible conduct, this scorched earth tactics, and his total lack of respect for large segments of the population, if not all of humanity, we learn a lesson.  I hope we are horrified by this wretch of a human being and we realize that he is not who we are.

Women should not be judged by how large their breast are. Grabbing a woman's crotch without her consent is a crime. We are more than the sum of our parts, literally. African-Americans are not thugs condemned to live in "inner cities" where they constantly must dodge their own bullets. Latinos and Latinas are hard-working, decent, and kind human beings by nature, just as are the majority of the rest of usl

Most people are good and kind and deserve our trust and respect. Most others are honorable unless they prove otherwise. We must see the best in others, not the worst. We must teach our children to help others, not to bully them. We have our differences, and our differences are what teaches us to grow and accept others.

We must fight bigotry, whether that fight amounts to going to the polls, or legally fighting against the racial and sexual bullying. We must set examples of tolerance, humility, and charity. I believe Americans are essentially kind, caring and have moral values. We are strong and self-assured and need not denigrate others to nurse our egos.  That is characteristic of Trump and his ilk, not us.

Trump is a test of our character and our resolve and we will pass this test. We are better than the horrible America he sees. We will survive this election and grow and learn from this. We are better than this. Trump is a cult-like leader who will lose. I know Americans are decent, compassionate and generous.  I know that the kind, decent, caring people of this country will continue. We are a country of immigrants. We take in, "your tired, your poor, your yearning to be free."