It has been said, as many times as anything else has ever been said, that ours is a nation of laws and not men (or women). This can lead to spaghetti-thinking, with saucy strands winding around cheesy meatballs from California to the Capitol, such as:
- But weren't all of the laws actually made by men?
- Did those men want to to do things that were clearly wrong (like own slaves) so legalizing wrong things was the easiest route to doing them openly?
- Did those men listen to other men around them, ones who were not elected to make laws, when deciding who could do what with whom and where?
- Were any of those men drunk at the time?
We may not have all the answers today, but we do know that once the ink is dry on the lawbook, that's pretty much it. Unless the Supreme Court were to become hopelessly ideological in nature, and begin issuing baseless edicts rooted in their own moral preferences, laws have sticky tendencies.
Unless, that is, they're brushed aside by those in power who don't feel like being obedient. People like Joyce deJong, who is the de facto Medical Examiner for almost all the counties in western Michigan. Of course there are laws on the books that control the appointed official that holds that title. But only if the local Commissioners will vigorously enforce them. Which they don't.
What is a citizen to do? File a lawsuit? Take one's petition of grievance to the other branch of government, the courts, who are tasked with playing referee to the arguments? Good luck with that - judges are free to be capricious and arbitrary if that's what they want to do.
In bigger cities, the business of civic duty can be vast and overwhelming, so a lot of pettiness gets put aside out of sheer necessity. That's not always the case in smaller places, like Kalamazoo, where all our public servants could easily fit under one preacher's tent.
If our M.E., the vindictive and dishonest deJong, had to be an obedient public servant, my nephew's Death Certificate would reflect the truth. (She guesses he died by suicide; we know better.) This seemingly clerical-in-nature error doesn't make much difference to her, or to the rest of our community, but it is hurtful to my family and it skews vital statistics that the County compiles and provides to the federal government. [Shrug.]
In the mean time, Kalamazoo has evolved, or at least morphed in the seven-plus years that have dripped away since Charlie died. The city has officially changed its wide stance on other subjects... Like urinating and defecating in public.
Yeah. That's now legal in this town - well, "decriminalized". Why? Because hey, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. As with everything in The Book of Charlie, you can't make this up.
Ergo, if you should find yourself in Kalamazoo, be advised to keep your head down, lest ye step right into a pile of human waste. Which we Hellers have been doing here for quite some time now.