by Gary Spina
(Copyright 2009 by Gary Spina)
Lawyers are supposed to be among the best and the brightest in our society on account of how difficult it is to even get into law school in the first place. Then in law school, you are taught how to manipulate the world. But let me tell you lawyers a little story – might just humble even you.
I once knew a girl in Maine – a girl named Ramona – who, at seventeen years old, managed to get a bank loan for her first car. She was obviously a minor, obviously incapable of signing for a car loan or any legal document. But Ramona had a little job down at the candy store. It wasn’t much of a job, but Ramona was happy to show up every day, work hard, and earn her pay – twenty-eight dollars in cash, every Saturday afternoon.
Ramona knew a lot of people in town, including the bank president from the First Northern Bank and Trust down the street. Every morning, before he opened the bank, he’d come into the candy store for coffee and the day’s newspaper. He’d sit at the counter where Ramona always greeted him warmly and always served him with a smile. Ramona was polite and courteous to all the customers, and professional in every way. Although she was young, the banker could see she had a good work ethic.
The cold January day Ramona came into the bank to ask for a car loan, the bank president personally came out to talk to her. He liked the honest, determined look in her eye, and he liked the firmness of her handshake. And maybe a contract with a minor was a worthless document, but Ramona gave her word – and the man took her at her word and lent her several thousand dollars. Ramona signed on the dotted line and got herself her first car loan.
As I said, it was winter in Maine, and before she made her car first payment, Ramona totaled the car on an icy roadway. She had no insurance. I can’t tell you what the bank president was thinking. Everybody in town knew the story. He had blundered.
But to everyone’s surprise – everyone but the banker — Ramona made the first payment. And she made every payment on time for three years on a car she no longer had, on a debt she did not legally have to pay.
So when, years later, Ramona wanted to start up a small business with no capital, you’d better believe the First Northern Bank and Trust was happy to lend her whatever money she needed. That’s a true story, my lawyer friends.
And though in all honesty, I haven’t seen Ramona in many years, I’m betting today she’s one of the most successful businesswomen in Augusta. And I’ll bet she’s still quite a character.
Anyway, you young lawyers and you seasoned lawyers, that was the old-fashioned way of doing business – back in a time when a man’s honor or a woman’s honor was what really bound a contract.
But in law school you are taught not only how draw up contracts, but how to break them if the contract proves disadvantageous to your client. Honor means nothing in a den of thieves.
Sadder still are you Constitutional lawyers who do not actually read that greatest of all contracts. You do not love it. You do not fight to protect it. Instead you blindly adhere to “Case Law” from the edicts of nine Supreme Court justices who rule on the various cases before them. To you the Constitution is just another contract to circumvent and nullify.
You do not revere that bond of Christian values that has created an enclave of freedom, equality, and prosperity in a dark, tyrannical world. Perhaps a mere child named Ramona could light the way for you.
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