Foundation of Law and the Polarization of Reality
Today, if an American citizen requires a resource to resolve a serious wrong, there is still only one of which I am aware; a civil judicial proceeding based upon the rule of law. In a critical time fraught with shock and confusion, this is where my husband, Jim, and I turned, but if there is anything left that resembles the rule of law based upon truth and justice, I can no longer see it. What I do see is a terrifying reality in the grip of something I know too well. Narcissism… the mighty manipulator - often more powerful than truth, and for a myriad of seemingly illogical reasons, narcissism has the strength to allow one distorted mind to consume many minds in a limitless species of ways.
Narcissistic takeover has slyly seeped its way into today’s system of justice. In particular, more judges are ruling on cases where once there was, under our forefathers’ democracy, an inherent expectation of recusal. From local government irreparably changing our personal lives, to our Country’s Supreme Court, where our nation’s women are being stripped of the right to make heart-wrenching decisions about their own bodies for their personal lives - the unthinkable lurks close-by. Think about the youngest and most helpless now subjected to legal abuse after mercilessly-forced abuse. Inhuman? No… this is purely human. This is the reality humanity is too capable of creating when self-absorption outranks decency and exterminates compassion.
I have a friend I met at a place for therapeutic gathering and sharing. It was there I first spoke publicly about my personal experience with the powerful force of narcissism, and as conversations flowed and time drew us closer, we became good friends with a common love for creative arts. I learned we supported opposite political parties - we joked about that, but politics was not the main focus of our friendship.
Fast forward to the year 2020 when our then President strode from Lafayette Square. In an email, my friend described how the everywhere-increasing turmoil was making her feel irritable and upset. I was sitting by the kitchen window in a filthy condominium - our newly rented home, and the only workable place we could find in our inexplicable rush to relocate after a second, County-run onslaught of heavy machinery and house-shaking intimidation drove Jim and me out of our own home during the height of the pandemic. Something had gone terribly wrong. But, as silver linings go, a man-made streambed ran adjacent to the rental, and a paddling of baby ducks sweetened the bitter filth with the antics of a first swim.
I answered my friend with certainty that we thought more alike than not. In that viral time of tear gas and Generals and political strife, surely she shared my fear for democracy. My friend answered my email with words I would never have expected - harsh, angry. There we were; clear shot to opposite ends of the political spectrum by the narcissism of deceitful headlines. I didn’t want to lose our friendship to one frustrated email exchange, so, veiling truth with the well-learned survival techniques of my childhood, I answered with a longing heart - about ducklings and the artful times we shared, and it wasn’t long before we imagined ourselves lunching in deep political conversation akin to the supreme friendship between Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.
I don’t think I’ll ever completely recover from the day I concealed my heartache after being cast from our home. When we were able to return, nearly five months later, the devastation was unimaginable. Ongoing project actions resulted in the destruction of everything growing up to our home’s outer, east-facing walls. The area leading to an art studio, my visionary sanctuary for post-viral, creative gatherings, was destroyed and the studio unusable with ongoing noise, dust and an invasion of scorpions. At the time, I couldn’t let myself believe what the last few years have revealed - after a lifetime of hard work, two law-abiding, senior citizens could be completely abandoned by “government of the people, by the people and for the people.
This is our National present danger - narcissism surrounds all of us.
In those earlier days of therapeutic gatherings, I spoke of my childhood - after his brutal beatings, I couldn’t remember just what it was my father did to me, but what remains imbedded to this day are the memories of my mother showering me with scathing rants of narcissistic humiliation. None the less, by today’s laws I was lucky. I didn’t get pregnant.
Ironically, when I was grown with a family of my own, my mother, in the grips of a harrowing, months-long narcissistic rage, colluded against me, her declared-to-all nemesis, to abduct my child. I wouldn’t have had the courage to place this truth up against narcissism’s twisted power had it not been for a well-hidden recording - the Jekyll-Hyde nature of this beast in the throes of delusion. Narcissism often allows for a most-charming public persona, but behind closed doors… “Oh, fait accompli. A soirée if you please!” When this innocent child was torn from my arms, I could not have imagined greater horror awaited us both.
Years later, I met my husband Jim and his family. Throughout the Second World War, his father served as Commander and Attorney representing the Under Secretary of the Navy. I will be forever grateful to have known Stanley Fox and witness his graceful presentations to the court on my behalf. Thanks to his deep understanding of the rule of law, he was able to restore justice and that allowed me precious time to try to help my rightfully-confused child. Despite many years of hope, there was no way for me to fully eliminate the same hovering, threatening source of narcissism whose haunting presence eventually placed a young man between two polarized versions of reality. The false, impregnable scenarios my mother painted proved dominant.
I have another friend whose mother and father were imprisoned in Nazi camps - innocent humans confined by predators who branded their prey to identify the imminent corpse. Think that could never happen here? In today’s democracy, such a vaunting predator stalked a heroic school-shooting survivor branding undeniable innocence, “little Hitler,” and that self-projector was elected U. S. Representative to Congress. My friend’s parents survived long enough to be freed - a miracle born of willingness to see through a communal fog of denial.
This is our National present danger - narcissism engulfs all of us.
Last week, I listened intently as Andrew Weissmann spoke of his experience as criminal attorney - how he brought truth to light by challenging the jury to think about the contrast between a person’s public statements and that same person’s private knowledge. Unknowingly, for almost three years, I have been obsessively applying Weissmann’s wisdom - winding every true fiber of our sad tale’s yarn - the public versus private meanderings of the perpetrators. Surely the court would allow us to speak this truth. That did not happen. The tragedy is that I realize I’ve been frantically weaving more and more truth to clothe my now-exposed distrust of the legal system itself - from counselors to judges - spinning a futile wheel long past hope of justice if only to prove to myself that I’m not delusional. I don’t believe that I am.
Today, we and our home remain abandoned. A slope where a veteran woodland stood for at least sixty years - as windbreak, wildlife haven and bird-nesting habitat - remains clear cut without revegetation or erosion control. Our irrigation systems destroyed by the government-project’s unmitigated actions have left citrus trees, once able to produce pounds of fruit for the homeless, dead and dying. What remains of a small grove of nut trees is unclear as our fence was torn down and a County fence erected with a padlocked gate literally locking us out of safe access to our own land.
All efforts to make sense out of what has happened to us have brought no response. The home destruction and environmental damages - the nightmares and surgeries and declining health? According to the system, we don’t exist. It’s strange how hard opposing counsel has worked to deny what has happened. Something is terribly wrong.
I cannot be the person I once was who could agree to disagree. I won’t turn a blind eye to those in denial of the truths behind escalating violence, irrational scorn and shameful ridicule. I will strive to hold those promoting such malice accountable. I will fight for the rights a true democracy offers. Still, I’m scared - less for myself than generations to follow, but I am afraid in tomorrow’s lawful light, Emperors will need no clothes at all when the innocence of childhood, in fear for its survival, will no longer dare point to naked truth.
Please Vote for Democracy.