September 15, 2005

judge roberts can you tell us

I've been watching with fascination the senate confirmation hearings for Judge John Roberts in consideration of appointment as Supreme Court Chief Justice. The heart of the matter can be boiled down to one simple question no one dare asks:

Judge Roberts, can you reassure me that you won't disappoint me?

It's the same question we wish to ask of our betrothed, our surgeons, our heros and our associates -- yet it is a question that will always lie unanswered until the retrospective of time.

We can't ask because they can't answer. We want our future partners to agree with us on all things but they never do. We want our surgeons to make all the right decisions but they never can. We want our teachers to present it all but they never can. We all bring bias and baggage. We seek to be fair but fair is in the eye of the beholder.

My husband wants pure predictability with me. He would like to know that when he does or says something, he can count on my same predictable response. It doesn't work that way.

Nothing human is predictable or reliable. We make promises to each other that are broken every day. While we want Judge Roberts to reassure us he will vote our own conscience, someone else wants him to vote theirs -- and there in lies the rub.

There are no predictive guarantees. No views are universally held. Reasonable minds will disagree. No human can reassure us that they will not disappoint. No matter how much we wish it, those in positions of power can never reliably deliver the consistent comfortable existence we desire.

There will be potholes. There will be taxes spent on matters that don't directly benefit us. There will be wars. There will be injustice. There will be legal rulings we disagree with.

Through it all, we will live this life, our life, without warrany. We know not when we will be born and we know even less the exact time when we will die. And no one can ever reassure us they will not disappoint.

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