I have enjoyed the spotlight, or my time on a soapbox from time to time. When I think about retiring, one thing I will miss is my column as director of the ABA Commission On Law and Aging. My mentor didn't do a regular column, I do it because I wanted to. It gives me a chance to rant about issues that I think are important, in a forum that we control, with a few layers of editorial review. I have tried to bring transparency to what we do, and how we do it. And the longer I do this, the more extreme my views have become on a few issues.
I try to avoid the press. Early on in this work, I did a few television news interviews. They would show up, film 10 or 15 minutes of questions and answers, then in the final edit there would be a 15-second sound bite, often the most cringe-worthy thing I said all day. My office policy is no one talks to the press if we can connect them with an outside expert, with approval from media affairs who set the ground rules. There is some push back against this, I have embraced it. I am too unfiltered for media.
This blog has allowed me ample opportunity to ramble on about my feelings and philosophy. Even here I tend to avoid politics and religion. It is not that I don't have strong feelings, I just don't want to engage with the crazies. An old friend of ours has a frequent hate commenter on Facebook, always the same person, always ugly. I would unfriend and block the person. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. The best way to avoid it, it to avoid topics that will bring it to my doorstep.
One thing I have been thinking about for my professional work, is needing to learn to describe what we do in ways that pluck at the heartstrings. We tend to be facts, and law, and rational logic. But there are people involved, we need to tell the stories of the crushing of human rights, the abuses of due process rights, the real abuse that real people experience and what we are doing to try to change it. The law is rational, sensible, the human stories move the heart.
We need to tell and hear the stories that move the human heart. In my remaining time in the spotlight, I hope I can help you laugh, experience joy, and move you to tears.