Nobody knows any trigonometry, including the vast majority of people who took it in school. Not only that, a great portion of the population has trouble with English, even though they speak it every day. People are sloppy with language.
Maybe because I actually practiced law for a short time (about six years) I’m very sensitive to the proper use of words. In a legal document, or in court testimony, words have very specific meanings. When addressing the court, or examining a witness, you have to be very careful about every word you say. It can, and will, be used against you. And when opposing counsel speaks, you listen intently, ready to pounce on any misstatement.
Politics is like the practice of law, except there’s no judge, just a jury. In court, there are rules. In a campaign, you can get away with anything.
The only fun part of practicing law, for me, was final argument to the jury. From the time they were seated, and throughout the entire trial, I’d been trying to get a read on them, as individuals and as a group. And then I’d get up, walk over, and look them all in the eye. Even when I didn’t really have a case to argue I’d raise so much hell that they always took what I said seriously. I had a case like that in front of Judge James Fitzgerald, a truly legendary figure in Alaska history. A great man. After the jury was out for about four hours he called me and the Assistant U. S. Attorney into his chambers, and we all tried to figure out what the hell they were deliberating about. It was an open and shut case. I like to think that Judge Fitzgerald thought I was a pretty good trial lawyer.
In the early 90’s Babbie and I were friends of his son-in-law, a lawyer, and we were at his house for some cocktails or something, and all of a sudden there’s Judge Fitzgerald. He’s old enough to be all of our fathers, and it seemed a little odd. And then he started talking to me, and I was very flattered. I was kind of in awe of this guy. He had presided over the trial of the North Slope Gang, a bunch of thieves who had stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from the North Slope Borough. The election of George Ahmoagak in 1984 as Borough Mayor spelled doom for their game, and they were all indicted on numerous felonies in Federal District Court in Anchorage.
It was a huge, complicated prosecution, with multiple defendants and very high priced defense lawyers, many flown up from the lower 48. The U. S. Attorney for Alaska, Mike Spaan, and his small staff, were simply overwhelmed. They just didn’t have the resources you need to conduct a prosecution of this type, and almost all these criminals got away clean. Judge Fitzgerald told me all about it. Most of what he told me has never been publicly understood, or even revealed, as far as I know. Because Mike Spaan, with the encouragement and support of Judge Fitzgerald, had asked for help from the Criminal Division of the Dept. of Justice in D. C. In a case this big, it should have been granted routinely.
But it was denied, and Judge Fitzgerald let me know why. Ted Stevens was in bed with half of these criminal defendants, and he made damn sure Mike Spaan never got the help he needed.
Lisa Murkowski is the political heir of Ted Stevens. He put her where she is. I’d really like to see her go.
Back on topic, let me say this. The word majority has a very specific meaning. Everyone needs to understand that. That’s how we’ve always decided things in this country, and how we always will.
And a majority is not more than anybody else. That’s a plurality. Look it up.