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It was midway through a trial when the judge’s phone beeped. She would’ve ignored it; we would’ve expected her to ignore it. Rarely is it the case that phone calls or texts cut the flow of court, but as I watched her eyes glance at the screen and stay there, brows furrowed and a sigh leaving her lips, I could already guess what she’d seen. I had gotten the same notification right before coming to the courtroom: “Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Will Retire”. More people checked their phones, with an air of jaded surrender, half-shocked at the timing and half-blaséd at the action. A few heartbeats’ worth of silence passed, no one really knew what to say, and then we heard the judge chuckle. “Guess I’m taking my daughter to Canada, huh?”

Something that has struck me throughout my time working with the justice system in Miami has been the weary aversion with which people- judges, lawyers, clerks, volunteers, the list goes on- approach the current administration. The attitude isn’t something that is foreign to me, but rather the fact that it so openly comes from professionals who dedicate their lives to distributing and enforcing justice and democracy. It comes up in the breakroom, overheard on a phone call, in passing when they make disappointed small talk out of deportations and missing children.

It’s not an issue of who has power, but rather how it is used.

It’s not an issue of political parties, but rather of the politics themselves.

It’s not an issue of differing perspectives, but the real, physical, harmful results that come with their spoilage of humanity, stability, and progress.

It comes easily to form an opinion on Trump, his administration, and the way it’s current successes and downfalls are reflective of a deeper, disturbing trend in the United States’ attitude and action towards the democratic and humanistic foundation it holds on paper. It comes easily to hold disdain towards people whose legal empowerment validates the hate and violence my loved ones have endured. It comes easily to continuously extend and amend my post-election epilogue into a plea for consideration and fundamental decencies. It does not come easily to see the very people whose experiences and expertise are supposed to inform policy and progress find these things much easier to do than I do.

I merely hope that feeling so small ultimately propels our growth.