Law in Contemporary Society

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ColeRileyFirstEssay 3 - 31 May 2023 - Main.ColeRiley
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abolitionist alchemist fantasy writer lawyer poet

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Writer

 
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Our laws, history, and art are not mediums to be taken lightly. Putting pen to paper is to perform alchemy with the reader's imagination; such an act has real-world consequences. It creates cultures, traditions, nations, and even empires. The constitution was our nation’s first work of fiction with ideas we collectively decided to follow (or not follow). If pen and paper could build this empire I imagine it could bring it down. Every opportunity to write should reflect the gravity of this potential. Yet this potential is stifled when our laws are bound by precedents set by individualistic and eurocentric values. Our history is robbed when it's written by the victor and our art is lost when it is swayed by capitalism (or even worse, a grade). To be an abolitionist, alchemist fantasy writer, or lawyer poet is to create one goal: to set man unconditionally free. This alchemy is an experience of the black community, to make a way out of no way, or make something out of nothing. For the globally historically oppressed groups who face oppression of biblical proportions is to be dealt a bad hand or to be burdened with the task of building a new world and befalling empires.
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a compilation of thoughts, ideas, and realizations

Redacted lines from my law school personal statement AKA discards of a sanitized trauma essay

_“Trauma is rewarded if you can survive it and beautifully portray it in a college admissions essay.”
 
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When imagination spars with education

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“I could tell you how I want to be an attorney or representative and work through the system to somehow transform the empire to be more palatable. I’d be lying. My transformative work is more ambitious.”
 
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An imagination is a terrifying tool against a dominant ideology. Imagination is the thought that turned machetes once used by the enslaved people in Haiti to cut sugar cane into weapons used to behead their French oppressors.
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“I’ve learned from my father how to create the things we’ve never seen before. He built a family. I will build a nation where my people aren’t second class. A nation where we don’t have to face the indignity of viewing ourselves through our oppressors' eyes.”_
 
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And they have served other purposes there since, unfortunately.
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While I can sit and wonder if these discards are no longer a part of me, I am more curious about why I got in. GPA? Definitely wasn’t LSAT. Was it what I wrote or what I didn’t write? What about my life did you find palatable? And why am I looking at myself through your eyes?
 
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September 7th 2022, 12:18 pm, Journal entry 1

“It’s currently week 1 of the orientation class with Jane Ginsburg. T - 6 days until the first day of classes. I’m on track to be over $300,000 in debt and have almost reached the oddly comforting conclusion that I will be using this education to become a writer.”
 
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It is naive to believe that this country's education system would not overtly or even subliminally limit these ideas through a capitalist culture. A liberal education means education for a free person rather than a slave. Thus liberal arts education isn’t meant to get you a job but to make you useful in a free society. A liberal arts education in a society that is not free is an illusion of justice where there is none.
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May 25th 2023, 9:19 pm, Law in contemporary society final paper

 
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Perhaps. Or perhaps behaving as though you are a free person in an unfree society, as Adam Michnik and Lech Walesa showed in Poland—among other courageous people in many other places and times—is the heart of revolution.
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I wasn’t wrong. I do want to be a writer. Well, a fantasy writer, lawyer poet, and abolitionist alchemist to be exact.
 
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A fantasy writer dares you to dream. Dares you to dream a better world is possible.
 
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If you ask a student in college why they are there, very rarely is it for reasons other than to get a job, have a decent way of life, or simply survive.
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A lawyer poet practices for a higher purpose. A purpose higher than money and escapes the vicious cycle of reform and retrenchment. A lawyer poet makes things happen in society using words, not necessarily using the western common laws language. They are artists, poets, musicians.
 
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Are you sure? I'm not sure if that's true of my brother's students at Lehigh, or the ones I know here at Columbia College.
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An abolitionist alchemist not only destroys violent systems but creates justice where there has never been any. It is a transformative approach. This alchemy is a common experience of the black community, to make a way out of no way, or make something out of nothing. For the globally historically oppressed groups who face oppression of biblical proportions we are burdened with the task of building a new world and befalling empires.
 
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Imagination v. Education

That's not fair. Life isn't fair. Well...shouldn't it be?
 
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Imagining that a student is there for other reasons which can further themselves or their community results in a reckless abandon for progress. It creates animosity towards the university and is complacent in creating the illusion of a just society. Imagination prevails over education when education no longer serves a use to its audience. Until then, education is superficially useful in a society that deems it necessary.

Isn't this is some tension with the idea that imagination changes the world? Hasn't the role of students been important in modern revolutionary movements for something like this reason?

Racial Reincarnation

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It far too often feels like education, particularly for oppressed groups is learning how to navigate life's unfairness as if they were fundamental truths. Some even go as far as encouraging people how to play the unfair game. "That's the real world" must be the most mind numbing cliche for those robbed of the imagination of what things could really be like.
 
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Racial Reincarnation

  We give our ancestors the near-religious reverence that the majority gives their forefathers. To question the merits of using respectability in protests, nonviolence, or the efficacy of voting is an act of sacrilege. Thus we find ourselves confined by a narrow scope of history that rejects the humanity of our ancestors in favor of making them deities or reactionary to their conditions. It is ahistorical. It would reject the fact our abolitionist ancestors and civil rights heroes did not laugh, cry, or make mistakes. But if we are to imagine that our souls were returning, critiquing our ancestors wouldn’t be disrespectful. Instead, it would be an act of humility to better understand the decisions and nuances of past lives. It would allow us to say without remorse that we are both the beneficiaries and victims of integration. In addition to the critical approach to traditional black progress discourse, racial reincarnation also changes the outlook on progress. It makes it a more urgent and pressing issue to oppose all forms of discrimination and capitalism as if it is not done now, one is doomed to come back over and over again to fight the same fight they had before. It is the irony of children learning brown v board in de facto segregated classrooms or invoking someone's ancestors who died fighting for the right to vote whilst those same kids fight barriers to the polls. At some point, one must drop the shield of harm reduction for the ultimate goal to leave this purgatory cycle.
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The role of fantasy in the liberation

“The trees in the botanical garden grew into the shape of domes granting shade to the butterflies that floated around beneath it. The flowers on the trees bloomed in bright shades of pink and purple. The flowers smelled like ripe tropical fruit and the petals tasted like cherry bubble gum.” This excerpt gives the reader a sense of wonder. Now imagine for two seconds that the day comes when the globally dispersed populations go out against all that has stood against them with the thought that they will not let the sun set before they have achieved the unachievable; liberation in their lifetimes. In the same vein, I can beg the reader to flowers that taste like bubblegum, I can force them to imagine a better world. This quest has always been elusive but it has never been unobtainable. The only shortage there has been being not in the number of people who are “smart” enough, care enough, or even fight hard enough in this pursuit of liberation. The only shortage has been the number of people who believe it to be possible.

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The role of fantasy in the liberation

Imagine for two seconds that the day comes when the globally dispersed populations go out against all that has stood against them with the thought that they will not let the sun set before they have achieved the unachievable; liberation in their lifetimes. In the same vein, I can beg the reader to believe flowers that taste like bubblegum and you can almost taste it, I can force them to imagine a better world. This quest has always been elusive but it has never been unobtainable. The only shortage there has been being not in the number of people who are “smart” enough, care enough, or even fight hard enough in this pursuit of liberation. The only shortage has been the number of people who believe it to be possible.
 “Sooner or later, all the wretched of the earth, in one way or another, will destroy the cobblestone on which London and Rome and Paris are built. The world will change because it has to change” – James Baldwin.

Our liberation starts with a mental departure from reality to the imagined. We may assert ourselves today as in it but not of it, but must make plans to leave this place entirely. We will make the conditions around us mirror the utopia we’ve deluded ourselves to believe is in reach. When that day comes, we won’t have to ask the pharaoh to let our people go. He won’t have a choice.

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I think this draft is largely quite successful, taken on its own terms. Your prose is forceful enough and sufficiently supple to take on what you demand of it. You have control over resonance, and I think the tone is pretty much the one you want. I've noted some spots where I think you can clarify your thinking or improve its voicing. But there is not much improvement I can suggest within the lines you have drawn.

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Revision 3r3 - 31 May 2023 - 06:03:44 - ColeRiley
Revision 2r2 - 24 Feb 2023 - 16:41:26 - EbenMoglen
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