The "President’s Page" is a recurring section in the OC Lawyer magazine (the primary publication of the Orange County Bar Association). In that section, the president of the Association often lays out his priorities, comments on developments in the law, et cetera. In large part, the "President’s Page" presents the president of the OCBA with his best opportunity to address the OCBA membership as a whole.
For the January issue of OC Lawyer, President Michael Baroni penned his first "President’s Page". By any rational assessment, the article he wrote was thoughtful, positive, and reasonable while still providing goals for 2017. Mr. Baroni clearly did not anticipate the reaction he received. Before getting to that, though, let’s go over Mr. Baroni’s article.
United We Stand: Defending the American Dream
As you might’ve guessed (or read if you clicked the link, supra), Mr. Baroni titled his article "United We Stand" and subtitled it "Defending the American Dream". He opened his article with a clear hint at one of the three objectives for 2017 he would list later in the article:
"This column will spotlight heroes of our justice system. People who passionately fight to maintain law and order, to assist victims and the needy, and to maintain the civil, compassionate society that we treasure as Americans."
Forever in a state of heightened alert lest they allow a potential excuse to throw a temper tantrum pass they by, Leftist ears undoubtedly perked up at the mention of "justice system" and "law and order" (both things they abhor as they believe them to be racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted, et cetera ad nauseam). A few paragraphs later, Mr. Baroni’s words undoubtedly confused every Leftist reading his article. On the one hand, he comes from immigrant stock; however, on the other hand, he’s proud of his American ancestors and believes the United States of America is special:
"My ancestors and my father are profound heroes to me. They were all deeply thankful, every day, for the priceless gift that is the United States of America."
For the Left, of course, Mr. Baroni commits a cardinal sin with this sentence. For one, the Left views America as the Great Satan. No, wait, that’s how Iran views the US, but close enough[^1]. Undoubtedly, the Leftists who managed to resume reading the article after their initial apoplectic fits from reading the words "law" and "order" in such close proximity (and without disclaimer or sarcasm) passed began to salivate at this point, just imagining the wild rants they could pen on social media and the disruptive tactics they could employ in their pursuit of being roughly as likable as a foot fungus.
Unfortunately for Mr. Baroni, he went on to commit another cardinal sin in the very next paragraph:
"Historically or today, America has always been the world’s only true "light on a hill.""
Cue the high dudgeon. How dare Mr. Baroni use a turn of phrase employed by both sides of the political spectrum for centuries! How dare he. At any rate, America holds no promise from the view of the Left. American is just one nation among many, and not even a particularly good one at that.
Not content with merely daring to commit a number of the Left’s cardinal sins[^2], Mr. Baroni continues with his article and, in a single paragraph, defends the Constitution, maligns Government, and lists a number of the malcontents who are, actively, seeking to destroy the Constitutional order and the Republic itself. How dare he.
"Our constitutional gifts of "inalienable" rights and protections have been shredded by the seemingly insatiable claims of a monstrously burgeoning, and invasive, government"
"Never before have we had so many political leaders, Supreme Court Justices, activists, academics[,], and media, lobby against our Constitution as an outdated, out-of-touch document."
Yes, Mr. Baroni, don’t you know that the Constitution is simultaneously old news and a living document meant to be reinterpreted (without regard to reason, logic, facts, the meaning of words, et cetera) with each new generation of university-addled imbec… er, scholars? No, of course not. No one who would dare to print his belief that America is unique (or even dare to hold such a ludicrous belief in private) could possibly understand the nuances of spinning new theories out of whole cloth. Such is the exclusive, rarified haunt of the Ivy League law professor, and a veritable cavalcade of other near-illiterates who could arrive at sixteen different interpretations of a sign simply stating "Stay off the grass.".
Dissatisfied with merely committing cardinal sins, Mr. Baroni next moves on to ‘attacking’ a number of the Left’s sacred cows. In a single paragraph (!), Mr. Baroni has the audacity to imply that urinating on the flag is disrespectful (and he probably believes that burning it is disrespectful, the unenlightened troglodyte) and that gathering in the street to chant "DEATH TO AMERICA!" is probably not particularly patriotic. What, pray tell, does Mr. Baroni think the Left will do with its weekends if these activities are banned? There is only so much marijuana in the world, Mr. Baroni. At some point, one has drunk enough bad liquor and read enough inaccurate reporting that one simply must take to the streets, set something on fire, have sex with a stranger, block traffic, and generally be a miscreant. If a little chanting of "DEATH TO AMERICA!" and the burning of a few flags occurs along the way, then that’s just the way of things. Join the modern world, Mr. Baroni.
Of course, the Left is nothing if not oddly pagan, so we’ve not yet run out of sacred cows. Next, Mr. Baroni dares to ‘attack’ immigrants. (Nevermind that Mr. Baroni is the son of a first-generation immigrant, that the rest of the piece if staunchly pro-immigrant, and that Mr. Baroni has a long history of supporting immigrants, that’s all irrelevant.) Look at the audaciousness of this paragraph:
"Many refugees have and continue to relocate into our towns and cities, not to assimilate into American culture and ideals, but to remake this land into the very kind of oppressive and volatile nation that they escaped from in the first place."
Racism! Blatant racism. Mr. Baroni, how dare you, a White male, speak about immigration? Don’t you know that you have to be a first-generation, brown-skinned, transsexual, who doesn’t speak English and entered the country illegally to have a valid opinion on this very important issue? Please, Free Speech simply demands that you sit down and shut up.
The small handful of Leftists whose attention spans allowed them to read up to this point in Mr. Baroni’s article (and whose outrage hadn’t caused them, literally, to go blind) were now greeted with an attack on another sacred cow: unions. Well, tangentially it was an attack on unions, but even the mention of something wrong with education in the US is clearly an assault on teachers unions and anyone who would dare to claim unions have played a role in the severe shortcomings in American education is simply a bigot (also racist, sexist, homophobic, and mean). Nevermind the facts, Mr. Baroni, facts are, by their very nature, oppressive. They are a construct of the patriarchy, a product of White men, and a means of oppressing women and minorities.
Finally! Mr. Baroni returns to saying something reasonable. Just a few paragraphs after his mean-spirited comments about US education and its abject failure to teach students even the basics of history, civics, or, well, a dozen or so other important subjects, Mr. Baroni mentions the truly special nature of the OCBA:
"There is a special element that binds us here in Orange County, and empowers us as a force for good; is is our collective belief in the American dreams, the values of compassion and civility, and the idealism of our justice system."
The Left, Mr. Baroni, couldn’t possibly agree more. In fact, upon reading this far in the article, a handful of the more motivated amongst the Left (read: those who can successful read an email and find an address) immediately set about organizing a disorganized protest for the OCBA’s Judges Night & Annual Meeting.
If the disruption of an awards dinner; the writing of angry, semi-coherent emails and social media posts; and calls for organizations to withdraw from dealing with the OCBA doesn’t show you just how tolerant, compassionate, and civil the Left is, Mr. Baroni, then you should walk through any of the various protests against, well, something. They are, after all, always protesting something and I’m sure at least one or two of them would be happy to sneak up on you, punch you in the back of the head, and then run away (after uploading video of the assault to the Internet with unironic tags like "compassion", "love trumps hate", "peace not war", and "fasism" [inevitably misspelled]).
After this brief interlude soothed the Left with two of their favorite platitudes (i.e., "compassion" and "civility"), Mr. Baroni returned immediately to his hateful, racist, war-mongering[^3].
"Be not ashamed of American pride and patriotism, and never be bullied into silence. There is no better way to help people than by defending — and vocally championing — America’s unique greatness."
Mr. Baroni, the Left has already been clear that America isn’t great or unique. You keep insisting on these facts that hurt the feelings of Leftists; hurting people’s feelings is mean and racist, and an excuse to disrupt your events, attack you personally, and, should the opportunity arise, attack you physically (in the name of compassion, peace, and love, of course). Further, patriotism? That’s just code for "racism" and "kill all brown people". How dare you voice, or even hold, such horrible views, Mr. Baroni. You should clearly resign your position. You’re a bully, you’re infringing the Free Speech of the Left (and invading their safe spaces), and you should choose to remain silent (or else the Left will make you remain silent).
For the second time in your article, Mr. Baroni, you state something with which the Left can agree.
"We must never blindly worship or trust those in power. Elected officials are the People’s servants, not our masters. It is our sacred duty to watch over them … to ensure the integrity of our legal and justice systems …"
Of course, Mr. Baroni, you clearly forgot to include that we shouldn’t worship and trust those in power unless they’re Leftists, right? Just a simple oversight. (The Left will only riot a little.) President Trump[^4] (I know those two words are scary, but that’s why Leftists should always have pacifiers, stuffed animals, and calming music on hand, just in case someone with an opposing view dares to say something or some inconsistent fact somehow penetrates the Leftist bubble) should obviously be watched (really, he should be impeached, he should have been impeached before he took office, because his mere existence is an obviously impeachable offense). But, come on, Mr. Baroni, clearly Mr. Obama was worthy of admiration, trust, and, yes, worship, right? He was the god king (not in a religious way) and should have had a third term (the Constitution is outdated or living, pick whichever fits best), and also a fourth, fifth, sixth… Anyway, your use of "sacred" is offensive and wrong. Nothing is sacred, except this collection of cows, they’re sacred, worthy of worship, and not open to challenge.
Lastly, Mr. Baroni, "Honoring Law Enforcement", really? All police are racists who murder black babies on a daily basis, drink the blood of the innocent, and frame people for crimes they didn’t commit. The Left knows this because CNN told them it was true, and the Huffington Post confirmed what CNN said. If two people say it, it becomes a fact, that’s how facts work. The Left knows this because in the absence of this little trick the entirety of Leftist ‘thought’ would come crashing down, and is a world where the Left is wrong even conceivable? Of course not.
Now, Mr. Baroni, on to your apology. You took too long. Sure, you should have never said the things you said (how dare you be patriotic and speak the truth, those are both hate speech, and hate speech is obviously not covered by Free Speech… and anything the Left deems to be hate speech is, undeniably, hate speech), but once you said them you had a duty to recant immediately, issue an apology, and resign your office in shame. You managed one, maybe one and a half, out of three. This isn’t good enough, Mr. Baroni.
You said we should "never be bullied into silence", which obviously means that your hurtful, hateful words cannot be tolerated and you should resign your position in disgrace, never to speak publicly again. Only the Left is allowed to speak in public, everything else is hate speech. At least you caved in less than a month, Mr. Baroni. Next time, just don’t speak at all.
As stated, supra, the reaction to Mr. Baroni’s comments was swift. Ever the bastion of reasonable and reasoned discourse, OC Weekly immediately resorted to such measured language as calling Mr. Baroni’s column a "xenophobic" "screed". Of course, the article in question was penned by Gabriel San Ramon whose byline reads as follows:
"Gabriel San Roman is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and tallest Mexican in OC."
A quick perusal of Mr. Roman’s previous writings and his social media makes clear that he is precisely what one would think he is after reading that byline, which is to say he’s the sort person who hasn’t yet met a bad idea he wouldn’t endorse or a baseless accusation (so long as it’s aimed against the Right) he didn’t immediately believe. The fact that OC Weekly employs Mr. Roman is not surprising. After all, the paper is little more than a distasteful, classless tabloid; perhaps it’s only redeeming characteristic is that it is almost priced appropriately[^5].
Oh, but we’ve skipped the first article published by OC Weekly concerning Mr. Baroni’s article. Two days prior to Mr. Roman’s semi-intelligible ravings, the following libellous nonsense was put forward by the paper: New OC Bar Association Prez Michael Baroni Hates Immigrants, Loves Cops, is Dumb. If not for New York Times v. Sullivan, OC Weekly would undoubtedly be hearing from Mr. Baroni’s attorneys in short order.
Not satisfied with libelling Mr. Baroni, Gustavo Arellano (the ‘reporter’ for this piece, and author of the inestimable "¡Ask a Mexican!" column) attacks law enforcement in Orange County generally:
"… in a county where cops and sheriff’s deputies have made killing unarmed men and women of all races a sport for decades."
Naturally, one shouldn’t expect any respect for reality or for facts from OC Weekly, but a certain level of decency certainly wouldn’t be unwelcome. Than again, this is the Left. These are the same people who believe the best way to get your point across is to dress as genitalia, burn vehicles, and gibber at passersby.
Almost ironically, in a piece that (arguably, maybe) is intended to be pro-immigrant, Mr. Arellano next attacks Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff of the Orange County Office of the District Attorney. Notably, Mrs. Schroeder is an immigrant; she was born in Seoul, Korea. Of course, Mrs. Schroeder’s resume will quickly enlighten anyone wondering why Mr. Arellano would attack her as "only a leader of her closet, bruh" seemingly on the sole basis of Mr. Baroni praising her accomplishments: Mrs. Schroeder has the audacity to be a minority and a Republican. This is something the Left, in their limitless tolerance, cannot tolerate.
In addition to the predictable idiocy of the media, a number of organizations (not all specified in available public statements) have, apparently, threatened to discontinue their relationships with the OCBA over Mr. Baroni’s article. There is, of course, no better way to show your tolerance and appreciation for Free Speech than by calling for censorship and threatening to throw a tantrum if you do not get your way. This is the modern Left, a mindless horde of societal detritus, hypocrites, and fools.
Unfortunately, this story has an unhappy, if not unpredictable, ending: Mr. Baroni (and the OCBA) issued an apology[^6]. In the snivelling, cowardly email Mr. Baroni had sent on his behalf he managed simultaneously to embolden the Leftist totalitarians who demanded the apology and to undermine everything he said in his original article. So much for "never [being] bullied into silence", Mr. Baroni.
Not only did Mr. Baroni capitulate, surrendering, if not outright renouncing, his principles in the process, he simultaneously threw law enforcement under the bus. Certainly, Mr. Baroni sought to retain for himself a shred of credibility in carefully wording his comments on law enforcement in the apology email:
"As has the fact that I let my passion for law enforcement override common sense – I know that our law enforcement officers do the best they can, but they are not faultless in every violent encounter; yet, I chose to write differently."
However, he made clear in his apology that he has a "new mission"; a mission that can best be described as "appeasing totalitarian Leftists’ every whim if they so much as whine or make a protest sign". Notably absent are the three missions from his original article:
- Honoring Law Enforcement
- Human Trafficking
- Amicus Alo
Mr. Baroni’s resume and career are, undoubtedly, both impressive; however, this incident has scarred him. It is Mr. Baroni’s cravenness that now seems like his most salient characteristic. I invite Mr. Baroni to think about how people remember Benedict Arnold; I would propose that it is not for his years of loyal, courageous, and commendable service prior to September of 1780.
[^1]: Or maybe not, since the Left views religion as the opiate of the masses. No, wait, that was Karl Marx. Oh well, close enough.
[^2]: An oddly religious view for a staunchly Atheistic set of fools, but rational thought has never been the strong suit of the Left.
[^3]: Well, he didn’t actually state that he wants to go to war with anyone, but it seems obvious that he wants to murder everyone with dark skin. I mean, he’s a horrible racist, after all.
[^4]: Or it is "Drumpf", which is apparently insulting because … it’s okay to be racist against Germans? Something like that.
[^5]: While OC Weekly is free, it seems a fairer arrangement would be if every reader unfortunate enough to come into contact with the drivel it produces were compensated for lost time; in short, the paper should have a negative price point.
[^6]: Unfortunately, this was a modern apology, not a traditional apologia, which would have been far preferable.