Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
The Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise

I have an embarrassing admission to make.

It’s one that most people, me included, want to hide and hope no one finds out. I recently received a speeding ticket.

Besides my humiliation of being caught being less than aware of my surroundings and speed, it’s just something no one wants on their record or for possible insurance cost ramifications.

I continued to chide myself as the day went on. Then I made the mistake of turning on the news. After watching a news story about the daily antics of some in our nation’s capital, it dawned on me I could have easily directed my chiding elsewhere. Blaming others seems to be the new behavior-du jour.

If I were to take a page from the unintelligible playbook of our leaders, I could have belittled the police officer doing his job. I could have railed against police overreach and/or conspiracy. I could be the victim of a witch hunt. I could have prevaricated, yelled, played the victim and generally acted like a jerk.

After that momentary look at how I could have reacted, I decided the speeding already made me a jerk. I didn’t need to insult my own intelligence. Now, I need to pay the fine and remind myself to also pay closer attention to my surroundings, my speed and that, as much as I’d like to think so, I’m not immune to or above the law.

Segue to the shameful behavior of many of our leaders. I am terrified about what is taking place with the scorched earth policy to decimate our justice system and our heretofore belief in the rule of law. Regardless of one’s view of our current leaders, everyone should be pausing and understanding the true level of destruction taking place before our eyes.

Once trust, belief in, and adherence to rule of law is gone, we cannot get it back. Human nature makes people think they are more important than they are. None of us are immune to that momentary feeling at times.

This seems more prevalent with people who have power – whether by celebrity, money, or political power. But when a leader decides that he or she is more important than those he or she was elected to serve, we are at risk as a society and a nation.

He or she is to serve, not rule. He or she is to lead by example, not believe that each government agency is his or her personal security force, accounting firm or playground. Justice is there to protect all of us; and when necessary, it is to protect all of us from those we elect. That is what due process and rule of law is meant to do. That is what we must trust it to do, even if the outcome is painful.

I hope the majority of us know the difference between mistakes and breaking the law. They aren’t mutually exclusive, which is why we’ve been taught that ignorance (or stupidity) isn’t a defense.

I was ignorant of my surroundings at the moment I received my speeding ticket. I made a mistake and broke the law. Just saying it ain’t so doesn’t mean it ain’t so.

Jeanette Sekan is a columnist for the Cody Enterprise in Cody, Wyo. and a former resident of Ohio. The award-winning newspaper is owned by Sage Publishing Co. of Cody, Wyo. Jeanette’s columns are published in The Highland County Press, courtesy of the author and the Cody Enterprise (