Roy Oppenheim's 2014 Personal Greetings to you this Thanksgiving
– Heartfelt thoughts along with a twist
This is now my eighth year that I am writing my ‘Thanksgiving Greeting’ to you. When I write this particular blog I always sit back and think about those things that I am truly thankful for each year. Obviously, there are some things that I – like you, are always thankful for and I will repeat them because they are important to me. First and foremost, I am thankful for my family and for my good health and for the fact that I have been able alongside my gracious wife Ellen to have built a law firm that is now turning 25 years old.
Ironically, even through a turbulent economy we have outlasted many of the venerable institutions that originally founded the City of Weston, FL. We too, are thankful for this and of course for our clients and friends that over the years have continued to rely upon us for sage advice.
Being thankful for the law trumping predatory lending in foreclosure lore
Moving away from the personal for a moment, I am also most thankful for being a citizen of the United States. While as many of you know I have been continually outspoken about the manner in which our judiciary system has handled the foreclosure crisis having put expediency at times over proper rules of civil procedure and just plain fairness. But like other battles that we have seen in the history of the United States, whether those battles go back over 100 years such as civil rights, women’s suffrage or more recently the rights of the gay community, we have found that over time justice typically prevails. And, thus, it is in that context that I am thankful to now see some rays of hope in connection with a new understanding and appreciation for the arguments and concerns that we have been so vocal about over the past 8 years.
We are starting to see a judicial system that is now beginning to thaw and understand that due process is ultimately more important than the outcome of any one case. It is a new appreciation for our bedrock principals that we must make sure that as a civilization that we continue to follow the rule of law not the rule of robo-signing, robo-witnesses, robo-judges and rocket dockets that are more concerned with the number of cases moved in a day, a week or month than whether or not justice properly prevailed. Of course, by no means am I suggesting that this struggle is over but what I am saying is that we are seeing tremendous progress and for that I too am truly thankful this Thanksgiving.
Thank you for the new Alcatraz
Lastly and maybe most importantly what I am thankful for is for the freedoms that we all enjoy here in the United States. By way of example, I recently had the opportunity to visit Alcatraz Island, in the Bay, right off the coast of San Francisco. Currently, there is a fascinating exhibition by an artist by the name of Ai Weiwei, a Chinese contemporary artist and civil rights dissident who was secretly detained by Chinese authorities for almost 3 months for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government. His art is a continued expression of shedding light in the most darkest corners by celebrating those dissidents from around the world who have been detained or banished for having the strength to speak up against corrupt or abusive authority. But most interestingly, as a national park and as one of the most frequented national parks in the United States one of the artist’s pieces celebrates and honors Robert Snowden. As we all know Mr. Snowden is currently a fugitive of justice for having leaked and exposed violations of privacy rights by our own NSA.
So, thus we have a Chinese civil rights activitist celebrating the work of an American who is currently an outlaw; yet, the celebration is occurring on federally owned land controlled by the very government that wants to arrest him.
For this kind of oxymoron or contradiction, I say Thank You this Thanksgiving for I know – nowhere else in the world would this ever happen.
All the best to you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving. G-d Bless you and America.
From the Trenches,