I was sitting in the Nassau Department of Motor Vehicles' traffic court this morning, and realized (yet again) how cynical we all are, and how easily we ignore the evidence of the hypocrisy and capricious nature of what we call "justice".

The way the traffic court is organized is that all those who wish to plead their case must first speak with a clerk, who performs a preliminary assessment of the charges, and then see the Judge.

I sat near the front, so I could hear the various accused conferring with the clerk. It sounded like a day at the flea market. The clerk would say something like, "You have a speeding and illegal lane change, that's 4 points and $250. We can change speeding to tailgating on the first charge, so no points, and we'll make the second one a bad headlight, for a total fine of $175, but no points." In most cases the people accepted the bargain, happy that they got off with no (or sometimes fewer) points. The County is happy because they still get the dough, which is half the reason they give out tickets in the first place.

When it was my turn, I also accepted my plea bargain, feeling a little ashamed at my feckless performance. I had originally gone to court to fight the ticket, sure in my innocence, but caved when I realized the court could give a shit. As long as they got my money, they couldn’t care less what was on the ticket, as long as I paid all the fines and fees. They offer a quick compromise without even hearing your side, just to shut you up and get you to accept the fine and not fight it.

I left thinking about my own complicity with the grinding ennui, apathy, and hypocrisy that is slowly destroying our society.