Announcer: Welcome to GAL Radio brought to you by The Greatest American Lawyer blog, changing the way law is practiced through technology, innovation and creativity. Turning the business of law on its head and shaking things up to the betterment of clients, lawyers, law firms and society. Now, here is your host, Steve Quick.
Steve Quick: This is Steve Quick. Welcome to GAL Radio. Today, we’ll continue our conversation with Dean Robb, subject of a new book called, “Dean Robb: An Unlikely Radical.” What effect does racism play in fueling the anger that’s going on today against the progressive movement in America?
Dean Robb: I think it’s underlying, and I’m sorry to say, I think the bitterness and the wanting Obama to fail, the way they attack him for the efforts to get a healthcare bill passed. Actually, Obama’s done probably made more changes in one two-year period than any president in history except maybe Roosevelt, and yet, he’s being treated like he’s some crazy man. I don’t know what to say about that exactly. What’s happened is that corporate money and greed has taken over and these noisy Tea Party people, I don’t know what to think about them. I think some of the noisiest ones are racist. I think some of them are just, maybe. I don’t know where they get that way because they’re just out of touch because the rest of the world doesn’t see this the way they’re seeing it. The other countries have health care systems, the other countries that we admire like England and Denmark and Sweden and Germany and France and Spain, Italy. We’re not a leader anymore. We’re fast becoming a third world nation if we don’t stop it. Wasting our money on war and trying to rule the world, I don’t know where we got that way, we shouldn’t be that way. That’ll bring me to Mark Twain in a hurry, won’t it?
Steve Quick: [laughs] Yeah, it will. And we’re going to get there. You’ve been active in the progressive party, do you think it’s possible to affect change within the major parties and how elections are financed.
Dean Robb: It doesn’t seem like it when they made this ruling that corporations are like people and they can spend any amount of money they want , you know, our democracy is up for sale now. If you have enough money, you can elect any dog to a dog catcher job, almost. I mean, I don’t believe that was a good expression, but look at the guy who won in Florida (millionaire), look at the guy who won in Michigan, Snyder, I don’t know, he may be a good man but he had so much money that he overwhelmed the others in the primary. Actually, you know, there is just example after example. California, some of those races out there cost $100’s of millions of dollars. Now, what that does is just rule out the poor people and we’re out of the loop.
Steve Quick: You do a fair amount of mentoring of young lawyers, can you tell us about that?
Dean Robb: Yeah, that’s one of the joys of being an older lawyer. I think, is that the younger lawyers need help, they need encouragement. I think the main thing that I try to do when I get that opportunity is to help them overcome fear. Fear is our big disabling feature for all us of, we want to stay in our comfort zone, and yet to be a good lawyer, you have to get out of your comfort zone. You have to do things and say things and work on things that you don’t initially think that that’s your cup of tea. So, my mentoring is that’s the first thing I try to do is to help them deal with this issue of fear. Second thing is to urge them to get out of their comfort zone once in a while. Say yes, instead of no. Take chances. Question authority. Go after every opportunity you have to take a matter, even though it’s not something you’re comfortable with initially, if someone asks you for help, try to help them. And that’s my main message.
Steve Quick: How can lawyers impact society and help to drive social change?
Dean Robb: Well, we’re sort of the architects of freedom in many respects in terms of trying to keep this a country of rule of law so that we can business deals that are enforced with each other. We’re out of the cage, so we have to act like it. I’m very crazy about the profession overall. I mean, there are some scoundrels in every profession but we do the hard dirty work of keeping the system working. We represent all kinds of people, we do things that are out of comfort zone and I think that is helpful.
Steve Quick: The book that we’re talking about in addition to the stories you’re telling us, it starts with the beginning of your life and it ends at the time you decided to move north, which is almost 40 years ago?
Dean Robb: Yes, 71. It’ll be 40 years real soon.
Steve Quick: Well, that’s quite a long time after the end of the book. Is there another book coming?
Dean Robb: Yeah, we think so. We’re starting it, I hope, in January. Cindy, my wife, is going to try to do the first draft, do what Matt did and then Matt will add his writing skills and help her. She’s a good writer too, so hopefully in four or five more months, we’ll have the Old Testament replaced by the New Testament, that’s what we jokingly refer the first book. We call the first book “Unlikely Radical.” I think the next one will be “Dare to be Radical” and we’ll tell about the …I’ve had a tremendously interesting life since 71’ until now, with all kinds of cases and I think, I don’t suppose you would want to go into that now.
Steve Quick: Not yet, I’d really love to see the book. I really, really enjoyed reading the Dean Robb: An Unlikely Radical and one of the things that I have since found out is that you have portrayed Mark Twain in one man shows for over 20 years. Are there any words of wisdom from Twain that you could leave us with today?
Dean Robb: Well, I guess my favorite little short thing that, it’s credited Mark Twain said, it’s about war. And I can do that for you right now if you want it.
Steve Quick: Sure.
Dean Robb: Man is the only animal that engages in the atrocity of war. He’s the only one that goes forth to exterminate his own kind. He has a motto for this. Our country, right or wrong! Any man who fails to shout is a traitor. Though, maybe the others are the real patriots. Say, who is the country? Is it the government? No! Not in a republic! A government’s duty is to obey orders not originate them. A man should not follow his country’s orders when they’re wrong or else he’s sold his honor for a phrase but if he needs help, he’s got another phrase. Even though the war be wrong, we’re in it. We must fight it out. We cannot retire without dishonor. Well, not even a thief could say that any better. You must remember that man is the only animal that blushes or needs to. Mark Twain
That’s one of my favorite Mark Twains’. One thing he does…he talks about us as being another one of the animals in the human species and he compares man and some of our frailties to the other animals because, in some ways, it can be good humor and it also makes you think. And I think that’s what Twain did. He had this common touch that he could take the simplest little thing and make it into something big. One of my favorite one liners with Twain is…and this something you can all use.
A lie can halfway circle the globe before the truth can get its boots on. Mark Twain
That’s the power of the lie. And he talks a lot in humorous sketches about the danger of lying when you’re young because…it takes a lot of experience to do it successfully. On and on. But I’ve had a lot of fun. It’s fun to be someone else because I don’t have to take responsibility for what I’ve said, I can blame it on Mark Twain or Sam Clemens.
Steve Quick: Well, and I imagine that he would have had a few things to say about the scoundrels that are out there today.
Dean Robb: [laughs] Oh, yes. I sure do. This hatred of government all of a sudden. Why wouldn’t we hate government, we give government all of the losers. We give them schools, we give them the police, we give them the fire department, we give them the roads, we give him all the losers (money-wise), and we give to the companies and the corporations, we give them utilities (no risk), we give them all these war contracts, we give them the energy , but mainly, we give them the banks and insurance companies. These banks and insurance companies should be nationalized. They should not be able to hold their hands around our throats like they’re doing now. Small businesses can’t get loans because these damn banks won’t loan them any money even though their CEO’s are making millions of dollars. So, we need to wake up and find out who are enemies are and speak out. Dare to be radical, I would say.
Steve Quick: Words of wisdom, if I’ve ever heard them.
Dean Robb: Well, thank you.
Steve Quick: The name of the book is Dean Robb: An Unlikely Radical and I’d really like to thank you for joining us here today.
Dean Robb: You can get this book online at lostprairiepress.com. That was the name of my country’s school. We self-published the book and it sells online for $24.95. I’d sure like for you to buy because we want to get onto the second one.
Steve Quick: I’ve read it and it’s a terrific book and it speaks to your involvement in some of the great issues of the day since the war and right up into 1970 and I’m eager to see what the next one is going to bring as well.
Dean Robb: Well, you’re very kind, Steve. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to talk about the book and talk about my life. It’s been fun.
Steve Quick: Thank you so much for joining us.
Dean Robb: Bye.
Steve Quick: Bye-bye, now.
Steve Quick: Thank you for listening to our three part conversation with Dean Robb, subject of the book, Dean Robb: An Unlikely Radical. My name is Steve Quick for GAL Radio, have a good day.
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