Paris Hilton and the Rule of Law

The unlikely focus of the most recent debate on the rule of law in America is the socialite cum media personality, Paris Hilton. The winsome Ms. Hilton was supposed to have begun serving a 23-day prison sentence (reduced from the original 45-days) for having violated U.S. laws on driving with a suspended license, the result of one too many DUI apprehensions. After serving five days in her own special cell isolated from the main prison population, she was released for a vague medical reason and was supposed to be held under house arrest for the duration of her sentence, wearing a leg tracking device so her whereabouts could be determined at all times. But she was immediately brought back to jail, bawling for the paparazzi, apparently due to the public outcry against the preferential treatment accorded the tearful Ms. Hilton.

One of the most cherished American myths is that no one is above the law. While it is not a crime to be blond, wealthy and ditzy, one certainly needs to conform to certain standards of acceptable conduct while traversing the nation’s roads and by-ways. Even Paris Hilton. And so the youth of America have been given a civic lesson on the rule of law courtesy of Ms. Hilton. While bordering on farce, the saga of her in and then out then in again incarceration should serve as an object lesson to many. Wealth, power and influence have obvious advantages and can smooth things out most of the time. But not all of the time, specially when one begins to flaunt it in a careless and even dangerous manner.

For all her present misery, this might be the best thing that ever happened to Ms. Hilton. She might learn a thing or two about the American legal system while doing time. And while this experience may not necessarily make her a better person, she will certainly not take societal rules as lightly as she used to. Her time in jail is good for her and good for America, who will later again embrace a duly repentant Paris, an American tale of fall and redemption on a trivial scale.

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