In the film “The Verdict” there’s a touching summation given to a jury by Paul Newman, in defense of a comatose woman who’s been left that way through a hospital’s malpractice.

For me, it’s the most remarkable speech in film history — and in a real way that hospitalized person can be viewed as a symbol for our society today, with reflection in all of our damaged issues: from guns, to reproductive rights, to poverty — just about everything.

“Well … You know, so much of the time we’re just lost. We say, ‘Please, God, tell us what is right. Tell us what is true.’

I mean there is no justice. The rich win; the poor are powerless. We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time we become dead. We think of ourselves as victims — and we become victims. We become weak; we doubt ourselves; we doubt our beliefs; we doubt our institutions and we doubt the law.

But today you are the law. You … are the law, not some book, not the lawyers, not the trappings of the court. See, those are just symbols of our desire to be just. They are, in fact, a prayer. I mean, a fervent and a frightened prayer.

In my religion, they say, ‘Act as if you have faith, and faith will be given to you.’

If we are to have faith in justice we need only to believe in ourselves and act with justice. I believe there is justice in our hearts.”

Paul Baribault, Lewiston

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.