Three very different perspectives on Guardianship
There is a fable about six blind men describing an elephant.
Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”
They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Every one of them touched the elephant.
“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.
“Oh, no! it is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.
“Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.
“It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features what you all said.”
“Oh!” everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.
The moral of the story is that there may be some truth to what someone says. Sometimes we can see that truth and sometimes not because they may have different perspective which we may not agree too. So, rather than arguing like the blind men, we should say, “Maybe you have your reasons.” This way we don’t get in arguments. Truth can be stated in seven different ways.
Each of us determines truth through the prism of our personal experience. Each of the following presentations describe “the truth” from the perspective of the presenter.
In this presentation a guardianship attorney discusses what he believes is the truth about guardianship. It sounds fairly benign and in a perfect world guardianship would be, as the statute demands, exactly the way this attorney describes it. This perspective is from that of an individual who profits greatly from the system and seems to actually believe that the system works precisely the way it is supposed to.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHXDJ8oco78 Jay A. McClendon Lake Wales Florida, Estate Lawyer
In this next presentation prepared by a professional Guardian, the truth appears to be a threat to her profession posed by legislation, which we supported, that we believe would add and transparency and fairness to the system and decrease the cronyism in probate court, but that she perceives is something that should be fought and not allowed to take place.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIRFwaG–KQ Ilene Rausch, Guardian
In the next presentation that I recorded in early 2015, I present my version of the truth. I discuss the facts as each of us in our movement have witnessed. Instead of the idealized system described by Mr. McClendon, I present the issues from the point of view of someone experienced in guardianship abuse. Instead of looking at legitimate reform of the system as something that needs to be stopped, I present my belief that change is desperately needed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSOioV0TSes Dr. Sam J Sugar, MD, Founder, AAAPG
All three presentations represent the opinions of individuals. Each of these individuals is presumably authoritative and believable. Each of the presenters comes to their beliefs with their own personal bias.
What differentiates the first two presentations from the third is profit motive. The guardianship attorney and the Guardian profit greatly from the systems that they described and wish to defend. In representing victims and the system, I make the case for change. Not only do I not profit in any way from this change, my activities and yours as advocates for change, come at a tremendous cost, personally, emotionally, professionally and financially.
It is critical that we press our case for truth in guardianship reform in public and in the press. It’s all too easy to see how an uninformed or biased individual could believe either of the first to presenters, especially since guardians and lawyers are supposed to be protectors of the vulnerable.
Our voices can and must be heard and change must come. Our tremendous success in the Florida legislature where all 140 members agreed with our position and not the positions of the first to presenters is the strongest evidence that our sincere words and actions can make a difference and must be heard throughout the country through our own voices and the media.
Dr. Sam Sugar
May 4, 2015