Last week was full of one landmark news story after another. We had all the decisions handed down by the Supremes and we had several landmark events which seemed to suggest that America is trying to travel in two directions on the space/time continuum at the same time. (Isn’t this against the rules of physics?)
The verdict of the court on the Voting Act of 1964, which was just renewed in 2006, pretty much gave Republicans the Supreme Court’s permission to make up any voting suppression law in any venue in any state and to begin immediately. Take one giant step backwards.
Another decision by the Supremes declared DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional and overturned Proposition 8 in California. Both decisions gave LGBT Americans the right to marry, to enjoy the federal benefits that belong to married couples, and, in a way, made LGBT marriage a federal matter, as opposed to a state matter. This is a victory for human rights. Take one giant step forward.
We watched Senator Wendy Davis filibuster the Texas legislature as it tried to pass a bill that would cut abortion clinics to just five in all of Texas. She won and galvanized a nation, but next week all her good work will probably be undone. Take another giant step backwards (at least for some of us). Our spirits, however, took a giant leap in an upward direction. Fight, fight, fight!
We also watched two examples of the use of the “N” word and the ensuing discussion about racism in America, which is obviously alive and well. One example involved Food Channel star (ex-star) Paula Deen (whose graphic description of the plantation wedding she wanted to stage was much more disturbing to me than her use of an unacceptable word 27 years ago). The other involved the teen-aged witness in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case who had been on the phone with Trayvon just before he lost his life.. In fact, the overwhelming whiteness of the court in which Ms. Jeantel was questioned was unsettling and the level of cultural misunderstanding was large and obvious to many viewers. The lawyers tried to paint Rachel Jeantel as prejudiced against white people, but she saw her behavior and the use of the word “cracker” as normal. She also used the “N” word, as it is used in hip hop music, as another term Trayvon used when talking about George Zimmerman, but she did not see this as racist either. She did see the fact that George Zimmerman followed Trayvon and assumed he was guilty of something as motivated by racism. This gives us one use of the “N” word by a Caucasian and one by a Haitian-American. There was a Special program on this topic on CNN on Monday evening, July 1, 2013 at 7 pm. Is this issue of racism another giant step backwards, or just sideways? We have such a complex and twisted history on this issue of racism.
So, we move forward with human rights for LGBT Americans and we move backwards on all of the human rights so carefully won in the 60’s and 70’s. Isn’t there a famous saying, “one step forward, two steps back”. Hard to make any progress that way! A nation could be ripped in two trying to move in two directions simultaneously. There is only one way we can get all of our ducks back in a row and marching in a Forward. direction.
Elect Democrats in 2014.
This is the view form the cheap seats.