On the eve of a rather delightful 4th of July, in which I spent a full day with my family bowing to the altars of consumerism and sanitized history in the form of a day-trip to LEGOland California, I wish to extend a thought for the freedoms we have currently won in this state and this country – same sex marriage is now legal in the state of California, hopefully for good barring any underhanded tricks, and it is now worthy of recognition by the Federal Government as taxable in the way that opposite sex marriage is. A step in the right direction, to be sure, and congratulations to all of my friends who can now experience the same social norms as well as the same yearly headaches and anxieties as my family.
On the other hand, I would be remiss to not point out the freedoms we’ve lost in the states of Ohio, and North Carolina in the form of a woman’s rights over her own body. Legislation was passed that, while specifically discussing budgets and Sharia law, defunds Planned Parenthood and effectively makes it impossible for various other abortion clinics to operate because of arcane and labyrinthine rules. Not to mention the invasive procedures and outright lies doctors are now forced to ply the unfortunate women in these states with as a part of pregnancy visits, which are difficult enough as it is. Fie on you, state Republicans – you are a pox on our government. The sooner you are voted out, but the exercise of our freedom to vote, the better.
Speaking of voting, the Voting Rights Act was recently severely damaged by the Supreme Court in a furious twist of irony by pointing out that we don’t need it any longer because minority voters were not being disenfranchised – ignoring the fact minority voters were not being disenfranchised because we had it. (Also ignoring the fact that they DID have to use it 73 times in the past few years.) Within two hours, one state that was denied the right to disenfranchise minority voters due to the Voting Rights act, quickly acted to, yes, disenfranchise minority voters. Along with Citizens United, this stands as the worst decision this Court has made in decades, and it’s just a shame that Ginsburg, Sotomeyer, Breyer, and Kagan will have to be associated with this farce of a Supreme Court at all.
And finally, a big shout out to Wendy Davis, the Texas congressperson who effectively killed yet another restrictive and damaging bill by physically standing in her pink sneakers and successfully filibustered a Rick Perry-led anti-abortion bill that would have closed down all but around 5 clinics in the entire state of Texas. Of course, since she used her freedom to filibuster, and she’s a woman, she was called all sorts of names and I’ve heard it expressed that she never should have been allowed to filibuster at all – even though she did everything to the letter of the Senate Rules.
So, remember and reflect this weekend on the the flag you flew and the fireworks you watched – those actually mean something. They aren’t just excuses to sit at the beach or drink beer or eat bar-b-q. They’re symbols of the fight over 200 years ago that allowed us to create these freedoms that we are allowing various people to take from us through terrible laws, horrible decisions, and the guise of religion. America is better than that. Let’s start acting like it.