“Indeed, however heartened proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause,” Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent.
Wow – just think of all the opportunities we fans of civil rights have lost!
Lawrence v. Texas denied gays and lesbians the opportunity to persuade their fellow citizens that it was OK for them to have sex in the privacy of their own homes. Dang – that would have been both fun and enlightening!
Romer v. Evans denied gays and lesbians the opportunity to persuade their fellow citizens to let them have the right to persuade their fellow citizens.
Brown v. Board denied African-Americans the opportunity to persuade their fellow citizen that they were fellow citizens.
Olmstead v. L.C. denied people with disabilities the opportunity to persuade their fellow citizens that they should be allowed to live in the community.
City of Cleburne denied people with disabilities the opportunity to persuade their fellow citizens that the Constitution protected them in the first place.
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan denied the press the opportunity to persuade their fellow citizens of their freedom of speech.
Estelle v. Gamble denied prisoners the opportunity to persuade their fellow citizens that they were entitled to some small modicum of medical care.
And so on. You get the idea.
Dear Chief Justice Roberts:* “RIGHTS” —
* Wow. That scans just like “Dread Pirate Roberts.”
The US is an amazing country. I love being an American for the reasons I toss out here and many more.
The primary reason the US is an amazing country is that we have written into our constitution and laws — and our deepest sense of who we are — the ability to continue to make this a better country. The things that make us great scientists, entrepreneurs, innovators, dreamers, and kickstarters make us a great country: we are constantly trying to figure out better ways to organize and govern ourselves.
And along the way, we are completely free to tell one another — and the government — how completely wrongheaded everyone else’s ideas are.
Our history is just as full of triumphs, failures, good, evil, brilliance, stupidity, compassionate people, and flaming assholes as you’d expect when a group of humans gets together to try to accomplish something. The same people who wrote the Declaration owned slaves. While we were being a beacon to a world of refugees and immigrants, we were discriminating against them in housing and employment. And our European foreparents — along with the rest of the white First World — did deplorable things to the people who were already in the countries we decided to make our own a couple hundred years ago.
But one of the things I love the most is that we can say these things. We can point out that the Constitution itself was flawed from the start and that we had to fight a war to fix that. And that we are continuing to try — in fits and starts — to be fairer to all Americans.
The statement “America is the greatest country” and other forms of American exceptionalism don’t make any sense to me. It’s the greatest country for me and evidently for millions of others who both live here and want to live here. But for us to tell a world full of people that it’s a greater country than their respective countries seems like a fairly incoherent overgeneralization.
Same with knee-jerk American denigration. What are you denigrating? Our government? Which part? The part of the DOJ that’s justifying solitary confinement? Or the part that’s figuring out how to ensure that we can all vote, marry, shop, and hold jobs without discrimination? Republicans? Democrats? Us? Me?
Ultimately, as Dr. King said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” When I’m disappointed in a Supreme Court decision — as I have been fairly often recently — I remember that it took us 58 years to go from Plessy v. Ferguson to Brown v. Board of Education but only 17 years to go from Bowers v. Hardwick to Lawrence v. Texas, and just another ten to United States v. Windsor. For every
or even more important
showing that Americans and our sense of humor will always prevail.
So Happy Random Patriotic Rambling Day from ThoughtSnax!