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Tag Archives: Supreme Court

A Delicate Balance

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As long as the world exists there will be cause for concern. There will always be people treating each other badly, leaders using extraordinarily poor judgment, and exasperating public sentiment. It is tempting to become mired in the infuriating or insipid. But it is not advisable. Most people, unless they fall into the sociopathic spectrum, care about the world around them. Some of us are more inclined to empathize with the natural world; some consider human rights their bailiwick. There are others who are more meta in their concerns and look at the world as a whole and think; OMG! Whether you choose from column A, B, C or make your own hodgepodge, it’s crucial to keep perspective.

There are people who dedicate their entire lives to affecting change. Their work, lifestyle and every waking moment are spent trying to eradicate something. Most of us however are not chaining ourselves to trees or sleeping outside of the Supreme Court. We do what we do; write checks, canvass voters, write elected officials, participate in protests, adopt strays; and hope it makes a tiny difference. We talk about what’s important to us in the hopes of raising consciousness (and with the fear that silence=complicity.) We teach our children about our politics and social values in the hope that they will be engaged and do good work. But just a small step beyond this lays the tricky territory. Thanks in no small part to our 24-hour news cycle & group think of social media, we can easily become mired.

We know this is more likely to happen during any type of disaster (“disaster” for our purposes is defined as anything that is named and given a news show graphic.) Rarely is there any “news” after a disaster, but the coverage churns on. When the last of the confetti has been swept, the media rolls out the “how to talk to your kids about (insert disaster moniker)” “Experts” tell us how to speak to children of every age (hint: make it age-appropriate.) Nobody ever seems to question how a child would know of this disaster. Unless the child is directly affected by it, why is anyone exposing them to the incident? We run the risk of having our child think of the world as a frightening unpredictable place. There’s no reason for them to know that just yet. Let them wait until they’re big and strong and feel less vulnerable.

Disasters aside, dismal things are always happening and as adults we must find our way. We must walk away from the chatter and toward meaningful conversation. We need to know our limits and put down the paper or remote. We need to decide how much is too much and find our balance of engagement. Life is more multidimensional than simply repairing the world. Life includes relationships, celebrations, and pleasure. It doesn’t help anyone or anything to compromise these gifts of life. What point is there in repairing a world in which there’s no joy?

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in Well-Being

 

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Outing DOMA

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Everything I know about the law I’ve gleaned from a handful of undergraduate classes, To Kill A Mockingbird, In Cold Blood & every version (including the British) of Law & Order. In other words; I know very very little. But why should that get in the way? As the Supreme Court is considering equal marriage it occurs to me to question why? Why are we pinning our hopes on the Supremes?

The Supreme Court is rarely at the forefront (or even midway) in changing our nation’s narrative. There are few decisions (that come to mind) made that the populace had not already thoroughly considered. So why then is it the Supreme Court we look to to settle this matter once and for all? What would happen if the body that decided (in 1996) that marriage was only legal for couples of opposite genders did a do-over? Before the signing (by President Clinton) and the passing of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) there were no gender specifications in regards to legal marriage.

What would prevent President Clinton from launching an enormous mea culpa campaign? He is an incredibly influential man who no doubt has favors to call in. What would prevent him from lobbying congresspeople and senators to overturn what he created? The benefits of clearing his conscience notwithstanding, it would be an efficient method of eradicating the illegality of equal marriage.

Would the Supreme Court (or any court) even need to be examining the legality of any marriage had DOMA not been signed into law? Does anyone want to put their basic civil liberties in the hands of nine appointed people? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for elected officials to make those decisions for their constituents? If the polls are even remotely accurate it would seem that the majority of Americans support equal marriage. The (seemingly) vocal minority is similar to most vocal minorities who value their personal beliefs/views more than the public good. It is in the best interest of the public to have the people we’ve elected represent us.

“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Cultural Critique

 

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