Here we are, a week before celebrating our country's independence, and there are so many instances of rights-stifling around the country that my head is spinning. Voter rights, women's rights, gay rights. Are you kidding me? This is 2013, correct?
So yeah, this is a soapbox post, but it might be a bit unfocused because frankly I don't know where to start. The good news is that since I started writing this post the Supreme Court shot down DOMA and Prop 8. There's still lots of work to be done, since a majority of states still don't recognize same-sex marriage, but it's a big step.
In Texas, the state Senate attempted to vote on an anti-abortion bill. State Senator Wendy Davis filibustered for 11 hours to ensure that the vote didn't happen. In Texas the filibuster rules are crazy: the filibusterER must stand the entire time and may not sit or lean on anything, much less take a bathroom break, cannot have anything to eat or drink, and he/she must remain on topic. Now let me say that in general I'm not a fan of the filibuster because to me it's a childish attempt to waste time, but it's pretty impressive when someone is so passionate about an issue that they'll talk about it non-stop for hours on end. And I can't forget to mention a certain other state senator, a sponsor of the bill who on Monday actually said that the rape exemption is unnecessary because "in the emergency room they have what's called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out." I'm not kidding, people. She said that. More than once. And yes, I said "she." It was a WOMAN. For crying out loud, whether you're pro-choice or anti-abortion, get your damn facts straight.
Let's talk about the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It makes me sick that there even needs to BE a voting rights act, but there is. Back in the day there was a lot of racial discrimination in certain states when it came time to vote, like people having to pass a literacy test or have a character reference in order to be allowed to vote. The Voting Rights Act was put in place to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment, which gave non-whites (the men, anyway) the right to vote. Seems crazy to me to have to have an act to enforce a constitutional amendment, but what do I know? Because sure enough certain jurisdictions, mostly in the south, did everything they could to limit or block non-whites from voting.
Enter the Voting Rights Act, which said "no discriminating, assholes," and then went further to say that if your county or state practiced voter discrimination in the past, they couldn't change any voting prerequisites or practices or procedures without approval from a US three-judge panel. The general principles of the act were considered permanent, but parts of it were temporary. In 2006, George W signed a 25-year extension of the act, but then Shelby County in Alabama sued the Attorney General and wanted certain sections of the act declared unconstitutional.
Yesterday the Supreme Court struck down one section of the act. Justice Roberts said that the current system is "based on 40-year old facts having no logical relationship to the present day." I kind of get it, but can we please not pretend that racism is dead and gone? Because it's not. What I think is that the act should be expanded and NO jurisdiction should be able to willy-nilly change their voting practices. Life isn't fair, but the ability to vote damn sure should be.
You can't see me right now, but I am standing on my desk, applauding.ReplyDelete
Hey Gwen!! Don't worry about always having to have a perfect post. Just do what you did, and write what you feel. Thats why I enjoy reading your posts.ReplyDelete
Anyway, I read this similar post on Alyssa Said Hi (another great blog by the way--I jus tweeted it) so I was a little bit familiar with your post after reading hers.
I don't understand the times we live in today. Everything is so ass backwards. I understand laws, i do. But I don't agree with having 99 year old crochety geezers telling us what to do with our breasts and vaginas. (regardless of your position on the issue) It's just wrong... No! just No!
IMO, I think the younger generation (80s and 90s) are changing society. My generation (84) is one that is just more accepting of others...we are just so USED to being friends with gays and having people around us who are gay. It's just the norm. Our society is changing for the better. Regardless of your opinions on the subject, I think it is a good thing because our system is not working and hasn't been for a long time.
Great post! :)
I wanted to go to sleep around 9:30 last night, but couldn't.turn.off.twitter #standwithwendy!ReplyDelete
My internet kept bouncing me out of the live feed of the fillibuster so I was a crazy woman refreshing twitter to follow along. It was nuts - I was nuts - finally fell asleep after midnight and am paying the price here at work today.
And VRA - totally agree, Gwen!
Amen everywhere in this post.ReplyDelete
I was up until late standingwithwendy on Twitter.
Kudos to you!ReplyDelete
I truly believe that things are so crazy right now because we are on the cusp of amazing and positive change in the world. That's why the asshole loons are scrambling to beat the band to defeat us at every turn. They feel the change a comin' too.
Love this post, my friend. I had tears in my eyes over Wendy Davis this morning- amazing. It is crazy that it is 213 and equal rights are still on trial. It's ridiculous really.ReplyDelete
I am with you. it was a crazy morning. Trying to read the news in between meetings and keep up was tough. Also, you made my day today and I'm going to push through the ad once your other one expires. So excited to do a post together with you. I'll come up with something awesome.ReplyDelete
Agree, agree, agree! I went to bed so pissed at the country on Tuesday night, but woke up happy with the news of Wendy and DOMA. I'm proud to be an American, but sometimes this country blows my mind.ReplyDelete
Oh Gewn Coco, I'm a little late to your Soapbox, but I do love this post.ReplyDelete
As a nurse who has used rape kits on teenage girls, I can assure that senator there is no "cleaning out" component. Are people really that ignorant? It boggles my mind.
If you don't like abortions, don't have one. If you're opposed to gay marriage, marry someone of the opposite sex, and leave everyone else the fuck alone. Why are these simple concepts so hard for some to grasp?