- Long time readers might remember that I had a few substantial posts during the last summer Olympics. I L-O-V-E the games, and miss watching them with my mom. I love the spirit of the games, the stories, and the sportsmanship that usually dominates. Last night I was out at the Library watching Jesse play poker while I took advantage of "Margarita Monday." The games were on, and eventually a loud group came into the bar and started paying attention to the TV's like me. When Phelps won a gold medal in one race and qualified for the next round in another, they started cheering and chanting "USA." Yes, go team, indeed! When they cut back to men's gymnastics, the comments and shouts took a different turn. Suddenly I was hearing derision about the other teams. I admit that I do sometimes say "don't stick the landing" or "feel free to bobble on the dismount" when the US is neck-and-neck with another team. Last night, however, I heard racial slurs and epithets being tossed around by some of the folks in the bar. It's one thing to cheer on your own team. But to get personal and insult or attack the other competitors because of happenstance of birth? NOT OK. Friends, please don't ever let me catch you falling into this pattern, because I hate ripping into my dearest ones. But Mama Gay will do so if necessary.
- Meet California Chief Justice Ronald George. He's the one who just wrote the majority opinion that legalized same-sex marriage in the Golden State. After 34 years as a judge in California (17 of them on the high court), he's largely known as a careful jurist. He was first appointed by Ronald Reagan (uber-Republican), and another Republican (Pete Wilson) appointed him as Chief Justice in 1996. He's been highly touted for modernizing and streamlining the court system in California. He's been tough on crime, and forced prosecutors to stick to their guns in the Hillside Strangler case, resulting in a conviction and 9 counts of murder. All in all, not someone most would call "an activist judge." Until now. Now, he's likely to have to raise one metric butt-ton of money to mount a re-election campaign. And I quote:
''Absolutely, Ron George should be thrown out for voting for gay marriage,'' said Mike Spence, president of the conservative California Republican Assembly. ''He has a very radical view of what's a family.'' (from the Advocate)You disagree with his opinion, so he should be out of a job?! Why not ask the correct questions, like "Is he a bad jurist? Has he been unfair in his decisions? Are his rulings consistent with the law?" His view of "family" is NOT grounds for a smear campaign. While we're at it, why don't we talk about the fact that he did not "VOTE for gay marriage." He interpreted the laws of the State of California in regards to a case on his desk. And three other justices agreed, hence the term "majority." I am SO sick of people tossing around the term "activist judge." It was used with Roe V. Wade. It was used with Brown V. Board of Education (you know, that whole separate but equal thing). Basic logic tells us that we can't always let majority opinion dictate what is right. It's why the judicial branch provides a check to the legislative. The rights of the minority cannot be left up to majority vote. If they were, women and people of color likely wouldn't even have the right to vote against gay marriage. Wyoming would not be a state. Interracial marriage would still be illegal. How many of things do we now look back on and say "Damn they/we were so stupid and blind. How could they have thought that was right?" You don't like the law? Work to change it. It's how the human rights movements have been working for ages. Work within the system, but don't get personal with someone because they're paid to read and review the rules.
I leave you with some quotes; please note they are not from dumb people:
- In Republics, the great danger is, that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority. - James Madison
- All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression. - Thomas Jefferson
- One great object of the Constitution was to restrain majorities from oppressing minorities or encroaching upon their just rights. - James Polk
- Too many Americans don't understand the importance of minority rights and the independent judiciary. - Douglas Abrams
- The majority is always wrong; the minority is rarely right. - Henrik Ibsen
- Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual). - Ayn Rand