You use that term loosely and dangerously, Mr. Frist

Bill Frist in his Faux News interview made clear “unelected activist judges are tearing down state laws” around the country.  Let us clarify for the sake of argument precisely what kind of justices sit on the SCOTUS bench: unelected judges.

Given that, does Frist think the same of the SCOTUS when considering they overturned anti-miscegenation laws?  And what about when they invalidated racial segregation in schools and paved the way for ending de jure segregation in all other areas?  And when they advanced the doctrine of implied powers, or a loose construction of the Constitution, by granting Congress more authority than is explicitly stated?  And when the court guaranteed a defendant’s right to legal counsel even if it came at a cost to the states or the government?  And what of the time when the SCOTUS announced debate on public issues would be negatively impacted if public officials could sue the press for inaccuracies that were made by mistake, a decision which strengthened the media’s First Amendment protections?  And when they ensured we must all be made aware of our rights when being arrested or detained in the case of Miranda v. Arizona (hence the name “Miranda Rights”)?  And abortion?  And now gay marriage?

Do Frist’s words infer only the SCOTUS is afforded judicial respect in situations where courts topple long-standing prejudicial legislation?  Such a declaration, of course, would insult the Constitution which empowered the courts to make such determinations.  I suspect this was not Dr. Idiot’s point.

I do believe he meant this: When social progress demands action and the gift of history shines favorably upon the change, we do not look at the SCOTUS as a horde of “unelected activist judges” arbitrarily dismantling pillars of society like the prohibition of interracial marriage or the state-forced separation of races for the purpose of education, mass transit, and other facilities.  On the contrary, those circumstances demand reverence and respect.  The beliefs inherent in these cases had far-reaching implications for the advancement of humanity.  We dare not question them since they represent who we are as a people.  Doing otherwise would certainly be seen as racist, bigoted, and intolerant.  Lacking such apparent clarity on the worth of these decisions, on the other hand, surely must mean the judges are activists and their decisions unworthy of respect or contemplation.

Supportive of the conservative agenda against all who are different or who disagree, this aspect of judicial history in fact bolsters the general Republican mentality: subjugate all but the ruling class.  Partisan semantics become less sure when history does not provide clear guidance.  Thus is the case with gay marriage and flag burning, not to mention abortion.

One might argue the Constitution demands equal protection under the law, and one would be right in such a debate; yet, too much comfort is found in turning that idea on its head when it comes to homosexuals, free speech, or a woman’s body.  Reprehensible and disconcerting are the words most appropriate for such considerations.  Too many people impose their own strict moral code on others with little regard for what is right and humane, otherwise known as what is constitutional.  Law and judgment must always err on the side of liberty and equality lest we forsake all that makes the idea of America so great.

Despite mounting and irrefutable evidence showing sexuality is an aspect of our genetic self, many can not come to terms with that truth and will instead deny it and make every effort to ensure such people are treated as less than human.  It is the Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.  In this case, the gold is political power and control over our government.  But in acting so contrary to American ideals in support of segregation, dehumanization, and inequality, humankind uses the law to force bigotry on our citizens.  We simply find it more pleasant to buttress such outdated and offensive ideals with the “But it’s the law!” excuse.  It no longer matters why we believe what we believe; if the law says so, it absolutely must be that way.  How many forgot precisely why they didn’t like interracial marriage when they could easily rest such laurels on arbitrary legislation that demanded compliance?  Why bother to explain or even face our own prejudices and intolerance when we can just as easily say we do not think something is right because the law says it is so?

With abortion, we consider the history as yet still unwritten.  We can therefore argue one side or the other in hopes of forcing our beliefs on the masses.  To wit, “we” think women should be able to vote, to hold a job, to compete with men, to be eligible for almost every opportunity afforded the opposite sex (sans combat and other ancient stupidities), to drive, to own property, and the list goes on, yet “we” do not deem them capable of making sound decisions in cases of health and their own bodies.  That is, after all, the crux of the abortion debate.  Whether you agree with it or not, should we not leave the choice up to the women involved in each case rather than dictating to them precisely what medical care they can and can’t receive?  Too many would disagree with that sentiment, I’m afraid, as is evidenced by the renewed war against birth control and abortion.  Irrespective of your beliefs, however, the issue is clear: can women make their own decisions?  That is the only question to be answered.  Conservatives seem to believe they can not and require oversight and regulation in this regard.

Free speech and expression are constitutional guarantees.  Should one deign to actually read the Constitution and its amendments, one could easily understand the explicit and implicit liberties it affords us.  The First Amendment — Americans need to understand it’s the first for a reason — unambiguously declares “Congress [and the states via the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause] shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  In one sentence our founding fathers graced us with many of our most beloved and critical freedoms.  Too many efforts now are being made by too many governments within our nation to abridge our right to express ourselves.  As is the case with abortion, I do not like the idea of burning the American flag.  To me, that simple piece of cloth lives as a representation of this country’s guiding principles and long-lasting dedication to freedom, traits lost in recent years succumbing to the tyranny of FUD.  Regardless of being horrified by the burning of our flag, I must always seek refuge in the free exchange of ideas and opinions.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but that includes burning our flag — or anyone else’s.

Frist and his conservative cronies dedicate themselves to stopping social progress by way of legislating morality.  The dictates of reason and equality have been lost.  In the process, it has also become acceptable to attack the courts for performing the very functions with which they are constitutionally tasked.  Unless Bill intends to challenge the SCOTUS, a group of unelected judges who historically have torn down a great many state and national laws in the name of upholding our cherished value of equality, he plays himself the fool by engaging in such reckless folly.  Of course, given he insulted the SCOTUS Justices and a good portion of America’s social progress by his statement and is obviously dedicated to the subjugation of minorities in the name of the Christian majority, this comes as no surprise.

Random Thought

According to the theologians, God prepared this globe expressly for the habitation of his loved children, and yet he filled the forests with ferocious beasts; placed serpents in every path; stuffed the world with earthquakes, and adorned its surface with mountains of flame. Notwithstanding all this, we are told that the world is perfect; that it was created by a perfect being, and is therefore necessarily perfect. The next moment, these same persons will tell us that the world was cursed; covered with brambles, thistles and thorns, and that man was doomed to disease and death, simply because our poor, dear mother ate an apple contrary to the command of an arbitrary God.

— Robert G. Ingersoll

I will survive

This is so entirely irreverent.  I’m going to hell, huh?  I’ll let you know if that ever worries me.

Well, go on and watch it.  You know you want to, and you sure as hell won’t regret it.

[via GrrlScientist]

Gosh, I’m so overwhelmingly happy to see you

My desk is surrounded by windows and a set of patio doors.  When sitting here I hear almost everything happening outside.  It was only a few moments ago that perusal of my news reader was interrupted by the cacophony of mockingbird war cries.  Experience has taught me to recognize that sound.  It means there’s a cat nearby.  While the birds have extensive verbal repertoires, listening closely to them as often as I am around them allows me to form a robust understanding of what they’re doing based on how they sound.  The “there’s a fuckin’ cat in the neighborhood” call is unmistakable.

I rose from my chair with deliberate alacrity driven by no other thought than to go outside.  Only my sunglasses were taken.

With eyes cloaked and shaded, I stepped through the door and began scanning the immediate area so as to identify the mockingbirds in question.  That would tell me where to look for the cat.  As my eyes consumed everything around me and I simultaneously walked toward the other end of the patio, the flash of something light moving about under the bushes caught my attention.  It was Chira.

The oppressive weight of my worry for him immediately lifted.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I took in the full view of him there just beyond the fence, the white mixed with grey tabby sitting and intently watching me.  I was so happy to see him.

Immediately I grabbed the food bowl, kneeling down near him and placing a handful of nourishment outside the fence.  He stepped forward and rubbed his nose against my hand for just a brief moment, a glancing blow if you will, and then he stepped backward with a bit of concern showing on his face.  He’s not forgotten me by any stretch of the imagination, yet there is a new fear within him.

No matter.  I placed a small pile of food where he could easily get to it, then I retreated a step or two so that he might have room.  His approach was immediate and his hunger real.  I spoke to him continuously.

He was a bit thin.  Not emaciated, you see, but thinner than he was just before he disappeared almost three weeks ago.  The wounds on his nose were also worse.  The major scabs I’d noted before were continuing to heal, yes, but there were new scrapes and bruises surrounding them.

Despite his somewhat worse appearance, he was otherwise in good health and ate some of the cat food.  I do wish he’d eaten more.

He was weary of me without significant fear.  That I was happy to see.  He ate several bites of the food before slowly retreating, a movement I woefully beheld.  There is a snapped photo of him in my camera that I grabbed without preparation mostly for the sake of posterity, but it was an overhead shot and not particularly worth mention.

I am so glad to see he’s still alive, and I do so hope that he starts visiting me again.  I fear I may have lost a good portion of the progress I’d already made in taming him, but I’ll happily start working on it again if he stays around.  I’ll also admit this boosted my spirits a great deal.  For reasons I’m not quite sure of, I’ve been a bit down lately and suffered a great deal of anxiety with regards to Chira.  I am undeniably better for having seen him.

Now I shall retreat to a bit of family-and-fur time with The Kids.  I will identify some form of sustenance for dinner, I shall find some movie to watch in order to lose myself, and I will consume one or two beers (or 10 or 12 😉 ).  It’s the perfect time for mindless escape.

Gosh, I wish I could stress how happy I am to see Chira alive and at least in moderately good health.

As a side note, and speaking of movies, I watched Aeon Flux a bit earlier and was pleasantly surprised.  I have always loved the cartoon from MTV.  It is one of the few animated shows I like.  The movie was interesting.  No one in their right mind can claim it is prolific in any way, but it was a compelling idea even if the film was pedantically predictable.  Shortcomings aside, it certainly lived up to my expectations.  As far as I’m concerned, the premise and entertainment are intact.  It certainly failed to ruin my enjoyment of the brutally exacting animated series.