This has been a light week for good reading out there, and most of my own personal reflection has been spent on the issue of displaying the Confederate Battle Flag in the aftermath of the shooting in Charleston two weeks ago. Before sharing my thoughts on that, I will take a moment to recognize today's Supreme Court decision. While I'm 100% in support of gay marriage, I was really not sold on Justice Kennedy's opinion. I'd encourage everyone to actually read the opinion and dissents (as opposed to just laughing at the quotes cherry-picked to mock the minority justices), because Roberts, especially, makes two statements I agree with:
[H]owever heartened the 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. And they lose this just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.
If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.
Marriage is a right that ought to be enjoyed by every American, and one that gay people have been entitled to for a long time. However Justice Kennedy's opinion was weak, and fails to make a convincing argument why today the court ought to impose that decision other than to right a social wrong. And while it is a wrong, and one that should be righted, that's not what the court does.
Beyond Kennedy's flowery language is a fact: that sexual orientation is and ought to be a protected class under the 14th Amendment, and as such, the court needs to act in a way that extends them the same rights under the law as all other people, including marriage. So yes, Kennedy's closing paragraph was emotional, and wonderful, and rung true in our hearts - but that's not what the court needs to do. It needs to interpret law in a sound manner. There was a way to do that and achieve the correct result, and I think Kennedy missed it.
Now, onto links (and one more rant):
You don't fly the flag of losers over the country of winners
Amen, Killer Mike. I understand the racist connotation of the Confederate Flag, but like my sentiment on the Supreme Court ruling, I think connotation and interpretation are flimsy ways to make an argument related to limiting freedom of expression. Many Southerners will always counter that implication with statements about heritage, sacrifice and other truly noble ideas that they associate with the Confederacy.
But here's the fact: the Confederacy was a rebellion against our national government. Statehood is a one-way proposition; once you're in, you're in. If states had an opt-out, we wouldn't be a country. Alabama would just leave after today's decision. There was never a Civil War, or a War of Northern Aggression, or anything else of the sort. The leadership of certain states attempted to lead a rebellion against the United States government. As it should have done, the US government put the rebellion down. It was a large rebellion, so it does and should take on higher significance than the Whiskey Rebellion or anything else, but at its core it was the same exact thing.
The Confederate flag should not fly because it is, quite literally, the most un-American thing you could possibly display. It stands for the dissolution of the government, and it undermines the Constitution that every office holder pledges to defend. If people want to fly the flag on their own property, they can and should. But on any piece of land that's paid for by taxpayers? Absolutely not under any circumstance. Take it off state flags, off state house grounds, and anywhere else. It's treasonous.
The best cliffhanger ever
And, after all that heavy duty ranting and raving: 25 years ago, the best cliffhanger in all of TV history was aired: The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1. I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with my father, and it has remained one of my all-time favorite shows. It never got better than this episode, and this fantastic oral history captures everything leading up to the moment of "Mr. Worf, fire."