All Sorts of Politics

I’m not normally very political on my blog, so please try to bear with me.

For those of you unaware, madness descended on the Texas capitol building yesterday as a special session of the Texas legislature voted on SB5. This abortion bill would have completely changed the way the state of Texas handles abortions, closing most of the state’s abortion clinics. Democrat Wendy Davis launched into a thirteen hour filibuster in an attempt to kill the bill. When she was silenced after receiving a third strike after eleven straight hours, onlooking citizens began chanting and screaming to hold up the session. Their “Citizen’s Filibuster” made proceedings impossible. Though a vote was taken after the deadline, it was announced this morning that the bill was officially dead. As of right now, Governor Rick Perry is trying to begin another special session to discuss this same bill.

Texas also enacted a law which will require voters to present a picture ID. This directly contradicts the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which says that states cannot impose restrictions on voting which would keep people from voting. In the past, methods to disenfranchise minorities included literacy tests, white primaries, the Grandfather Clause, etc. While these are not used today, gerrymandering congressional districts is a modern day method of discrimination. Requiring picture IDs to vote is just another contemporary form of prejudice.

At the national level, the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA, a ban of same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court also ruled that Proposition 8, California’s ban against same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional. While neither of these acts legalized gay marriage nationally, it was a huge step forward in the fight for gay rights.

There’s also a lot going on internationally. Riots are breaking out all across Brazil due to increased government spending on the World Cup, transgenders are being imprisoned in certain parts of Greece, and gay rights are under fire in England and Wales. And those are just the things I’ve heard about today. While I try to keep up internationally, I’m sure there’s plenty of things that have slipped through my radar.

I’m sorry if this blog post bothered or offended you in any way. That was not my intent. I just think it’s interesting how much is going on right now. Basically, it’s a really interesting time to be politically aware. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on any of these topics in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “All Sorts of Politics

  1. You should not apologize for getting involved with what is happening politically. It is every citizens responsibility to stay informed, discuss the issues and vote. What has happen this week is historic and will have long term consequences. While the fight over abortion rights in Texas and the repeal of DOMA are both very important, the most important decision that came from the Supreme Court was the finding that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. This is by far the most sweeping decision that we have seen in decades. This was a major setback in voting rights.
    For many years now we have been seeing an ideological fight between the Republicans and Democrats in which one side is pushing to limit the rights of people (ie abortion, marriage, voting) and the other is pushing to expand them. Today’s rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 on the surface are good news, but only for those that live in states that have approved same sex marriage. But the rulings have created a two-tier system for gays. It also restricts their ability to move around within the country if they want their marriage to be recognized. I live in Florida, so if a gay couple from New York moves to Florida for a job or retirement their marriage will not be valid. But if my wife and I moved to NY ours would be recognized. This is still not equality.
    At the heart of all the Supreme Court’s rulings this week is that state’s rights trump federal law. This is where the real danger lays in their decisions. They have said to all the states if you want to impose voting restrictions, go right ahead. We just took away the federal governments ability to stop you from implementing you voter suppression schemes. By kicking the Prop 8 case back to CA they have also made that a states rights issue. If the court was interested in seeing equality provided to all citizens they could have found all of DOMA unconstitutional, not just section 3. They also could have made a broader federal ruling on Prop 8.
    What you are seeing in Texas is just the next step in the fight to undermine federal law that protects equal rights. Across the country we are seeing Republican controlled states passing new abortion restriction laws. Both sides know that these laws violate the rights of women provided under Roe, but the goal is to get a case that can be taken to the Supreme Court. Their is no doubt in my mind that today’s court would strike down Roe using the same type of states rights argument.
    The Republican Party has moved well to the right of mainstream opinions in the country and I believe that they realize they will not be able to implement their positions on a national basis. So they are using the courts to lay the groundwork to establish a two-tier level of democracy in the states. So if you are a women in the south, too bad you can’t get an abortion. If you are black or Hispanic, sorry you will have to jump over all of the road blocks if you want to vote. And if you are gay, go back in the closet or move out of the state because they don’t want your kind around. But if you happen to live in one of the more progressive states you get all the rights provided under the Constitution. This is not a good condition. As Lincoln said a house divided cannot stand. Unfortunately I see this as one more step that will ultimately lead to a second Civil War. I wrote a long (6 part) piece on my blog called Civil War 2.0. Check it out.
    I think that it very important that we all be involved politics and the federal, state and local levels if we want American to have their full rights provided by the Constitution.
    I hope this wasn’t too long. But if you check out my blog you will see I can’t keep anything short. 🙂

    • I definitely agree with you. Having a difference in state and federal law only serves to create an imbalance, which I can definitely see causing conflict in the future. It bothers me that so many Americans are ignorant of what is going on right under their noses. I am definitely interested in checking out your blog posts. Thank you for commenting!

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