The week that was

Whoa! What a week.  From the minute to the momentous. From everyday slights to the evisceration of things we hold dear.  From personal triumphs to the deathbed of a world hero.

What a difference a week makes.

The Supreme Court taketh away and the Supreme Court giveth (with caveats).  But before all the epic decisions, the Supreme Court punteth the ball. Yep, punt on affirmative action, gut the Voting Rights Act, and hold that the Federal government cannot demean or injure what a state seeks to protect, in matters within a state’s purview.

So if you are a gay, non-white Democrat in a Red State, you can’t get married to your partner, you may not be able to vote and you certainly cannot have the totality of your identity and your life story considered in any application to higher education.

If, however, you are gay, white, Democrat in a Blue State, you probably get to claim an iPad as a winning contestant in the Supreme Court sweepstakes.

How’s that for “equal protection under the laws”?

I am thrilled that Edie Windsor, who in her own words, was “just an out lesbian suing the United States of America,” prevailed and DOMA is DEAD.  It was a thrill and an honor to go to Sabbath Services on Gay Pride Weekend to hear Edie, who talked about her spouse, Thea (of blessed memory), just a little before Edie started to cry, and then have hundreds of people standing up to cheer her. 

Get the documentary on them.  It is beautiful and sad and just simply a true (non-Hollywood) love story.

People sometimes ask, “why gay PRIDE?”  Because if you have felt marginalized, shamed, invisible, unwanted, a veritable punching bad for angry people and all of society’s ills, then you need to own your identity and say that you are proud and not ashamed.  It is important for those still in the closet — of any kind — and our children.

I suspect that Mandela is hovering between life and death only through the curse of modern medicine, while politicians figure out the best time to announce his death.  Call me cynical.  The world will be different on the day that the man who presided over immense change in Africa and, indeed, the whole world, is declared dead.  One person can make a difference, but there are only too few in any generation who are truly capable.  We will have lost (or did we already lose) a hero.

SOS went off to sleep away camp for seven weeks.  Both POB and I were happy, sad, scared and proud that he hopped on the bus with someone he met previously who was also going to the same camp.  Hugs, but no tears.  A watershed moment in our baby’s growth.

I stopped a client in the hallway of our firm and greeted him.  He was momentarily caught off-guard and then said, “[Blogger], you look great; I would never have recognized you!!!”  And then he dug himself deeper to a point at which I had to say, “Don’t worry, a little hair color and make-up can really make ALL the difference . . . ”  I expect that from Dad’s mother (“You look so gut, I vouldn’t recognize you, dahlink.”) but not anyone born after World War II.

Fom petty slights to soaring heights.  From a widow’s indignation to liberation for so many.  From tiny family triumphs (and the funny slights) to a loss for all humanity.  From the mundane to the immortal.   From the set-backs to the steps forward and then reluctance to decide.  The juxtaposition of all of these make the important events stand apart, in stark relief — some to be celebrated, some to be worried over, one to be mourned.

What a week it was.  Good thing I fastened my seat belt.

Some questions actually tell us so much about ourselves

Poor Solicitor General Elena Kagan.  Just because she is single, unattractive, overweight and intellectual, she must be a lesbian.

Laura Ingraham is single and, to some, intellectual.  So, she isn’t unattractive or overweight.  Is she . . . .?

So, former Secretary of State Condi Rice is single and intellectual.  She is not unattractive or overweight either.  Is she. . . ?

Ok, I get it.  If Elena Kagan were hot — or at least not unattractive and overweight, it wouldn’t be an issue.

If she were a man, like Justice Souter, no one would raise the issue.  How do I know?  Because no one did (loudly, anyway).

Has anyone looked at all of the unattractive and overweight women who are married and heterosexual?  Has anyone looked at all the gorgeous heterosexual women who are single?  And all the gorgeous lesbians who are “married”?

Maybe she is; maybe she isn’t.  But if unattractive and overweight were the markers, there would be only five heterosexuals in middle America.

Who will be the first politician to own up to this attitude?  And this “litmus test” only pertains to women.  Overweight and unattractive men?  Just look at the Congress.

GOP senators don’t have gaydar.  How do I know?   They didn’t figure out about Family Research Council George Rekers, who hired a gay male escort to carry his bags on a trip to Europe.  Or that televangelist.  Or the Senator who sits wide in aiport bathrooms.

Democrats assume that the Republicans will raise the issue, so they — including the White House — are “getting out ahead of it”.  In some publications, the Democrats are being criticized for not getting out ahead of it sooner.

So, even among the enlightened of our generation — including those in the White House — it is still a “smear” to say that someone is gay.   And being gay is deviant but fixable, or so says the Family Research Council.  Maybe it should rethink its view in light of the scandal rocking its founder.

We will allow gays to serve in the military so long as they hide under a rock.  Think of the patriotism of these men and women.  They are willing to shed their blood and give their lives to a country that won’t allow them to live, fight and die in dignity.

Aint that America.

The Hypocritic Oath

Senator McConnell says Judge Sotomayor lacks the objectivity he wants in a justice. He says he is worried that her opinions would shape rulings from the bench.  Senator McConnell lacked objectivity by bashing her record before she got to the hearings. 

How does he get away with hypocrisy.  Do GOP lawmakers need to take the Hypocritic Oath in order to serve?

Thoughts for today, July 17, 2009

Lindsay Graham said at the start of the Sotomayor hearing that unless she had a meltdown, she was getting confirmed.  And, further, he didn’t think she was going to have a meltdown.  So why did we have to waste all that time?  Just to allow us to showcase to the world the endemic and virulent prejudice that pulses below the surface of our society, and worse, at the highest levels of government? 

Gee, Senator Graham, thanks for the reminder.

JUDGE Sotomayor

Sen. Sessions looks at Judge Sotomayor and he thinks only “Puerto Rican” (or worse) because he incessantly brings up some GWB judicial nominee with a last name Estrada. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, Mr. Estrada was among many Bush II nominees rejected by the Senate. So, why the emphasis on Mr. Estrada? Why not any other right-wing, neo-con nominee who was rejected? Because prejudice boils under the surface of our the hallowed traditions of our democracy.

Sen. Sessions, please, please, attack her on her decisions, if you must. Question her application of the law in various decisions. Really, go nuts. But, don’t infect a basic Constitutional mechanism with prejudice. This land was founded as haven from intolerance and prejudice. A beacon to the world. Sen. Sessions, you have sullied the process and our national principles by your comments.

The bigger question is: why don’t you look at Judge Sotomayor and see an accomplished jurist? A person (not a woman and not a latina) who, through hard work and determination, sits before you seeking confirmation to the highest court in the land. I wish you could read her decisions without seeing her ethnic last name or knowing that she is a woman. I wish you could just take issue with her decisions. Her decisions speak louder than any sound bite on a lecture circuit and are the important matters at hand.

Chances are she will be confirmed. But the stain you have placed on this process will never come out.