Monday, October 4, 2010
We've Come A Long Way Baby!
Whether you actually remember the saying “You’ve come a long way baby” and the fact that it was originally a slogan for Virginia Slims cigarettes (was actually credited with increasing smoking among women), I’m sure you can identify with exactly what it means. Women have indeed come a long way. From not having the right to vote to divorce settlements to domestic violence issues to better pay within the workforce.
I’m not here today to wave the female flag so much as I am to give a shout out to the fact that we now live in a much more enlightened society—at least in the western world. There are still countries that treat women like second-class citizens or not even citizens at all but rather property. Early marriage and child birthing, lack of education, and violence against women does still exist in parts of today’s world and is the norm in certain countries.
But today a new Supreme Court term began here in the United States, and it should be noted that there are now three women sitting on the nine-justice panel. Yes, we’ve come a long way, baby. There are some very controversial issues to be addressed during this term and one has to wonder if having three women on the panel will make a difference in the outcome of these cases.
Three cases pending involve same-sex marriage, privacy rights at military funerals, and DNA testing if available for death row inmates. Now I know there is a lot of legalese I don’t understand with these cases, that precedent and interpretation will have an impact on the final definition of the law, but for me? These cases are all no-brainers.
You should be free to love and marry as you choose. Period. I can’t see where a welder named Fred who loves and marries a truck driver named Carl interferes with my rights in any way. Can’t see where a high school teacher named Sara who loves and marries another high school teacher named Linda has any impact on my life whatsoever. It should not be up to me to decide what brings another happiness. We are guaranteed the “pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness” in our constitution. And that’s all it should be about too.
No one should have the right to interfere with loved ones grieving for their fallen soldier. Grieving is a private issue in so far as I’m concerned. And anyone who does not respect that right doesn’t know the first thing about what is in anyone’s heart. Where IS the heart in all of that? If you don’t believe in the War on Terrorism, fine. No problem. Go protest on Capitol Hill or in front of the White House. Go protest on the outskirts of a military base. But it seems that the church involved in these military funeral protests believes that God is punishing us with these deaths based on “the sins of homosexuality”. WOW. Just WOW. How the hell did they figure that in? Another no-brainer. Don’t trample on my grief---show some damn respect!
And why, with DNA testing so prevalent these days, so advanced, would we deny any death-row inmate the opportunity to once and for all prove his/her innocence? If DNA evidence is available and can be tested, it makes no sense NOT to test it. Oh, it will cost a little money to do that. Hmmm…and most of them are just going to ask this be done to hopefully prolong the inevitable. Uhh…okay. But what if one of them is actually innocent? You can’t weight innocence against a few bucks, can you? I don’t know how long the average prisoner in the United States sits on death row before taking that walk, but I do know of, have read about, some sitting there for as long as seventeen and eighteen years. Plenty of time to order and receive results for any and all DNA available. Why not make sure we have the right person for the crime? Why else even have DNA testing? Yep, this is a no-brainer for me.
So now we have a court session which will address these issues and many more. And on that court sits three women. Women have been accused of being too emotional for this or that. And we are emotional. And I think that’s just fine. But will emotion figure into any of these cases? Or by virtue of their position, have the three women who now sit in judgment on the highest court in the United States, been stripped of the very thing that helps to define them as women? We still have people out there who don’t believe a woman should sit on the court. Should never become president or hold the position of senator or congresswoman. Don’t believe a woman should be CEO of a company or even a doctor or lawyer. And the belief is that women are not capable of leaving their emotion behind them and thinking logically.
As for me? Well, I think that the three women sitting on that court are more than capable of following the letter of the law and more than capable of creating new laws which adapt to our changing culture, thereby making our society more equal, more accepting. Balance. Isn’t that what the Scales of Justice are all about? Blind to outside influence, determined to weigh argument against argument and find the truth—give us that balance? So in considering the job those three women will do, I have to say this.
Justice is, after all, a lady. And it’s about time she had her say.