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.


Natalie Dae said...

I think it's a good thing. I don't know much about politics anywhere in the world, but reading this brought a smile to my face that women have been given the chance to put their opinions forward and hopefully be allowed to make a good impact here.


C. Zampa said...

Sure, we are more emotional. But it's about time the decisions that affect such crucial sectors of our government WERE tempered by some emotion. Too many critical aspects to be governed only by logic.

Good post, Tess!

Tess MacKall said...

You know, while writing this, Nat, I kept thinking--no-brainer, no-brainer. And that went to logic. I don't think it was about emotion for me. It was kind of cut and dried.

But, of course, I know that these decisions for the justices are not so black and white. But still, certain things should just be sacred.

Tess MacKall said...

I'm really looking forward to see if a woman's way of thinking will have any impact, Carol. Three women, together, can tip the scales for sure. And I do think it's time women had a voice in the laws of this land for sure.

Natalie Dae said...

I must say also, that your point about DNA testing struck a chord with me. I agree. I hate the thought of innocent people going to their deaths. How bloody awful that must be.

Natalie Dae said...

Oh, and as for those women--Jeez, I should shut up!--who have to live like they are property. Don't get me sodding started. I could cry for them.

Tess MacKall said...

We have to wonder if this War on Terrorism will improve the plight of those women in some of those countries. Women in Afghanistan for instance, have a life expectancy of 45.

Tess MacKall said...

The DNA testing gets me too, Nat. I don't see why it isn't mandated that it be done if there is any DNA available. Makes no sense at all.

I may sound like a bleeding-heart liberal here, but I have no doubt that there are innocent men and women in jail--some on death row--and some who have actually been executed who were innocent.

V. J. Devereaux said...

All I can say is Hurray Tess! I would make a point that we still have a little farther to go even in this country. For all the strides we have made, there are still states where there is no state funding for domestic violence shelters, and many areas that don't have them. Forcing these women and children back into abusive homes or onto the streets.
More money is donated every year to dog shelters than to women's shelters, and many still condemn women for returning to their abusers.
Okay, I'm off my soapbox. Sorry.

Tess MacKall said... are so right. There are still areas where protection of women and their rights is lacking. And sadly, that often leads to the lack of protection of our children as well.

On another note, it was only in 1976 in the great state of North Carolina when women were actually granted the right to vote. lol Yep, this state of mine never declared it legal. Of course, the federal government gave us that legal right, but the state never had. It amazes me as to just how slow the wheels of justice do turn.

Regina Carlysle said...

Well...sigh...I just wrote a long detailed response and blogger ate it. I've been watching HBO's Boardwalk Empire and the referrences to 'a woman's place', voting, a womans lack of intelligence are common. Yeah, we've come a long long way. I believe that a womans perspective will add a lot to the interpretation of our laws. Not male bashing here but women have a unique ability to see more than the black and white of a matter. They are capable of seeing the gray too. That can only be a good thing.

Regina Carlysle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tess MacKall said...

Blogger has been eating my comments lately too, Regina. I've had to start over a few times. sighhh

I think you're right. Women can see past the black and white of a matter and get to the heart of it. But in doing so, I think that's pretty logical.

There is no such thing as just plain black and white. Laws deal with people, and all of them need to be respected.

Our rights only give us freedom in as much as we don't infringe on others. Hard to understand why some people don't understand that.

Madison Scott said...

Love it. Makes me happy to see those women in such important roles.

The DNA thing with the death penalty KILLS me. It saddens me to even think about how many innocent people have been wrongly convicted and put to death. We've seen so many cases of people who were found innocent after years in prison or on death row. If we're finding them, think about how many we don't find.

Tess MacKall said...

I agree, Madison. There have been too many cases of innocent men and women being jailed. I do hope this case in the Supreme Court paves the way for the allowance of more testing. Innocence is not something that should be skirted under any circumstance.

Elizabeth Black said...

I used to follow politics much more than I do now (now it only gives me a major migraine LOL) but I am hopeful now that we have three women on the Supreme Court. There seems to be balance which is a good thing.

Great post, Tess!

Abigail-Madison Chase said...

We have come a long way. I think the women on the court will give it balance. All the issues you discuss (DNA Marriage) will be impacted by those women who sit on that court. I can't wait to read the opinions that come out of this court.

Tess MacKall said...

Politics can definitely give you a headache, Lizzie. And I so agree. Maybe with three women on the court, we will indeed have a balance.

Tess MacKall said...

Hi Abigail,

I'm really looking forward to hearing the resolution to these cases. And wondering how the spin doctors will play all of this. It's a new day for the U.S. I hope the politicos in Washington see this as positively as we do.

Unknown said...

I have only one word for this post:

P. Robinson said...

Justice is a lady and one I stand for- great topic Tess!

Tess MacKall said...

Thanks, Lorie.

About time we applauded our accomplishments. And I think today marked that day. Three gals on the big court? Hooray.

Tess MacKall said...

Hey Kissa,

Glad you liked the post. Justice is indeed a lady. And maybe we're finally going to get it right now that we've got three ladies to stand up for justice.

Anne Rainey said...

We've come a long way, too true!! Next stop? President! :)

D L Jackson said...

So what if women are emotional, it doesn't mean we can't think? It's about time some emotion get into the equation. There's a little something called compassion that the world has seemed to forgotten.

I attended my lesbian cousin's wedding this weekend and it was great to see a full house and everyone celebrating their union and love. If you love someone, you should be able to marry them and have the same benefits of a married het couple. In no way does their marriage affect me or my family. My children get to see that two people in love, can choose to spend their lives together, regardless if they're same sex or not.

Don't get me started on the military. I'm an Army Vet. My son is a Marine, who is deploying for the Middle East soon. As a mother, I don't want to see him go, but as a soldier, I understand his deep sense of duty to his country, his family and the citizens who live on this soil and have the right to protest war. The same rights he's sworn to protect.

I'm no stranger to prejudice in the military. As a woman, I had high-ranking NCOs and officers try to stop my promotion to E-5/SGT, because, and I quote "She looks too cute in a pair of pants."

Gays bleed as well as straights and a sacrifice is a sacrifice, no matter the sex, color, religion, or sexual orientation of the soldier who gave their life.

Families should be entitled to mourn without harassement. Sorry, if it was my son's funeral, I'd put my boot up their ass. Go ahead lock me up--I'm an emotional female--temporary insanity.

If we have the means to prove innocence through DNA tests, when the condemned did not have benefit of the technology at his/her trial, it's a crime to not give them the chance. How does emotion play into that? It's pretty cut and dry. How much does it cost us to put them to death?
I'll bet a lot more than the test.

As you said, no-brainers. Nice post.

Tess MacKall said...

Well, hot damn, D.L. "Boot up their ass" can't be said any better than that.

Applause applause.

Well said. All of it. Compassion and common sense is a killer combination, isn't it? We need more of that and if we get it, I bet we have more of those no-brainers.