The International Writers Magazine: Marriage Rights - Reality Check
+ Readers Resonses
Equality ... Of Course
Let it be so marked that on June 26, 2015, 239 years after declaring the right to be free and sovereign to pursue life’s ambitions under the law, and not some theocratic monarchy, that we have once again embraced our truest nature as a nation; that we must never deny the rights we enjoy to our fellow citizens.
For that is the day the U.S. Supreme Court, echoing its own prior ruling on this measure and every lower court that has been forced to observe it, that all the citizens of these United States will be granted the opportunities of all, regardless of sexual orientation, as did their fore-runners in race, religion, and gender. Homosexuals now join every one of us not born male, white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, who were told we do not belong in the pantheon of Thomas Jefferson’s haughty dreams of all being equal, from his God to the compulsory halls of law, but eventually triumphed as you do.
I write these words on the eve of commemorating our nation’s day of birth, July 4, 1776, a full dozen years before its official commencement, the ratifying of a national Constitution. It sacred words of law since amended to include so many more than it defended that late June day of 1788, not unlike the one that duly reflected its power and purpose 227 years later this past week almost to the day. When tested, it has endured. And its crowning achievement exists in the millions it has freed from the tyranny of discrimination through hatred, tradition, religion, and the will of the majority, which ultimately has nothing to do with whether you are entitled to the rights of someone who is not like you, the right to breathe free. That, Jefferson said, is settled by merely being human.
And so America, its concept, its majesty, its stubbornness, its clamor and furor and foundation, gets it right…again.
Because all we have to do as Americans is look to the history of our vaunted Declaration of Independence and the bloody insurrection that lasted nearly nine long years and its ensuing half-decade of debate and rancor that helped forge a Constitution that would be insufficient to raise its ambitions to Jefferson’s promise. It is why it took 73 years to bring forth the idea that some men being more equal than others (apologies to Orwell) was something America could not abide. Of course it took five more years of the most devastating war the nation has endured and 600,000 dead before America became an actuality. The last days of slavery and the eradication of the aborted Confederate States put the legal end to the discussion on who was denied the right to exist.
But of course this took another century before everyone was on board, commencing with the signing of the Civil Rights Act, which continued what the 41st Congress did five years after the Civil War by allowing African-Americans the right to cast a vote, the most binding of our democratic rights. During that time it took America 143 years to finally recognize the full rights of more than half its citizenry with the Constitution’s 19th Amendment, providing our women the right to a vote, nearly a century and a half after Jefferson’s notion about universal equality given not by the state but by simply being.
And now our homosexual brothers and sisters join our proud ranks, cementing a right that should never be provided by a state, but only protected by the state, these United States, a republic, not a theocracy, a rule of law, not the majority of discrimination. But know this; what happened on June 26, 2015 is not merely the end of something, but just the beginning of a whole other thing.
If what you have read above is not enough of a warning, you should be aware that there will be battles ahead. Those woefully unaware of what it is to be an American already pontificate and conspire on how to subjugate this right to marry as any law-abiding, tax-paying citizen may (check that, heterosexuals in prison can marry). It is happening now as I write this and will continue for many, many years, long after you are gone from the script and will be fought by your children and your children’s children. But at least they are now assured by law that they are not “less than” but “equal to”, and that is the whole and binding and spiritual point of June 26, 2015, which is a direct and proud descendent of July 4, 1776. It is the reason there is an America. In some twisted wrench of logic, it even makes all the other crap worth it.
But if I may throw in a humble bit of personal joy; I have made it mostly my ambition here in this space for over 12 years to make known the atrocity of our denying our citizens their inalienable rights. For some, I know, it seemed like every argument forged here would find its way back to this subject. But through it all, I held the strong and unwavering belief in this abomination being unconstitutional, and for that my ecstatic relief of June 26, 2015 knows no bounds. Trust me; my first gin on July 4 will have special meaning. And for that I thank one of my heroes, Kurt Vonnegut, whose prose one day, not sure when or what passage, some 15 years ago, woke me up to the sad fact that I had not spoken up, that I had not used this minor but sometimes effective pulpit to shout from the rafters the core elements of this crucial fight.
And I thank all who appreciated the effort and came around to my words and all of the gay news outlets and magazines who reprinted my rants on this latest battle in our tumultuous history. I even thank those whose opposition, however misguided, but sometimes salient (and you know how you are) arguments seemed to put at least some measure of intellect into what was ordinarily a pathetically stupid and sadly derivative counterpoint to this journey.
We get there eventually. It is frustrating and perplexing, but when it comes, it is damn glorious.
READERS RESPONSES July 10th 2015
This is when you are at your best, dissecting the political groundswell, finding nuggets in the shift in debates. (ELIZABETH WARREN UNLEASHED - Issue: 5/27/15) Elizabeth Warren is just like you said a kind of outlier for the Democratic Party, but one that is as pertinent to the left as the TEA Party was and is for the right. Her battles with Obama, which I think have just begun and the emergence of Bernie Sanders as a legitimate voice in the party will go a long way to effecting how Hillary Clinton runs her primary campaign. She stays centrist at her own peril, I think. She needs to learn from the lessons of 2008 and stop acting as if she is above it all.
I am one of the few liberals who hopes Warren does not run for president in 2016. She is much more effective for the environment and for fights against Wall St. and income inequality in congress. That is where the real battles are fought and won. The presidency, a long shot anyway, is a popularity contest. It does not truly effect our legislation at the grass roots. If the TEA Party taught us nothing, and I think it is pretty much nothing, it shows that you can maneuver the talking points through congressional shifts in ideology. And even though you have done a fine job painting the TEA Party in a less than influential light, it still remains a thorn in the side of progress and therefore it needs a counter argument from the other side.
Elizabeth Warren is an insane socialist and is the fringe of the fringe. It’s like giving Ted Cruz credit for merely being in opposition to things. I know Warren means well, but she is not nor are her ideas viable in this age of economic stagnation. Spend! Spend! Spend! Or more to the bottom line she uses the word “Invest!” Invest what? Or invest in what? We are broke! We spend money on wars. Not people. And I think we should spend on neither. I want to keep my money.
Fuck Elizabeth Warren!
Damned right about this: "This is why I laugh when people call Barack Obama a lefty." I laugh harder when they call him a socialist.
I think you're wrong about TPP being a done deal; the more info that gets out about it, the harder the fight is going to be. And it was already derailed enough to prevent its being fastracked (see? the derailed metaphor works).
I think you may also be wrong about Liz. She's NOT a politician. She had to be dragged into the senate race in MA, but she and Bernie Sanders may have touched off a firestorm. And I don't think it's going to burn out in a summer.
This trade agreement like all trade agreements will be a disaster. Companies will not invest in America. Warren is right. The president is wrong. Check the data on every one of these trade agreements. We get screwed every time and by screwed I mean the American worker. This is only good for business not workers. It is only good for the profits of companies that do not give back to America, but instead use cheap, unregulated environments to sell us poison. More politicians should stand up for us like Warren and stop trying to just get elected for ego or to be quoted on FOX or MSNBC. This is a serious issue for this economy going forward. Not sure why no one else sees this?
That is impressive, James. (THE BODY EXPERIMENT –Issue: 6/24/15) Not sure I can do what you did, but it is nice to know if I did that in only forty days I can half my cholesterol. It seems like over the past thirty years or so this has become an epidemic. Kills more people than anything we’re always afraid of like Ebola or Terrorism or Climate Change. It is something we need to really be on top of as a nation. And I don’t mean passing laws or anything, but maybe more stringent regulations on food companies that put in all this extra crap we don’t need or that our bodies can’t process.
What we eat and drink is more important than economic issues or international issues or social issues. It is what we eat and drink for Christ’s sake! And it is killing us!
Bravo on your experiment. I am almost certain though you cannot keep that up.
1. Notice how refined sugar seems good now, compared to the mercury-processed high fructose corn syrup. The fact is that every refined sweetener, even honey and the much-vaunted agave nectar, will wear out the pancreas (type I) or train the muscles not to obey the insulin instruction to remove glycogen from the bloodstream (type II). Even so, every sweetener, natural, processed, refined, man-made or organic can't do the damage that manufactured pharmaceuticals can.
2. Unhealthy food is soooo early 20th century:
"They had always been accustomed to eat a great deal of smoked sausage, and how could they know that what they bought in America was not the same--that its color was made by chemicals, and its smoky flavor by more chemicals, and that it was full of "potato flour" besides? Potato flour is the waste of potato after the starch and alcohol have been extracted; it has no more food value than so much wood, and as its use as a food adulterant is a penal offense in Europe, thousands of tons of it are shipped to America every year."
The Jungle, Chapter 11, Upton Sinclair
The examination of the non-functioning FDA and other federal protectorates is left as an exercise to the reader. For bonus points, see if you can identify ?all of the repealed and unwound laws and regulations put into place after the Great Depression.
I believe that we're about to learn for real what it means to ignore the lessons of history. As both William Gibson and Neal Stephenson observe in their latest novels, we innovate like crazy in the midst of crisis. It's worth noting that financial crises are slightly inconvenient for the wealthy, but arduous and sometimes fatal for the remainder of the population. Even so, we tend to ignore social crises (especially health care), and we can't navigate environmental crises at all.
The FDA is a joke. They are in bed with all these lobbies and continue to print lies. Cow’s milk does not and never did add calcium to your bones. In fact, scientific data says that is fools your system into thinking it does and therefore it weakens bones over time. The FDA has known this for half a century, yet they continue to repeat this fairytale and worse yet promote to our children that milk, intended for a baby cow, is somehow nutritious for humans. I remind you, these are the same people who gave us “pizza is a vegetable”. The food lunches for our kids are an abomination. Since the 1980s when during the Reagan Administration food was taken out of the hands of the federal government and given over to companies that pile on the crap to our kids, we have seen a decrease in health for our children. And entire generation of fat kids. It is sad and a national crisis.
Damn right you should do what you did to get healthy. Now everyone read this article and get to work or suffer the consequences.
© James Campion July 10th 2015
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James Campion is the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”.
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Flags are Bullshit
A flag is bullshit, like a weird haircut, lawn signs or tee shirts with pithy sayings. None of these things mean a thing.