The Political Werewolf
If you know me, then you know I'm a big political nut. So, I've decided to add my own personal flavor to the realm of political discussion. We'll be talking about various issues - some of them having to do with current events, others perhaps more on a philosophical level. But in any case, you're free to respond to whatever you read here, either by E-mail or on the message board.
All righty, here we go.
Last Week, the US Supreme Court basically went on what I would consider to e quite the feeding frenzy, ruling on several extremely significant court cases that had been brought to their attention. All this amidst speculation that at least one of the Justices was going to retire. (Word now says that this won't be the case.) In any event, the two most major rulings had to do with two issues of tolerance in our society, and to start off I'd like to address the matter of Affirmative Action. One of the rulings involved the half-hearted support for Affirmative Action, although the courts ruled that the University of Michigan Law School could not be so blatant as to give blacks 20 bonus points on their application just because they're black.
I'm sure that I have some minorities reading me on this website, so in these cases I'd like to ask a favor of you. In order for us to truly make any sort of headway into solving the puzzle of how to end racism and discrimination, you have to ask yourself these questions, and answer them honestly. Would you rather be protected from discrimination, or would you rather that discrimination never be there to start with? Do you believe that if Affirmative Action is in place, there will be a way to differentiate between those who benefitted from it and those who didn't have to? Most importantly, which is more desirable to you - artificial "diversity" or natural equality?
As long as Affirmative Action is in place, we will never live in a fully color-blind society. Of course, the common knee-jerk reaction against the policy is that it's "reverse racism", but I think that mentality is just another part of the us-versus-them mentality that we have about minorities. I oppose Affirmative Action because it isn't right for those who supposedly reap the rewards of it. It's patronizing. It's coddling. It's giving them something that they have not earned. There are plenty of blacks and hispanics out there who are smart enough to get into good schools and skilled enough to have successful careers, to be sure, but when an institution such as Affirmative Action is in place, the layman only sees the quota, regardless of whether or not that person was hired as a result of that quota. The envy and bitterness that we're trying to eliminate not only survives, it gets stronger. Someone who gets passed over for that admission into college, that new job, or that promotion in favor of a minority will see their loss as the consequence of Affirmative Action - even if it isn't.
Now, of course, if Affirmative Action were not present in our society, there's a chance that certain industries or schools would have a disproportionate number of white males there. But if that's the case, then so be it. I personally don't think that "diversity" - which is the common word used for this perfect blend of ethnicities - is a good thing. Not because of anything against the other ethnicities, but because it's all cosmetic. It's a facade. It's as if you're flipping a coin 100 times and mandating that Heads comes up on 50 of the tosses. Real equality - the kind that we should be striving for - has deviations, even anomalies. If you flipped a coin 100 times, you might see Heads 50 times. Or maybe 47. Or 61. Or 12. The outcome may not be equal, but the opportunity is. Such should follow for racial representation.
And now, on to the second case. The Supreme Court also ruled that a Texas sodomy law - one that essentially (and perhaps by design) prevented gays from having sex - was ruled inconstitutional. I agree with the ruling - to a point.
Let me begin by saying that homosexuals will unfortunately never be looked upon in the same light as heterosexuals. Coming from someone who knows several gay people and gets along with them quite well, I sincerely doubt that we'll ever come into a time when a gay couple will be looked at and treated the exact same way as a straight couple. Why not? It's a combination of factors. For one, it is ingrained in our human instinct that we must further the species. Two people of the same sex cannot reproduce (naturally, at least), so there is a subconscious disassociation between them and what is considered "normal." For another, gays will always be a very small minority in our society. Since there's no realistic situation where they will make up more than perhaps 2% of the population, the general public will not trouble themselves with trying to accept this fraction of our culture.
Personally, I have absolutely nothing against one's sexuality, provided that it's a component of a loving and honest relationship. If Pat and Terry genuinely love each other and are faithful to each other, then it doesn't matter to me if they're both the same sex or one of each. A gay couple who stay faithful and caring to one another hold a much higher position in my mind than a straight couple that consists of an abusive husband and an adultering wife. Like I stated above - it's not the appearance of the situation that should merit approval; it's the circumstances.
That being said, I do believe that a large segment of the gay population do themselves a tremendous disservice by using their sexuality as an identifying characteristic. As mentioned above, I have a few gay acquaintances, and one of the reasons I don't mind being acquainted with them is that they didn't tell me they were gay until long after we knew each other. They don't parade around saying "I'm gay, deal with it."
And I used the word "parade" intentionally, because that's primarily where the gay population gets their bad reputation. Things such as "gay pride" parades and events may be an opportunity for their participants to let go of any repressions and exhibit their pride in public, but if their goal is to gain acceptance, they're going about it exactly in the wrong way. Most people, I think, follow my mindset - they don't mind about your sexuality, provided you don't shove it in their faces. Otherwise, you don't get acceptance; you just get a backlash.
With regards to the ruling itself, I didn't agree with the notion that gays should have to break the law in order to engage themselves in a similar fashion as a man and a woman. However - and I'm not entirely sure if this was done or not - they should not do away with sodomy laws entirely, because there are a lot of things that go well beyond the boundaries of simple intercourse that should not be condoned. Now that gays have regained their ability to share themselves with one another (at least, in the state of Texas), lawmakers should revisit this issue and make sure that things don't get out of control.
These two major rulings by the Supreme Court are likely to reverberate for quite some time. It's important that we realize how important this body of government is, because they will certainly be weighing in on other important matters in the future.
Previous columns:6/9/03: With a Capital D and that Rhymes With D and that Stands for Democrats
5/26/03: Where's the Harm?
5/12/03: The Ten Questions a Liberal Will Never Answer
5/5/03: Let The Fun Begin
4/21/03: It's My Money, Not TheIRS
4/14/03: Bush Won - Get Over It
4/7/03: Conservative Business 101
3/31/03: I'm a Celebrity - No War in Iraq!
3/24/03: Patriotism vs. Nationalism