Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Calm down, we're gonna be alright...

I was working on a post on my thoughts about Mar+in Lu+her K|ng, but I left it at home. I’ve also been working on several other posts that are quickly becoming outdated (or “losing their news peg,” as we say in “the business”) but I’ll probably end up posting them anyway because this is my blog and I’ll do what I want. Whuh-eva. Whuh-eva. I do what I want.

We’ve been getting several letters in about the confirmation of Sam Ali+o and how utterly destructive it would be for our nation. Most of these people mention the taking away of “women’s rights,” (some even go as far to call them “women’s reproductive rights”) “civil liberties” and “religious freedom.”

As is typical with such accusations, evidence for these claims has been scant, though I can infer exactly what these people are talking about. For “women’s rights,” and certainly for “women’s reproductive rights,” they’re obviously talking about abortion.

Why they can’t just come out and say that, I’m not entirely sure. Though I suspect it has something to do with the fact that claiming women have the “right” to puncture the skulls of unborn children and vacuum out the brain is a tough position to defend.

Many such advocates also seem to be unaware that the overturning of Roe v. Wade would not entail the wholesale criminalization of abortion. It would simply relegate such legislation to state governments.

Though I also suspect that even if advocates were aware of this, they wouldn’t find this prospect comforting, as they would still be forced to discuss the issue and presumably defend their position in the public square.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Roe v. Wade will ever be overturned outright. I do believe, however, that with Ali+o on the court, and certainly if another space opens up on the Supreme Court before Bush leaves office (Justice Stevens being 85 and Ginsburg being 72 it’s certainly within the realm of possibility,) that the court will decide cases in such a way so as to eventually render Roe v. Wade obsolete. Though my judiciary scholarship is amateur at best, so I could quite possibly be wrong.

The “civil liberties” accusation is a little harder to guess. With the recent news of the NSA spying program, there’s been quite a lot of talk about the President violating our right to privacy. I’ve been scouring the Constitution, however, and I can’t seem to find anything that says that American citizens have the right to contact enemies of this nation with the expectation that such contact will not be monitored by the government. That’s absolutely asinine.

Someone much smarter than me once said: “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.” Indeed. That’s why freedom of speech stops at shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. In pursuit of this, the right to privacy ceases when private dealings threaten national security.

(On a bit of a side note: Several of the critics of the spying program have been saying ‘All the President had to do was get a simple warrant from the FISA Court. They never turn one down, and it’s easy to do.’ Well, if they never turn one down, then what’s the point of the President asking? It just wastes valuable time. It’s either a blatant violation of civil rights or it isn’t. I don’t buy the argument that it would be ok for the President to blatantly violate our civil rights as long as he asked permission first. That doesn’t make sense.)

Regarding religious freedom, there’s been a great deal of clamoring that, with Ali+o, the court will now be a majority Catholic. And apparently, this somehow threatens religious freedom. I think I know where this is going. The people fearing for their “religious freedom” aren’t afraid that they won’t be able to freely practice their religion — they’re afraid others will be freely allowed to practice theirs.

They’re afraid that the new makeup of the Court will see things like opposing the Ten Commandments in court houses, protesting nativity scenes in front of government buildings and going apoplectic over the word “God” in the pledge of Allegiance for exactly what it is — sheer asininity.

The only separation of Church and State in the Constitution is the part that says: “Congress shall make no law establishing a national religion.” It says nothing about forbidding religion in the public square.

There is no “right” in this country to not be offended. If the Ten Commandments being displayed in a courthouse offends you, tough. Don’t look at it. But a courthouse is not “Congress” and displaying the Ten Commandments is not “making a law establishing a national religion.” We also can’t go around offending some people because others are offended. What kind of logic is that? I’ll tell you — dangerous logic.

It’s a scientific fact that when two opposing parties take offense at the other party’s being offended, they both become so offended that they breach what’s known as the Offensive Event Horizon, thus unraveling the construct of time itself. Well, that and it’s just really stupid.

The bottom line is, soon-to-be-Justice Ali+o terrifies certain factions of the population because he doesn’t buy into their game of semantics. Just because a certain issue involves women, that does not make it a women’s rights issue. Just because an issue involves minorities, that doesn’t make it a civil rights issue. And just because an issue involves religion, it does not make it a religious freedom issue. Ali+o seems to know the difference, and moreover, he doesn’t appear afraid to point it out.

Heaven forbid one of the people interpreting our nation’s laws would have a shred of common sense.


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