Last week was an incredible week for all Americans, but most especially for progressives and activists and advocates for equality and equity. We need to take time to celebrate these crucial and impactful Supreme Court decisions, all three of them.
King v. Burwell affirmed what most common sense non-elected Republicans have known from the beginning of the Affordable Care Act. Among them, that without subsidies millions of Americans would not have health care today. Semantics did not get in the way of this majority decision and I was clearly thrilled for the many who would have found themselves lost and on another horrific path to ill-care and a destruction of progress and what should clearly be a right in this country: Health Care.
Now, we need Health Care for all and I pray the efforts that are growing toward that end find the energy and motivation to continue that quest. It is the best and right thing for this country, but for now we celebrate King v. Burwell as a major step in the right direction and will hold that thought in praise and be mindful that this decision has just saved millions of lives. No question that is true.
The clear and right decision to make marriage-for-all a right in this country is now the law of the land and you can bet your bottom dollar, and that is what too many of us have right now, that the politicians who hide behind a false sense of what God is and what the Bible says, will fashion a way to continue to make being gay a religious argument and one that they feel that they are the chosen messengers to deliver their drivel and hate-spewed rants upon us all. Their “Christianity” is so misplaced and misspoken that I fear their cherry picking of scripture to prove their point ignores all too often the teachings of Christ.
The 10 Commandments are the rules of God, if you choose to believe them, as I do. Beyond that, there isn’t a passage in the Bible that cannot be interrupted in a way that fits your particular point of view. If we are to believe that God gave to Moses the tablets these rules were bestowed unto us, then live your life as closely to those rules as possible. In fact, reviewing the 10 Commandments just now I could easily make arguments as to how elected leaders, especially on the right, have broken more than one of these rules in defense of their biblical interpretation. Just saying!
Unless I read them wrong, and I am absolutely sure I have not, there isn’t a single rule in the 10 Commandants that references the LGBT community anywhere. With that said, to the religious zealots and uneducated and unwashed, you can stop now. You didn’t lose last week as you were never right and it just took way too long for the laws of God and the laws of a nation to find one another. We are now there so let’s move on finally.
As Chris Savage wrote just this morning in his piece on the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. decision by SCOTUS, the Supreme Court gave the progressive community and all under-served Americans, rights and freedoms that are critical and will have far reaching impact on fair housing, bringing us closer to a humanity that was dearly missing and vital to too many people.
Yes, it was a good week and we should take the time to celebrate and congratulate. Then we have to get to work.
In Michigan, as in many other states, the decisions that were handed down last week will affect many people. Not all of these cases will impact all of us in the short term, but they actually will in the long term. As long as there are politicians and political parties and differences in opinion, philosophy and ideology, there will be challenges facing us, and in these cases, I can promise you that will manifest itself soon enough. Let’s be clear on one thing, not one of the three decisions that were made last week weren’t anticipated by both sides and I assure you that there is legislation coming to deal with all of them soon.
They may be veiled in some others fashion and they may be shrouded in some kind of obfuscation that will look like one thing but intended for another. The “unintended” consequences of some form of legislation or another is coming soon, both at the State level and at the Federal level, making the 2016 elections that much more critical. I also need to remind you that whomever we choose as our next President may well appoint that next three Supreme Court Justices and if this week doesn’t make crystal clear how important that is I don’t know what will.
Michigan is one of the most anti-LGBTQ states in the country and the Michigan constitution is filled with more anti-LGBTQ laws and guidelines than most. The marriage-for-all decision just solves one, albeit a MAJOR one, but just one of many speed bumps in the road to equality and equity. Property laws, rights, privileges, obligations, and common sense rules that apply to married couples are not automatically guaranteed by this ruling and it does not erase the hatred and discrimination the Michigan constitution harbors deep in its contents and beware of the consequences buried deep into these words.
I can promise that the minority party in Michigan, the Democrats, are already readying changes, necessary and mandated changes, that will (should) bring real and ever-lasting equality and equity. But not a one of them will be easy to pass, let alone get a hearing in the House or the Senate, nor are we guaranteed that the Governor will sign them unless his corporate Lords and Masters allow him to do so.
We, brave men and women, brothers and sisters, friends and family, have some heavy lifting to do in the months ahead and in order for us to complete what the Supreme Court has finally started, you best be prepared to show up in massive numbers or the unobstructed lives most of us are allowed to live will never be a reality for all, at least not now.
I am thrilled and do not want to take away from these three victories in any way. But we saw what happened when the electorate said no to Public Act 4 and Emergency managers. It was ignored and they produced Public Act 436. We saw what happened when a successful effort to raise the minimum wage looked like a real raise for our fellow citizens. The Republican-led legislature fashioned a “deal” for a lesser amount, one that Democrats would have been foolish to turn down, taking away an opportunity for the voters to decide the issue which would have meant many more Democrats showing up at the polls in November of 2014. The GOP won on the most important level. By taking that issue off the ballot they guaranteed taking Democrats out of the voting booth, and that is exactly why they did this.
The RFRA for Adoption law signed by Snyder a few weeks back is another one of many RECENT examples of how the GOP is dividing us and making the Us v. Them road map they have drawn in their image a true attack on democracy and on our rights and freedoms, or lack thereof.
I am NOT being cynical to be cynical. In fact, I do not believe I am being cynical at all. I am being honest and forthright. I am being proactive and I want to play offense instead of always playing defense. If the GOP thinks we believe we have won anything and are going to take our guard down even the in the smallest of ways, they will pounce even harder than they are. Mark my words. They realize they may only have until the 2016 elections to make sure their plan is fully in place and so entrenched that even if the Democrats end up with the same majority come 2016, which cannot happen because of the Senate elections, they will have a difficult time reversing it. They will not leave anything to chance and neither should we.
Pay attention to what the Democrats are going to be proposing in the upcoming weeks and months and support it like it IS all that matters, because, frankly, it is all that matters.
Congratulations to all the winners last week and all of the many who helped to make that happen. Now, let’s have that toast and a pat on the back and then let’s get to work. We have some momentum right now but all it takes is too long a celebration to lose it and I am not willing to rest and let that happen.