Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let's Get Political

My blog is first and foremost a record of my travel experiences, and my readers know that I rarely venture into controversial political topics.  (I think the only exception to that was once when I posted a rant against Mexican President Peña Nieto.)  So I hesitated to offer my two cents on the Supreme Court decisions of last week.  I don't have anything to say that hasn't been said before a thousand times on the internet.  But I decided to go ahead and write a short opinion piece.

I have disagreed with numerous Supreme Court decisions... especially the infamous Citizens United case in which corporations were given the status of private citizens.  However, last week the Supreme Court got it right in two important decisions.

First, the court shot down the attempt of opponents to eviscerate the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare).  Obamacare is far from perfect, but it is an attempt to bring our country's health care system in line with the rest of the developed world.  The United States has the highest health care costs of any nation in the world, and we were the only country in the developed world to not have universal coverage.  I have talked with many people in Europe who are absolutely astounded that we tolerate a system in which families go bankrupt from a medical crisis or in which people simply go without proper health care.

Later in the week the court ruled that state bans on same-gender marriage are unconstitutional.  None of the arguments against marriage equality hold any water in our legal system.  Churches may define matrimony as they see fit, but the civil contract of marriage is separate and subject to equal protection for all.  The argument that the people voted for laws and amendments prohibiting same sex marriage is not valid either.  The United States is a constitutional republic, not a direct democracy, and we as a people are protected from tyranny of the majority.  I am, however, somewhat disheartened that four of the nine justices just couldn't see that.  Some of their dissenting opinions sound like the whining of a child throwing a temper tantrum.  Also, most of the Republican candidates for President, are characterizing the decision as catastrophic, and some are vowing to fight it.  I suspect that ten years from now, people will wonder what all the brouhaha was about.

OK, my little political speech is over.  We will now resume our regular broadcasting.