Monday, July 01, 2013

A Pretty Good Week

Last week was a pretty good one. If you happen to be a bleeding heart liberal. Which I do. It was nice to see the Supreme Court do their best "don't ask, don't tell" decision by ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act was, in part, unconstitutional. "DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. "The history of DOMA's enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence." Then they went on to pull the plug on the argument for Proposition Eight, which effectively banned same-sex marriages in California. "We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority, joined by Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan.
While I'm sure there were those who waited for the earth to split wide open and the coming of the Rapture, outside of dancing in the streets, things were pretty calm.  Meanwhile, up the road in Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown signed a California state budget that paves the way for billions of dollars to start finding its way back into K-12 education, all the while paying down the ballooning deficits that had become standard operating procedure over the past decade. At last, the kids in California's schools won't place forty-third in terms of per-student spending. That same budget expands Medicaid to nearly ten million Californians over the next few years. Yes, even in the seismically active region in which we live, no one was swallowed up by the cracks in the earth, and even the dancing in the streets was kept to a minimum.
Last week saw the United States Senate pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill. The words that should stick out for you in that sentence would be: Senate, immigration, reform and bipartisan. The bipartisan part would be the the piece that could be read "highly compromised." But no matter. A win is a win, and even if the House of Representatives tears it to pieces with their pointy little teeth and heads, at least it's part of the national discourse.
And speaking of discourse, down in Texas, Wendy Davis talked for nearly thirteen hours in a filibuster to keep a state bill to outlaw abortion under virtually any circumstance. "Women realize that these bills will not protect their heath," she said, along with another twelve hours and fifty-some minutes of other things. "They will only reduce their access to abortion providers and limit their ability to make their own family-planning decisions."
And like all moments in history, this one will shine for a while, until the inevitable pendulum swing back the other way, but for now I'm happy for my bleeding heart to get some rest.

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