Thursday, 27 June 2013
Five Minus One
Turns out the Defense of Marriage Act is so obviously unconstitutional even the Supreme Court can be trusted to see it. You know, except for the conservatives, who spent yesterday insisting that overruling congressional legislation isn't something the court should ever presume to do, exactly one day after they did exactly that.
So this week both handed racial minorities their greatest civil rights defeat since, well, civil rights became a thing, and gave the gay community an historic victory. My brain, it is confused.
Aside from all of this further cementing my opinion that Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas are villainous hacks of the first order (anyone with an interest in logical argument and a strong stomach can learn a lot about sophistry by reading their opinions over the years, but I'd recommend moderation lest your eyeballs boil out of your face), the last forty-eight hours got me thinking again along a familiar trail - why is it liberals seem to lose so much of the time?
The common response to this question among liberals themselves is often that we just can't seem to get our act together during a fight, and spend all our time after the fight blaming each other for losing. Both of these are major problems, I confess, but they strike me as symptoms, not cause. The major reason things always seem to go so badly for liberals - aside from the fact that they tend to pick fights with the rich and powerful rather than the destitute and voiceless - is that trying to make the world function fairly for everybody is a much more complicated manoeuvre than trying to make the world function well for rich white guys.
Imagine you're one of the four left-of-centre Supreme Court Justices, and you figure you can maybe get Kennedy to swing on one of the two cases this week, but not both. Where do you put your time? Trying to get rid of a nakedly unconstitutional attempt to screw over gay people? Or trying to save a barrier to racists said bigots have dedicated the last forty years to trying to overcome? That's a decision I'm immensely glad I don't have to make. My instinct is to go with protecting voting rights over guaranteeing governmental support for marriages, but that might be totally wrong. Certainly plenty of liberals are likely to disagree with that, and everyone involved will have the best motivations in the world and radically different ideas as to how to put their ideas into practice.
All the Republicans - the only part of the American right that matters right now - needs to do is be pricks at every available opportunity. The fact that getting a hundred people to agree on how to be nice is much harder than getting a hundred people to agree that they should keep all their money and that Mexicans are lazy tells you at a minimum of 90% of what you need to know.