So the Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage finally came down today. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was found unconstitutional, and Prop 8 (the infamous California ban on gay marriage) was dismissed on standing, essentially nullifying it.
I’m sure there are going to be a lot of posts today online about how awful and doom and gloomy these rulings are. Just like there were a lot of posts (likely by different people) yesterday about how awful and doom and gloomy the Supreme Court decision on the Voters Rights Act was. It’s a bit disheartening to me when people can crow about how great our government is when things go their way, and then bemoan how awful it is when they don’t.
I live in the United States, and I’m a firm believer in democracy. That means that sometimes my opinions and beliefs will be in the majority. Great. Sometimes they’ll be in the minority. Great. What matters to me is that I live in a country where I can voice those opinions–have those opinions–and not get tossed in jail for having them.
Does our government function perfectly? No. Far from it. But in many ways it’s designed to be clunky. It’s designed in such a way that laws are only made with great difficulty. Part of that means that it will be extremely frustrating a lot of the time. But it also means that the only laws that *do* stick around are the ones that the majority of the country believe in and want to have in place.
Do I look at the decisions of today or yesterday and pull my hair out and bemoan the state of our country? Not at all. The ship on gay marriage has sailed, and it’s a rainbow painted one. I’m fine with that. I had a vote. So did everyone else. Majority rules. If you don’t like the way it turned out, work through the system to try and effect a change.
The rules of this game are all written down. It’s complicated, it’s messy, and it can be a real pain in the rear at times. But I don’t ask for my money back when things don’t go “my way,” and I try not to rub it in other people’s faces when things don’t go “their way”. Because you know what? For better or worse, this country isn’t about my way or your way.
It’s about our way.
We’re a group of imperfect people, trying to find our way toward a brighter future. The opinions on what that future consists of vary wildly, but the sooner we can move beyond an us vs. them approach to government, the better. Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals–recognize that both sides can be fully invested in making our country great. It’s one long debate, and there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer sometimes.
Days like today, where big decisions are made? They inspire me. Because big decisions *are* made.
I remember back in 11th grade, when I was in Mrs. Chapman’s US History Class, she had us grade the presidents as we went through history. And one thing stuck with me then, and it’s stuck with me since. I respect people who have opinions and stick to those opinions. Politicians on the right or left who believe what they believe, campaign on those beliefs, and vote according to them? I respect them, even when I disagree with them.
What drives me crazy are the politicians who just play the game. Who say what they think they need to say, vote how they think they need to vote, do what they think they need to do–all so they can keep playing the game. It’s one of the reasons I initially liked Obama so much. I thought that’s the sort of president he was going to be. And this is what I feel like I got in return:
Actually, I think that video pretty much represents what happens with a lot of us after election day.
I like seeing things actually happen in Washington. Maybe I’ve been watching too much West Wing. But in any case, today and yesterday we had 9 Supreme Court justices sit down, study the laws of the land, and make final decisions on important matters. The very fact that the decisions ended up resulting in different “victories” for each side is enough to give me hope.
I don’t have much else to say about this. Just that I know I like to rage about politics online, and I wanted this post to be different. To be one where I stood up and applauded our government.
Days like today make me happy.
(THAT SAID: Please don’t make me unhappy by being mean of vicious to anyone in the comments. Because then I’ll have to get out the DELETE key and start going to town on your posts.)