Sunday, July 01, 2007

Not-so-Supreme Court

I thought things were bad when the Supreme Court issued a decision that interfered with doctors’ ability to practice medicine in accordance with their years of education, training, experience and judgement; to follow their Hippocratic oath in accordance with their beliefs instead of the narrow beliefs of the Bush Administration; and to serve their patients in accordance with their patients’ needs, beliefs and wishes.

That decision set a pattern of overturning precedent, placing ideology ahead of logic and legal rationality, and slavish subservience to the administration that nominated the current bench.

And that pattern has continued, to the detriment of the individual and to the benefit of government and moneyed interests, which have increasingly become one and the same.

Subsequent rulings have allowed manufacturers to set minimum retail sales pricing for products: blatantly favoring big business and harming the consumer. This court tells us that employers can discriminate against minorities in pay and benefits; all they have to do is successfully hide it long enough. This court tells us that a citizen cannot challenge an executive branch order in court; not ruling that the order was proper, ruling that a citizen cannot challenge its government. Business and special interest groups are allowed to have unlimited influence in the electoral process, as the court continues to increase the role that is played by money in selecting our supposedly representative government.

And now the court tells us that our cities must return to the dark days of segregated classrooms in our schools.

Segregation, whether by race or any other criteria, is evil. It is the antithesis of everything that I believe this nation stands for. I lived through the sixties. I listened to Dr. Martin Luther King, and I wept when he was killed. I supported laws which prohibited discrimination based on race and I supported affirmative action, and I continue both stands to this day. And yet I know that neither of those is the solution to racial bigotry.

To create a society where a person “is judged not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character” requires not laws but a fundamental change within our social fabric, and that starts with our children. An inclusive society is created by putting our children in an inclusive environment so that they may learn that such is the natural order.

Racial bigotry does not come naturally to children. They learn it by living in a segregated society and it can be avoided in a new generation and erased from our society by creating an inclusive environment in which our children grow up. It is up to us to create that inclusiveness, not just by law but out of a desire to put our nation and its society into balance with nature. Until that balance can be established within our social fabric, we need laws that will maintain it.

And we need a Supreme Court that will support those laws.

America's Cup update

I think the New Zealand team is toast.

They were leading Friday and engaged in a major Chinese Fire Drill when a spinnaker blew out. Then yesterday they were leading and got outsailed on an upwind beat by the Swiss. They have been outsailed, outsmarted, have had equipment failures, and have just plain stubbed their toe. Trailing in the series 4-2, they have to win three straight to come back and if they do I will buy the Brooklyn Bridge from you.

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