This was a pretty eventful week in a lot of different aspects. The political events that unfolded this week were among my favorites to keep an eye on.
SCOTUS overturns the Indian Child Welfare Act and awards custody of a young girl to her adoptive parents, overriding the rights of her Cherokee father. I heard about this quite a few months ago and I sadly lost track of the proceedings. I’m also slightly hazy on the whole story (for shame on me) but I am aware that this ruling has set a precedence for future cases of young Indian children and their parents. When I get the fuller picture on it, I’d love to explore the topic even more. Unfortunately, even with my resources like Twitter and Google, I was unable to come up with a clearer understanding of what the said precedence even is. So even though I don’t have a well-informed opinion yet, I know that I’m interested.
SCOTUS rules DOMA unconstitutional and overturns Prop 8. The thirteen states that have legalized gay marriage will continue to recognize those unions as full legal and binding. These couples will maintain the same rights that Mark and I will come August. They will enjoy the same financial and legal benefits of marriage that we will. And you know what? I don’t view our impending marriage as lessened by this ruling. There is still a lot of fighting to be done for true equal rights for those in the LBGTQ community, but this is an incredible step forward for them. Love is love, people.
WENDY FREAKING DAVIS. A thirteen-hour filibuster in defense of a woman’s right to choose, only to be ended by the petulant naysaying of Texas Republicans… just wow. I don’t think I ever understood just how BIG Texas was until this came to light earlier this week. But to close all but five abortion services in the State of Texas really is the same as banning the practice altogether for
some most women. Wendy Davis spoke from experience, spoke from the heart, and really stuck the proverbial middle finger up to the Republicans who tried to squander the rights of women.
An article that I read on the topic said it best. This is why people like myself, an advocate for minority and women’s rights were so thrilled with Davis this week.
Women, people of color, gay people — anyone who’s underrepresented in national politics — are so desperate to see ourselves reflected and our interests voiced in real-time. Not by a small throng of protesters outside on the capitol steps or by an encampment in lower Manhattan, but in the center of the action, by a credible and even-voiced and authoritative representative, someone who actually has the power to change things. This isn’t to say that straight white men never speak up for our interests. But there is a level of comfort in knowing that the person speaking has lived your experience. And shared experience is also a galvanizing force.
When it comes to these issues, I am so glad that I live in New York State where my autonomy as a woman is mine, and mine alone. From the state’s perspective, to my future husband’s, to my own perspective… everything involving my body is my own. I feel for the women who felt undermined by male legislators at the Texas capitol, and other states who take the same stance for that matter. I know women from these states. How dare anyone play with their rights like these people tried to do? Also, for damn shame on Rick Perry in the aftermath and the legislator who called the crowd of mostly women showing support at the Capitol during Davis’ filibuster “an unruly mob.” Guess some of these legislators need a re-up on what a democracy is. For the people, by the people. That was not an “Occupy Wall Street” tactic but true democracy at work.
President Obama visited Africa this week. I can only imagine why (sarcasm) his foreign diplomacy outreach with African has been far and few in between since taking office (Hint: That’s how racism works). But this week, President Obama went on a much anticipated three-country tour to Africa, first to Tanzania, then to Senegal, and capping it off in South Africa. This is his first visit to Africa since his reelection. And just yesterday, he visited Gopee Island, or the “Door of No Return.” In one of the most poignant images I’ve seen this week, President Obama stands in the doorway where Africans were handed over to slave traders, never to return to their homes. And the article that I read said this about the picture:
Unlike those slaves, he will turn around and leave the House of Slaves the same way he came in. He’ll get on Air Force One and fly back to the White House, the most powerful man in the world.
There have been a lot of mind-boggling moments as well as uplifting and hopeful ones this week. I’ve been glued to the evening news and to NPR, the AP wire, and Politico this week on everything from Snowden (interesting that US allies are refusing to extradite…), Syria, Obama’s trip, Mandela’s health, the Texas legislature, SCOTUS rulings, and the George Zimmerman trial. I’ve also been watching all kinds of documentaries, like last night we watched the documentary about Dr. Jack Kevorkian. I’ve also been catching up on happenings in the Middle East the last few years via documentaries.
And all of this information has been on super overload because this is the first week in a very long time where I’ve had no school work to consider having done before the weekend.
I cannot imagine what the first few weeks of my life will be post-graduation. I will probably geek out much more than I ever thought possible (which is frightening considering this peak into it based on this last week).
Oh yeah, and we got our marriage license. Also, Arrested Development Season 4 is much funnier the second time around. GO FIGURE.
That’s my water cooler talk for this week. Any of this catch your eyes and ears this week as well? What did you find interesting?
I will leave you with one of the most bad ass quotes of the week, brought to you by Texas Senator Leticia Van De Putte:
“At what point must a female senator raise her hand or voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?”