The Last 24 Hours
by Joe Thomas
Last night I stayed up until 2 AM following the Texas senate. I woke up at 9 this morning to watch the Supreme Court.
It’s times like these I’m glad I don’t have a job.
When we talk about decades or eras in America, we often define them by the overarching social or economic situations of those times. The roaring ’20s. The Great Depression. The Civil Rights Era. The tech boom of the ’90s. The beginning of the 21st century will be marked by economic strife, yes, but I hope it will also be remembered as a time when the people of the United States took the time to decide the type of country in which they would like to live.
As I am writing this, it is almost exactly 24 hours after Wendy Davis began her filibuster of the Texas senate to prevent a bill from being passed that would severely restrict the availability of abortions to the women of her state. Her efforts, combined with those of her colleagues Leticia Van de Putte, Kirk Watson, Royce West, John Whitmire, and Judith Zaffirini, served notice to those who would impose their ideals on others that those efforts would not be met without a fight, and with the noise of the gallery drowning out the senate chair, defeated the bill in an incredible showing of strength and unity.
This morning, a Supreme Court that many have criticized for being unwilling to take on controversial cases ruled that the federal government may not discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation. Although they fell short of declaring a right to marriage, the court’s ruling is still a landmark step in the recognition that the federal government is not in the business of dividing it’s citizens into groups and assigning them different rights. The Defense of Marriage Act, the law ruled unconstitutional by this morning’s ruling, was a divisive and bitter piece of legislation whose very name insulted the large number of American citizens who wanted nothing more than to be treated equally.
And so the last 24 hours have been eventful, and exciting, and exhausting for some, and REALLY exhausting for others (looking at you, Senator Davis.) It is heartening that so many people took up the banners of their causes, on both sides. My hope is that people continue to engage with the issues; that the idea that the fix is in, and no amount of shouting can cut through the ever-thickening walls of ill-gotten money and power, gets left behind in exchange for a time when the people of our country have a real conversation with themselves and their fellow citizens about the future of the nation, and recognize that in the end, we’re all in this together. That your rights are my rights. And we all matter.