You may think that because I haven't posted anything here this week that I have no opinions on the various things that have been happening. Oh no, that isn't true. It's just that whenever an opinion struck me about some topic, it was not the right time to be blogging. And by the time I had time to blog, the will to blog had become weak.
So I thought I'd spend today catching up with the various things that I've wanted to post about all week.
Let's go backwards in time starting with the most recent news first.
In regard to the decision to try the 9/11 masterminds in civil court in Manhattan:
I'm totally in favor of this decision. It shows that the our country will stand up for its principles of justice and try these men fairly in a court of law. Of course, not everyone is in favor of this decision. According to the NY Times, opponents included members of Congress, some 9/11 victim's families, and neighbors near the courthouse.
"They argued that Qaeda suspects did not deserve the protections afforded by the American criminal justice system, that bringing them into the United States would heighten the risk of another terrorist attack, that civilian trials increase the risk of disclosing classified information, and that if the detainees were acquitted they could be released into the population."
TomCat over at Politics Plus has a good post about this. As he says,
"While it is true that these terrorists do not deserve the protections afforded by the US criminal justice system, look at the statement that giving them these protections anyway makes about the US before the world. Dispensing justice in full transparency can go a long way toward undoing some of the damage that eight years of torture and abuse of prisoners under Bush and the GOP did to our world prestige."
He also points out how the GOP, represented by Boehner, is once again showing no support for the American principles of justice. Sure, these people aren't citizens. But their crimes were committed on our soil and they should face our type of justice.
And if anyone is worried they may just get off and be released into the United States? Think about it - if you let them go in downtown Manhattan, how far do you really think they'd get? No worries there. (Yes, I know that is not a nice way to think about it. But I can't help it).
Onward to the health care debate.
I am glad the health care bill passed in the House. I know there are many progressives who feel as if this is a Pyrrhic victory, given Nancy Pelosi was forced to allow the Stupak Amendment that will effectively eliminate the possibility of coverage for abortion for a large number of women.
I understand and agree with the disappointment and outrage on the part of progressives and women. But I am practical, and believe that "the best is the enemy of the good." Sometimes it's better to get part of what you want even if it's not perfect. Opposing the bill and refusing to pass it is probably not the right answer.
First of all, this is not the final bill. The Senate needs to pass their version, and then the two versions have to be made into one. A lot can happen during that process.
Secondly, even if the final version includes these abortion restrictions, providing all Americans with health care will still do more for the greater good than if the abortion amendment were left out, but the legislation didn't pass. Having health care coverage will save money for poor or currently uninsured families if someone in the family became ill and incurred large medical bills. Ongoing well care will also ultimately help them stay in better health overall.
Third, whatever passes is not set in stone. When Medicare originally passed, it wasn't the same program as we have today. Later legislation can amend the terms if we have the will to force this to happen.
That said, I have grave concerns about the way the right wing and religious groups are slowly but surely chipping away at a woman's right to choose. Please, go over to Utah Savage's place and read what she has to say on the subject. She has forcefully reminded me of what it was like in those dark days before Roe v. Wade and also made an impassioned plea to the current generation to take up the cause and not take women's rights for granted. Please, read her most recent three posts (starting with the one entitled "My Abortion in 1968"), as she tells it better than I ever could.
The last issue I'd like to talk about today is the defeat of gay marriage in Maine on Election Day. Naturally, I was very disappointed that the voters of Maine voted for this miscarriage of justice. To me, it is ridiculous that basic human rights for our citizens are being put to a majority vote. If this had been done in the past, there would still be a number of states that would have had miscegenation laws on the books - and be enforcing them. Heck, there might even still be slavery!
Why should the majority get to rule on the rights of a minority? It doesn't even make sense. This is a constitutional issue and rightly should be decided by the courts. This is not activist judges at work - this is exactly what the courts are meant for - to enforce civil rights even when it's not something the majority may want.
Of course, the real solution would be for the government to get out of the marriage business altogether. Civil unions for all - let your religion dictate whether it's called marriage. That way religious groups that didn't want to marry gay couples wouldn't have to, and those that do, could. Either way, you could be married, whether you were gay or straight.
This evenhandedness should extend to benefit designations as well. If a person has medical or other coverage from their company or organization, they should be allowed to designate anyone as their beneficiary: spouse, domestic partner (male or female), relative, even friend. We pay extra to add spouses/families to our benefits anyway - why should the company care who you designate? It's all ridiculous to keep basing everything on whether someone is married or not, in this day and age when there are so many different types of households. It is time to move past this antiquated way of judging everything.
That said, the interesting thing is that we are even having these conversations today about gay marriage. A decade ago the idea of domestic partnerships or civil unions was what was setting off the right wing nutjobs. Now even they are hedging and saying that civil unions are OK, but marriage is another story. Change is happening - too slowly, yes - but happening nevertheless.
So, I think I'm all caught up on being opinionated. Baxter will be back next with his own thoughts on the latest news. In the meantime, I'll start trying to catch up with all the blogs I'm behind on reading!