n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

our courts, beloved

Recent news makes it looks like Alito is going to be confirmed. He seems to have the support of most of Senate and whatnot, and unless the Democrats decide to filibuster, which doesn’t look likely, he will be yet another conservative creep within our court system.

Since I’ve been unclear precisely what a filibuster is—besides a very cool word that means in my parallel universes: developing one’s bosoms, or cracking a good one on someone's noggin—I’ve done a little web research. According to some historian, it basically means yapping for such a long time that folks will do anything to shut you up. In other words, I employ filibustering on a regular basis, as do a number of people I know. I know it’s horrible that I didn’t know what this word meant exactly before this point, but all I remembered from US History (taught by one very beleaguered fellow in Florida) is that it’s something employed by the minority to make the majority think a little harder. When you consider it, this is a tactic long employed by the unempowered… employed really because they had to, since nobody was listening most of the time.

One thing that I learned from the above article is that the word came from the Dutch term for “pirate,” which I love even more. Is it coincidence that the US Navy recently apprehended a boat of pirates, now a moderately common phenomenon in poorer countries? Hmmmm. Maybe, maybe not.

As I understand it, the two biggest problems that some find with Alito is that he defers to presidential power (since it is oh so checked) too much, and that he believes in a firm interpretation of the Constitution as it stands. The second is what I find problematic, not that I hate the Constitution or anything, but what this stance seems to mean is not being willing to consider the Constitution as a flexible document meant to incorporate new concerns and problems. It means little activism is encouraged, and activism is what has helped women, minorities, and the unempowered to rise to the level of equality before the law. So basically, Alito would hopefully, if things were moderately okay, abide by the law, but not be willing to change the parts of laws that are unfair.

-Queer Interlude and Relevance-

So, for instance, if certain states decided to create a ban, out of thin air, on queer marriage, which as I see it, is completely unconstitutional, the folks who abide the letter of the law would make sure it is enforced in the court system and perhaps not overturned due to a modern America needing all its types of people treated with equality. This is not my only bone of contention, but the whole gay marriage thing highlights a problem I see in the States. Until queers are granted the right to make the colossally insane move of marriage, they are not deemed equal before the law, and what this translates to for many Americans, is the right to treat queers and indeed different folks, as inferior to the mainstream. Separate is not, as I think has been before debated, equal when you are talking about the law. And frankly, it seems that queers are too frequently made either scapegoats or exotic idols because of this system.

Personally, I agree with a friend about marriage; he believes that it should be removed from government interference altogether, and what should be implemented in its place is a system where people can choose “households,” which might be man and wife, or wife and wife, or friend and friend, or sister and brother, or father and son, or what not… and set up a system of tax breaks and protection for any people who decide to cohabitate and share resources and perhaps children. Granted, this would mean that many more people would qualify, but it would equalize a system that encourages people to marry for financial benefit. I hate to admit it, but I think marriage should be a private affair involving family, church or no church, and community, and should not be about the government’s stamp of approval.

When I was working with immigrants, I just saw too many women and men who had married for American citizenship, and suffered because of it. Mostly the women suffered; I saw women working three jobs to pay their “husband” back, or being forced into sex with their “husband,” or otherwise being taken advantage of, just because where they came from was economically or socially unlivable. If the marriage thing was sorted out, some sort of alternative to selling one’s body and often soul to another more privileged person (government sanctioned prostitution) would have to be created.

I know some folks might say, “Well, if they didn’t do the illegal move of marrying just for Citizenship, it wouldn’t be a problem,” but considering what the options are for so many of the women and men, that’s not quite fair. In fact, it is an argument that fits closely with abortion arguments (Well, if they just didn’t have sex. Or if they just had the baby), but is even worse because it involves someone’s lifetime and not just nine months. The people I’ve known who immigrate to the US do it rarely because they hate their hometown, but because they cannot find a subsistence of some sort there. This is another issue altogether and shouldn’t be coupled with a marriage sanction.

So, this is partially why I believe that some major revamping is needed on the whole marriage shit, rather than just granting queers the right to marry. But barring total revolution, it’s insane to say that some people have the right to dedicate their lives to each other and get financial//law benefits from it, and others don’t, just because the Bible tells us that the penis fits so nicely into the vagina.

---Back to the crux

In other words, I think Alito might not be the fellow to really look at the idea, morphing and changing with new light and acceptance, that the Constitution protects us all equally and should change to fit society. But unfortunately, it looks like Alito is going to win and I, with a bunch of other folks, will just have to wait to see what the next X amount of years are going to be like in the whole judicial side of our world. Great.

So, filibuster: please. Talk your little tongues off until the man gives a few more answers than he has.
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