I couldn’t sleep last night. I was thinking about the Supreme Court. I know, I know. Why was I thinking about the Supreme Court? Politics much? I wish I didn’t ruminate so much about politics. But as someone who has and continues to be disrespected by nearly 40% of the population, I can’t help but consider how that minority is actively now using the system to deny me my humanity and will use the judiciary to do it now. It has been using state and federal legislature, governors, and POTUS to do so for the last eight years.
I get it. We who are/were the minority used the courts to do the same thing. The only difference was that we wanted to expand the legal definition of personhood to all peoples regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, physical and mental capacity, or any other reason someone wanted to use to deny a person their right to exist freely. We won battles before the judges because of mighty warriors such as Thurgood Marshall and RBG.
Now all these decisions, “super precedents,” are in danger of being overturned. These decisions, which gave people of color, women, and LGBTQI people a place to stand as they fought discrimination and dis-humanity from others, are now in the hands of a majority of SCOTUS justices. This majority includes a black man, a white woman, and four white men, all heterosexual and so-called “original intent” judges.
“Original intent” never considered me a human being.
That is why I think about the Supreme Court.
I don’t define my worth from the Supreme Court or any political institution, but I also know the government and societal system the government inspires, allows, and creates can make it easy or hard for me to live my life.
I was able to marry the man I love. (Even though we are different races. But thankfully, we were heterosexual.)
I wouldn’t want or can have an abortion now in my late 40s. (Soon, I won’t be able to get pregnant.)
But I can’t change the color of my skin or my indigenous features. And so I have to “survive” situations that others do not have to even think twice about experiencing. Traffic stops. Shopping in a store. Sleeping in my bed. Taking a jog in a neighborhood. Presumed guilty until proven innocent unless executed not worthy of due process.
Now, after reading the words of the next Supreme court Justice, I realize that soon the “rule of law” will make it harder, if not impossible, to hold anyone accountable for the denial of my civil rights, be that discrimination, educational, economic, technological, or any plethora of other ways, because of “original intent.”
Again, because “original intent” never considered me and many of us as human beings.
Be grateful if you don’t have to lie awake at night thinking about the Supreme Court. You have the personal privilege of not being put back on the slave auction block. But some of us do not own that privilege. We survive in the “penumbra” of other’s privilege.
And no, we aren’t overreacting, because it hasn’t even been 100 years since we experienced how racist, sexist, and homophobic this country’s government, and the citizens who voted for it, can be.
Some of us are trying to figure out how to, once again, achieve common civil rights for ourselves and our fellow citizens who were not included or included as less than by “original intent.”
Rest assured, we will figure it out. Because no matter how American culture/religion/politics wants to impose secondhand citizenship on us, we won’t accept it. We are smart and strategic. And we have the Spirit of the Law on our side.