Civics is no longer a course that demands the same attention in our schools as when I was a youngster. I am reminded of that fact over and over as news stories pile high of how my fellow citizens just do not understand how the system we live in is supposed to work.
My differences with others is often not in how policy should be constructed. Rather it is how the process should work before we get to any outcome, be it left, right, or down the middle. So I was not surprised when the news was reported Election Night from Iowa about the votes that were cast against three members of their supreme court.
I was not shocked to see that 54% of Iowans voted “No” to retaining the three judges. In fact, I expected that outcome. I might add in spite of my lack of shock it still was unheard of for such a thing to happen in this small rural state.
No, I was not shocked, but I was sad.
But not sad over the issue that made so many voters upset. That being equal rights for gay people. In and of itself that issue is a no-brainer for those who understand the constitution. All seven members of the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that an Iowa law restricting marriage to between a man and a woman violated the constitutional right of equal protection.
Instead my sadness had to do with the process of governing and reasoning in this nation that seems to have found a huge divide, and slips ever further and deeper into the darkness of unreasonableness.
Three judges lost their seats for doing their jobs! They lost their seats for interpreting the constitution fairly by declaring equal rights to gays and lesbians.
That the court decision was seen by some Iowans as not the outcome they wanted should be understood to be how the process in this country at times works. But to then retaliate against the judiciary for doing its job was truly maddening. Judicial reasoning and decision-making should not be made into a political football. Judicial outcomes should not need to be created to make the most simple in a society calm.
In Iowa a large conservative organization moved into the state, and marshalled large sums of money to defeat those justices up for election who had ruled, as the constitution dictated, for equal rights. That we even elect justices is just bizarre to me. I have long been opposed to this madness. But then to crucify them for doing their jobs is nothing short of obscene.
Courtrooms should be places where constitutions, both the state and federal ones, should be the focus. That way all the legal rights of everyone has the dignity and protections that they deserve. The special interests that smear the system, discredit fine jurists for doing their jobs, and warp judicial outcomes was not a part of my civics course as a youngster.
Let me put this in terms that angry white men….and they are the ones I hold accountable for most of the damage that was inflicted on the nation this fall…..can understand.
If a call was made unfairly and repeatedly by a referee during a Sunday football game there is a good chance that the man in white and black would be replaced. If the referee was knowingly being biased and unfair in his calls he would be ousted.
BUT if a referee made a fair call that the beer-drinking couch potato did not like that would be just too bad. The game was being played fairly and the informed and trained referee who understands the game would keep his job. The couch-potato would just have to learn more about why the play was fair.
So I ask my readers why it is that when it comes to the big issues of the day (as in Iowa) we allow the least informed to have the final say? How many other parts of your life do you want the couch potato to make the big call for?
How many pages of the court decision did the average white male in Iowa read of the case they were challenging the justices over”
Huh, how many?
In my part of the country what happened in Iowa is called the tail wagging the dog.
I think it is about time the educated ones in America started raising a little hell.