June 26, 2015 - A date which will live in the opposite of infamy

In a sense, it's a little disappointing that the "Land of the Free" took so long to get around to something like marriage equality, but I'm not going to let that get in the way of enjoying something that's been a long, long time coming. In the end, the Supreme Court just ratified what America as a whole has already determined. That's not to say it wasn't a long, difficult, and bitter fight, but in the end, the court didn't lead so much as just recognize reality.

I was raised in a very different time. That being the case, I'm going to have to have to re-learn some nomenclature and un-learn some assumptions. That's fine by me. Societies changes and language changes to accommodate those changes and older folks like myself have to adapt. These are symptoms of growth and progress. I'm going to get my words wrong sometimes, I'll mistakenly assume that when a guy gets married that he'll have a "wife," and I'll be embarrassed. I won't do it on purpose, and I'll expect to be corrected when I get it wrong. I'll get there, just bear with me.

On the other hand, I don't expect ever to understand how people can feel bitter and belittled by other people getting the same freedoms that they already enjoy. It strikes me as petty and selfish to think that your rights are less valuable when they're extended to more people. At that point, you're not talking about "rights," you're talking about "privilege." Perhaps someone can explain it to me in terms that make sense to me, but to date, no one has managed it. 

In a roundabout way, today is going to be kind of a watershed for speculative and science fiction writing. From this point forward, any story about a future that doesn't include same-sex relationships is going to look dated and naive. It's going to feel implausible. This is a good thing. We as a people have grown a little bit and our stories should reflect this. 

This isn't the end of the road by any stretch of the imagination. There are plenty of institutional biases still entrenched in society and in law that need to be swept away. There are certianly many, many more that I'm not even aware of, and there will new ones emerging every generation. There is no final destination on the path to reform. Reform is a process.  That doesn't mean it's not worth doing, and it certainly doesn't mean we shouldn't celebrate with abandon when we get it right.

So, congratulations to the Supreme Court of the United States and everyone living in America: You got this one right. I feel much more excited about getting married now that it's a more inclusive institution. I'll close with this: I think today should be a national holiday. Either the 26th of June or the last Friday in June. How does "Freedom Day" sound to you?

Voting Because It Matters

The more local an election is, the greater importance of your vote.

I know it's much sexier to vote in state-wide or national elections. It's easier to get worked up against the eternal struggle between Good and Evil, which is to say, Your Party versus the Other Party, as represented by two candidates on a national ballot. I get caught up in it as much as anyone. 

Unfortunately, your vote doesn't really matter very much in a national election. It just doesn't. Even in Wyoming, the state where individual votes have the greatest impact on an election (thanks, electoral college!), your vote is a literal drop in a bucket. Not only that, but the folks you're voting for only represent you in the most abstract of senses. You are not at the top of their mind when they're doing whatever Presidents or Senators do on a daily basis. There's too many of "you" and too few of "them" for any sort of real representation to occur.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have your local elections. Your city council members represent a few thousand people rather than tens of millions. The bond issues affect you and yours on a daily basis. The school board (you do elect your school board, don't you?) makes decisions that can affect your children's entire lives. These are very close, very immediate concerns.

The best part is that your vote can actually make a difference in these elections. In a national election, coming within a few million votes is considered a close race, whereas a few hundred votes can produce a landslide in a local election. 

I won't be writing about political things very often, but I'll make an exception today. I urge you, if you haven't already, please get out and vote today. It might actually make a difference.