2012 may be the most important Presidential election of your lifetime.
For me, not voting has never been an option and this year not exercising your right to vote should not be one of your options either.
If you are a woman, the results of this election will affect your choices about your health, and if you are a working woman, your income. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, the election will determine whether you will remain a second class citizen for most or the rest of your lifetime. If you are LGBT and married to a non-citizen, it may affect your ability to stay together in this country. If you are a straight ally it will affect the lives of your LGBT friends, neighbors and family and the women in your life. If you know someone who is undocumented, it may affect their ability to remain in this country. And whomever you are, if you do not believe that corporations should be treated like people and be allowed to potentially buy our elections, then you will also be affected.
Because rarely has either of these campaigns spoken the three most important words that will affect your lives: The Supreme Court. And given the age and health of some of the justices, it is likely that at least one and perhaps two or even three members will be replaced in the next four years.
Mitt Romney has promised to use the most rabidly conservative justices, Scalia and Thomas, as the role models for his picks to replace the members who will likely retire or die in the next four years. Now, Romney has changed his mind about almost every stance he has taken and he may change his mind about this one, but if you think that you have the right, in the privacy of your own home, to read the books or look at the magazines you choose, to masturbate or to have consensual sex that does not restrict itself to the missionary position with your heterosexual spouse, then you might not want to risk it.
Remember that Scalia wrote in Lawrence vs. Texas that if the court was not prepared to validate laws based on “moral choices,” state laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity would not prove sustainable.* And he wrote and Thomas concurred that when the Supreme Court overturned the Texas law that allowed two men to be arrested for having sex in their own bedroom, “Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct…. [T]he Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed.”
Scalia cited the majority opinion’s concern that the criminalization of sodomy could be the basis for discrimination against homosexuals as evidence that the majority ignored the views of most Americans: “So imbued is the Court with the law profession’s anti-anti-homosexual culture, that it is seemingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously ‘mainstream’; that in most States what the Court calls ‘discrimination’ against those who engage in homosexual acts is perfectly legal.”
Now chances are you might not object to states having the right to outlaw bigamy, incest and bestiality. But indulging in masturbation, adultery, fornication and obscenity are not practices restricted to LGBT citizens and by Scalia’s reasoning could be constitutionally outlawed by state law.
If you believe that women have the right to determine whether they should bring an unwanted pregnancy to term and that they should be paid the same salary for the same work as their male counterparts; if you believe that what consensual adults do in their own home is their right and should not be affected or determined by the state in which they happen to be living; if you believe that Corporate entities should not be allowed to anonymously influence our elections, then not voting should not be an option for you either. And in addition to voting, please make a concerted effort to remind your friends and members of your families that they also need to vote.
Image: Design by Andrew Adam Caldwell, photo by Charles Moore.
Stuart Wilber is a Seattle activist who skipped classes in high school to watch the McCarthy– Army Hearings. Having seen it get better and worse and better again over the years, he continues to hope he will experience full federal equality in his lifetime.
Photo by Mathew Ryan Williams
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.