Saturday, July 4, 2015
A Short Escape from Reality
When I went to Florida, I totally divorced myself from the world. I didn't log onto a computer for over a week. I didn't watch any television or radio news. Brenda and I joked that the world could be at war and we wouldn't know it.
Instead, we watched the spectacular sunsets over the Keys, to the otherwordly sound of the boat people blowing on conch shells in tribute to the sun going down.
We admired the Royal Poincianas blooming brilliantly tangerine in the medians and the bougainvillea spilling over the sides of walls and fences in shades of scarlet and hot pink and lilac. We listened to the palm trees rustling and spied the occasional Iguana. We saw and heard Frigate birds and pelicans and gulls across the water.
We lost ourselves in a night of lights and the ding-ding-ding of slot machines at the Hard Rock Casino in Fort Lauderdale.
We gorged on shrimp po-boys and grouper and sandwiches mounded high with barbequed pork.
And then we headed home. On the first day out, we happened to see the headline in a day-old USA Today. "Obamacare Upheld by the Supreme Court!" Yes, yes, yes! I forgotten all about the Supreme Court's schedule. We hunted for and found a later newspaper headline. "SCOTUS Affirms Gay Marriage!" More yeses!
Geez, the world was traveling at light speed while we weren't paying attention. What a joyful surprise. The ever-unpredictable Supreme Court made the right decisions (in my humble opinion) in two huge cases with far-reaching ramifications for Americans.
Of course, I suspected these would be the rulings because how could they not be? By deciding in the opposite way on either Obamacare or gay marriage, the court would have plunged the country into chaos. Millions of people suddenly without insurance. Gay people who thought they were married suddenly finding those marriages nullified. It would have been catastrophe.
Naturally, Scalia, Alito and Thomas would have done it anyway but the rational members of the court held sway, thank God.
Conservatives are pissing and moaning and gnashing their teeth ever since. They are always big on hyperbole but they've been even more over the top than they usually are. Glen Beck's website opined that Obama had somehow "intimidated or blackmailed" Chief Justice Roberts. Sean Hannity warned us that death panels were on their way, with the government feeling free to kill us with shots of morphine. (I've seen people die hard and personally, I wish the government would give me the option of being sent off with a shot of morphine). The Breitbart website huffed that the "law is apparently whatever Obama says it is", forgetting the many rulings that have gone against the president. Apparently, the laws should be whatever Breitbart thinks they should be.
The rhetoric got even more extreme on the gay marriage issue. Rick Santorum lamented that the court had "ruined the foundation unit of society." Glen Beck said the decisions might mean the end of radio programs like his because, of course....fascism. Obviously, Christians would no longer have the right of free speech.
Ted Cruz called it "some of the darkest 24 hours in the nation's history." Not the times when thousands of people died, like Pearl Harbor or the Battle of the Bulge or civil war battles or 911 but Obamacare and gay marriage. What a weird sense of priorities that man has.
Anyway, we were bumping along happily back to Indiana when we came to a Confederate flag rally in, I believe, Ashville, Alabama. The good old boys were there with their motorcycles, wearing their Confederate flag doo-rags. They had many more flags all around the Courthouse. People were honking and yelling their support.
I figured that in many cases, these were the same people who'd angrily booed SCOTUS' recent decisions.
Actually, though, no one is trying to ban the Confederate flag except from flying over government facilities that are supported by the taxes of those who see it as a hated symbol of slavery and discrimination. They are still free to fly it or post it on their homes and cars and businesses.
But the very same people who are outraged about losing their right to see the Confederate flag waving over their courthouse, have no qualms about denying the rights of other Americans to have healthcare or marry the person they love, which, you have to admit, are much more consequential to a person's life than a flag.
As always, rights are often in the eye of the beholder.