Friday, November 21, 2014

A Reader Writes: I Don't Take "Inevitable" Progress for Granted

In response to my posting yesterday about NOM's (purported?) economic collapse, mgardener writes:

Women thought their rights to contraceptives and abortion were secure too. Blacks didn't envision stand your ground laws would target them. 
And who thought a black POTUS would be so controversial in 2014? 
I don't take anything for granted anymore!

Steve and I just had a conversation this week that dovetails with mg's commentary, I think:

I: People are saying that it's inevitable that the Supreme Court will affirm the constitutional right of same-sex couples to civil marriage. Given the court's make-up, I'm not so sure about that inevitability. 
Steve: I've never thought progress towards moral goals is inevitable in any way at all. Movement towards those goals has to be bought by each generation with great struggle and sacrifice. "Progressive" change is often reversed within a single generation, and has to be fought for all over again by later generations. 
I: Yes. Look at what happened to African Americans after Emancipation. For a decade or so, they had voting rights and could even elect members of their community to office. Then along came Jim Crow, and all of that was snatched away. It took over half a century to reverse that reversal — and the rest of the nation let the Southern states implement Jim Crow laws and keep them in place for over a half century, and did nothing at all to stop this. 
Steve: Yes, exactly. That was my point.

I  hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will not try to reverse what seems to many people now an irreversible trend of our culture in the direction of according gay citizens rights, including the right to civil marriage. I also hope that my own state of Arkansas, whose Supreme Court (along with a federal court) heard arguments yesterday about the ban on same-sex marriage in my state, will do the right thing, too.

But I'm far from convinced that the outcome in either case is inevitable. I also agree with mg that we've likely not heard the end of NOM. 

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