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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Dramatic conservatives desert democracy

Sometimes, fleeing the country seems like a good idea. Perhaps a warrant is out for your arrest because you’ve murdered several people, or maybe your visa expired and you don’t want to be deported. Or, just maybe, someone has been given rights they’ve deserved since the inception of this nation, and you can’t deal with it. Marriage equality was legalized last week, and if you proclaimed that you would flee the country to move to Canada, Mexico or anywhere else, you’re not only an idiot, you’re the embodiment of democratic failure.

In a week fraught with legal precedent, it’s no wonder that over-privileged and over-reactive conservatives are crying as they pack their minivans and drive north of the border. With the classic symbol of Southern pride being removed or combatted, where Southern pride is the equivalent of white supremacy and the perpetuation of slavery, it’s a really tough week for homophobes and bigots. That the flag, symbolic of a war of oppression, is being replaced with a rainbow one celebrating marriage equality and everything queer only makes it worse for the hateful.

I have something simple to say to those abandoning the nation’s progress: please, go ahead and leave. It’s not the first time that y’all have paraded your intolerance around in a poorly thought out temper tantrum, either; when President Barack Obama was elected, it looked like Canada was getting a ton more immigrants, and it was even worse the second time. I’m confused as to why anyone who would leave now that marriage equality is okay hadn’t already left.

The problem with this drastic action, ignoring the fact that by rejecting America you’re rejecting American democracy and subsequently negating the whole “you are ruining Christian America!” argument, is that same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada for over a decade and was legalized in Mexico this year.

In his dissenting argument, Supreme Court Justice and noted insult artist Antonin Scalia writes the majority’s position represents a “threat to American democracy.” The confusion within Justice Scalia’s dissent, and those of Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas, represent a misconception that America is a Christian nation. It’s not — it is a nation where freedom of religion is celebrated, but freedom to persecute is not.

In his dissent, Justice Alito found concern in an assault on the minority opinion. He claims the precedent “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” Justice Alito writes. “In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

I completely understand Justice Alito’s perspective. Of course the people who are the beneficiaries of oppression don’t assent to the dismantling of the system that upholds oppression and subsequently maintains their privilege. Comparisons of marriage equality to that of segregation and the fight for suffrage are dangerous in their implications of equality — the notion America was built upon. Should those who refuse to assent to the new orthodoxy of rejecting racism and homophobia be vilified? Absolutely.

Chief Justice John Glover Roberts Jr. noted that the issue presented is in no way affected by the constitution, willfully ignoring that oppression and the need for the ratification of rights changes as new identities emerge. Injustice isn’t predicated upon a finite set of obstacles to be overcome, but rather is generated on the basis of new biases and hatred.

“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” Justice Anthony Kennedy writes. “The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”

Make no mistake that black people, women and queer-identifying people have faced a horrific onslaught of injustice throughout the entirety of this nation’s history. The ratification of marriage equality is one tiny, long-awaited step in resolving centuries of injustice.

If you cannot recognize this injustice, and if you feel privileged enough to announce that you’re moving, you are a beneficiary of the system that doles it out. Bobby Jindal, the perennially insane governor of Louisiana, isn’t going to give up the fight.

“This decision will pave the way for an all-out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree [with it],” Gov. Jindal wrote in a statement following the decision. Gov. Jindal isn’t completely wrong; it is going to pave the way for an assault against intolerance and hatred predicated upon religious freedom, but is in no way an assault on Christians, who are welcomed and freely accepted in this nation.

So, if you’re part of the group who wants to leave, please do so. And if you’re a citizen of the great states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi or Texas and are actively preventing or trying to evade cooperating with the law of the land, maybe consider asking your locally elected representative what their thoughts are on secession. 

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Nick Havey is a junior studying physiology and Spanish. Follow him on Twitter.

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