Why the old man feeds pigeons

It was a grey and gloomy Paris morning where occasional rain drops did not seem to chase the patrons off the sidewalks and into the many cafés that were sprinkled liberally around the area.  This particularly grimy part of town was liberally spray painted with “street art.”  Teams of youths and an occasional solo artist spent many evenings decorating the buildings, fences and a few trucks with their personal designs.  When we arrived at the nearby train station the afternoon before, we noticed the last few miles before the station contained a nonstop view of this French city artistry.  Back home we would call this graffiti, nothing more.

Paris

Paris

We approached a corner cafe with no thought of sitting outside.  My travel companions did not want to “take our breakfast in the streets.”  I would have preferred to be outside where I could watch Paris stroll by, but was left with the view from whatever window we could sit near.  My friends never actually took breakfast.  It did not fit their normal routine and they were not about to change for Paris or Strasbourg or any town in between.  One ordered Coke while the other attempted to order “jus d’orange” in his best sounding fake French accent.

“Café américain and croissant,” I ordered without any attempt to sound French.  I figured the waiter knew we were Americans before we sat down.  They always seem to know.  He smiled and wandered off to fix our drinks.  My tired friends stared off aimlessly as if sugared drinks would be required to bring them back to life.  I studied the room as we waited for our order.  Two men were standing at the counter enjoying espresso and talking loudly, as if that was the thing to do at 8 hours 30 minutes on the morning clock.  Paris life does not begin too early, unless you are a baker.

As our drinks were being set down in front of us, I spied a grey little man in a tattered grey coat walking slowly past the window to my left.  He was elderly, I presumed by his grey hair and grey stubble.  His open coat revealed a grey or dirty white shirt and several keys which hung on long strings from around his neck.  He carried a baguette in one hand while using the other hand to pull a cart with a small case attached to it.  I imagined the dirty, beat-up looking case carried his most valued possessions, whatever they may be.  Before too long, he disappeared from view.  My friends had not noticed him at all.

Our bill had come to fifteen euros.  Even at a good exchange rate, this would seem a high price to pay back home.  As it was a Paris cafe, I figured we were paying for the view of dirty streets and the indifferent service of our handsome waiter.  I really did not mind, however.  I was just glad to be anywhere we could take the pace of life as we pleased.  In that regard, we could blend in well for a week.

We left the cafe and were on our way to begin the tour of famous Paris landmarks, monuments and churches.  There is an ample supply of all three in the French capital.  A few days in the city of lights would not be enough to see them all, but one always hopes to return to Paris.  It will not matter how many times you go, there is always the belief deep down that you will return.

We moved up to the corner and waited to cross the boulevard lined with trash from the day before.  Although the city cleaned the streets often, it did not seem to matter as the locals tossed their trash anywhere along their path.  Perhaps they expected trash to be collected by city workers every day.  It is not for lack of trash receptacles that they throw garbage to the ground, as containers are everywhere.  I guess those must be for the tourists.

Metro

Metro

Down the center of the street was a parkway with a paved center and grassy areas along the sides.  We took the pathway which was lined with park benches.  As we moved toward the sign that said “Passage Public Metro” at the far end of the parkway, I noticed the little grey man just a short distance ahead of us.  He was standing in front of one of the benches and had the baguette firmly in hand.  As he tore a piece of the bread and put it in his mouth, pigeons flocked to him as if he was their leader and they were his faithful followers.  As a reward for coming to his side, he tore off a chunk of the baguette, then ripped it into small pieces and tossed them all around him.  At this site even more pigeons came to visit and soon the old man stood in a sea of birds, alternately eating some of the baguette and tossing some.  His subjects cooed their approval in a tone that I always found annoying.

As we wandered past the grey patch of ground where the old man stood, many of the birds took flight in order to clear the way before us.  We could not be slowed down on our trip to the stairway that would lead us into the ground and to one of the many subway trains of Paris.  I thought it was a shame all the birds were leaving the old-timer so I turned around to take a look after we had walked on by.  Since the old man had more baguette in hand, the black and white and grey pigeons all returned to continue the feast.  This would be the most attention the man would receive that day.  As a matter of fact, it was the most attention the man received most days.  As long as he returned each morning baguette in hand, his somewhat loyal avian subjects would appear to greet him.  This would bring him his daily moment of joy.

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I’m Not From Here

Life in Gaza

“Did I ever tell you that I am not from here?” my young Palestinian friend asked me one day.

“Yes,” I reminded him.  “You told me that.”

It seems my friend spent the first twelve years of his life in Abu Dhabi.  Now he has spent the next twelve in Gaza.

“Why would you move to such a place?” I naturally asked.

Photo credit: startrek.ehabich.info common license

Photo credit: startrek.ehabich.info common license

He laughed as he gave his response.  “It was not my idea.  My father wanted to return here.”

His father is a Palestinian from Gaza.  He wanted to return to his homeland.  It is a common emotion.  Many people wish to return to their homeland after they move away.  There remains a certain yearning to be in the land of your ancestry.  This is part of the emotional conflict that resides in many people of the divided lands of Palestine.  In fact, it is one of the reasons for war.

Apparently they did not return to Gaza expecting a better life.  I do not know what they had in the United Arab Emirates, but it certainly had to be better than being in a land that is sometimes torn by violence or even all out war as it is now.  For one wishing to go home, perhaps the threat of future war does not dissuade you from returning.

Indeed Jews and Palestinians have risked their lives to stake out a home in what is mostly a hostile climate and, of course, frequently a hostile environment.  Finding peace among neighbors who question why you are on a particular parcel of land can be a tough life.

A narrow strip of land

A narrow strip of land

My friend knows of the harsh realities that Gaza presents to its citizens, mostly refugees, but he also knows first hand a life somewhere that is not as cruel as life can be along the Sinai desert on a small strip of land.  Like many others, he also sees what life is like in other parts of the world.  The internet provides the opportunity to travel to other lands, meet other people and learn new things.  For some, the knowledge that rides on the waves of cyberspace also calls out to students and citizens who seek freedom.  It is the siren call that some long to answer.

My friend knew that his family would be unhappy when he left Gaza one day.  He told me he desired to return to school, to be a student of languages, to have a job that would go along with his language skills.  Although he was not certain where in the world he could end up, but Gaza did not seem to hold a future.  It is devoid of culture that can be found in other cities.

“Who would build anything here when it might get blown up some day?”  This is a logical question.  Why invest in anything of value when you do not know what the future would hold for such an investment?  It could be lost in the flash of a rocket blast.

When I wrote of my friend in the story that first appeared here on Sunday, I mentioned that I had not heard anything since Friday morning when he wished me a good day as I headed off to work.  I don’t know where he was headed in the overcrowded and dangerous strip of land.

During Friday he “liked” my facebook status, “pray for peace.”  I have tried to contact him without success so far.  I can imagine that power must be knocked out to large areas of Gaza City and the internet may be unavailable.  I await go news and still pray for peace.

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Did You Hear That?

Life in Gaza

Last Tuesday night was a pleasant night in the big Midwest city I call home.  It was just about a perfect summer night, with pleasant temperatures and a light breeze.  You dream of nights like that.  On the other side of the world, it was more of a nightmare than anything else.  If you dreamed of anything, it was finding peace and perhaps a home somewhere, anywhere else in the world.

“Did you hear that?” he asked me in a quiet tone of voice.

“Yes, I hear it,” I told him.  It was the sounds of rockets landing nearby.  Gaza City was under siege by rocket attack.  It had been going on all night.  In the early hours before dawn in the Middle East, we talked by Skype.

I met my Palestinian friend a couple of years ago on a language learning site called Livemocha.  He was a student interested in languages and I was there continuing my feeble attempt to learn some French.   The site had a social media type component where language students could ask other language students to help with their lessons.  Through that method you could earn virtual currency you could then use to have teachers correct your lessons, rather than students.  Several asked for my help with English.  I would correct their lessons or listen to their voice lessons and comment back on their pronunciation and use of language.   It was all well structured then.  A couple of the students have kept in touch, one is a teenager in Brazil, the other is a young man in Gaza.

Gaza Strip

Gaza Strip

On Monday, when things were starting to fall apart in Gaza, I left a text message, “Write, tell me you are safe.  The news makes me sad, I want you to be somewhere safe.”  Later that morning he responded, “Hello! Thanks. I’m kinda okay.  The situation is not good at all but I’m still alive.”  By Monday night the tone of his message was a bit more somber: “Today was really terrible here. They rocketed us with more than 200 rockets.  I could not sleep all night long.”

On Tuesday night, I left another message at night.  I mentioned that we saw rockets landing on both sides.  “I wish you could get out of there right away,” I typed.  Then a file came across.  He sent me an English language article from a Turkish newspaper.  It said the three Israeli teenagers whose deaths may have led to this fighting were killed in an accident, and Israelis hid their bodies. Later they claimed Hamas had killed the boys.  I told him this is not the story the rest  of the world has and I sent him an article from my MSN home page.  I did admit Hamas did not take credit for the killing.

“Hamas said that they didn’t kill anyone. And they (Israel) want to start the war as usual. If Hamas rocketed 200, they rocketed more than 500 only for an hour.”  I told him I would be upset everyday until he could get away from there.  Then he called.

We spoke for 11 minutes and 04 seconds.  He explained the dangerous situation his family and friends find themselves in.  A few explosions were heard during the course of the call.  At the time we were finishing the call it was the early morning hour he might be getting up for prayers.  It is the holy month of Ramadan and the day begins early and the fasting lasts all day and well into the night.  I suspect there is little prayer and contemplation as homes are being destroyed and women and children killed.

Of course, I know there are rockets landing on the other side, but you will see that the other side has a comparative lack of casualties.  That’s because they have warning sirens, bomb shelters, missile defense systems.  In comparison, the average person in Gaza is defenseless against the constant bombardment that the other side brings against anything it might think could be Hamas, whether it is home or work, school or mosque, café or restaurant.  The proof that war is hell is everywhere in the poverty-stricken patch of the world called Gaza.

Wednesday began with some text messages as before.  He sent a video across and asked me to watch.  It was an explosion near his house.  Another video showed small children, injured and bloody being carried from a site of play by the looks of the background.  After a few exchanges about the videos, he called.  We talked about the situation in Gaza.  Odd to me is that people are not mad at Hamas.  He tries his best to explain that to me.  We talk of the sad history of Palestine.  He shows me a Wikipedia article to help get some time frames correct.  He also sends over a book whose merits I have yet to judge.  We also talk of other things.  In the midst of war, we can still dream of better times ahead for everyone.  He wishes to return to his studies and be a student of languages.  Now he is a prisoner, so to speak, in an overcrowded piece of land where most people are refugees from their own homes on land nearby.

I did not find him Thursday night online so I left a message.  I checked Friday morning before work and found him online.  We sent messages back and forth for a few minutes.  He told me it was much worse there.  I told him I would pray all day for peace, and I had to go so as not to be late for work.  “Okay. Have a good day,” he wrote.  In the midst of war he wishes me a good day.

That was the last message I had.  As I write this for you on Saturday night, I have nothing more.  He did like my status on facebook at some point on Friday.  I wrote, “Pray for peace.”

Note:  I have written many pieces of fiction for this space and another on Word Press.  This is the true story of a small part of my week.  I can not begin to imagine what it is like for my young friend in Gaza.  I can only recount for you some of his words and stories.
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WHITE FLOWERS ON THE RIVERBANK

Rich Paschall:

More summer greenery from SERENDIPITY. Thanks. Marilyn.

Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:

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Today I’ll be at the hospital all day undergoing tests to see how my heart is doing. I will keep in my mind images from a dreamy afternoon on the bank of a river.

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Where white wildflowers grow and birch trees arch over the water.

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Exercising your rights

“… to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.”

Liberty Bell, Independence Hall

Liberty Bell, Independence Hall

If only we could separate ourselves from the political powers that be.  They seem to have lost touch with us, or perhaps by not being an active part of the process, we have lost touch with them.  Oh yes, we see them all too often in political ads and very brief news clips, but do we really know them?  Are they serving our nation, our states, our cities well?  Are they only serving the causes of the rich benefactors that helped put them in power?  Do they refuse to comply with their appointed duties and to act under laws “the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.”  For if it is not the public good for which they serve, then they are not serving at all.  When it comes to the duties of having fiscal responsibility and reaching across the aisle for compromise, many have “utterly neglected to attend to them.”  While pork barrel projects can get tacked on to public bills and items that benefit one another can find agreement, some in turn “refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People.”  Where is service for the common good?  Do some of our politicians have a notion of “common good”, or is their idea of good being anything that opposes the other party?

“…That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…”

Perhaps many of the millionaires who pretend to represent the “little people” have forgotten that they owe their power to the consent of the people, or at least they should owe it.  We give our consent when we vote.  That is exercising our rights.  We also give our consent when we do not vote.  By withholding our voice, we consent to letting others decide who is in power, who sets policy and who spends our many tax dollars.  We can not accuse our politicians of “imposing Taxes on us without our Consent” if we fail to make any effort to give consent in the first place.  We should throw off the politicians who are not spending our money wisely or serving the public welfare.

“… it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.”

If collectively we are dissatisfied with the state of the union and the lawmakers who have failed to enact a budget and brought us to the brink of the fiscal cliff while campaigning for themselves, then it is not just our right, but our duty to step forward and elect those who will do a better job.  While we consider our slim choices, we must recognize we will continue to get more of the same if we keep sending back the same legislators to maintain the same stalemates, except perhaps when it comes to their own benefits.  With the monumental disappointments of the current group of clowns, and  “their Acts of pretended Legislation” it must be our patriotic duty to consider what is at stake in the next election and endeavor to “institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”  For their will be little happiness if we continue down the road of perpetual impasse.

“…with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

There was a time when America was not so polarized into extremes.  Great causes saw us come together to provide solutions, even when the tasks were monumental.  A land so severely divided with its king that its pledge to stand together for independence brought forth a land of determination.  Even divided against itself in civil war, it found a way to heal.  The calling of World Wars meant the mobilization of the nation to see the fight to the finish.  A devastating economic crash found a people ready to be put back to work and in turn built some of the greatest construction projects in our history.  Roads, dams, power plants, national parks, and countless projects saw legislators reach across the aisle.  Although vilified by some opponents, one president was returned to office four times to heal a nation and guide it through rough economic times, then through war across the globe.  Where is that great spirit?  It is time for a landslide of votes.  I am not talking in favor of any candidate.  This is about a turn out so tremendous in size, that politicians will understand everyone wants action.  Everyone is watching.  Everyone is willing to turn out and vote and that may just mean turning the rascals out of office.  We must pledge “our sacred honor” to vote!

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES…”

Wikimedia  commons

Declaration of Independence

If you did not already know, all the parts in italics above are quotes from the Action of the Second Continental Congress.  That is, of course, The Declaration of Independence.  Perhaps you did not know that Independence was actually declared on July 2nd, 1776.  The Continental Congress approved the final text on July 4th.  It was not actually signed until August 2nd, despite the wonderful scene in the play and the movie, 1776.  It may have been mostly the work of Thomas Jefferson, but it was a 5 member committee that wrote the Declaration (See, Congress can work together!)  One of the members of the committee, Robert Livingston, never signed it.  Committee members John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the 50th anniversary of the vote, July 4th 1826.  They had an infamous falling out, but historical letters indicate they reconciled through their final correspondence.  Roger Sherman and Benjamin Franklin were the other committee members.  Franklin was the oldest signer of the document.  He was 70 at the time.  Finally, historians doubt that anyone actually rang the “Liberty Bell.”

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It’s Your Party

Celebrate the true meaning of the day

It a day of parties and since it is Friday, many may be planning a bigger celebration than usual. That’s due to the fact this may lead into a 3 day weekend.   Your city or town may have started it off with fireworks last night.  The well-known Boston Pops moved their fireworks to the 3rd, not because they want to have an early party, but because bad weather is looming on the east coast.

Here in the Midwest, some towns began the party last night with fireworks while others are going for the more traditional 4th of July celebration.  I am all in favor of the traditional celebrations.  To me, moving the special events around is a signal that it is all about the party and I don’t think that should be it.

Assembly Room

Independence Hall, Photo credit: Antoine Taveneaux, taken with Pentax K-5

The day is actually about an event that was a long time in the making.  The final draft of the action of the Second Continental Congress was finished on July 2nd 1776 and passed on July 4th.  The famous signing of the document did not take place for a month while waiting for all participants to be assembled.  It did not lead to fireworks although the Revolutionary War had already begun.  The Liberty Bell probably was not rung on the 4th according to historians.  In fact, there likely was no party at all, as the matter was serious business for the delegates of the 13th colonies.

The group had already been meeting for over a year when the Declaration was made.  During the previous July they had adopted The Olive Branch Petition in an attempt to avoid all out war with Great Britain.  The very next day the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms was issued.  The Continental Army was formed and strategies were adopted.  The bitter struggle that followed led the colonies to declare independence.

Three committees were formed in June 1776.  One drafted a Model Treaty to establish a way to deal with foreign powers.  Another was to write the Articles of Confederation to put together the model for governance of the colonies.  A third committee of 5 members wrote the Declaration of Independence although it is largely considered the work of Thomas Jefferson.  Some of his language was likely the source of lively debate.  The result proves that difficult work can be done quickly and compromises can be reached across the many members.

When I put out my flag this morning, I noticed no others flying on the block.  It made me wonder how many appreciated the events that went into the making of this holiday.  How many really know the history of the Second Continental Congress that forged the nation we have today?  How many think it is just some sort of day we set aside for picnics and fireworks?  Has the meaning of the most important day in our nation’s history been lost?

It’s your party.  That’s for sure.  As a matter of fact, it is the party for everyone who calls these United States of America home.  When you see the red, white and blue, let them have meaning for you today.  If there was no particular meaning to the colors at the time they were adopted, let them be a symbol today.  They stand for the freedom that allows us to live in a country where we can celebrate our freedoms openly.  The people of many other countries can not throw such a party.

Source: National Archives
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OUR FINAL DESINATION

Rich Paschall:

A GPS named Richard?

Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:

Wrong Turns – When was the last time you got lost? Was it an enjoyable experience, or a stressful one? Tell us all about it.


It was late in the day when we rolled into Gettysburg. Tired, ready for a shower and a meal, we asked Richard our faithful GPS to take us to the nearest motel. We followed his directions carefully.

main street Gettysburg

It was our first visit to the area. Road-weary, we were too exhausted to deal with getting lost and we were (are) often lost. Diligently, we followed Richard’s directions.

After a few turns and one long straightaway, Richard announced in his loud, clear voice: “You have reached your destination!” Indeed we had, though it was not the one we had it mind.

As far as we could see lay miles of tombstones. Richard had brought us to our ultimate destination, what must have been Gettysburg’s largest modern cemetery. It stretched for miles.

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Pride

When I posted the following two years ago I purposely chose Gay Pride week in Chicago.  I also purposely did not mention “gay” anywhere.  I would rather let everyone decide which part of themselves they were most proud of being, and hope they could see everyone wants to have pride.  Also, to be proud of one thing in your life is not license to hate all of the other groups in your community.  Diversity is our strength, not our weakness.  Also note, at the time of this writing Benedict XVI was Pope. 

Everyone wants to feel like they belong, and they want to feel proud. One of the neighborhoods where I grew up was very Irish American. Indeed our parish was run by an Irish American bishop and there were always priests of Irish descent there. The Irish friends and families we knew seemed to enjoy life so much and were so proud of their heritage, it almost made you wish you were Irish too. Of course on St. Patrick’s Day just about everyone wishes they were Irish, if just for the day.

The next parish included the high school where I graduated. This fit our background a little better I suppose. My grandmother could sometimes be seen talking in German to neighbors. The neighborhood was and still is very German American. As we grew older we attended festivals and parties where we could enjoy our heritage. You could feel great pride in the traditions that remained from generation to generation. When the current pope was elected, old timers from the neighborhood began to just show up at church. Interestingly, the parish is St. Benedict. The pastor later told us that there was great pride in the election of the first German pope. People who came to church rather spontaneously expected something appropriate should be done, like say mass perhaps. They actually had not said mass in German for many years, but it seemed to be what would bring a great sense of pride to parishioners.

Support for, and pride in, our local sports seems to be taught to us from elementary school and little league and on through our adult lives. Chicago Bulls fans have had a great resurgence in pride the last two seasons that they have not had since the Michael Jordan era. Blackhawk fans have seen great improvement in recent years and even a Stanley Cup championship. Baseball fans always remain loyal. Even Cub fans inexplicably remain loyal and proud despite their continued futility. The many sports media outlets show fans every day who are proud of their local heroes.

With all the things that make us feel proud in our lives and for all the things we wish we can find pride in, why should we wish to deny any group the opportunity to feel proud of their community? Honestly, there are many parades and celebrations in this city for which I have no desire to attend. Therefore, I skip them, of course. I would never dream of showing up to voice my displeasure at something they wish to celebrate. Why then do some feel the need to do this to others? Whatever happened to love thy neighbor as thyself? Is it so hard for some to understand that everyone wants to feel like they belong, and they want to feel proud? I guess that is the point I started on, isn’t it?

For more thoughts on your own true colors as well as the song below visit Don’t Be Afraid To Let Them Show on SERENDIPITY blog.

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FRAMING THE SKY

Rich Paschall:

Some pics from Serendipity blog!

Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:

trees framing blue sky river bend

This brilliant day was a perfect opportunity to use trees to frame that incredibly blue sky. It was an amazing color, almost surreal. I stepped back into the shade, the trees were silhouettes. I pressed the shutter. Voila. A summer sky, framed by trees, captured forever.

leaves frame blue sky river bend 2

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Separate Is Not Equal

The Case for Equality

Segregation in the United States was struck down in the landmark decision in Brown versus Board of Education (Topeka, Kansas).  The court held in a unanimous vote that the policy of separate but equal was inherently flawed.  This set aside an 1896 ruling that allowed for separate black and white schools, not to mention other institutions.  By 1954 the court had realized the flaws of the earlier thinking, perhaps marred by personal prejudices, and ruled against the notion of separate but equal.  The establishment of two separate classes of people meant by its very nature that they were unequal in standing.

Despite the high court ruling, discrimination and segregation continued to exist throughout the 1950’s.  In fact it took federal government intervention in the 1960’s to force the end of segregation at some southern schools.  Governors Ross Barnett of Mississippi and George Wallace of Alabama famously tried to stop integration of universities in their states and maintain segregation.  While Governor Wallace remained popular in his state, Barnett, an avowed segregationist, was a one term governor.  Ending segregation by court ruling, did not change the opinions of many.

The prejudices of earlier times continued to plague the following decades, court rulings not withstanding.  It was impossible to erase generations of discrimination with some decisions of the court.  Indeed, many grew up learning discrimination and hatred in their own homes.  It would not so easily be set aside.

While a variety of equal rights were secured through the remainder of the 20th century by court ruling and legislation, there was one area where discrimination was being written into state laws.  Indeed the fear card started to be played anew when rights for certain citizens were being discussed.  It started when the Hawaii Supreme Court held in 1993 that the refusal to grant same-sex marriages was discriminatory.  In the years that immediately followed many states, including Hawaii, wrote laws to ban same-sex marriage.  In 1998 voters in Hawaii gave the legislature the right to define marriage as an opposite sex couple.

The systematic adoption of such laws across the country set up two classes of people.  The 104th Congress piled on in 1996 with the now infamous Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  This law institutionalized discrimination and denied basic benefits to same sex couples that were provided to opposite sex couples in almost a thousand laws, including estate benefits or right to inherit, joint tax filings, survivor social security benefits, and so on.  The very establishment of another class of citizen would be the eventual downfall of DOMA.5doma

The federal government had always held that whoever a state recognized as married was married, but then tried to deny benefits under DOMA to those a state found to be married.  The most egregious example was brought to the attention of the high court in United States v. Windsor.  It was a fight taken up on behalf of an elderly woman whose marriage in New York did not seem to matter to the feds when her partner died and they took everything.  They did not recognize her right to inherit.  Either the feds recognized the marriages that were recognized by states or they did not.  They could not have two classes of citizens.  The court saw DOMA as “a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment” and struck down some of its provisions.

Despite this ruling, as well as overturning California’s attempt to ban gay marriage through Proposition 8, there are still a majority of states that declare that a particular two people in love are not equal to another two people in love.  It is the case of setting up another class of citizen.  Apparently, many states are still under the notion this is OK.  People talk about the institution of marriage as if some God came down from on high with a set of rules about this.

Yes, I already know what some are thinking, but since I do not know ancient Aramaic, I will not pretend that the interpretations and translations of the Bible handed me by the religious right are necessarily correct.  Nor do I buy into any of the other scare tactics they use to convince us to set up a separate class.  That separate class thing just does not stand up against any test when Supreme Court justices have to sit and listen to it.

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