Each week something political occurs on our local, state, national or international level that affects our lives. This week it was the two SCOTUS (Supreme Court Of The United States) rulings.

In light of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) it is only fitting we discuss the two recent Supreme Court rulings, keeping in mind Abraham Lincoln’s famous line during his two-minute Gettysburg address, “… that all men (and women) are created equal”.

First, SCOTUS struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, saying the local jurisdictions do not have to get federal approval for changes to the voting-related laws. Now we need Congress to uphold this Act, which includes Southern politicians. A larger concern is the fact that many states controlled by Republicans practice subtlety political racism. They limit the hours and days of early voting, they limit the number of polling places in minority neighborhoods and now they want to institute voter ID laws, because voter fraud is so common.

Question: During the years that George W. Bush was President (2000-2008) there were over 160 million votes cast. How many cases of documented voter fraud were found?

Answer: 180. 180 cases of voter fraud out of 160 million votes. Anyone want to do the math percentage?

If you can’t get voters registered to vote for your team (current national party affiliation is 41% Democrat, 31% Independent/Decline-to-State, and 29% Republican), the next best strategy is to deny them voting for the other team. These subtle tactics are aimed at students and Black and Hispanic seniors. 

Most voter fraud is dealt with at the local level. After a local city councilman lost his 2010 bid for reelection, he was seen the very next day moving out of his Old Town apartment back to his home outside the Eureka city limits. So it came as a shock the next year when he registered to vote at his work address, not his home address (in violation of voting laws). A simple phone call to the Humboldt County Elections Office rectified that problem.

The second major SCOTUS ruling was to strike down DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act), which barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Although many gay couples were married in states that recognized same-sex marriage they were not allowed access to federal benefits and rights, such as estate tax laws, surviving spouse social security, health insurance, medical directives, etc.

As Martin Luther King said so eloquently in his 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

My dream is we judge people not on the basis of their sexuality, but the content of their character. Simply put, the government should not legislate who or how you love.

— Matthew (In the Middle) Owen

[Ed. note — Matthew Owen is a local mover/shaker type who, by his own reckoning, occupies the precise median of political opinion on any given issue. In his spare time he likes to do math percentages.]