Women, Gays Up-White Men Down
White men are on the ropes in America. This week the female Governor of South Carolina came out for the removal of the flag of the Confederate States of America from state property. Her decision created a tidal wave throughout the South as Alabama and other states began the process to remove the confederate battle emblem from their state property.
Then the Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriages are protected by the Constitution. A Constitution which was written by white males with lofty words proclaiming, “that all men are created equal.”
The intent of the framers of the Constitution was clear. They intended the Constitution to be a document between white men for the rule of white men. White women, “colored” men and women were not included in this equation when those words were penned. Words that set into motion the most comprehensive written contract in the western world between a government and the people it ruled.
President Barack Obama, a constitutional scholar, often talks about the evolving constitution. It has certainly changed over the last 226 years. In its seventy-sixth year the constitution expanded to make room for Africans who had been enslaved on these shores by extending the right of citizenship. Prior to 1865, Africans had been deem property with the relative worth of three-fourths of a white man.
With passage of the 13th Amendment the character of the country changed. Blacks were free to move about the country and were occupying spaces like free humans. White men suddenly were placed in situations where they had to listen to the ideas of colored people. If blacks had more votes in the public forum, white male rule took a back seat. To remedy this situation, following the presidential election of 1876, hate groups sprang up overnight to intimidate black male voters.
In 1895 the Supreme Court invalidated full citizenship rights for African Americans in an historic ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson. This decision established a second class of citizenship by relegating blacks to a segregated American experience.
In its 131st year, the constitution expanded to include white women and vicariously women of color with the right to vote in the political affairs of the country.
With each of these changes, the complexion of the country changed. Black men and white women exerted pressure on the government to do things that it heretofore had not done, because it had never been compelled to look at discrimination in housing, employment, voting, military service, and women’s reproductive health issues. Women became more prevalent in the work force, in politics and corporate decision-making.
This week’s ruling by the Supreme Court changes, yet again, the fabric of the American culture. Men and men, and women and women can now engage in the marital bond. America will never look the same or feel the same as it did that hot Philadelphia summer when the boys in wigs hammered out a framework for this aspirational goal:
“We the people of the United states, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org