The Dred Scott decision, you guys. Have you heard of it? Because it’s kind of famous.
Basically this guy, Dred Scott, sued for his freedom because he didn’t want to be a slave any more and he wanted to be treated like a human being and stuff.
But the Supreme Court was all, “No dice. If we let you go free then we’re depriving somebody of their property, a.k.a. you. Oh, and P.S., you’re not a citizen because you’re a Negro so, like, why are we even talking to you?”
It was a total dick move on the Supreme Court’s part, and the decision was one of the catalysts for the Civil War.
President Abraham Lincoln denounced the Scott decision, publicly declaring, “This is some bullshit.” Or something like that. That may not be an exact quote.
It was, as history has helped to make clear, a terrible ruling. So terrible, in fact, that the anti-gay right wing has taken to comparing it to the Supreme Court’s much more recent Obergefell decision (you know, the one that made same-sex marriage legal throughout the land).
Enter Ted Cruz, a guy who thinks he can actually be president someday, talking to National Organization for Marriage co-founder Robert George on a Catholic TV program about this very thing.
“Hey,” George asks, “if you were president, would you treat the Obergefell decision like Lincoln did the Dred Scott decision?
“Lincoln was absolutely right, I agree with President Lincoln,” Cruz responded.
Because two people who love each other and get married is totally akin to keeping black people as property.
Honestly, the ease with which the right makes this comparison really speaks to how little they care about the years and years of slavery that created the foundation of racism that still prevails in this country.
But then, they’re not worried about racism. They’re worried about two guys in tuxes using little Chihuahuas as ring bearers.
“And courts do not make law. That is not what a court does. A court interprets the law, a court applies the law, but courts don’t make law,” Cruz continues.
Which is true. Legislatures make laws, and sometimes really, really bad ones. Like laws that won’t allow gays and lesbians to get married because they think gays and lesbians are subhuman sex fiends.
And so the Supreme Court was all, “Uh, these laws are discriminatory and that’s unconstitutional, so nope.”
Which is not the same thing as abracadabra-ing a law out of thin air, which is how the right wing sees things.
“And this is an area of really striking divide in this presidential election,” Cruz continues. One candidate, Hillary Clinton, agrees with the court and embraces gay marriage and is happy that unelected judges have purported to tear down the marriage laws of all 50 states.”
What a monster, that Hillary Clinton! How dare she be happy about equality in these United States.
Cruz then chides some of his fellow Republicans for saying of Obergefell, “It’s final, we must accept it, move on and surrender.”
“I think they are profoundly wrong. I think the decision was fundamentally legitimate, it was lawless, it was not based on the Constitution,” Cruz says.
I’m pretty sure that Cruz meant “fundamentally illegitimate.” Then again, maybe that was a Freudian slip.
Then again, earlier this month Cruz said, “My response to [Obergefell] was that it was illegitimate, it was lawless, it was utterly contrary to the Constitution and that we should fight to defend marriage on every front.”
Oooh, sounds like war talk!
It’s not hard to imagine Cruz dreaming of another civil war over marriage equality between heathens and the Christians he believes are the real victims of discrimination in this country. Racism and homophobia are all in our heads.
But the War on Christians is real.
Real paranoia, that is.
D’Anne Witkowski is a freelance writer and poet and a writing teacher at the Universtiy of Michigan. She writes the weekly “Creep of the Week” column for Q Syndicate.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 11, 2015.