tape-over-mouth

Dear certain justices on the Supreme Court (you know who you are):

I want to acknowledge that today was a great day for the Supreme Court.  Long ago in civics class, we all learned that the Supreme Court’s function was to protect the minority from the “tyranny of the majority.” You examined the Defense of Marriage Act—an act whose stated purpose was to discriminate against same-sex couples—and boldly stated that this sort of discrimination is unacceptable. Thank you.

That being said, I’ve spent some time trying to make sense of some of your other decisions—specifically, the decisions you handed down Monday and Tuesday.  I have to admit, I had some difficulty. The rulings, individually, were certainly regressive, deliberately ignorant, and racist, but it was more than just that. And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why.

Until I saw this. One woman, speaking out for millions of women that the Texas legislature would much rather ignore. And that’s when it hit me. Your decisions have a common thread—stifling the voices of people whose ideas make you uncomfortable.

  • You made it significantly more difficult for victims of workplace harassment and discrimination to sue. In so doing, you made it much harder for those victims to speak out against harassment or discrimination without fear of retaliation.
  • You signaled your willingness to eliminate affirmative action programs. While you sent this case back to the lower court, your decision makes it clear that you oppose college admissions policies designed to increase the diversity of viewpoints in college classes—a policy which would have resulted in improved education for all students. And reading between the lines of the decision, if that case comes back to the Supreme Court, you’ll hold affirmative action programs unconstitutional. By demonstrating your intent to do away with our laughably insufficient affirmative action programs, you’re silencing a huge number of students who could be sharing their unique viewpoints and life experiences.
  • And when it comes to voting? Well, arguably, voting is the purest form of making yourself heard that there is. In an act of unbelievable cowardice, you eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, but didn’t eliminate it completely, creating the illusion that the Voting Rights Act is still a robust set of protections.  While you did leave some protections in place, you made it impossible for us to effectively enforce those protections. I say it again: cowards. You’ve given your tacit approval to depriving groups of their right to make their opinions heard through the voting process.

I understand where you’re coming from. You’re happy with things the way they are. The individuals and communities harmed by these decisions have opinions that change the status quo, and that scares you. And on behalf of those individuals and communities, I want to tell you the following.

We, our partners, families, and communities are the victims of harassment. We’re going to continue demand safe and non-discriminatory places of work. No matter how hard you try to take away our voices, we will not be silent.

We, our partners, families and communities live in a society that actively suppresses our unique stories, perspectives, and ideas. We’re going to continue to share those stories, perspectives, and ideas. No matter how hard you try to deny us access, we will not be silent.

We, our partners, families and communities have been unjustly and illegally prevented from pulling the levers, pushing the buttons, and checking the boxes that determine the path our country takes. Despite efforts to stop us, we’re going to register and vote in greater numbers than ever. No matter how hard you try to suppress our votes, we will not be silent.

We’re overflowing with ideas about how to change society to make it better—a system where equity trumps privilege, no one is left behind, and everybody prospers. We’re sure that you’ll find some of those ideas a little scary and you’re going to do your best to prevent us from disseminating those ideas. That’s too bad.

We are the new majority.

We’re going to voice those ideas, no matter what you do.

No matter what you do, we’re going to speak.

Are you going to listen?