16 October 2012

Those Who Cannot Remember the Past

This is my entry in the 2012 Short Short Fiction Contest sponsored by Esquire magazine and the Aspen Writers' Foundation. The story had to be exactly 79 words - to celebrate the 79th anniversary of Esquire.

I have included the photograph - a still taken from a 2011 YouTube video of an Occupy Wall Street march - that inspired the story.

When I saw the blonde woman toast the protesters, I immediately thought about the attitude and words attributed to Marie Antoinette - "Let them eat cake!"

I recalled the warning of George Santayana - "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." I thought about last year's protests and uprisings in Greece, London, Rome, and throughout the Middle East. And, I thought, if it can happen there, it could happen here as well.


Those Who Cannot Remember the Past
By Bud Koenemund

  The insatiate gathered above Wall Street, on gilded balconies overlooking the rabble – the indebted; those without jobs; those left homeless by the housing bubble – the self-proclaimed 99 percent. They laughed, took pictures, and mocked the people; toasting the disaffected with champagne. They were among the elite in a world of margins and algorithms; puts and calls; dollars and cents. But, insular in their greed, they could not feel the heat of a fire whose glow already lit the horizon.

06 October 2012

Antonin Scalia and the Right to Marry

  Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, apparently believes that no American – gay or straight – has the right to marry. Yes, you read that correctly – no one.

As reported by David Badash of The New Civil Rights Movement, during a recent book signing in Washington, D.C., Scalia said, "for him, it is 'easy' to outlaw same-sex marriage."

Interesting. A man who goes to work in a building bearing the motto, "Equal Justice Under Law," finds it "easy" to discriminate against American citizens.

Scalia's pronouncement is especially troubling because several appeals regarding same-sex marriage rights are pending Supreme Court review.

But, according to an article from The Huffington Post:

Scalia calls himself a "textualist" (which is also labeled an originalist), meaning Scalia believes that if the exact words – text – do not appear in the Constitution, the right to it does not exist. In a Scalia world, there is no right to same-sex marriage.

  The fact is, marriage is never mentioned in the Constitution – not same-sex marriage; not heterosexual marriage; no marriage – not a single mention. This is, one would think, a fact of which Scalia is well aware.

Obviously, if we follow Scalia's beliefs as a "textualist," this means no one – gay or straight – has the right to marriage in this country. If the exact words do not appear, "the right to it does not exist." Right?

So, how do you go about blocking the right of someone else, when you yourself do not have that right? Or, if you argue that you have that right, how can you deny that right to others?

Given his publicly stated beliefs regarding same-sex marriage, can we believe Scalia will fairly and impartially weigh the evidence of whichever – if any – case the Supreme Court hears?

 Or, may we assume, since his belief in discrimination toward these American citizens is so strong, he will recuse himself from ruling on any case relating to same-sex rights?

  Hypocrisy and discrimination, or recusal – take your pick, Justice Scalia.