Trevor Brookins

Trevor Brookins

*The Supreme Court decision regarding Proposition 8 in California illustrates the progress the country has made regarding the citizenship privileges of homosexuals in this country. While California allows its citizens to create state laws outside of the normal legislative process via popular vote, the Court essentially invalidated the Prop 8 law. In doing so the Court basically took the stance that citizenship privileges should not be dependent on people voting because citizenship privileges (like marriage) are basic benefits to being part of this country. And gay people deserve them.

Over the past week I have seen/heard an undercurrent of people upset that Paula Deen is experiencing such harsh consequences for her words. These people feel Deen is not getting the benefit of freedom of speech. Two things. First – freedom of speech means the government cannot put you in jail for saying something unpopular/offensive/dumb in most circumstances; Deen isn’t in jail, ergo her freedom of speech is being upheld. Second – it’s possible for people to genuinely be offended at what she said. I suspect that these people would stop supporting Deen’s products and that’s why companies are severing ties with her. It’s about money, not freedom.

The Supreme Court decided a case to determine whether affirmative action is permissible in college admissions. And by allowing race to be a consideration in that area of life, the Court left the door open for it to be considered in other areas of society where there is an extraordinary and supernatural imbalance in racial representation. This doesn’t mean that race must or even should be a factor, just that it can.

I almost feel bad for Kanye West. Lots of people want to be famous but once the success happens most people have a difficult time adjusting to a new reality. West is a talented musician but it seems to me is now frequently dissatisfied with his work, probably because of the mixture of extreme reactions to his music – people either praising everything he does, or hating everything. West is also a very introverted person but now finds himself in a relationship and a co-parent (at the least) with a person whose main skill is self promotion. I wouldn’t be surprised if two main aspects of his life (work & personal) are making him unhappy and both are a direct result of his fame. I hope he feels it was worth it.

The Supreme Court also decided that part of the Voting Rights Act is no long applicable to our country in 2013. I’m not so worried that we will see lots of changes in who votes. Mainly because states would need to write new voting eligibility requirements to exclude people which would undoubtedly garner lots of attention and therefore not be adopted at large. The major difference between this and the affirmative action issue I referenced earlier are: this is about public policy while the other is about private businesses. I imagine people are a lot less understanding when the government discriminates versus when a private individual discriminates in their business – see my comments regarding Paula Deen.

It is not surprising that NFL players are involved in violent crime at a higher rate than the rest of society. When you combine people with the mindset that they don’t have much to lose and cultivate their ability to perpetrate violence on others, it shouldn’t come as a shock when they perpetrate violence outside of their professional setting. I don’t completely understand the connection and the fact that boxers and martial artists aren’t in the same kind of trouble in larger numbers is confusing. Still the surprise is that boxers ARE NOT involved in more violent crime, not that football players ARE.

Dwight Howard was once thought of as one of the best 3-5 players in the NBA. No longer. He is a great example that staying the same when everyone else around is striving to improve is really going backward. His lack of progression and injury have made it a long shot that whatever team signs him will win a championship because of him.

Bottom line: If George Zimmerman was black and Trayvon Martin was white, would we have even heard about this story? Or would it be just another black guy on death row?

Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War.  His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected]