"What I have said about segregation goes double this day...and what I have said to or about some federal judges goes TRIPLE this day…" George Wallace, 1963
"Today, this tyranny is imposed by the central government which claims the right to rule over our lives under sanction of the omnipotent black-robed despots who sit on the bench of the United States Supreme Court." George Wallace, 1964
"We come here today in deference to the memory of those stalwart patriots who on July 4, 1776, pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to establish and defend the proposition that governments are created by the people, empowered by the people, derive their just powers from the consent of the people, and must forever remain subservient to the will of the people." George Wallace, 1964
I could keep piling quotes on top of quotes from the segregationist governor of Alabama, but it seems a bit tedious. Just know that Wallace was defending segregation over against federal judges who ordered integration, and know that it was in the context of his famous "Segregation now, segregation forever" ideology, and also know that Oklahoma's governor, Ms. Mary Fallin, used similar language in her official statement today denouncing SCOTUS's decision not to hear Oklahoma's (and other states') appeal to federal judges' rulings that same-sex marriage bans are unconstititutional.
Our governor said, "The people of Oklahoma have the right to determine how marriage is defined. In 2004, Oklahomans exercised that right, voting by a margin of 3-1 to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
“The will of the people has now been overridden by unelected federal justices, accountable to no one. That is both undemocratic and a violation of states' rights. Rather than allowing states to make their own policies that reflect the values and views of their residents, federal judges have inserted themselves into a state issue to pursue their own agendas.
“Today's decision has been cast by the media as a victory for gay rights. What has been ignored, however, is the right of Oklahomans – and Americans in every state – to write their own laws and govern themselves as they see fit. Those rights have once again been trampled by an arrogant, out-of -control federal government that wants to substitute Oklahoma values with Washington, D.C. values.”
One paragaraph at a time should be perfect. The governor will need to show where the people of a particular state have the "right" to define words as they see fit. Not sure Jefferson and Madison had this in mind, but it surely misses a larger point that the definition of words in legislation affects real people, not political abstractions. Also, I'm pretty sure the governor would find the demand that she justify "one man, one woman," rather onerous, if not impossible, given that polygamy has coexisted with monogamy for millenia. Likely, she would reference Genesis and Jesus, but she would surely not want to dig too deep into the text of either tradition, as the words of Jesus would expose her entire administration to charges of hostility toward Christian principles and ethics. That she lacks subltety and critical thinking skills does not surprise me. She is saying what she is told to say. How else to explain words that any intelligent person would recognize as utter nonsense?
The will of the people cannot be construed to mean that the people may pass any legislation they wish. Governor Wallace agreed with our governor on this point. It seemed tyrannical to him that federal judges would override the will of the people (and not all the people, obviously) to have segregation as the law of the land in Alabama. Now we have a governor in Oklahoma who would like prejudice and bigotry to be the law of the land, because 75 percent of Oklahomans believe they are somehow endowed by their creator to vote away rights of minority communities. The majority may not vote for unconstitutional laws. That is surely an axiom of representative government in the republican tradition (and please note the lower case r). The "agenda" of these federal judges seems to be justice for all, even people with whom our governor disagrees, and would someone kindly inform our governor that Governor Wallace also argued for "states' rights." All politicians who have pined for the days of Dixie have argued for states' rights. It is practically shorthand for racist propaganda meant to shore up white hegemony. Our governor is either ignorant of history or simply saying what she's told to say. Or both. (Pick C!)
No one in America has the right to govern themselves "as they see fit." Our governor is deeply dishonest, willfully ignorant, intellectually challenged, or just saying what she is told. Or all of the above. (You know which one to pick.) We must govern ourselves according to constitutional principles, and the U.S. Constitution takes precedence over the Oklahoma Constitution. The governor is playing to her base, and it is an aging, bigoted, willfully ignorant base, largely characterized by allegiance to gods who are unavailable to substantiate the claims of their followers, by persistent belief in the theocratic roots of America in spite of all evidence to the contrary, by fear of change and the other, and by privilege distress at the thought of the formerly outsiders being insiders.
Governor Fallin's base has seen their heyday. Many of them are within days, weeks, months, scant years of dying. As they have been hostile to justice all along, I can't see this as a bad thing. Perhaps they will go meet Jesus or some other god they serve in peace. Perhaps, if there is a god, these people will finally understand that justice is for all, not just the ruling class or ruling race or ruling religion. One hopes that Governor Fallin has seen her political heyday, too.