Editorial roundup

Watertown Public Opinion, Watertown, S.D., June 29

The U.S. Supreme Court made a couple of controversial rulings last week that some people don’t like, some support and others either don’t care about or know what to think.

Welcome to the history of the United States of America, folks. It’s called change and change doesn’t always come easy.

The rulings last week supported continuing the Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare — and that same-sex couples have a right to be legally married anywhere in the United States.

Those who don’t like Obamacare said when it was first proposed it was leading us down the road to socialism and the creation of granny death squads. We’re still a democracy and, to our knowledge, the government hasn’t pulled the plug on any grannys. We’re not sure why there was no great uproar over the fate of grandpas but there wasn’t. And, again, to our knowledge the government hasn’t pulled the plug on any of them either.

The same-sex marriage ruling is a lot more controversial. Some say homosexuality is against the laws of God and nature. And yet, it’s been around for thousands of years and likely will continue to be. Some say it’s a choice while others say that’s just the way people are born. The arguments, pro and con, will continue far into the future, but the Supreme Court says that doesn’t matter. If people of the same sex want to get married, then they can.

These rulings, especially the one on same-sex marriage, will be difficult for many people to accept. In fact, some justices of the peace have said they will resign rather than perform such unions. That’s a perfectly good choice for those individuals. But, those resignations won’t stop such marriages and, like it or not, they will be legally performed by someone.

The one thing that hasn’t changed over the years, however, is that change has been a constant in this country.

When it was first founded the only people who were able to vote were white males who owned property. No women, no non-whites and no white men who didn’t own land had a say in how things were run. That’s the way things were for a long time as our nation began.

But change is inevitable and those things changed, too. White, non-property owners were the first to get the right to vote and later non-whites and women were given the right to vote as well. Contrary to popular beliefs at the time in some circles, none of those changes brought about the destruction of the Republic.

There was also a time when slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws and supposedly separate but equal education and public facilities were perfectly legal. Those things eventually changed and, again, it didn’t bring about the destruction of the Republic.

For much of our history U.S. Senators were elected in smoke filled rooms and not by the direct vote of the people. That changed in the early part of the 20th century. It was only recently, that laws were changed to allow people of different races to marry, which was outlawed in some states.

Change has been a constant in our country and like it or not there come times when it is inevitable. This appears to be one of those times.

Oh, sure, we’ve still got our problems and plenty of them. But the changes made in the past helped move our country forward and the fears that accompanied the changes have often proven to be baseless.

Change is what made this country and the ability, whether we like it or not, to accept it and move forward despite our own personal beliefs or feelings is what makes it possible. That’s the way it’s been since the beginning.

You don’t have to like Obamacare or take advantage of what it offers if you choose not to. You don’t have to agree with same-sex marriage or participate in such a ceremony. But both are now the law of the land and part of the American landscape. Like it or not, we need to accept that fact.