My supreme return

As perhaps one or two of you may have noticed, I have not posted in a while. The first week I had a good reason: I was in Orlando for a work trip. The last couple of weeks, however, I just decided I needed a break.

Think of it as my summer blogging vacation (even though summer only started five days ago).

But there were a few reasons why I wished to take a break. One was just to give myself a mental vacation. When I get home from work from a long day, it’s nice to not have to worry about any other obligations.

Secondly, I was getting exhausted from complaining about Donald Trump every day.

Last, I really wanted to use the time to brainstorm how I could channel my creative energy towards a project that can be more productive towards my future. I have no aspirations to become a professional blogger. But I do feel like one day I will come up with an idea that will be worth pursuing – whether it’s a book idea, a screenplay, or any other writing project. Something that can one day be published and enjoyed by the world.

I still haven’t gotten there. And until I do, I figure the most productive answer is to keep writing as much as I can on a regular basis. So, blogging can certainly fulfill that for now.

But it likely won’t be daily. And more importantly, if I am going to discuss politics and current events, I want to talk about things that matter. Not Trump’s tweets. Not the latest outrage on social media. But things that affect the way we live.

Today, for instance, the Supreme Court made two important announcements: It will make a decision in October on Trump’s travel ban, and it will also hear a case involving a Colorado baker’s refusal to serve a gay couple, citing a violation of religious freedom included in the First Amendment.

The travel ban decision is important. Not because it will dictate whether certain immigrants can or cannot come to the U.S. for a short-term period, but because it will set a precedent on the president’s ability to unilaterally enforce immigration restrictions, and therefore set boundaries on presidential powers overall while either strengthening or weakening our government’s longstanding system of checks and balances.

And any one hoping that Neil Gorsuch might become a bit more moderate once he hit the bench is probably disappointed by now. In agreeing to hear the case on the travel ban, the court granted the administration’s request to stay the injunctions put in place by lower courts, thereby putting portions of the ban into effect. Gorsuch (along with justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito) wrote dissenting opinions stating that they would’ve allowed the full ban, without limitations, to take effect right now.

The case on a worker’s ability to deny service to gay couples based on religious grounds is important for obvious reasons. If they side with the businesses, then it has the potential to derail progress this nation has made advancing gay rights, two years after the Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

One does not need to ask which side Gorsuch will take on this one.

Finally, Monday marks 20 years to the day when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the U.K) was published.

Now if you could look back on any development in the last two decades that strongly benefited humankind, it was the introduction of the Harry Potter books, which encouraged a generation of children to fall in love with reading.

In the Potterverse, good ultimately defeated evil as Harry got the better of Lord Voldemort.

Let’s hope real life reflects that.

A step towards equality in the U.K.

There is little doubt that significant progress has been made through the years to improve social inequality not only in our country, but throughout the entire world.

But we still have a long way to go when you consider that discrimination is still very much alive based on race, gender, ethnicity and sexuality, among other things.

However, with each incoming generation comes a renewed sense of tolerance and acceptance, and it’s a comforting thought.

That being said, regardless of how much social change occurs, we must never forget where we’ve come from. It’s important to document history so future generations can fully understand and appreciate the progress we’ve made, and to remember all those who were the victims of social injustice.

Take, for instance, the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. in September. Whether we like to admit it or not, slavery is a major part of our country’s history. You can’t inform students about American history without touching upon slavery.

A rainbow flag flies with the Union flag above British Cabinet Offices, marking the first day Britain has allowed same sex marriages, in London

Kids who enter that museum will be amazed to learn that even though we now have had a black president, that this is once how we treated people of African-American descent.And it’s important that they learn early that change can happen.

Another important milestone was the Supreme Court ruling last year to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. In less than 50 years, we went from organized police beatings of homosexuals to protecting them under the law.

But again, we’ll know never know how far we’ve come unless we acknowledge how low we once were.

And recently, that’s a step that was taken from our friends across the pond. Last week, the United Kingdom government announced it would pardon thousands of gay and bisexual men — most posthumously — who were criminalized for having sex with another man.

It’s one of those things that sounds great on the surface, but then makes you furious to turingrealize that this was ever a crime.

England decriminalized consensual homosexual sex between men over age 21 in 1967. Wales did it in 1967, Scotland in 1980 and Northern Ireland in 1982. In 2001, the U.K. lowered the age of consent for homosexual men to 16, the same for heterosexual sex.

The law is named the Turing Law, after renowned mathematician Alan Turing, the subject of the 2014 movie The Imitation Gamewho only did that small little thing of cracking the Nazi enigma code during World War II. He was repaid by being convicted of homosexuality in 1952 and committed suicide by eating a cyanide-dosed apple in 1954 (though some wonder if it was not suicide and simply one of his experiments gone awry).

Either way, it was still a tragic fate for someone who should have been memorialized as a hero. He was formally pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013.

A lot of people will look at this and wonder what it actually accomplishes. It may even serve as a harsh reminder of how cruelly homosexuals were once treated. And it will likely piss people off that homosexuals who were found guilty of having sex in a bathroom won’t be pardoned since it’s still illegal today, despite the fact that the unjust laws at the time forced homosexuals to have sex in bathrooms, away from the public eye.

However, I look at it from a symbolic standpoint. It’s another major country making the effort to right its wrongs.

Should it have ever happened in the first place? Of course not.

But in history books, it will go down as another step towards progress.

It’s no enigma code, but wherever he is, Alan Turing can finally take solace in knowing that his country figured this one out.