The Senate passed the 'Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act' today. But there are caveats, per usual, with Congress. The biggest caveat is the F-22 issue that Rachel and Rep. Barney-His-Awesomeness-The Curmudgeon-Frank were talking about. Obama has said he will veto any bill funding the F-22, so getting the monkey off the back of the hate crime legislation is a big step forward. Now Sen. Sessions, he of "the NAACP is a commie organization" fame, has added an amendment that allows for the death penalty in certain hate crimes. Sessions does not do this because he wants the ultimate punishment for those that may commit hate crimes, but because adding it makes it harder for a lot of Democrats to support it. He hopes. Now, in a similar move, Sen. Thune (R-SD) has added another amendment, this one some guns rights thing. Seriously. Of course, all of this is because the hate crimes bill is itself an amendment to the defense spending bill.
Have I just not been paying attention all this time? What a clusterfuck!
The ripples from the rock you throw with deliberation into the lake spread no further than the ripples from the rock you accidentally kick into it. Lack of intention often has little to do with the progression of events. The ripples from Matthew Shepard's death are still spreading, sweeping us all up in concentric circles of consequences. I am sure that Matthew's family is feeling a sense of triumph tonight. Triumph that good came from horrific, and Matthew's death has meaning far beyond the event. But, as a parent, no such sense of satisfaction could ever balance the grief. And Matthew is an accidental martyr, a man who surely, as he hung from the fence, in the cold, alone, could not have imagined the effect his death would have on millions of people. Do the martyrs ever know?
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