The events that have occurred over the past two days in America really make me question why I am going back to America. I mean, yes, my program is ending and I already have my ticket booked for Thursday. But beyond that, I really wouldn’t mind staying in Spain and avoiding what’s been going on in the U.S. It is on days like these that I really understand (and agree with) the negative perceptions of America in Europe. There is also, of course, the way Americans often act when they are abroad, but that’s a topic for another day.
Back to the news in America. Within the past two days, Texas has approved their new abortion bill, and George Zimmerman was found not guilty on all charges. All I can say in response is…really, America? Less than two weeks ago I was feeling proud to be an American on the Fourth of July, eating my cheeseburger here in Barcelona without a care in the world. Americans were also recently celebrating the court decision against DOMA and Proposition 8, equality was finally heading in the right direction! And then…BAM! We take four steps backwards.
When the question of gay marriage and equality for the LGBTQ community ever came up in one of my history classes, it was always related to the civil rights movement. After years of fighting, people of any race could all have the same rights, interracial couples were allowed to marry, racism was diminishing. Gay marriage was just the next battle, and it would take many years to fight, and eventually it would, too, become a problem of the past. But, is racism really a problem of the past in modern America? The short answer is, no, but many would say we’ve come a long way. And yet, after all of these years of fighting, we end up with the Zimmerman trial. While it is difficult to make a decision without knowing every detail of the case, many Americans have been advocating for Trayvon Martin through protests and by expressing their opinions on social media. I remember when the incident first happened, and people were encouraged to wear hoodies with the hoods up and carry Skittles in the pocket. Although not a ton of people participated on my campus, I remember my Spanish teacher showing up to class with a hoodie and Skittles.
Did Zimmerman really act in self defense, or is it solely an excuse to cover up the act of murder he committed due to the fear of a 17-year-old African American male, wearing a hooded sweatshirt? The jury took Zimmerman’s side, but many Americans remain unconvinced. I hope that this case is able to continue through the court system, and justice is reached for Martin and his family’s sake.
And back to the new abortion bill in Texas. Democrats plan to dispute the new bill passed that will cause serious problems for many clinics across Texas. While the defense is that they are only trying to protect women better on a medical level, many doctors say the new bill is medically unnecessary. It will cause more problems for women seeking an abortion, especially those in remote areas. The laws regarding abortion were already strict in Texas, forcing women to have an ultrasound and a full explanation from a doctor 24 hours before the procedure, causing more time and money to be spent. Because the bill only allows the procedures to be done in a surgical facility, it will be even more difficult, expensive, and time consuming. Clinics cannot afford to change their facilities. The bill also prohibits abortions after 20 weeks (unless there is harm to the mother), but with all of the new restrictions, it will be much harder for women to make this deadline, especially those who live very far from surgical facilities.
I don’t understand the new bill entirely, but I know that many do not agree with it. It is causing more problems for women who wish to have an abortion, and they are even resorting to illegal abortion drugs from the Mexican border, probably putting them in even more harm. So, the bill really isn’t saving women, it’s just causing them more problems. I know that the Democrats vow to go against this bill, and I hope that they are able to succeed.
I don’t really know what to think of America right now. It seems that a majority of Americans do not agree with the result of the Zimmerman case and the new bill in Texas, but there are still many who side with the jury and the Republicans in Texas. America is a free country, and you are free to have your own opinions and ideas. But, it is once your opinions harm others that you should reevaluate right from wrong.