Forget Roe v. Wade–it's a lost cause. But other rights can still be saved, if we have the will.
Because an ineffectual Congress has ceded its power to the Supreme Court, the abortion battle is over. Worse disasters lie ahead if we continue to let an evangelical panel decide our future.
California Governor Gavin Newsom is angry about Texas's abortion law which turns over enforcement of said law to private citizens. He should be. We all should be: it's cruel, reckless, malicious, and in the end, discriminatory and racist. In response, Newsom proposes a similar law in California that would allow private citizens to notify owners of illegal weapons, guns from kits, etc., that they are being sued—again by private citizens.
As with the Texas law, the burden proof will be on the accused.
Newsom is a bright guy, young and personable, and he's feeling pretty good after withstanding a recall campaign in a vote that was hardly close. He may be positioning himself for a future presidency. But right now, he's wasting his time. The chances of such a bill being passed are probably higher than the chances it will have any effect on gun violence. Nor will it shame the vacuous and blimpish Texas legislature into a sudden change of heart or a realization of its own hypocrisy. Another "gotcha" law won't do it.
It's another distraction while the real problem festers: the Republican Party writ large, specifically its attack on the fundamental pillar of our democracy: the right to vote. Through gerrymandering and the positioning of so-called low-officials in offices nobody wants, Republicans now control much of what will happen at the polls for years to come. They are not unstoppable, at least not for another eleven months, but the Democrats need to act like the party in power, and that means that some of its members need to shut up.
Yes, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, the favorite targets of our disdain, but AOC too (ah, the celebrity of being known by one's initials—JFK, FDR, CCR, BLT) and Rashida Tlaib, to name four. Everything costs too much for the first two, and nothing is enough for the other pair. And so Nancy Pelosi and the other Democrats who see democracy slipping away spend all their time cajoling four party-members whose own egos supersede...well... everything. But heavens, don't call them obstructionist, even though their party can accomplish nothing because of their recalcitrance, and the Republicans continue to exploit that "right to dissent" to move forward unabated.
It's not as if the Trump-led GOP is working undercover. Their embrace of authoritarianism has the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and yet the Democrats cannot unite and focus. For that matter, neither can we—the distracted—glued to our TV sets last week watching the Supreme Court hear abortion arguments as if the outcome were somehow in doubt. It wasn't. It isn't.
If we Democrats continue to focus on our pet grievances, though they may be significant, and continue to occupy ourselves with nonentities like Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows, Marjorie Taylor Green and Paul Gosar, then the evangelical Supreme Court will become the least of our worries, and the Constitution will become nothing more than a Jeopardy answer.
Joe Biden has spoken frequently about voting rights, and he understands the gravity of the situation. Still, as long as he is compelled to waste his time herding cats in his own party, it's unlikely we'll retain the voting rights we had even one year ago. Yes, the end of Roe v. Wade would be a shameful reversal and an egregious indictment of personal freedom—no fair-minded individual wants a woman's right to choose abrogated by fiat. But without the premise of democracy, rights like that would not even be a consideration.
I'm tired of hearing how we can walk and chew gum at the same time—that we can deal with many different issues at once. Even if it's true, it only matters if we're all walking in the same direction. If Manchin, Ocasio-Cortez, et al., can't walk with us, let their names be forever attached to the weakening of the democracy. Let them be the ones to blame when future generations ask why the Democrats as the majority party gave up so much yet gained so little. And when America, after a 250-year experiment with democratic rule, becomes a totalitarian nation, let's remember those four. But save a good portion of the blame for ourselves—our hair ablaze over supply chain issues and mask mandates and shortages of cream cheese—while the jackbooted GOP marched past us...and over us.