What the Supreme Court is doing is what white slaveholding southerners tried to do in the many years before slavery was abolished: to give civil rights granted by the federal government back to the states to decide what laws were right for their state. If that were carried to its utmost in our country at present, then on this July 4th, 2022, you might as well separate this union into 50 separate countries, each with its own legal system, monetary system, health care system, regulatory system, law enforcement system, legislative system, etc. so then traveling from state to state would be near impossible not knowing the differing laws, customs, mores, and traditions. One state/country might bring back slavery, while another might make it punishable by death. One may ban any and all gun restrictions, while another has extensive regulations that include thorough background checks, licensing that involves test taking as is required of a car license, and banning open carry. And of course one may allow unlimited abortions while another may ban them altogether with no exceptions for rape or incest (at the moment, in an actual case, a raped and pregnant 10 year old girl in South Dakota is ineligible for an abortion by state law, a fact confirmed and apparently supported by its present GOP governor!). There may be checkpoints at state borders not just for contaminated fruit but to check your car for abortion pills!
Not possible, you might say. Not in America. Well, we have already taken some major steps in that direction. This Supreme Court that we are saddled with seems intent on taking us back in time to before the Civil War. And given the ages of the reactionary justices, they will have many years to accomplish their caustic agenda. And these justices may be harder than presidents to impeach. The only option I can see is to increase the number of justices to balance its present right wing extremes.
This court has become a political party unto itself, apparently becoming part of a conspiracy to shift the country in a highly dangerous, anti-democratic direction. FDR threatened to increase the size of the court in 1937 when it gave strong indications they would declare Social Security unconstitutional. He called their bluff and they backed down without his having to follow through on his threat. But Joe Biden does not have the wisdom, courage, or the guts of a Roosevelt. He’s a cautious man. He’s a good man but a calculated Centrist who fears doing anything that would draw criticism from conservatives or progressives or liberals or independents. Perhaps he fears probable retribution of any acts deemed too liberal or progressive or over the top.
So we are essentially stuck with this SCOTUS for the next 45 years or so. But we are not necessarily stuck with a fascist-leaning Republican Party. On this Independence Day we are still, in theory, a democracy with a government elected of, by, and for the people. That’s important to keep in mind as election day approaches. The key of course is how many and who votes. In the controversial presidential elections of 2016 and 2020, it was 54.8% and 62.0% respectively. Nothing to write home about, but with midterm elections, only about 40% of eligible voters take the time to vote. When you consider the consequences of the next midterm, that’s downright discouraging, especially when you count the number of right wing wackos, Trump cultists, ’06 Capitol Hill insurrectionists, QAnonists, and other GOP snake oil salesmen and women running. Let me now change “discouraging” to “alarming!”
Of course, before and during the Revolutionary War, there were monarchist Americans who stayed loyal to the king and considered patriots extreme insurrectionists. But that was the 1770s. Things have gotten a little more complicated since then. Today, one man, Donald Trump, has been able to knock us off our democratic experiment as our Founders called our fledging country declaring equal rights for all. One man has shown us how fragile our democracy was in 1776 and still is. Perhaps more so.
So on this Independence Day perhaps we should all reflect on what it would take to keep this experiment in democracy intact, growing, and stronger than ever. Even with such as Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, our country has never depended on the allegiance to one person as we did to King George III before 1776. Never has our country granted each state sovereignty over itself. For that would not be a United States. And if we are not united, at least in the value of democracy, what it entails, and what constitutes a patriot, then we are woefully divided, and a United States is no more.
Happy 4th, y’all.
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