Back to the Past with the US Supreme Court 

“Daddy, are gay people not allowed to get married?” 

My daughter was looking at me in confusion as we sat together on the couch watching an old episode of “Top Chef.” 

In Season 6, episode two, the chefs were asked to cook for a bachelor party. One of the contestants, Ashley, was indignant that she had to participate in a challenge centered on  marriage when she, herself, couldn’t marry another woman.  

I was surprised.  

It hadn’t occurred to me that the show was so old. It first aired in 2009. Was that really so long ago? 

We’ve only had marriage equality in all 50 states since 2015. That’s just seven years ago.  

So I explained to my daughter that gay people can marry today, but that it wasn’t always the case.  

My 13-year-old thought the idea that people couldn’t marry whoever they wanted to was just too crazy to be believed. And I agreed. 

It was later that night that I read the article in Politico about Roe v. Wade.  

Apparently, the landmark 1973 decision that expanded access to abortion nationwide is about to be overturned by the Republican majority on the Supreme Court. 

Some folks are even speculating that this could mean the roll back of similar rulings such as ones allowing same sex marriage and even interracial marriage.  

What the heck!?  

Did I just sleep through a monologue by Rod Serling?  

I’m still seeing things in color but they’re starting to feel very black and white.  

These are issues of settled law.  

Roe v. Wade is older than I am. Women have been able to terminate unwanted pregnancies for my entire life and the world hasn’t come to an end. In fact, if you read about what life was like before this decision, things have improved.  

Women have freedom over their own bodies. They aren’t trapped by the Catch 22 of whether to submit to a forced birth or risk their lives with a back alley procedure.  

I remember having a similar moment of cognitive dissonance as my daughter did when I was in high school.  

I read the book “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser and was shocked at what life was like in the 1920s before women had such freedoms. In the book, a couple get pregnant and have to choose between an unwanted marriage while raising an unwanted child or a black market abortion and the freedom to move on. When they can’t agree, the protagonist, Clyde, murders the poor woman.  

At the time, the whole situation seemed entirely quaint. It was a series of arguments, examples, and counter examples on an issue that had been decided long ago.  

That anyone could think differently struck me as absurd.  

In my high school public speaking class, we debated the issue. I argued in favor of reproductive rights, and a girl I had a crush on argued against them. 

She was certainly passionate about the rights of the unborn. But she seemed startlingly unconcerned with the rights of the already born.  

She wasn’t concerned about the child’s welfare or even the rights of a woman to make decisions about her own body – assuming those decisions were different than those my crush might make for herself.  

As I got older, I met others who felt the same way. For them the guiding principle was a religious fairy tale that didn’t even connect with the Bible but instead some fundamentalists view of gender politics.  

That’s fine if you want it to be the deciding factor in your own life, I guess. But leave the rest of us out of your faith-based world view. 

That such folderol is actually being considered by the highest court in the land is hard to believe. 

This is not the future I imagined back in high school when it occurred to me that I’d probably live into the sci-fi era of the 2000s.  

It’s more like getting stuck in Doc Brown’s Delorean and sent back to the past.  

And that’s exactly what it is.  

So-called conservatives want to return us to a mythical time when all was good with America.  

It says so on their precious red hats.  

But things were never that good in America for most people – unless you were white, Protestant and male. 

Let’s cut to the chase. None of this really is about stopping abortions. (If that was the concern, we’d be talking about free birth control, neonatal care and making a better world to raise children in.) Nor is it about safeguarding marriage between a man and a woman – or a white man and a white woman.  

It’s about strengthening white supremacy. It’s about bolstering the patriarchy.  

This is politics – pure politics.  

And there is a political solution.  

As Sen. Bernie Sanders has already suggested, Congress can codify reproductive rights into the law. There’s nothing the courts could do about it then.  

Democrats have a majority in both the House and the Senate and we have the Presidency.  

If we can’t get 60 votes in the Senate (and we probably can’t) we can end the filibuster and pass it with 50 votes. 

I hope with all my heart that we do this.  

I will push and organize and protest and electioneer. But I fear it will not be enough. 

Just making it to this regressive moment in time seems to indicate that our system is too broken to be fixed that way. 

This is not the world I wanted for my daughter. I fear it is the world she will have to fight to overcome.  

The battles of our grandparents have become our inheritance to our posterity.  

They deserve a much better world.  

But all we seem to have for them are reruns. 


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4 thoughts on “Back to the Past with the US Supreme Court 

  1. This wouldn’t be happening if Moscow Mitch hadn’t blocked President Obama’s nomination to the US Supreme Court almost a year out from the 2016 election.

    What else has Moscow Mitch said he will do IF the Republicans take back the majority on both Houses of Congress in 2022 and keep that majority in 2024 if a Republican is elected president again.

    in 2018, Mitch McConnell Called for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid Cuts After Passing Tax Cuts for corporations and the wealthy along with, massive defense spending

    https://www.newsweek.com/deficit-budget-tax-plan-social-security-medicaid-medicare-entitlement-1172941

    Senator Mitch McConnell’s long record of pushing to gut earned benefit programs like Medicare and Social Security is once again in the spotlight as Donald Trump makes the GOP’s latest threat to gut those programs. He led his party’s efforts to pass a budget plan that would “essentially end Medicare by turning it into the voucher program,” as well as other budgets cutting the program by hundreds of billions of dollars, fought to privatize Social Security, and lamented that Republicans’ failure to enact drastic changes to these programs has been the “biggest disappointment of [his] time in Congress.”

    Check out the cheat sheet on McConnell’s record supporting Medicare and Social Security cuts:

    https://www.dscc.org/news/cheat-sheet-mcconnells-record-of-risking-medicare-and-social-security/

    It’s clear to me, if voters do not turn out in 2022 and 2024 to keep the GOP from taking back Congress and putting someone like Trump, and maybe even Trump, in the white House, the U.S. could be turned to 1900 when 40% of Americans lived in poverty, most working Americans were treated like slaves, earned poverty wages with no medical or benefits, and the Robber Barons, what we call autocrats today, will rule the country again through their elected puppets just like they did back then.

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  2. Did you know that every year in New York City more black babies are aborted than born alive? A black mother is four times more likely to have an abortion than her white peers. Join these facts with the destruction of the black family through welfare, and I’ve never understood how the Left can claim that the Right are the white supremacists. You are arguing for the destruction of black babies! I could scream all the buzzwords-racist, bigot, genocide. I could even fabricate a conspiracy theory about leftist racial supremacy to misrepresent an entire political party. But demonizing people who don’t think like me is not an argument. Why not talk about the actual heart of the issue (pun intended)? So…

    What are the unborn, and why do you think it’s okay to kill them? Are the unborn human persons? Those “unwanted pregnancies” respond to light, pain, and a mother’s voice from inside the womb. We can see these little ones develop though 3D ultrasound. An unborn baby is not his or her mother’s body. Did your wife grow and extra heart and lungs when she was pregnant with your daughter? An unborn baby has a unique body, fingerprints, and DNA code. What happens during an abortion? What is a sopher clamp used for? It’s not the mother’s body that gets dismembered during a D & E abortion. You can watch an abortion online via ultrasound if you want, but I’ll warn you, it’s not called “The Silent Scream” for nothing. They really can feel pain! You may not want to watch, but if not, why not?

    I am pro-choice… when it comes to where parents send their children to school. But if the unborn are human persons, then abortion is wrong. Why should a person’s size, level of development, environment, or degree of dependency justify their brutal murder?

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    • Well how nice that you have all the answers, TCG! Something growing inside another person and you know exactly what it is and what that person must do about it. We’re taking about clusters of cells that cannot live outside the body on their own. You can call that a baby, but it impels no child support, the person carrying it cannot drive in the car pool lane, etc. All of your judgements are opinions. There is no fact behind them. I sure hope no one with differing opinions decides what you must do with your body regardless of your own will and beliefs. TCG, without body autonomy, there is no freedom. Nothing is free. If you think abortion is wrong, don’t have one. But do not suppose that your religious beliefs (and that’s what you’re talking about here) give anyone else any reason to do anything. If you really wanted to reduce abortions (you will never eliminate them) you should promote free birth control, and create a world where children are prized and taken care of. This kind of bigotry is racist, fascist and repulsive.

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