The floodgates have opened. The civil war is here.
Roe has been overturned, and so has life as we know it.
The Supreme Court this morning finally issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a majority 5-4 opinion that formally repeals the legal right to an abortion that had been guaranteed to all Americans since 1973.
By overturning Roe v. Wade and rejecting the broader right to privacy established by that seminal decision, the court’s supermajority of fundamentalist reactionaries just capped a five-decade crusade to transform the nation into a theocratic state in which bodily autonomy is subject to the whims of ideological extremists.
They will not stop here. This is just the beginning. The Dobbs decision itself does far more than just overturn the right to abortion, though the loss of those rights and the incalculable harms to come are enough to constitute a full-blown national emergency. Alito’s screed also strips Americans of the right to privacy, putting any personal freedoms not mentioned in the 233-year-old Bill of Rights in the legal crosshairs.
It does not require much foresight or imagination to predict what comes next. The past six months have witnessed a furious coordinated attack on transgender Americans that will only grow in scope and viciousness. Right-wing legal hawks are eager to challenge Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that legalized same-sex marriage. Clarence Thomas has already invited them to do so.
There is no bottom to their mendaciousness or issue to surrender that will sate their desire to hurt people. The Texas Republican Party’s official platform condemns homosexuality altogether, labeling it “an abnormal lifestyle choice.” After having seemingly acquiesced on this front by 2016, they’ve now emerged with a truly vile leap of bigotry that is likely to metastasize and spread to other state party platforms.
The court, a robed death cult granted the impunity of jobs for life and 24/7 security from the public it dooms, opened every front available to it this session. In obliterating states’ rights to enact even mild gun control laws, taking a sledgehammer to the crumbling wall between church and state, and gutting the EPA’s ability to address climate change, the court invited further chaos, violence, and theocratic governance.
The long right-wing siege has finally crashed the gates and has become a full-blown civil war. The last decade’s steady flow of cruel and dangerous new laws is surging to a deluge.
So now what?
Having been fooled into entrusting our future to an exhausted generation of geriatrics and self-interested strivers, both either unwilling or unable to grasp the urgency of the moment and respond accordingly, the immediate future looks bleak.
The disastrous Second Amendment decision was written by a man who just 18 months earlier was at the center of a plan to overthrow the United States government and tried to use his perch on the court to cover up the evidence. Clarence Thomas should have come under intense, unrelenting Democratic scrutiny the moment that his wife’s leading role in the January 6th insurrection came to light this winter.
Instead, Democrats, concerned with “politicizing” a Supreme Court that has become an organ of an extremist movement, remained silent on the matter, refusing to even float the idea of impeachment. Doing so short-circuited news coverage until last week, when further details of Ginni Thomas’s efforts to overturn the election came to light. Public confidence in the Supreme Court is at a record low, but because Democrats didn’t want to “politicize” the court, Thomas was free to write a fundamentally political opinion that will flood the streets of blue states with dangerous weapons.
Biden’s response to the decision was to call on Americans to “make their voices heard” on the scourge of gun violence, as if we’ve been silent on the matter. To paraphrase Don Draper, that’s what the votes were for. The responsibility always falls to us. To vote more, to donate more, to scream more, to deliver a few more seats. We’ve done all those things, and still the institutions have eroded, the ground is shaking, and democracy in America is teetering on the brink of full collapse.
The response we’re going to get in our inboxes was always inevitable: The Democratic Party is about to unleash a massive fundraising blitz, but there’s no worse place to send your money than official party accounts right now. Yes, electing a wave of Democrats is the only way to ensure the reversal of the court and so many of these cruel policies. But this national Democratic Party campaign apparatus, with these leaders, will not deliver relief, or even work towards it.
Most of the money that it raises will go to TV ads, consultants, and future debt repayments after sitting unused in accounts long past Election Day. And there’s no guarantee that the candidates that the party supports with your money will ever be willing to take the bold, aggressive actions required to restore our democracy and stolen rights. Just look at what the DCCC, House Majority PAC, and other official arms of the party did for Henry Cuellar, Kurt Schrader, and Steve Irwin.
There are other steps we can and must take. The most crucial one is investing in grassroots organizations to create the infrastructure necessary to fight back against these laws, build long-term power, and wrest back democracy from the clutches of the oligarchs, theocrats, and their enablers. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen with corporate assistance or acquiescence.
More immediately, we must engage in mutual aid.
The Dobbs decision means that millions of people will be abandoned in their time of need. Abortions are already expensive, and soon they will be almost fully illegal in half of the United States. Abortion funds, which help women access abortion care through grants and travel and even underground delivery networks, are going to be slammed beyond belief with requests for help and legal support.
I will be sending out an email with more specifics and opportunities this Sunday, but for now, please give to these abortion funds all around the country. They will need all the help they can get.
This is a historically awful day, and there are more to come. There is no guarantee that thing will get better any time soon; human history has been dominated by darkness, with brief bursts of light and enlightenment. But we have the tools and the will to fix this; we now need to seize them with more serious vigor and dedication than ever before.
This won’t be easy. It will get worse before it gets better. But the right-wing is depending on our acquiescence, on our decision to withdraw from the fight because it is just too painful. We can’t do that. We have to show them that they cannot run this country based on their own warped worldview.
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