There have been several shocking decisions coming out of the Supreme Court. I can’t help but comment on and theorize what the underlying cause really is, and it may not be what you think.
I do not consider myself a big political junkie, but my top three values are kindness, integrity and justice for all. Therefore, I feel I need to use this space to write about what I think is unkind, lacks integrity and demolishes justice for underserved populations.
The two court issues I agree with are doing away with Trump’s policy of making asylum-seekers stay in Mexico while awaiting their immigration hearings, which can take up to two years. This decision shows some compassion for those in serious need. Raised as a Christian, I was taught to help those in need, not to turn them away. I also agree with the ruling allowing veterans to sue their employers for firing them due to their unwillingness to accommodate disabilities received while serving.
However, the Supreme Court also voted to limit the role of the EPA to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, which seems to be a nod to corporations to no longer be concerned about pollution, the environment and climate change. This makes me think the world is set to become uninhabitable much sooner than later. As a grandmother, this concerns me greatly. This decision very well could end life as we know it, and it seems to be in strong contradiction to the decision about abortion where pro-life was the order of the day. We are not the Masters of the Universe; we are but tenants of Mother Earth, and this decision is making us overstay our welcome.
I was shocked that the highest court in our land decided a public-school coach’s right to kneel and pray on a football field was protected by the First Amendment, but many citizens decided themselves that Collin Kaepernick’s kneeling in protest was not protected by the First Amendment. I’m also curious whether the Supreme Court would have ruled in favor of a Muslim coach who had pulled out his prayer rug to pray.
The mother of all decisions was the overturning of Roe v. Wade with Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Abortion is no longer a constitutional right, and women no longer have the privacy to make decisions over their own bodies and lives. This sends the abortion decision to the states to regulate, and several states have already shown what they plan to do with those rights.
In fact, over the weekend, it was reported a 10-year-old girl in Ohio was raped by a relative and had to give birth due to their new anti-abortion laws. This horror only exists under the guise of being pro-life. What about that 10-year-old’s life? What about her mother’s life who will likely have to care for that child? What will happen to her rapist? Will he be prosecuted, or will he be able to rape her again? And what about the child, who will grow up to understand and grapple with how they came into the world?
If this 10-year-old lives in a low-income family of color, how pro-life will our country be if this family requires welfare programs to survive? When they start to attend school, will our pro-life nation be in favor of making education equal across all zip codes so everyone can have the same educational start in life? What if they get arrested on a drug charge? Will the court provide a slap on the wrist so it doesn’t affect the rest of their life, like what happens to first-time white offenders, or will it be in favor of mandatory minimum sentences that seem to be the order of the day for people of color? Will our pro-life nation decide to abolish the war on drugs altogether, decriminalizing all substances and, instead, focusing on rehabilitation for addicts? And finally, if this family encounters a worst-case but all-too-common scenario with law enforcement, will these pro-life United States protect the police who deny the suspects their day in court and execute them on the scene?
And finally, there’s the biggest contradiction released by the Supreme Court: After two mass shootings—the racially-motivated one in Buffalo, NY, and the school shooting in Uvalde, TX—the Supreme Court decided to vote against New York’s law requiring a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Those who carry guns have more constitutional rights than women who are asking for the right to determine what happens with their own bodies. What kind of dystopian times are we living in when a 10-year-old rape victim is being denied the right to an abortion, but people in this country can carry concealed firearms without any permits?
Can anyone help me understand this madness? I believe the problem is money in politics on both sides. News channels report their analysis of events customized to what the viewers already believe, thereby validating their viewers’ beliefs and securing their loyalty. The news not only helps form and sway viewers’ opinions, but it also confirms the opinions that already exist, playing into our confirmation biases. The news no longer presents the facts—just the facts without commentary, opinions and, sometimes, outright lies. This is happening on both sides. Why? Because they ultimately play to their investors. They need to keep the big-money corporations happy.
The same things are happening with our politicians. Many politicians receive big donations from special interest groups and are given that money in exchange for voting the way those groups want them to vote. How else can the overturning of Roe v. Wade be explained? This was a constitutional right to privacy and autonomy over one’s own body, with 50 years of precedent. Polls showed an overwhelming majority of the people support abortion in certain cases, yet the court voted to subvert the will of the people. The same is happening with gun restrictions. The NRA has a stranglehold on the politicians and judges who refuse to vote for gun reform—not abolition, reform. A high percentage of the American people support gun reform, yet the court is working to do away with anything that makes gun ownership more difficult.
How many people have to die from back-alley abortions and gun violence before our elected officials function like a democracy again? I do not want to wait for that to happen. Average Americans need to start talking with each other about what they actually think without reverting to the talking points we have heard on the news and social media. When we begin to have civil political discourse again, we will be able to work together to solve America’s problems—of which there are many. We must stop hating on each other and begin to work toward listening for understanding and negotiating differences before this hate leads us to a civil war. We have been groomed to hate each other, so we tear this democracy apart from the inside. Don’t allow the forces working to that end prevail. Start listening to people who think differently than you do. Find out where they get their information. Listen to some of the information being provided to the “other side.” You would be thinking the same way if you were being radicalized with that information. The truth lies in the middle. We aren’t going to be spoon-fed the truth. We are going to have to discover it for ourselves, and I don’t think the truth lies solely in a Democrat or Republican camp. We have to start collaborating to find it. I hope it’s not too late.