In the Wake of the Con: Alabama's Abortion Ban
This past week is why you have to vote everywhere. It is why you have to beat them everywhere. The modern Republican party in the United States is a con: it exists to amass wealth and power for the privileged few and wield them against the wishes of the many and the lives of the powerless.
They know how to pull the levers to entrench their rule. After winning elections across the country in 2010, Republican-controlled legislatures passed laws that make it harder for people who don’t vote for Republicans to vote.
They know how to benefit from the anachronisms and quirks of the U.S. government. In my lifetime, five Supreme Court justices have been confirmed during Republican presidencies, making up the current conservative majority of the court. Three of these justices were appointed after the president lost the popular vote. And two were credibly accused of sexual misconduct against women. The con is tactical and relentless.
That conservative majority on the court is the reason states like Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Ohio are passing laws restricting abortion rights. They know that a majority of Americans oppose these laws, and they know Brett Kavanaugh, John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito can make that fact not matter. Just like it wouldn’t matter that those five are all men. Just like it wouldn’t matter that they all have ties to the Catholic Church. Or that abortion rates are lowest where it is legal. Republicans win when knowable facts have alternative stories and when the electorate looks less like the country as a whole. These allow them to make decisions so that the institutions with the most awesome of powers reflect their minority and their reality, too.
It’s how you have states provoking this particular Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade and rule on laws that would force a rape victim to carry a pregnancy to term or take away a woman’s access to abortion before she even knows she is pregnant. Even if they lose in their ultimate goal of getting Roe overturned, they have already succeeded like they have in so many ways in the Trump era in moving the United States away from its peer countries in the developed world, away from the future, from science, from compassion, from pluralism. The long con of the McConnells and Kavanaughs and McGahns has made all of it worth it. To get your way is a powerful drug, and no debasement or brutality will risk not having it. Those whose purported foundational principle in this fight is the sanctity of human life are the people who would deny a rape victim who is eleven access to an abortion, who take children from their parents and put them in cages, who so vociferously fight against expansions to Medicare because they would increase taxes on the richest people in the country. The con suffers no blips or recalibration.
These are the reasons they should be beaten everywhere. Not because Democrats are terrific or that you have to like them. Not because the United States should be like, for instance, the country we live in that is taking access to women’s reproductive rights out of the shadows. Not even because the Trump voters you know need to be erased from your life. There are ones in mine, I know, and likely more I’m unaware of. But the current crop of this GOP needs to be defeated everywhere they can be: the monster at the top, the villains in his orbit, and the shills around the country making the most of this moment of heightened stupidity and wickedness.
We can live and have lived in a country where many feel that their personal beliefs should have dominion over a woman’s body. It is when and where this group is emboldened to act on that belief with the powers voters give them that lead to a society that is less safe for women’s health. That has happened in places ever since Roe, but you should know that this—right now— is a moment where fanaticism has taken over one of the two major parties in the most powerful country in the world. That should make enough people exercised to vote them out—out of the White House, out of the Senate, even out of the Alabama state legislature. All are tall tasks, and my anger is not the right messaging, but we ought to beat them everywhere and force them to reassess their resentment cult of white Christian identity that worships a scam artist. That the whole thing is a con does not mean that it won’t leave countless victims in its wake for as long as it holds power.
I find that reading firsthand accounts from people who made decisions for themselves and their families helpful and clarifying. Here are four links to such accounts, ranging from the normal to the harrowing: 1, 2, 3, 4.