The Texas legislature hammered one of the final nails in the casket of Roe vs. Wade last week. It is horrific that women have been brutally relegated to the status of handmaids. The fact that abortion rights will be denied in our country after nearly fifty years should not surprise anyone. That should be no more surprising than voter suppression designed to sweep away fifty years of social progress. The permission for people to openly carry firearms without license or training eliminates many years of sensible gun control. It will be against the law to teach any sociologically based examination of the motivations, history, or consequences of race that makes a student “uncomfortable”.
If you want to understand what kind of world Republicans have in mind for our country look no farther than Texas, where all of the above-mentioned laws have been proposed and enacted. Who crafted these laws? Were they people of color? Were they women? Were they new citizens to our shores?
Who gains from the Texas legal renaissance? Are they people of color? Are they women? Are they poor people? Are they new citizens? Are they young people who must understand the world in which they live?
What the Supreme Court did to enable the Texas anti-abortion legislation was, indeed, terrible. But I am afraid people are missing the most important point. The Supreme Court let stand the part of the bill that allows anyone to sue anyone else who performs an abortion or aids in it or intends to aid in it... from anywhere. The law will prohibit state officials from enforcing the ban on abortions. That is because (and this is a new twist) Texas wants to compensate people who have not incurred any personal harm to sue for $10,000. “Witch-Hunting” has been propelled into the modern era. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote of the recent decision, “It cannot be the case that a State can evade federal judicial scrutiny by outsourcing the enforcement of unconstitutional laws to its citizenry”.
The concept of “standing” has thus been obliterated. It has been sacrificed at the altar of toxic Christianity, toxic masculinity, and white supremacy.
Why do I say that? Because the emerging trend in Republican-dominated legislatures is to find ways to enable constitutionally prohibited cultural grievances. To get around pesky Constitutional limitations that the legislators oppose they have perverted the role of the judicial branch by empowering private citizens to sue for civil remedies based on conjecture and feelings. This is the “poison bullet” that is aimed directly at the heart of democracy as we know it.
Such anti-democratic laws that advance the rights of some over the rights of others will be protected by including a “private right of action” that the Supreme Court just allowed. A wide range of “grievance” laws, dealing with such topics as gun control, abortion, campaign finance, LGBTQI issues, voting rights, and even the old scourge of “miscegenation”, among others may be on the way. Let’s just be brutally honest about this. These laws have been enacted by mostly white people who have been pushing the Texas model of conservative Republicanism that is sweeping our nation.
Women have been suddenly and shockingly beaten down. People of color, immigrants, transgenders, gay people, queer people, same-sex married couples, multi-racial couples... it is time to take note and fight. Allies in the cause for an inclusive, liberal, justice-centered society... it is time to stop talking and join the fight.
Clovice A. Lewis, Jr.
About this blog.
This blog is a place where many of the confluences of my life can be shared. I am, at the core, a creative person. I approach everything from that basis... whether composing symphonies, playing the cello, being a serial entrepreneur, writing sermons and essays, flying airplanes, or creating software apps. I am deeply passionate about creativity, issues of social justice, and spiritual enrichment. These are fundamental to everything I do. Welcome to my journey!