It’s been an ugly week in the United States watching all these Supreme Court decisions come down. And it’s going to get uglier. I’m not a lawyer so I’m not up on all the nitty gritty details but there’s at least one more decision that I believe will be released next week that could have brutal consequences for this country. On top of the ones this week that already did.
Some of the decisions that will be truly impactful were barely commented on in my social circles, but of course the overturning of Roe v. Wade hit hard and was all over the place yesterday. Including what that decision hints at for the future. Overturning the right to contraception, for example. Gay marriage. Interracial marriage. All potentially gone if you follow this decision to its inevitable conclusion.
Of course this is a court that’s shown that its members are not actually following some coherent interpretation of precedent but are instead just picking and choosing what they need to make the decisions they want to make.
I’ll leave it to the legal scholars to delve in on that. Suffice it to say if you’re citing back to England for precedent I think you missed the whole fucking part of history where we formed our own country with our own laws because we didn’t like the way they did things over there.
But honestly there is no reasoned debate with someone determined to implement their worldview at the expense of all others. They may put some words on paper to look legitimate, but that’s all they are is random words on paper that pretend to justify a decision that was already made.
So, some random thoughts on and around this sort of thing…
December 2020 I actually started to write a book I was going to publish anonymously that was going to be called something like The Centrist Agenda. (I did not and will not do so.) It was trying to set out what a Centrist party in the United States might look like.
Personally, even if a party were to represent all of my views exactly I still wouldn’t join it. Because as we’ve seen here in the United States when you stake your identity on group membership you stop making individual decisions.
Party membership means voting for what you’re told to vote for and that’s never going to be who I am. I wouldn’t even join a party if I was the leader of that party.
Unfortunately, because of the nature of how our political system is structured party membership is also the only true means of having power. (Although how someone hasn’t noticed that being an independent right now in the Senate would make them incredibly influential I don’t know. If I were an unhappy Republican, that’s where I’d be, just waiting for the Democrats to come negotiate with me on my pet projects.)
Anyway. I wanted to write a book that talked about how to pull in the middle of both parties. Even today I know people who vote Republican simply because they can’t see themselves voting Democrat. So give them a third party that’s strong enough to make a difference.
But what would that central party look like? What would they believe? That’s what I wanted to figure out in that book.
I wrote the first chapter.
It was called something like “Pro Active Not Pro Choice or Pro Life.” Because I firmly believe that if the only time you think about someone’s choice to carry a child to term is when they’re walking through the doors of a clinic or when they’re having that difficult conversation with their doctor then you really don’t care about the issue at all. It’s political theater for you.
And then I tried to think about what it would mean to be Pro Active.
It would mean universal healthcare so that anyone who was pregnant was more able to carry a child to term and had better access to prenatal care so that there were less risks to the baby that might result in the need for an abortion. Also, care for the infant after it was born and for the parent who was going to need to raise that child.
It would mean better access to contraception so that all individuals who wanted to have sex without the risk of conceiving a child could do so.
It would mean earlier and more thorough sex education so that children knew how babies are made before they could make them themselves.
It would mean consent training for children so that they were better prepared to say and accept a no answer when it came to sex. And so that children who don’t have the language for it would know that the sexual abuse they’re suffering is not okay and would know there was help available.
It would mean better support for parents and children after the birth of the child. Often the decision about having a child or another child is a financial one. If society were actually there to support having a child so that the parent knew they and their child would be housed and fed, they’d more likely to have that child.
I’m sure there was more. And that it would not end all abortions, but it would I think reduce them significantly.
(For the record, I support abortion and I don’t think it’s my business why a person needs one. Furthermore, I support abortion throughout the term of a pregnancy. I had a friend who desperately wanted a child and miscarried later in her pregnancy. She had to miscarry for a full month because she didn’t want to be seen as having an abortion. That decision was hers to make, but no one should be forced to go through something like that against their will.)
After writing that one chapter I put the book aside. Because that list? It’s a complete rewrite of where we are as a society right now. Or at least where those in power are. And it depressed me so much to realize that I didn’t even want to continue down the line with things like property ownership and energy and diplomacy and all the rest of it.
(For example, I think we should have a federally funded mortgage program for anyone who has rented successfully for 2+ years to be able to buy a home with a mortgage payment equivalent to their rent payment. I also think if someone owns a home that they should be able to refinance that mortgage without the need to requalify if they’ve been making their payments on time for the last two years. And I think there should be limits on how many single-family homes can be owned as rentals. But that’s an entirely different chapter of that book I didn’t write.)
It’s a sickness we have that we think that more and better are always the right answer. More growth, more profit, bigger cars, bigger homes, more, better, richer…
What if that’s the absolute wrong direction to be headed?
We’re destroying our world for more, more, more. Every time we stop growing or constantly moving upward there’s some panicked headline about it.
What if steady state is actually better? What if we have all we need right now and we just need to be better at distributing it around and maintaining our lives?
Because we’re stuck in this mindset that it always has to be better, we’re burning the world down around us. And destroying so so many lives in the process. Everyone hoards as much as they can for…what?
Another thing that crossed my mind lately was how sometimes you hear people justify all of this telling others what to do with the notion that “they’re going to go to hell” if they don’t accept God or if they have an abortion or if they…whatever.
And lately my reaction to that is, “Then let me go to hell. What business is it of yours if I burn for eternity. Save yourself and write me off as a lost cause.”
I don’t know these people. They’re not my grandma. Why the fuck do they care if I go to hell or not? (And, yes, I know that certain branches of Christianity lean very heavily on the need to proselytize and be a witness for their faith. Trust me, I’ve had the awkward Sunday dinner conversation that came with it. But maybe, you know, do that without being an absolute asshole who ruins other people’s lives?)
I wonder sometimes how much all of this would register for me if I hadn’t stepped off my corporate path. Because that path is so consuming in terms of time and energy that there really isn’t a lot of time to dig deep on things. I can’t imagine I would’ve completely missed everything that’s happening…but I think I might have missed a lot of it. Or just been willing to go along with what the people around me said about it.
Which is why I wonder if the overwork culture in America is actually part of the scam. Make people work so hard they can barely breathe and you can do anything to them.
Maybe that’s why we’re so relentlessly sold on this dream of fancy homes and fancy cars and fancy water. (I say fancy water because for a while there I knew someone who was struggling financially who still thought they needed that Voss water in the glass bottle.)
In the attempt to have what we think we’re supposed to have we all buy into the system so hard we can’t see that it’s a bunch of needless bullshit.
I’m ready for the day when someone announces that a sports jersey was sold at auction for $3 million and instead of that being covered like an interesting tidbit it’s covered as “what is wrong with us that it’s okay to spend that kind of money on a piece of clothing instead of something useful that will make the world better?”
Seriously, dude, take 10% of that amount and pay off some school lunch bills would you? I’m not going to tell you you’re going to hell, I’m just going to say that makes you a really shitty and selfish human being.
But I’m just some rando on the internet, so what do I know.
(Not enough I’m sure. I have no doubt I got some things wrong here and someone could come and argue them with me, but I really don’t need to have that argument. All first time posters on this site have to go through post moderation and I tend not to approve a lot of them. Like the one who posted on a post about the use of an outdated offensive term and managed to use a different outdated offensive term or the one who told me that they don’t actually use the product I’d written a book about on a post about that book. So if what I said here sparked some thoughts or reaction for you, probably best to put that on your own site where you have full control.)