Seyram A. Butame

You see the Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys/ They ain't gonna fight no wars.

America leaps backward

26 June 2022

Woman holding pro-abortion sign 01

Source: Pro-abortion protests in Chicago, 2022/06/24(source unknown).

It has finally happened. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has rolled back time in denying the right of women to seek reproductive health care, including abortions. We knew it was coming. There was the opinion leak from earlier in the year. However, more specifically, we were all aware of a faction working steadily for decades to build the political and economic capital necessary to overturn Roe. Yet, there was a part of me, and I think many Americans also felt this way, that did not believe it would not happen. I futilely felt that reason would prevail among the robed ones, and they would not subject an advanced democracy to barbaric philosophies of the pre-enlightenment world.

What is most disappointing to me, though, is the ineptitude of Democratic Party leadership. There is the wing of the Party that is still weeping at Clinton’s loss to Trump, blaming everything but the failures of the Clinton campaign. They blame obscure politicians and semi-famous actors who dared speak out against the Clinton campaign. Names like Bernie Sanders, Susan Sarandon, and Nina Turner are currently trending on Twitter. Such people forget that their dogged belief in Clinton’s ability to “save us” comes remarkably close to Trump supporters’ belief in their leader.

Then, there is the wing of the Democratic Party that offers ineffectual platitudes and empty statements. On television, their comments in response to the SCOTUS decision began with phrases like, “Make no mistake…” and “This is a dark day…”. No Shit, it’s a dark day. We are all living through it; the question is, what are you, the person we elected, going to do in response?

Take a look a this from the President.

POTUS tweet on SCOTUS decision.

President Biden's tweet on the SCOTUS decision - 2022-06-24.

And this from the Vice President.

Vice President's tweet on SCOTUS decision.

Vice President Harris's tweet on the SCOTUS decision - 2022-06-24.

The Speaker of the House reads poetry.

There was one Congressional representative who posted pictures of himself doing yoga.

Congressional rep in yoga pose.

Congressional Representative (D-MI) does Yoga to relieve anxiety caused by SCOTUS decision - 2022-06-24).

All, statements and perspectives that ring hollow. They show a distinct lack of ideas and an inability to devise a coherent strategy. The SCOTUS leak occurred nearly two-months to the day. And all President Biden and his VP could do was talk about how it is a solemn day, and tell people to vote? What of the roll-out of a strategy? What of a bulleted list, of the things they will do in the coming weeks, months, and years to reverse the effects of such a policy, perhaps what they will do to protect other critical human rights that hang on by wisps of legalese?

If as a party, you cannot articulate an appropriate strategy and a game plan to combat the erosion of vital human rights, then why should people continue to vote for you in elections?

And as if these kinds of inane placating statements were not enough, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is using this situation to raise money. People received texts and ads about the need to contribute immediately as the situation was dire. Again, why should people bother? What do you plan on doing with the votes? Votes are the dearest tool the ordinary have to influence broad issues that affect their lives. And the Party cannot continue to take that tool of the people for granted.

There is the obstructionist wing of the Party, whose fear of an election cycle not going their way has paralyzed the rest of the Party, causing a failure to deliver on key campaign promises. Then they wonder why voters are unenthusiastic about the mid-terms and why the Biden poll numbers are tanking. I am looking at you, Senators Manchin and Sinema.

Then there is a US media that bends backward to characterize the campaign against women’s rights as a legitimate political position. I often watch or listen to CNN, and the amount of work that goes into entertaining the perspectives of the pro-life movement as being anything other than an effort to control women is disturbing. To give you an example, dig into the archives and listen to how CNN journalists covered the Taliban in Afghanistan and its treatment of women/girls. Now compare that to how CNN entertains the views of politicians beholden to fundamentalist Christians in America. Beyond their violent guerrilla tactics and love of terrorism, the Taliban is a fundamentalist religious entity. Their belief is absolute when it comes to specific interpretations of their religion. And in many ways, it is an approach no different from the belief systems that seem to drive the present SCOTUS decision.

American media houses like CNN will pompously characterize themselves as the 4th estate. But rather than working on framing policy and the political landscape appropriately, they promote a horserace perspective where the best outcome is whoever wins the race. This weekend they have covered the protests that have gone on in many capital cities. And that will be the end of that. They will move on to another topic.

Honestly, I don’t see a way out for Americans, not in the near future. No amount of voting will pull the country out of this rut, so the Party ought to abandon that particular call. People voted like never before, and yet Joe Biden seems paralyzed. The Party that supposedly represents the downtrodden is only interested in the symbolism of change and not the actual work that goes into change. They want to dance in the streets with pride flags hanging at their soldiers, but when LGBTQ youth and adults are openly threatened, they offer nothing. They want songs of praise and adoration about how women enjoy bodily autonomy but fail to act in the face of a decades-long campaign (Truly, this day has been coming, and the people we trust to prevent it seem just as shocked as the rest of us). And they want to claim they support black people and celebrate Juneteenth yet can’t even begin to reform an institution that has brutalized and decimated black communities.

I honestly don’t see a way out in the near future. The Party has wasted vast resources to denigrate and exclude the energetic elements in its Party, in favor of status quo preserving, idealess, empty suites like Conor Lamb and Henry Cuellar (The Speaker and Majority were stomping for this fellow, who looking at his voting record and political stances might as well be a Republican).

It is a bad situation all around. And I anticipate it will get worse. Look at the docket of decisions released by the SCOTUS last week and the few remaining that will come this week. There will continue to be an erosion of the bulwarks that have been held up as making America a great nation. I leave you with this image from a protest held in Chicago, I think it was on the Friday evening after the release of the Court’s opinion. The woman’s sign encapsulates the feelings many women feel given the situation.

Woman holding pro-abortion sign 02

Pro-abortion protests in Chicago, 2022/06/24(Source unknown).