Basically, the Supreme Court has torched the 14th amendment and its emanations and penumbras. Post-WWII juridprudence is absolutely for the chop, and states will be allowed to opt out of the postwar consensus en masse. It’s soft secession, as described elsewhere: states can do what they want and the conservative machinery at the federal level will protect them. The only way to prevent it is to somehow retain the House, somehow retain the Senate, add enough Senators to make a solid 51 votes for the entire Democratic plan, and then run roughshod – pack the Supreme Court to at least 15, destroy the filibuster, pass federally binding election law to prevent states making their own shenanigans. Right now, the Republican Party is devoted to the destruction of American democracy, and is acting and adjudicating as if they will never again be out of power. It has to be stopped now. Forget loans, or stimulus, or anything else except inasmuch as it will bring more voters to the polls in 2022 and 2024 to defend the entire concept of majority rule.
–21 May 2022
This is it. When they invoke the past, that’s what they mean. Not a manufacturing base that was heavily unionized, not a top marginal tax rate of 91%, not nuclear-tipped stalemate against the Soviet Union. What they’re peddling is cultural hegemony. Homosexuals back in the closet. Negroes quietly in their place. Ladies who know their place is in the home. That’s the pitch. They can’t run on a rapidly improving economy, with GM posting record profits after the federal restructuring and unemployment slowly waning and Apple passing oil companies in revenue while carrying the S&P 500. They can’t run on foreign policy, with Bin Laden and Qaddafi’s faces painted on the “kills” fuselage of Obama’s administration.
So this is it. Pleasantville. They’re pushing all their chips to the middle of the table and betting that enough people want to live through Mad Men again that they can knock off a President who isn’t even the right color. As stunning as it is, we’re apparently going to spend the spring 0f 2012 re-litigating Griswold v. Connecticut and exhuming pre-Vatican II debates about the Pill, fifty years after the fact.
When I’m wrong, I’ll tell you, but I haven’t been wrong yet. Not only did the Court wipe its ass with stare decisis on Roe, it basically trumpeted its intent to come for Obergefell, and Lawrence, and Griswold. Anything based on a right to privacy is cooked. Contraception. Gay marriage. Your own bedroom conduct. In essence, the Supreme Court has relinquished any claim to calling balls and strikes, to being above the partisan fray – they are what they decried from the Warren and Burger courts, an activist court with an agenda that they are actively seeking to implement. They are the GOP’s masterpiece in the plan to avoid having to win the most votes in a fair election ever again.
The GOP has nailed its colors to the mast: it believe that it should rule, that only it should rule, that violence is an acceptable tool and democracy an unnecessary obstacle, and that their will alone defines what is American, or legal, or normal. And the vast majority of its membership is perfectly fine with this, because it means lower taxes or less regulation or something, and is willing to excuse anything no matter how much the truth has to twist to do so. The rules don’t matter any more: the ethos is “we can do whatever we want and no one else can do anything we don’t want.”
This makes me think of bell hooks, the poet and woman of letters who was a Berea College professor for the last years of her life, and an interview she gave in which she said the following, which I have taken the liberty of formatting as the poem it should be:
the author bell hooks’ definition of queerness as not only
“about who you’re having sex with”
“about the self that is at odds
with everything around it
and has to invent and create and find a place
to speak and to thrive and to live.”
Nailed it. I was certainly called queer (and worse) as a kid, despite being a straight white male Southern Baptist Alabama fan, because I was different, and the South does not believe anything should speak or thrive or live if it differs in any way from what is normal, what is acceptable, what is right. And my entire life story from second grade on has been about trying to find a space to live and thrive. Which I have found, intermittently. A couple years in high school, one at Vanderbilt, sorta, a few in DC, a few in California, but that space – and the circle of people who help make it – seems to shrink with every passing year. To the point where sometimes, the only safety is not in going down the pub or going for a drive, but going into my own back yard, under the cover of fog or marine layer or encroaching dark, and drown out my eyes with a book, my ears with RTE in Irish or maybe some moody lo-fi beats or scratchy old country music, and my tastebuds and mind with a pint or three of something smooth and malty and ideally under 5% ABV. Sometimes, you need to not be too much in this world.
But you can’t run forever. And it’s possible you can’t run far enough. California will hold til the end, but there will be hard decisions to make, and there are only bad ones. Secede? Stop the red states leaching off your federal tax dollars to underwrite their Christo-fascism, and then fight a two front civil war against them and their amen corner of Okies down the Central Valley? The option to live in peace and mind your business is vanishing, because my childhood bullies are on the march, and the end state is the United States of Gardendale Alabama.
What are you prepared to do?