A Look On The Lighter Side: America the Compromised

A Look On The Lighter Side: America the Compromised

As a young Jewish girl growing up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., I always knew I was in a minority. But I felt safe — protected by my country’s laws, going all the way up to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

I knew that as an American I could always get my day in court and a fair hearing and a fair trial, if it came to that. I knew I was legally safe in my own body. And I knew that nobody could make me say their religious prayer in school or at a public meeting.

There was still rampant discrimination, but our Supreme Court had outlawed racial segregation, and lots of people at every level were working to make it obsolete in fact as well as in law.

We didn’t get the ERA (the Equal Rights Amendment) and that was a real blow, but women’s rights were still improving all the time—for example, with passage of Title IX, which mandated equality in all aspects of education and activities, including sports, for women in educational settings.

I knew that things weren’t perfect, but I always felt that our laws were working to ensure that things would continue getting better in a nation that was committed to achieving “a more perfect union.”

I would have told anybody that the United States was the best and safest place on Earth to belong to a minority group.

But — after the barrage of Supreme Court decisions we have been subjected to this week — I am no longer sure that any of that is still true.

I feel as if the Supreme Court just did a hit-and-run on our body politic — except they didn’t run. No, they aimed their truck right spang at as many constitutional guarantees as they could; and then, when they saw a few signs of life still in the victim, they backed right over us and ran us over again.

Gleefully. Insultingly.

“Roe v. Wade was egregiously wrong from the start,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in his opinion, obliterating the right we have had for half a century to decide at least our own body’s physical integrity for ourselves. Not content with destroying that right, he felt the need to trash the original decision as well. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak and … far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe (and Casey) have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

Well. If he is going to base his decisions on which way “enflames” more people, I respectfully suggest he ain’t seen nothing yet.

As for guns, the 6-3 conservative majority declared that going forward, only historical considerations would pass muster (rather than, say, public safety) — and apparently New York state’s 108-year-old law is not old enough for them. But they also brushed away a 1328 Statute of Northampton, restricting who could ride armed by day or night. That precedent was TOO old. Never mind that the very next day, Alito cited a British treatise from 1250 in his abortion decision.

Clearly, reason and logic were not the primary factors at work here.

On school prayer, the majority of the court saw nothing wrong with a football coach leading students in very public prayer on the 50-yard-line. Nothing coercive there, not even for students hoping to win the coach’s favor in the next game, or even just to avoid bullying by other students.

It is unclear to me how much of my own religious freedom has survived this court’s spree.

In short — this court, this term, has been rampaging about the countryside, asserting in every way possible the dominance of their white, Christian, macho point of view. (I view Justice Amy Coney Barrett as a collaborator.) I don’t get it. These folks are already at the tippy-top of America’s food chain, as they have been since America’s founding… and yet they’re acting as if they are the ones under threat. Why so insecure?

Are they really terrified about that prediction of whites becoming a minority in this country by 2043? They needn’t worry — because their decision against the EPA’s power to fight global warming guarantees that we will all have bigger fish to fry (or boil) by then.

Still if they are truly worried about becoming minorities, they might want to think twice before they finish dismantling the protections of America’s Constitution and Bill of Rights. Someday they might wish they’d kept them.

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