14 Jul Our Voices: July 2022
Commentary from Sagadahoc Democrats
In Light of Roe
I am enraged and alarmed by the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe. As discouraging and disturbing as this is, what comes to me most right now is how critical it is that each of us votes and registers our opposition to this action and to the far-right Republicans using this lopsided, ultra-conservative Supreme Court to further their extreme goals.
The Supreme Court decision has stripped away women’s rights, dismissing the dangers and potentially devastating outcomes of carrying an unwanted child, or of bringing a high-risk pregnancy to term. The Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe despite assurances by three recent nominees that they would protect this right because it is settled law. Through this ruling, the Court has imposed their own personal and religious beliefs on the entire country. This ruling stands in stark contrast to where a solid majority of Americans stand on the issue today.
And indications are that this is just the beginning. Clarence Thomas has suggested that the court also revisit the right to use birth control, engage in gay relationships or same-sex marriage. The Court recently expanded gun rights, and in a major blow to the fight against climate change the court has limited the EPA’s ability to regulate powerplant emissions.
Which is why it all comes back to our votes, because this is just a symptom of the ongoing attempt among Republicans to embrace minority rule in this country. Trump successfully created this ultra-conservative court with his three supreme court nominees, making it little more than a political arm of the RNC. And we shouldn’t forget that Maine’s own Susan Collins voted to approve each of them – she cannot lament being misled when she begged to be fooled.
Republicans claim to be pro-life, so concerned about the rights of the fetus—and yet they are not at all concerned about what happens once a child is born. In fact, they are adamantly against programs such as universal pre-k, affordable childcare, and other family benefit programs to support families and children once they are born. They claim to be pro-life, but are unwilling to enact reasonable, common-sense gun safety laws.
The Supreme Courts’ decision on abortion leaves it to individual states to decide on abortion policy. And while we would hope that our rights would be protected at the federal level, it is now incumbent on the States to do so. This makes our votes to elect state and local leaders committed to a progressive agenda, more critical than ever. As Mainers, for example, it’s critical we ensure that LePage not get re-elected, as his administration would quickly take up SCOTUS’ effort and squash women’s right to choose, our civil rights and our efforts to save the planet.
If there ever were a time to raise our voices and say we will not accept that a conservative republican agenda be imposed on us, this time is now. If there was ever a time to say that all politics is local, this time is now.
Fascism in America
“Do you know how it feels to have the president of the U.S. target you?” asked Ruby Freeman, a former Black election worker from Georgia. Her life, and that of her daughter, Shaye Moss (also a former election worker), were turned upside down when they were falsely accused of having participated in rigging the 2020 presidential election in their state. These brave women testified at the January 6 Congressional hearings, Moss in person and Freeman on video to refute those charges, and to describe what followed.
They both have endured violent threats to their lives, many of them racist in nature, and have suffered physical and verbal harassment to themselves and their families. Moss said that many of the messages were “hateful… a lot of threats wishing me dead, telling me I’ll be in jail with my mother, and saying things like, ‘Be glad it’s 2020 and not 1920.’” And the threats were not exclusively verbal ones; Trumpers tried to break into her grandmother’s house, searching for evidence of fraud.
In response, Moss and Freeman effectively went into hiding. During the week of January 6, Freeman left her home for her own safety as directed by the FBI. Moss was, and no doubt still is, afraid to go to the grocery store for fear that acquaintances might say her name and call attention to her from Trumpers. Freeman had a T-shirt inscribed “Lady Ruby” she won’t wear now. She claims, “I’ve lost my name and I’ve lost my reputation, and I’ve lost my sense of security.”
Such threats were perpetrated by the Donald Trump administration and those who support it, and represent the stock-in-trade of autocratic regimes from the Third Reich to dictatorships in Africa, Southeast Asia and in South America. Now it is happening here. Freeman and Moss are not alone; Rusty Bowers (R-Speaker of the Arizona House) testified that Trump supporters swarmed his house (which was sheltering, among others, his “gravely ill” daughter) every weekend and blared videos calling him a pedophile and a pervert. Most recently, Cassidy Hutchinson has received death threats for testifying before Congress.
No doubt many Trump’s supporters, senators among them, persist in their loyalty to a delusional tyrant because they have been, or are afraid they will be, threatened with similar threats and/or exposure. So long as Trump continues to hold the Republican Party in thrall, Biden may be president, but we will continue to be subject to the abusive tactics of a man who will stop at nothing to retake the power he feels entitled to.
We may take some solace in the knowledge that fascist regimes have historically been short-lived. In time, Adolf Hitler, Juan Peron, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, were all vanquished. But we can’t afford to be complacent about such a dire threat. We must act to stop the drift toward fascism by voting across the board for Democrats, the party that represents our values, the lives we want to lead, and our democracy.