In Brief—Your rights are being stolen while you focus on other matters you consider more important than democracy. This piece tells you just how you are being robbed and what you can do about it.
The Assault on Democracy—
Where to start? Politics? Religion? Personal? A mix seems in order.
There’s an explosion tearing America apart. My thoughts have boiled over with anger, frustration and just plain dumfoundedness at what has filled the news of late: the ideological partisanship of the Supreme Court “conservatives”; the American march to more war in Iraq; and the seeming apathy of women in the face of continuous assault and discrimination. That’s not all. There’s the assault on democracy—or what’s left of it—by the big money vested interests; there’s the militarization of America; the blind religiosity of the troglodytes; the failure to vote, and when a person bothers to vote it’s for a familiar name or a party wedded to its moneyed patrons. Maybe it’s always been like this, but I think not.
The Personal Slops Over into the Political—
There are at least three Dons living in this body: the lawyer who gives thought to every word and action, who prefers to read non-fiction and who chooses the peaceful route while doubting its efficacy; the radical activist who opposed the Vietnam War draft and who womanized shamelessly while teaching pottery; and the anarchist who daydreams about how to destroy the police who brutalize peaceful protestors trying to get their message across to the bought-and-paid for politicians.
The first dominates, the second is quiescent while taking pride in his anti-war actions and the third lives in a sometimes violent fantasy world dreaming that he should have been a novelist. The third occasionally creeps into the thoughts of the first and colors the views expressed. All three live in relative harmony with one another and create the whole human…like everybody else.
The Supreme Court—
I used to think that the conservatives—Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy—were merely naïve and out-of-touch with the majority. In recent years, I have come to see them as ideologues wedded to a highly partisan point-of-view. I consider them to be the judicial wing of the Republican Party.
How else do you explain cases like Citizens United vs. F.E.C. which made money the equivalent of speech; the anti-union Harris vs. Quinn; Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, the case that elevated an owner’s religion over women’s reproductive rights; and McCullen vs. Coakley striking down the law establishing a small buffer zone between anti-abortionists and women entering women’s reproductive facilities?
Whoa! Hold it! Case names don’t tell you what’s really happening. What’s really happening is that in the abortion rights cases, if you’re a woman (or have female descendants), you are all being discriminated against because of your sex. You’ll discover that, among other assaults, your own beliefs are being trampled by fundamentalist religion. How’s that for turning women into second-class citizens?
And now, July 3, 2014, the Catholic members of the partisan “conservative” wing of the Court—and that’s all of them—have kicked the props out from under birth control as well as abortion by “temporarily” (?) ruling that religious Wheaton College need not sign a document that would allow the college’s insurance company to pay for birth control coverage for students and employees. They decided that the “burden” of merely signing a piece of paper allowing the insurance company to cover contraceptives was tantamount to condoning artificial birth control. We know, of course, that the Catholic Church is opposed to contraception. Sectarian bias and another attack on the Affordable Care Act. Women are the target. Wake up, ladies!
The Harris anti-union case shows that your power as a fully-dues-paying union member is being dangerously eroded. On the other hand, a “free-rider” can selfishly hail the generosity of fellow workers even while helping kill the unionism that built middle-class America. “Free-riders” get the benefits hard-working, dues-paying fellow unionists get while avoiding paying for those benefits. Don’t you “free-riders” feel proud!
The now-infamous Citizens United case gives corporations the same free speech rights you and I enjoy, equating money with speech. Thanks to the partisan conservative wing of the Supreme Court, the 1% spends many millions of dollars to push their selfish agenda while you, your dying union and small opposing citizen organizations are left in the dust. Meanwhile big corporate money floods in to elect the politicians that will do their bidding. If you think your vote doesn’t count, think about how the Supreme Court affects your life.
All these cases have been high-priority Republican wishes. The partisan ideologues on the Supreme Court have granted them their wishes. You are seeing the corrupting results of the Citizens United case. You will shortly see the results of the other cases. Something’s rotten in America.
Religion is Corrupting America—
If you don’t know how I view religion, you either haven’t been paying attention or you haven’t been reading this blog. For those who are unaware of my views, there is not a scintilla of logic in religious belief and a total absence of credible evidence that God exists. For a fuller picture, read what I have written about religion. It’s all there in the Archives on the right side of the page where you are reading this.
The Hobby Lobby and McCullen cases mentioned above are clear cases of egregious discrimination against women. As pointed out, a closed-corporation owner’s religion is considered more valuable than yours in determining whether your reproductive choices are yours and your doctor’s. Put clearly, your religion is less valuable than the religion of the corporate owner.
A simple visit to the local reproductive clinic for a pap smear will subject a woman to loud, accusatory lies from not just quiet little old ladies like plaintiff Ms. McCullen but aggressive anti-abortion advocates who will accuse the woman of killing a blob of protoplasm. Those anti-abortion protestors are pushing their religion and lies on women who are simply exercising their constitutional right. 35 feet! Think about this when it comes time to vote.
Voting, War, Domestic Militarization and More—
In the interest of brevity, I have confined today’s observations to discrimination against women, the destruction of unions and big money’s attack on the populace. There is much more begging for attention. It’s up to readers to overcome their apathy to let me know what deserves my attention in future posts. Here are a few examples:
- We have deceitful war-lovers crawling out of their holes to tell us that Americans and Iraqis must shed more blood and treasure to justify the illegal arrogance of the war lovers’ misguided past.
- There is ever-more-visible evidence of Republican President Dwight Eisenhower’s dire warnings about the military-industrial complex strangling America with its octopus-like tentacles. It’s no accident that the military has influenced credulous and greedy politicians to implant military facilities in almost every state. The United States spends more on its military than all the nations in the world combined, and that’s just the visible budget.
- America’s police, the ones we hire to serve, protect and defend us, have come to believe they are our bosses and to take on the equipment and tactics of the military.
- The vote has become much harder for many thanks to the Supreme Court’s partisans gutting The Voting Rights Act and Republican efforts to restrict voting rights in their states. By the way, if you want to be scared out of your wits, read the Republican Party Platform. It’s the statement of the party’s philosophy, its touchstone. Think about this when it comes time to vote…if you’re allowed to vote.
- The National Security Agency (NSA) is expanding its surveillance of not just suspected terrorists but of all of us. Edward Snowden’s revelations showed us that we are all considered terrorists in the eyes of the NSA…them and your local police.
These are just five of the subjects that deserve elaboration. Readers are invited to get involved and let me know which subjects should be discussed. There are certainly more than these that can be discussed, but you need to tell me.
Yes, this piece is long. It’s just not suitable for Twitter, but unlike Twitter, these are worth discussing at length. So sue me.