Like many of my generation, I was never reared in opulence. There was never an overabundance of anything that could make life materially easier. We did have love and the values of personal achievement and the pursuit of a quality education. We learned to appreciate many things that others would consider insignificant.
I can recall gleefully stimulating my imagination with connect-the-dots art. I always enjoyed predicting the subject of the illustration before completing the connections and found that I became quite skillful at both, including the final coloring. In reflection, I consider that activity as preparation for my adult life — learning how to assess the big picture and understanding how things come together. So it is with the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
Taking the time to connect the dots and realizing that life, like the dots, frequently offers a glimpse into the future, it is difficult to believe that so many find it shocking and unbelievable that the Supreme Court would follow through with the dissolution of Roe. The “leaked” decision in May makes this shock and disbelief even less understandable. Beyond the leak, it must be acknowledged that this decision was not made spontaneously. This well-orchestrated decision is the result of decades of organization, planning and single-issue voting.
I can’t remember the number of times I’ve mentioned it in past articles, but, as far back as the mid-seventies, I can remember televangelist and 1988 Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson providing tutelage on a ground-up approach to national Republican political domination. He advocated vigorous competition for any and all available local elective offices. He was confident that securing these offices would lead to establishing the groundwork for success in securing higher elective offices. In my assessment, the Robertson plan has worked.
In 1982, Congress amended the Voting Rights Act by changing the standard from requiring proof of intended discrimination to only having to show discriminatory impact. Ronald Reagan believed that the Voting Rights Act humiliated the South and brought in an individual to determine how to oppose the 1982 Voting Rights Act Amendment. That person was John Roberts who began his career arguing against the Voting Rights Act. When writing for the majority in the evisceration of the VRA in 2013, Roberts’ crusade had, seemingly, achieved its highest objective.
Mitch McConnell led Senate Republicans in a disciplined, sustained, and, at times, underhanded campaign to deny President Obama the opportunity to appoint federal judges. McConnell helped bring down Roe — a decadeslong goal of anti-abortion activists — by leveraging his leading role in the U.S. Senate to reshape the U.S. Supreme Court. He was responsible for steering three conservative Supreme Court Justices through the confirmation process, and he is most notably criticized for the hyper-partisan hypocrisy that he used to justify the “irregular” (some would argue illegal) confirmation of Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Of course, these three justices provided the margin of victory for the anti-abortion initiative and have opened the door of scrutiny on other privacy issues.
It may be easy or convenient to assess these circumstances as separate and distinct occurrences, but that would be naïve. Without direct evidence, collusion cannot be proved, but, like discrimination, the real proof is in the impact and effect.
However flawed, the ideals of Democracy promoted by the nation’s founders and the achievements in civil rights and social justice that have been earned through struggle since 1776 are more threatened than at any time in our history.
The current struggle boils down to voting consistently and creating a legislative majority of those who value the freedoms we have won.