Independence Day 7/4/22

Political Thoughts with Richard Bleil

Today is Independence day but with the thoughts of the recent Supreme Court rulings still swirling in my mind, I find it difficult to celebrate a nation in which I no longer feel welcome.  But rather than speaking of laws and parties, I think I’d rather speak of the original principles on which America was founded based on the Declaration of Independence.  No, this letter was never law, but I think it’s prescient. 

The second paragraph begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”.  We’ve expanded what “men” means in our nation to include people of all races, religions, genders (yes, more than one), sexual orientations, socioeconomic position and more.  The recent SC decision to overturn Roe v Wade does not make abortions illegal, but it does through the decision to the states, many of which have already enacted “trigger laws” that severely restrict abortions, which is a restriction of roughly half, and only half, of our citizens.  Republicans like Mike Pence are calling for all states to pass laws outlawing all forms of abortion, but these laws are not equally distributed to all citizens.  I am aware of no laws that are only applicable to men, so to have laws that only apply to women does not fall into the realm of all men being created equal. 

The paragraph goes on to state, “that they are endowed by their creator [note the non-denominational nature of this working] with certain unalienable Rights [note that “Rights” was capitalized in the Declaration of Independence], that among those are Life”.  Today (as of the writing of this post), the courts in Louisiana have put a [temporary] restraint on the anti-abortion trigger law in that state.  This emergency injunction was to give time to review the law because, as I understand it, the law does not allow for abortion for the health of the mother.  There have already been Republican and conservatives who have spoken against abortion for the well-being of the mothers as “God’s will”.  Some may argue that these are exceptions, but the reality is that the discussion has begun, and there are those who do not see these exceptions as appropriate in the anti-abortion movement.  What’s more, the Supreme Court has limited the ability of states to protect their citizens by making it more difficult to pass gun-control legislation.  With gun violence on the rise, this decision has threatened the lives of all Americans, not just women. 

The other life is “Liberty”, but how much liberty to we really have when so many in our population do not have the liberty to decide what they do with their own bodies.  It’s worse when we consider that minorities are jailed more frequently and longer than Caucasians, and with Supreme Court “Justices” like Clarence Thomas calling for a review of laws protecting same-gender marriage and even birth control devices.  If one American has restricted liberties, then we all have lost our liberties.

Finally, there is “and the pursuit of Happiness”.  Recent studies have suggested that women who are denied the right to an abortion suffer from increased depression (far more than those who have had abortions), and far more significant economic hardships.  I understand those opposed to certain abortion procedures (such as using abortion as birth control or late-term abortions of viable fetuses), but my opinion of abortions should have no weight of law on women.  Religious freedom means the right to practice and believe what we all believe as individuals, but it does not give the right of one individual to pass judgment or make a decision for somebody else. 

It seems to me that the Satanic Temple has it right.  They have begun a campaign of suing states restricting abortion rights as a violation of their rights of religious freedom.  I would love to see every religious group that does not hold abortion as sinful sue for a violation of their rights, including people like me who are non-denominational.  I would love to see states that are trying to restrict women’s rights have to pay millions of dollars to defend their laws.

Today, many conservatives and Republicans are calling for “unity”.  It’s easy to call for unity when you are the group with your boots on the necks of the others.  The founding fathers wanted unity, which is why they called for equal rights for all.  Laws that target one group of people are not a way to unite people, and passing legal doctrine based on religion is devastating to unity. 


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