I should’ve known I was going to wake up on the soapbox side of the bed this morning. Last night, shortly before I went to sleep, I read one of the umpteen scathing reviews of Peter Jackson’s three part documentary “Get Back,” which used the scads of footage shot while The Beatles were preparing for their Let It Be album, film and rooftop concert which took place in January, 1969. I’ve always had trouble with critics who make their living interpreting music, art and literature for all the rest of us simpletons out here, who apparently aren’t smart enough to make our own assessments of what’s worth listening to, looking at or reading. Okay, my tongue is firmly implanted in my cheek. The truth is, I’ve never wanted to have anyone else’s point of view influencing my appreciation for the arts. To be fair, I prefer developing my own opinion based on my own thoughts about mostly everything. I know there are people more expert than me in multiple areas. I appreciate learning facts that I don’t know. What I don’t appreciate is being told how to think about those facts. Is it arrogant to believe I trust my own ability to think critically without anyone else’s opinions as my intellectual foundation? So be it. I think I’ve lived long enough to have earned that attitude.
Of course, there are more significant issues than how much I love watching anything Beatles, ratcheting up my ire. If anything newsworthy caught your attention today, it would be the U.S. Supreme Court’s hearing oral arguments about an abortion case which, if the justices make their predicted decision, will overturn Roe V. Wade. I remember when a woman’s right to determine what happened with her own body was finally codified by the sitting Supreme Court in early 1973. Despite never having enough states ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, this historic passage meant that at long last, government had no power over the most essential freedom, the agency to choose whether to keep a pregnancy, one of the most dangerous medical conditions for women, physically, emotionally and economically. Now, thanks to a Supreme Court packed by the former misogynist in chief, that decision will once again be in government hands, particularly in the case of poor women with limited options. The irony of allowing government that type of control from the right wing of this country, whose vociferous rage over vaccines and masking they consider a violation of individual freedoms, shouldn’t be lost on anyone. In addition, nationwide polls bear out the majority’s support for the right to choose, not that the minority seems to care about the democratic underpinning of majority rule.
Broad support for abortion rights: Gallup polls show Americans’ support for abortion in all or most cases at 80% in May, only sightly higher than in 1975 (76%), and the Pew Research Center finds 59% of adults believe abortion should be legal, compared to 60% in 1995—though there has been fluctuation, with support dropping to a low of 47% in 2009. Steady support for Roe: Support for the Supreme Court’s abortion precedent in Roe v. Wade is similar, with a November Quinnipiac poll finding that 63% agree with the court’s ruling; and 60% of respondents in a November Washington Post/ABC News poll and 58% of May Gallup respondents want the court to uphold the decision. – Alison Durkee, Forbes 11/30/21
However great the Republicans’ and the judges’ anti-abortion stance, expressed with concern for the life of a fetus by Justice Samuel Alito today – “Justice Samuel Alito dug in on whether viability is an appropriate line for the court to have drawn. “The fetus has an interest in having a life,” Alito said, and that doesn’t change between before and after viability,” doesn’t seem to extend to the child after it exits the womb. I cite the example below, one of many that indicates that the Republican government members don’t have much sympathy for children post-birth, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Last Thursday, 39 million American parents began receiving a monthly child allowance ($300 per child under six, and $250 per child from six through 17). It’s the biggest helping hand to American families in more than 85 years. They need it. Even before the pandemic, child poverty had reached post-war records. Even non-poor families were in trouble, burdened with deepening debt and missed payments. Most were living paycheck to paycheck – so if they lost a job, they and their kids could be plunged into poverty. But every single Republican in both the House and Senate voted against the measure. – The Guardian, July 2021.
What they will go to the mat to protect is the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, despite the fact that the U.S. is the world leader in gun violence and most particularly, violence against school children. When Covid19 forced schools to turn to online classes, a brief respite occurred. But with kids back in the classroom, the numbers of school shootings have again risen. Drills to deal with active shooters is a part of daily education. How terrifying to simultaneously think of getting sick from the virus or shot by a classmate.
In America’s gun violence ‘epidemic,’ Oxford High in Michigan is the 28th school shooting of 2021. Of those, 21 have happened since August when many students returned to in-person learning for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. There were 10 recorded shootings in 2020. – NBC News.
And how about this contradiction? I have never understood the logic of those people who are anti-choice and pro death penalty. How does that make sense to anyone?
Democracy is in a dark period, fueled by disinformation, outright lies and willful ignorance. The Civil War, which seemingly ended in 1865, is percolating away in the 21st century. Voting rights bills are stuck without passage because of the conservatives in the Senate, while efforts are underway in multiple states to make voting more difficult, along with gerrymandering districts so future elections will indeed be rigged. How ironic considering the still raging lie that the last Presidential election was a fraud.
I’ve been demonstrating for causes over all the decades of my life, from my teens to just a few weeks ago. I’m exhausted and angry, like many other people. Right now I hope to maintain the energy to keep up the good fights against the tyrannical trends that I don’t believe are majority opinions. But as I age, part of me still can’t believe resistance will be required to the end. Whether it’s as small as pushing back on the snarky opinionated critics or the greater task of standing up to the right wing mob and its leaders, I hope I still have some fuel in my tank. Whew. I’m done for the night.
2 thoughts on “Up on the Soapbox”
Renee, once again you hit the nail on the head with your well thought out comments. I always enjoy reading your thoughts although they are not relaxing. You were more delicate than I am in describing the infuriating irony of conservatives when they complain about covering their nose and mouth and yet feel that there should be no privacy about a woman’s vagina or uterus–that is public (not even her pubic) property.
Nancy, during all the years of political activism, I learned to tame some of my fury in the hope that staying rational while expressing myself with clarity absent venom, I might be able to organize a person into a different viewpoint, namely mine. The way things are now, I’m not convinced the chasm can be breached by anything. A sad state of affairs all the way around.