You can tell it’s time for the midterms. The GOP has ramped up the “patriotic” banter, the flag-waving, and the notion that we’re supposed to be celebrating America’s great commitment to freedom for all. The July 4th holiday provides the perfect launching point for this fairy tale. I absolutely refused to celebrate the fourth of July this year, and I have no intention of celebrating it ever again. There’ll be no flags hanging in this house and there will be no fireworks. I’m done. The next time I’ll celebrate will be when we all have our rights here in the land of utter mythological bullshit.
Both GOP and the right-wing talking heads have focused on the lie that your “medical freedom” is being erased as proof that they are the champions of liberty, and a clueless American public has latched on eagerly to that ridiculous notion to te point where the public health has been put at risk. We now are a nation full of vaccine-phobic crazies who refuse to accept scientific and medical facts and continue to parrot misinformation at an alarming rate. A perfect example is in Missouri, where under forty percent of the population is vaccinated. Mercy Hospital celebrated the July 4 holiday by running out of ventilators as they now struggle against another COVID-19 surge (up 51% over the past two weeks). The reality is that the GOP doesn’t care about either the public health or freedom at all. What they care about is taking back the House and Senate in 2022 so they can continue to work on their vision of a great America.
Maxine Waters was right in her July 4th rant about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence applying only to white men. It was written by rich, white slave owners for the benefit of their kind. The proof is apparent all throughout history, a history that the right wing is now systematically trying to literally whitewash. We’ve had Rick Santorum state that those who founded America built it from nothing, there was not much culture here before that, as if the Native Americans didn’t even exist. We not only elect cretins like him, but we hire them as news sources when their failed careers are over. After they’re caught in their lies, the excuse is that they “misspoke.” In my mind, that’s the white man’s legacy.
I can tell you from my own personal educational experience what I was taught. That the natives were wild, murderous “savages” who went on a rampage against the colonists. Then, of course, we were taught that the white man and natives made peace and dined together at Plymouth Rock on the first Thanksgiving. They never told us the actual truth about our history, the fact that the colonials brought disease which helped decimate the native population, and the that the Native Americans realized they would become oppressed, landless slaves to the British if they didn’t rise up. They never taught us about the massacre at Wounded Knee (only one of many), the Trail of Tears, or how we abducted their children to eliminate native culture and install the white man’s way. I mention Native Americans in some detail here because their sad history continues to be ignored and their lives marginalized.
Denying the truth about American history
Likewise, the right-wing GOP governors are now keeping the truth about slavery from being taught in schools by legislating against the 1619 Project on a state-by-state-by-state basis. The usual suspects are in play, Governor Abbott in Texas has signed such legislation, and so has Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida. These are not the only two states. Critical race theory is under attack in a number of states. The good news is that both teachers’ unions and students are beginning to take a stand on this issue. Parents need to do the same.
Make no mistake about it. When legislation is passed by self-serving politicians that dictates what can and cannot be taught in public schools, it smacks of authoritarianism. When pushback is applied by educators, the same politicians call for mass firings of teachers. It is especially outrageous when that politician is a high-school dropout who only received her GED just prior to running for office, and only at the behest of her political consultants. By the way, Americans used to talk about the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC) several years ago (just as they used to talk about money in politics), but seem to believe they’ve magically gone away. ALEC has not gone away and the GOP is making use of it to pass anti-critical race theory legislation.
Black people and other people of color, women, the LGBTQ population, and transgender Americans (among others) have had to fight for their rights. Yet they have worked here, paid their taxes, and have also served this country in war, which is a hell of a lot more than Donald Trump has ever done. In a single administration, Donald Trump and his minions have undone much of what we have achieved, and those who remain behind in his rancid wake continue to erase the rights of those who do not fit the MAGA mold. Allow me to say that if people want to say I’m indulging in “identity politics,” I do so proudly and with great vigor. There is absolutely no way that any legislation should ever be advanced that seeks to take away the rights of any person or group of people. Legislation should only be used to advance civil rights.
How legislation is being used to oppress women
Across the nation, GOP governors are using legislation to take away civil rights from selected groups of people. Let’s first talk about women. In October, the Supreme Court will hear the Mississippi abortion case that is a challenge to Roe v. Wade. Under the Mississippi law, abortions are not legal after fifteen weeks, which is two months earlier than Roe v. Wade (and subsequent case decisions) allow. This is a direct threat to women’s reproductive rights, which were achieved after a long, hard battle back in the seventies. These rights should not even be in question if we believe that the Constitution bestows the same rights on all of us. We all know that it doesn’t, however. In spite of the fact that we are continually being told that the Biden administration wants to “pack the court,” it should be noted that the court has already been packed by Donald Trump, giving it a clear 6-3 conservative super-majority. Since this legislation passed, however, things have gotten even worse.
In Arkansas, there is literally now a virtual ban on abortion. Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill which literally bans all abortions except in the case of medical emergencies. There are no exceptions for women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest. In Texas, Governor Abbott signed a bill that bans abortions after six weeks, the first time a fetal heartbeat can be detected. However, most women do not even know they are pregnant before six weeks, effectively banning the medical procedure. It should be noted that, while there are exceptions for medical emergencies in this case as well, there is no exception for rape or incest. Apparently, as it has been suggested in the past, women should view becoming pregnant under these circumstances as a blessing.
While I certainly believe that each woman should be able to make that decision should she view it that way, no woman should be forced by the government to carry a child that has been conceived under those circumstances. It’s amazing to me that we are in the middle of a pandemic and we allow people to make the decision not to be vaccinated under the guise of medical freedom, yet we are passing legislation across the nation that takes away a woman’s medical freedom to make a decision about whether or not she should carry a child. Even worse, women remain silent in spite of the fact that we could be looking at Roe v. Wade in the rear view mirror come next spring. If I were the women of this nation I’d worry less about the Taliban taking away women’s rights in Afghanistan and more about the American Taliban (the GOP) hard at work here. Their lives won’t be any easier if we bring them here given the current climate, and given the fact that Trump has transformed this nation into a nationalist’s paradise.
Women are not the only victims in paradise
Of course, women are not the only targets of the GOP here in the land of the free and the home of the bigots. Transgender Americans are the new target for the uninformed and ignorant. The fact that we need an anti-transgender freedom tracker should be enough to tell you where we are here. Once again, the right wing disguises this bigotry in the notion that they care about the children. That’s why they prevent transgender youth from getting the medical services they need and from participating in school sports. Mind you, the kids who participate in sports with them do not have a problem. It’s the parents and the politicians who create the problems. Tennessee, which has moved toward banning all vaccines for children, also leads the way in anti-transgender legislation.
Overall, 2021 has proven to be one of the worst years for anti-LGBTQ legislation in America after decades of fighting for these rights. All you need to do is look through this state-by-state legislative round up. This cannot be allowed to stand, and it should not be happening in a nation we continue to promote as a freedom-loving land. Until all Americans have the same rights across the board, with no exceptions, we are not a true democracy. Again, civil rights should be guaranteed for all. No legislation should ever be filed that will curb the rights of a human being or a specific group of people. Legislation should only be used to advance rights. As it stands in America right now, invoking the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as the protectors of freedom is a mockery. Celebrating “Independence Day” is a joke.
Writer’s Note: This piece is late to the table. It was intended to be published earlier but several things got in the way. The information here is no less relevant. Thanks for your patience.
Categories: 2021, Abortion, ALEC, Civil Liberties, Conservative, Constitution, featured, GOP, Homophobia, LGBT Civil Rights, LGBTQ rights, Reproductive Rights, Right-Wing Ideology, Transgender rights, War on Women, Women's Rights