Thinking about difficult things
Trying to stay objective and realistic but also optimistic
Thanks for reading. I don't know about you, but I find myself reading a lot more online than ever before – from the educational to the political and the curious and entertaining. Obviously, the Internet is a bottomless universe, so sometimes having others who help me identify content is super fun and helpful.
Very recently, I found deepculture, a weekly smart digest that sends you 20 interesting things every Tuesday, combined with wisdom bites, book snacks, and other cool stuff. Thousands of readers enjoy it every Tuesday! In its 23rd edition, I found some awesome quotes from books I read a long time ago. Like this little reminder:
We need both reality and illusion
We cannot do without reality and we cannot do without illusion. Each serves a purpose, each imposes a limit on the influence of the other, and our experience of the world is in between.
(from "Stumbling on Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert)
Check him out! If not the book snacks, then perhaps the tech tips, news stories, or amazing images they curate will be your cup of tea!
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Now to the serious stuff…
Last week the SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade.
My first thoughts – what happened to America, the land of the free, just, inspiring, innovative, shining light in the world? The one that champions human rights, equality, and progress? The one that led the post-World War II world on the path of hope and a prosperous future for all.
I wanted to say a lot… but it all came out in short angry bursts, Twitter style. So, after confessing to being the Stressed Sideliner last week, probably equally annoying conservatives and liberals, I feel that I lean liberal this week. I apologize to my more conservative friends, but it turns out many conservatives also have an issue with these recent developments.
Looking at what others have said, I realized everything has already been said. So, instead of repeating it all in my own words, I'd like to share what I found most informative, educational, and useful on the issue and hopefully bring some nuance and some rationality to this very emotional time.
Find out How the Roe v. Wade ruling evolved back in the 70s, by James D. Robenald in the Washington Post.
A review of internal Supreme Court documents reveals that the justices' thinking on Roe evolved dramatically over the course of eight months of deliberations. If not for several key changes of heart — and strategy — we wouldn't have ended up with an ironclad right to abortion before a pregnancy is considered viable.
Note the "eight months of deliberations." If you read the article, you will see the notes, memos, and opinions that eventually formed the definition of women's constitutional protection and right to abortion. I did not know any of this!
The justices demonstrated an extraordinary consideration in contemplating and grappling with the issue's complexity. Women should remember this because women often think men are to blame for every injustice. Here's an example of men agonizing over making life more just for women.
Some men are clearly to blame for injustice. If you want to read the recent SCOTUS decision, as it came down, here you go. It's 213 pages long. It's a lot of words to dance around and conclude that we should go back to having states decide the issue without federal protection. Some quotes for you:
The Judicial Branch derives its legitimacy, not from following public opinion, but from deciding by its best lights.
I can see how the Supreme Court must think independently of public opinion, which is easily manipulated, shocked, and exploited. We do not want anyone sentenced in the court of public opinion, which is why high-profile cases find it difficult to recruit impartial judges for a trial. Everyone is tainted by public opinion.
BUT, at the same time, the Supreme Court needs to be in lockstep with the times! Modernity is here! We already did the illegal abortion thing back when and we know how it all ended – with the need to protect women's right to choose what to do in their individual circumstances.
Yet, Justice Alito,
Not only was there no support for such a constitutional right until shortly before Roe, but abortion had long been a crime in every single State…By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy, and the remaining States would soon follow.
It appears that the conservatives in the court are way more conservative than the majority of Americans. It's like going to a Catholic school 50 years ago. We're getting slapped on the back of the hands with a ruler by angry nuns.
Chief Justice John Roberts says Supreme Court went too far in taking the 'dramatic step' of overturning Roe v. Wade More interestingly, he said:
The Court's decision to overrule Roe and Casey is a serious jolt to the legal system—regardless of how you view those cases…
Both the Court's opinion and the dissent display a relentless freedom from doubt on the legal issue that I cannot share…
This makes me think of:
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
I wonder if the precise choice of words Justice Roberts used is entirely coincidental.
The dishonesty of the abortion debate in The Atlantic exemplifies why perhaps Justice Roberts said what he said. I found it powerful to read. It juxtaposes the Left and Right positions and asks the reader to appreciate the complexity.
Instead, we have the Supreme Court thinking in black and white terms. We all know, that life happens in the gray area, and the Devil is in the details.
The natural next question from this ruling is: What about other rights we've acknowledged and accepted since Roe? Justice Alito attempts to ease concerns about other newly acquired rights and freedoms:
… we have stated unequivocally that '[n]othing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion. We have also explained why that is so: rights regarding contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different from the right to abortion because the latter (as we have stressed) uniquely involves what Roe and Casey termed 'potential life.
But Justice Thomas went ahead and called gay rights and the right to contraception "demonstrably erroneous decisions." He sees it fit to re-examine the cases establishing these rights in light of Roe v. Wade getting overturned successfully. Clearly, this worries many!
Many states like Texas had to quit providing abortions immediately. Others have 30 days to figure it out. Employers must re-examine the health benefits they offer and decide what to do. Some will pay for women to go out of State and do what they need to do. Health plans need to be re-defined.
Interestingly, some conservative states with trigger laws that were supposed to make abortion illegal immediately after the Supreme Court's decision are going against it. Two of them so far, Louisiana and Utah, state courts blocked the abortion ban via restraining orders.
There is irreparable harm that has been shown… Affected women are deprived of safe, local medical treatments to terminate pregnancies.
(Third District Judge granting the order in Utah)
Since the SCOTUS kicked the abortion matter back to the states, the states are now deciding for themselves how to handle the subject. Many of them found themselves immediately in litigation with abortion advocates, the outcomes of which remain to be seen. Abortion advocates now seek protection under states' constitutions. Read more about the legal quagmire HERE.
Meanwhile, all sorts of other questions loom over us.
1) How will Americans view the Supreme Court and the judicial process from here on?
2) Will Democrats try to pass an actual law to legalize abortion, as many European countries have done?
3) What is the economic impact of this decision? The most impacted will be the poorest who can't afford to travel to get an abortion and can't afford to raise kids? Janet Yellen thinks this will negatively affect the economy and set women back decades.
4) Will there be extradition laws for women who drive from a state where abortion is illegal to a different state? Can she still be punished?
5) How and who will police women to ensure no pregnant women are attempting abortion?
6) How will these laws impact the migration in/out of states, especially for women and doctors? How will this change the demographics of states? The availability of workforce in different states? The prices of real estate and rents?
7) What about the emotional and physical toll for women who already have children and simply can't have another one? I don't want to hear a dude say a thing on this one! If you've never given birth and had to bear most of the burden of raising a cranky baby that came out of your body and ruined your organs, career, and sex life, you're not allowed to even attempt to answer this question.
8) Will this change how people vote in the midterms? In the next presidential election?
If I sit here long enough, I'll probably come up with a dozen more questions. We must all wait to see how the dust will settle and what comes next.
Meanwhile, my brain can't figure out why feminists spent all this time arguing about pronouns and the definition of a "woman" while the republicans methodically got here with no one to stop them from truncating a most fundamental right for all women…
But the main question we must ask ourselves is: What kind of America do we want to live in? I am feeling disillusioned… and sad. This country was my dream. It's kind of turning into a nightmare, and I feel helpless. I only have one vote to cast, and it feels tiny compared to the massive amounts of money spent on buying political power. Yet, without it and the millions of other individual tiny votes, the outcome is certain – no change. So, perhaps voting is like playing the lottery – you can't win if you don't play!
Thank you for reading.
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Feeling proud of my countryman <3! Perhaps, we can make the most of the time we have left???
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