America Died 06/24/22
Fourth of July weekend is here, and everyone is excited to celebrate 246 years of Red, White, and Blue. I can’t say I feel celebratory. I feel as I’ve been mourning the loss of a friend this past week. America is dead. Before I’m attacked for being dramatic, hear me out. America means a lot of things to different people. For me, it’s the guarantee of liberty to a free people voluntarily coming together to make our world a better place. On June 24, 2022, this guarantee was not protected. The guarantee of liberty died on that day, and my America died with it.
There are many arguments against abortion. Most of the strongest ones fall within the answers to the question, “Where does life begin?” This is a debate all its own and outside the scope of my expertise. For the sake of this article, let’s assume life begins at the most extreme of the arguments — conception.
Life begins after sex, well, within six days after sex. This tadpole fella finds this bubble house, then boom! According to many, we now have a micro-American human starting their journey towards adulthood. This human is not medically OK though. They are 100% medically dependent on another American to give them blood, oxygen, and other bodily functions to survive. This other American selflessly gives of themselves to nurture this micro human to health until the micro human no longer needs them.
Until the viability of this micro-American, they are dependent on a third party for their life. When the government removes the right to an abortion, the government removes the third party’s right to personal bodily autonomy. The government removes the individual’s choice to freely give of themselves. These bodies become enslaved to the government’s will. Some may believe they must protect this micro-American at all costs, so much so that they will use the government to enslave other American bodies for this purpose.
I’m not advocating for or praising the act of abortion, and I don’t believe any person is hoping to need an abortion. There are many proven ways to decrease abortion, and I think we should continually pursue them. (Incidentally, criminalizing abortion is not one of them.) I’m merely recognizing that for individual freedom to exist, we can’t make someone, against their will, do something with their body for the sake of another. Even another innocent American.
Losing Roe is horrible, but it isn’t the death of Roe I mourn. I mourn for the structural integrity of everything America built. America isn’t perfect, and it surely has done many unforgivable deeds. The road to a more perfect union is paved through the undoing of bondage and controls, but the overturning of Roe marks the beginning of a path to fewer liberties and more bondage.
This past week, for the first time in America’s history, constitutionally protected freedom was revoked. We were given freedom, believed it to be protected, then had it taken away. Before this moment we could rest assured that constitutionally protected freedoms were guaranteed through the process of judicial precedent. This guarantee has failed, and so has the American experiment.
The case brought to the Supreme Court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, challenging Roe wasn’t unique or nuanced. It was a known unconstitutional issue recognized as such unanimously by the Fifth Circuit Court. It wasn’t brought to the Supreme Court because the situation changed, but because the composition of the Supreme Court changed.
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has long been the foundational guardian of our union. It is meant to be a non-political entity with the purpose of protecting the roads we’ve built towards this more perfect union. SCOTUS justices are oracles of reason for our laws outside the influence of politics. This truth is now in question as justices of a few years rejected a process recognizing judicial precedent, the act of using past law to interpret current legal questions. Not only that, but based on how they performed, we can safely assume they were less than honest regarding their positions on Roe during their confirmation hearings.
Every recently appointed justice was asked during their confirmation hearings how they would handle challenges to Roe. Each one of them, in their own way, emphatically stated that it had been the law of the land for almost 50 years and that they would not reject the precedent it had created. It’s fine for a judge to translate the law how they believe it should be translated. However, to reverse one’s interpretation of 50 years of precedent after a few years of serving on the highest court in the land just isn’t realistic for the caliber of judge we expect to serve on SCOTUS. At best, there is an unarticulated legal reason for this change. At worst, several of our country’s most powerful individuals lied to attain that power.
I believe they knew how they would rule and simply said what they needed to say to be confirmed with the least resistance. Through this, they have politically bastardized this institution and called into question the very legitimacy of all institutions resting on its foundation.
If judicial precedent means nothing, our institutional structures governing everything mean nothing. Precedent is stone to build upon, but what we’ve witnessed is an exchange of stone for sand. We are witnessing the unwinding of our civil liberties. The majority of Americans did not want this right taken away. SCOTUS has not just dismantled abortion rights; it has begun dismantling our democracy.
The America of a more perfect union doesn’t come back from this. We can’t. Even to change everything back doesn’t negate the fact that this system failed to protect progress previously established.
We no longer demand something be given to us. We now demand something be given back to us. A broken record repaired will never play as effectively as it once did. We need a new record. Or maybe we should go digital. Whatever we do, America will not be as it was.
“The road to fascism is lined with people telling you to stop overreacting.” Right now, they are lined up for miles. Most do not understand the gravity of the consequences awaiting us. Most do not realize America just died.
Everything must change.
America is dead.
Long live America.