In 2021, as summer ebbs into fall, Democrats are concerned with a number of issues, but perhaps most importantly, abortion. It has become a wildcard issue because the Supreme Court has rendered a decision regarding it that neither is supreme nor courtly.
Bullies and cowards often travel together, and that is precisely how Republicans have acted regarding the latest legislation from the hallowed halls of the capitol of Texas. The Lone Star state has enacted the strictest abortion law in the land. Essentially it outlaws any abortion that would be performed approximately six weeks following conception. That’s the bullying part – exercising arbitrary and capricious power to encroach on a basic human right. And, of course, the Republicans chose to place far more restraints on the women of Texas rather than the men. In case you have forgotten, men don’t need abortions.
The cowardice angle is that the state is relieved of any enforcement responsibilities. Rather than have state authorities monitor abortion clinics for alleged crimes, the state “farms out” responsibility for enforcement to the citizens of Texas, or for that matter, the citizens of any other state who might happen to be in Texas. They are empowered to sue any woman in Texas who chooses to have a prohibited abortion.
The “infraction” is not settled in criminal court; rather in civil court where the “apprehender” or bounty hunter can seek to recover as much as $10,000 from a fine levied on the woman seeking the abortion. In further acts of cowardice, the law states that not only can a woman receiving an abortion be sued, but any other person who is “complicit” with her can as well. This could be the receptionist at the abortion clinic, the Uber driver who gives her a lift to the clinic, and any healthcare professional who works or volunteers at the clinic.
Indeed, Americans live in a strange country when the supreme court of the land, operating under the jurisdiction of the world’s oldest and presumed fairest constitution, cannot find one, much less dozens of reasons, to rule this sham of a law unconstitutional.
Almost all conservatives vehemently oppose abortion. Is there anything that draws a similar opposition from progressives?
How about gun control? Just as conservatives see abortion as an issue if life, progressives see unfettered gun rights as a matter of life, and death. Ever since 1973, when abortion became legal in the United States in the Roe v. Wade ruling, conservatives have been successful at chipping away at abortion rights to the point where now in Texas, over 85% of what were legal abortions are now against the law. Dozens of other states are fashioning similarly draconian laws.
During that same forty-eight-year period of time since Roe v. Wade, progressives have been trying to chip away at gun rights in the interest of gun safety. In 1973, Richard Nixon was still hanging on to his presidency with its law and order mantra. The rate of violent crime in the United States was growing rapidly. Conservatives favored stricter laws against gun crimes. Some progressives favored stronger penalties as well, but most wanted to deal with the root of the problem, the presence of guns, legal and illegal, on the streets and in the homes of Americans.
How much progress have progressives made in reducing the number and the of guns in America and the power of the types that are legally permitted? The answer is virtually none. In 1994, with Bill Clinton as president, the Democratic Congress passed a ten-year ban with the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. It did outlaw some powerful weapons, but there was the sunset provision, limiting the restrictions to ten years before the law had to be renewed.
Conservatives were outraged that the bill passed. Less than two months after the bill became law, the first nail was hammered into its coffin as Newt Gingrich and the conservative Republicans took over Congress. By the time that the ten-year life of the bill was over in 2004, Republican George W. Bush was president, and he was in a position to veto any extension of the law. Since that period, gun laws have not been strengthened; they have been weakened.
So, suppose that progressives wanted to counter the strength of guns in America in a fashion similar to what Republicans have done with abortion. If there was to be symmetry in their strategy to what Republicans did, they would choose to not have any have any government agencies or officials involved in enforcing the laws.
Instead, they would set up a bounty system similar to what Texas Republicans have done to curtail abortions. Progressives would pass a law that would enable citizens to monitor the presence of weapons, particularly assault weapons, in the streets, workplaces, schools and homes of America.
That way, progressives could try to be like conservatives and bully their foes. They could establish un-armed posses to travel throughout America, to wherever guns are present. They could courteously go to gun stores, gun shows, bars, gang hideouts and wherever else there might be high concentrations of guns and please ask the owners (legal or illegal) to surrender their weapons in return for a summons to appear in court. This method by progressives to deal with guns would have a parallel construction to how conservatives in Texas are currently dealing with abortions.
Conservatives would be pleased with these parallel laws. All that they would have to do would be to take a picture of a woman about to have an abortion, along with anyone assisting her, and issue a warrant for their arrest. They show up in court and their work is done and they are richer.
Progressives would simply take pictures of people with guns and find a way to serve a warrant on the gun owners and be sure to say ‘please’ when they do so.
This is what conservatives call fair. They can act like bullies and prevent a woman from having control of her body while the other side must forcefully try to confiscate powerful firearms.
Yes, the absurdity is very clear to progressives; not at all to conservatives. This is why conservatives are winning so many of the battles these days. They get to use firearms as their weapon of choice; progressives use a basic right on human reproduction. If you can’t see a power imbalance in this conundrum, look again.