Dobbs: The Dog that Caught the Car
Political mobilization often hinges on the idea of the creation of change and difference. Depending on the audience this change may be for the betterment of society or to its detriment. For progressive parties, there has been a long-standing tradition of promising legislation that addresses issues such as racial inequity, immigration, and wealth disparity. For conservative parties, there has been a long-standing tradition of promising legislation aimed at tax reduction, less government intervention, and "family values".
The general commonality between these vastly different areas of political content though is that there is no follow-through. For as much as things have changed in the last decades, many of the issues being run on are the same as they were in the late 20th century. The only major differences have been the methods by which these goals are pursued. Some parties may be said to have embraced "socialism" while others have embraced fascism and anarchy but generally the goals had remained unchanged.
This changed in 2022. Historically, a non-partisan body, the Supreme Court reversed decades of precedent and granted a GOP-fantasy of overturning Roe v. Wade through the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. While there is much that can be said about the egregious nature of the Supreme Court making this decision– not only in terms of immediate effect but the dangerous precedent established by the reversal of Roe in an extremely partisan move– there is also a concerning question for the other portions of the government to consider: What now?
While the overturning of Roe v. Wade has been a conservative wishlist item for decades, the particulars of what happens next have never been clear. Examining the national landscape at this point in time has established a concerning reality: no one is certain what to do or even if this was the right decision. For those arguing as a proponent of individual state rights, this was something that was a complete win; however, many states are now in tumultuous debates over what legislation even begins to describe their political landscape. As fifty sovereign states, there are fifty different governments that now must make decisions for how they want to exist.
Take for example the state of Kansas. Kansas is a state that has traditionally been a conservative stronghold. While many state legislators– and people around the country– assumed that the process of passing Kansas state legislation to ban abortion constitutionally through amendment would be a simple and quick process, voters turned out en masse and definitively rejected this move as written. While it may be possible that this is just due to the language of the amendment, I am of the belief that this is something more complex.
Imagine the typical genie conundrum that the media has depicted for decades. A genie grants three wishes, normally the first being used on something frivolous, the second something substantive and impactful, and the third used to fix everything that has changed and return reality to equilibrium. It is possible, and in fact feasible, to believe that people made a frivolous wish– perhaps supporting filling Supreme Court vacancies with individuals possessing a partisan lean, something common albeit not optimal– followed by an ill-thought-through wish, one with effects that reverberated profoundly and will likely have effects for decades.
We are all now participants in the process of wish number three. As members of a democracy, it is incumbent on all of us to act together in the process of restoring equilibrium. As mid-terms approach in the coming months, United States citizens must take into account what this reality looks like. Should the government have a role in the health decisions an individual makes? At what point does government involvement represent large government control? These are questions to ponder as we voyage into the next few months. Ultimately though, the only way to decide this is through a singular word…
Leave a Reply.
Myles Maxie is a Middlebury College graduate. A Southern California native, Maxie works to positively influence the communities he finds himself in to instill hope and empower those around him to advocate for change.