The Downstream Effects Of Politics
On Saturday, January 22, two opinion pieces appeared in The New York Times that comment on the effects of politics on the health of Americans.
In the first by Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood and daughter of Ann Richards, she notes her regret on what she believes is the eve of the end of Roe v. Wade freedom for women to control their reproductive rights. Her regret is that she underestimated the degree to which the opponents of Planned Parenthood in the Republican Party would go to overturn Roe. I feel her pain. While I respect the viewpoint of the pro-life camp, the consequences of overturning Roe are just too dire. Back-alley abortions will return and women will die for lack of access to safe pregnancy termination. I understand the need for revisiting the time frame when legal abortion should be allowed, but 6 weeks is ridiculous and the fact that the enforcement of the Texas law is supposed to be via ratting on your neighbor is absurd.
As this blog has written many times, abortion should be what Bill Clinton said years ago—“legal, safe and rare.” Nothing else really makes sense because the overturning of Roe literally puts women’s lives on the line, especially the poor and underprivileged who will be disproportionately affected by the Supreme Court’s decision likely to be handed down in June that the Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of gestation is constitutional. Heck, the Court has allowed the Texas 6-week ban to stand even up to this day. That law makes having an abortion illegal before many women know that they are pregnant.
Ms. Richards underestimated the lengths to which her opponents would go to reverse Roe. There is even a story in the article that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, two former New York City liberals, met with Richards just before the 2017 inauguration to ask her to stop Planned Parenthood’s provision of abortions in exchange for the Trump Administration’s increasing the funding to the non-profit. It’s laughable what Republicans don’t understand about women.
The second article by Michelle Goldberg also dumps on the Trump years for increasing the mental health burden on Americans. But closer reading reveals this is really about the untoward effects of politics and following politics on the mental health of Americans. This one does not get my endorsement. I don’t think Republican politics are uniquely making people upset. I’m upset with the Democrats who can’t get anything done and can’t focus on the reality that their guy does not have a mandate to overturn the social welfare system in the country, but was supposed to focus on Covid, the economy and immigration none of which he has done anything meaningful about other than a pandemic handout.
Donald Trump did not start the culture war. Rather he was an outgrowth of it.
What seems to drive the die-hard Trumpers is a fear that they are falling behind and that the country they knew and the bargain they made of hard work for a secure future has been blown up. It has. But not by Donald Trump.
One of my readers constantly reminds me that for the first three years under Trump, the economy was soaring and we were starting to disengage from the foreign entanglements George Washington warned us about. And he’s right. The problem with Trump was as much the package as what was in it. The majority of Americans wanted to dump the package in 2020 after Covid and the government’s singular disastrous response thereto. But it was not a landslide nor did Mr. Biden have a mandate to do anything but return us to normalcy. Instead, Mr. Biden has adopted the left-wing agenda and it will undoubtedly cost him control of Congress and his job one way or the other.
We all could benefit from a healthier politics that examines the consequences of legislation and court decisions with an eye toward real life consequences. Unfortunately, as long as the best and brightest of us sit on the sidelines and let the riffraff run for office, we will likely be subjected to awful decisions that will put some of us in danger and drive all of us wild.