As the headlines keep bouncing us from right to left and upside down, maybe confusing us in so many ways, there are some things we need to remain focused on – our Constitutional rights.
First published: May 2022.
The extreme right-wing in this country, led by white supremacists and right-wing TV celebrities (rantings equal ratings), is saying the “Great Replacement Theory” is concocted by the “elite” who want to replace good, white Americans with black and brown immigrants for the craven goal of acquiring enough new voters to keep the Democratic Party in office for, well, forever I guess.
The fact is what these folks see as the conspiratorial Great Replacement Theory is simply the country that they say they love doing what the country was created to do: welcome immigrants with open arms just as, let’s say, those espousing the Great Replacement Theory’s ancestors were greeted.
It has happened over and over in our history and it’s happening again. People who feel oppressed or threatened or who want to taste freedom flock here for a chance at a better life. Just as our ancestors did from all over the world.
Another thing that keeps us bouncing between headlines is abortion. I’m no lawyer and I’m no religious fanatic but it appears to me that what the Supreme Court is poised to do – overturn Roe v. Wade – is interfering with my constitutional rights. More women’s than mine, of course. First, the Constitution gives us freedom of religion. We are free to worship whatever God we choose. Or not. That’s a given under the Constitution.
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Yet, a minority is trying to force their religious beliefs on mine. If the Court overturns Roe it takes that right away from Jews and other religious groups that do not oppose choice.
Whatever “they” want to say, this is a religious freedom issue, to me. If choice is outlawed by the Court, Jewish folks’ right to choose is gone. Our right to practice our religion is taken away. True, too, for the Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, United Methodists, the National Baptist Convention, and Buddhism. Some of those do call for limits on when an abortion can be conducted. That’s the religious side of the issue.
On a general support/not support polling issue, about 70% of America’s population favor maintaining Roe.
Rally for abortion justice, Washington D.C. | Unsplash/Gayatri Malhotra
I’m not sure what exactly we’re fighting for or against but religious rights. Under what has been a precedent for 50 years each religion had their choice of whether to have or not have an abortion.
Now we have Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who every day focuses on his likely campaign for the presidency in a couple of years, who yesterday signed legislation that outlaws protests outside private residences in Florida. Once again, a minority trying to take away a Constitutional right – freedom of speech. The new law makes it a second-degree misdemeanor to picket or protest outside a person’s home to “harass or disturb” that person.
You’ll recall a couple of weeks ago in Washington, D.C., there were protests outside some Supreme Court justices’ homes when the draft opinion was leaked about the court’s current majority thinking on Row. We have a constitutional right to freedom of speech and assembly. We don’t have the right to trespass on someone’s property or do damage. But we do have a right to assemble on America’s streets to protest and exercise our freedom of speech. People in Florida now no longer do.
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So, in just the few examples given here, folks who reside on the far right-wing of our country want to take away religious freedoms, freedoms of speech freedom to assemble.
These are just some of the freedoms that make our country the best in the world – welcoming your ancestors and mine.
And now the fabric of America is being threatened and giving us another reason that democracy is under serious threat.
— AUTHOR —
▫ B. Jay Cooper, Former deputy White House press secretary to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Also headed communications offices at the RNC, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Yale University.
- Text: This piece was originally published in the Screaming Moderate and re-published in PMP Magazine on 21 May 2022, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
- Cover: Flickr/Sarah Penney. - Women’s rights protest outside of the US Supreme Court in the wake of the Roe vs. Wade majority opinion being leaked. | 13 May 2022. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)