• Sona Chaturvedi

With Sorrow, We Dissent

Photo Credit: Getty Images.

"With sorrow -- for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection -- we dissent," wrote Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor in their 66-page opinion when Roe vs. Wade was overturned Friday. They wrote these words knowing that this version of the U.S. Supreme Court will not be remembered as a body that ruled in fairness and operated within the confines of the law to set honest legal precedent. But, instead, it will be remembered as a tool for the religious right to impose its sanctimonious judgment on American citizens. June 24, 2022, will forever be memorialized as the day women in America became 2nd-class citizens, again. It won’t end there. Controversial right-wing Justice Clarence Thomas made his opinion about LGBTQIA+ marriage known after the ruling. He openly discussed bringing cases before the court that would overturn protections for those deemed unworthy, as defined by the “Christian” right. What’s next? The implications are chilling. This ruling revealed something more sinister about America. Exposed unapologetically is the autocratic path Republicans have been orchestrating for the last 40 to 50 years. Every rational person knows this decision had little do with abortion. It is about oppression, control, misogyny and the need for absolute power. We are here. We are potentially months away from becoming an autocratic nation. Why? Because not enough people paid attention to the GOP’s grand plan. It’s classic gaslighting. “Today is one of the darkest days in American history,” said Umair Haque of Eudaimonia & Co. “A Supreme Court made up of fanatics and lunatics, whose vision is a fascist theocracy, has, in one fell swoop, eviscerated American democracy. Five people have taken the most basic of rights away from 330 million. 70%, by some counts, 80%, of Americans don’t want this. This is how a democracy ends.” I am hardly alone in my belief that this has been a plan in the making for 40-plus years. Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC rightfully points out that these Supreme Court justices were not chosen by the people. They were chosen by either Republican presidents who didn’t win the popular vote, but came to power through the arcane Electoral College system, or through dishonest tactics used by Sen. Mitch McConnell, who engineered a decades-long goal of anti-choice activism -- by leveraging his leading role in the U.S. Senate to reshape the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court.

The midterms alone will decide the path forward, not just for abortion rights but for American democracy as a whole. The anger on the streets is real. But it’s a never-ending battle, from abortion rights to gun control to the Black Lives Matter movement. The question remains, does it have staying power? Is this time different? I certainly hope so, for the sake of democracy. Anger can be used to energize. It has been in the past for civil rights and other moments of great social justice in America. Is it too late? Time will tell. An authoritarian America doesn’t have to happen, but none of this did. The methodical way the GOP used every trick to win this landmark victory and divide the nation is something Democrats could add to their toolbelt to pass progressive tactics. Leave no stone unturned. If we must, we should get our hands dirty too and not merely just rise above it. Having moral superiority in an autocracy means nothing. We need to go further to preserve representative government. Democracy is worth the fight. Just ask Ukraine.