I’m not real excited about celebrating Independence Day this year. The two words that keep flashing into my mind are Why Bother?
If you’re ordering fancy coffee, Why Bother? is a phase to describe a decaf skim milk cappuccino or latte. Take away the caffeine and the milk fat and you’re sipping a faded imitation of what you’d really like to be drinking.
When I clap and cheer for the Star-Spangled Banner, I want to be genuinely proud to be an American. I’d like to think that those with the power to legislate and judge, our current Supreme Court, are open minded enough to let citizens make their own personal decisions for themselves. Instead, for the first time in the history of our country they have taken a freedom away from us. By overturning Roe vs. Wade, they have struck a dangerous blow against women’s personal freedom and control over their own bodies.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, a dystopian novel that depicts a future America where women have no rights and exist primarily to bear children and provide service to men, was published in 1985. Currently it’s a popular series on Hulu. Season five starts up in September. Our recent 2022 Supreme Court decisions just brought us two steps closer to becoming the kind of society Atwood describes. In the future America, named Gilead, the decisions of the “Commanders” are justified with Christian scripture.
According to pew research done in 2021, 29% of Americans have no religious affiliation. According to a Gallup poll, done that same month, seven percent of Americans identify with a non-Christian religion. The Supreme Court decision affirming it is quite okay for a coach to lead high school football players in Christian prayers on the fifty yard line after a game, removes the separation of church and state on which our country was founded. I wonder how the conservatives on the current court would rule if the coach desired to lead his (or her) players in Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, or Jewish prayers?
An America where the states have more power sounds good to some, but what I’m hearing is that many who feel passionately about the rights of the unborn and the right to carry a gun, will not be satisfied until legislation they concur with is nationally enforced. It won’t be just a few states, where every woman, regardless of the circumstances, will be forced to carry her pregnancy to term, without having the option to decide what is best for her and her family. It will be the entire United States.
And when it comes to guns, if the efforts of individual states to try and curtail the possession of firearms by individuals who are mentally unstable, incompetent, or criminally dangerous is put in check by Supreme Court Decisions, we will continue to witness thousands of innocent Americans killed by firearms.
When a few people think they know what is best for everyone else because they feel empowered by their religious beliefs, the system deteriorates into an autocracy. As in China and Russia, whether justified by communist doctrine or conservative Christian beliefs, a few people at the top seek to control what everyone else does or thinks.
What we should bother with, is reclaiming our personal freedom. Express your views, in a kind and civil way. Study the candidates who are currently up for election in the fall and support those who align with the democratic principles of fairness and honesty.
While I may be watching the fireworks, I will be thinking about the words from the Declaration of Independence calling for the guarantee of Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness. Everyone, rich and poor no matter their sexual orientation, religious belief, or the color of their skin, is entitled to the same rights and freedoms. We call ourselves a democracy, let’s act like one.