This column has nothing to do with abortion or the trans issue or wokeness or any other of dozens of buzz words used by the left and right, but I already know that’s where most readers will go and completely miss my point. Still…
Some days, I can’t decide whether we’re getting dumber or suicidal. By ‘we’, I mean all of us…left, right and everyone in-between: Americans. We define ourselves in very tribalistic terms of ‘us’ versus ‘them,’ so this may be a hard concept to grasp…and that’s the problem. We preach unity when we want opposing voices to shut up and fall in line with us. We practice division constantly; labeling anyone who isn’t 100 percent on ‘our side’ as the enemy. The opposite is engrained into our collective consciousness, but we ignore it. We know the words of our founders like: “United we stand, divided we fall” (John Dickinson) or “We must, indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately” (Benjamin Franklin). We could finish those quotes on a game show, but we don’t embrace them. It’s more fun to ‘own the right’ or to ‘drink liberal tears’. To be the hero of your own story, you need to have an enemy to fight, right? Right?
I’ve watched Americans turning on each other more and more over the last several years. Left leaning groups have rioted, burned, destroyed and looted property in the name of their agendas. Right wing people decended on the U.S. capitol, assaulted law enforcement officers, threatened to execute elected officials and did their level best to overthrow a legitimate election. As horrific as this all is, we’re escalating to another level. Our states are positioning themselves against each other.
Red states move to ban things like gender affirming care and abortion; many setting their sights on keeping their citizens from traveling to another state where it’s legal. Some want to charge their citizens and even the doctors in other states for crimes outside their jurisdiction. Texas has proposed legislation to eliminate tax breaks for businesses that help cover travel costs for employees getting out of state abortions. Missouri has proposed legislation to allow private citizens to sue anyone…in or out of state…assisting a Missouri resident in getting an abortion.
In response, Minnesota’s passed laws to shield people from other states from legal consequences for seeking gender affirming care or abortions. The governors of Colorado and New Mexico have signed similar “shield laws” to protect both people coming for those services and doctors from being prosecuted under the laws of another state.
Washington’s governor contacted his counterpart in Idaho, where they just passed travel restrictions for minors crossing state lines for abortion, that Washington wouldn’t allow the enforcement of any other state’s laws there. They’ve passed legislation prohibiting their law enforcement officials and courts from aiding other states’ abortion-related or gender affirming care investigations and protecting doctors from any disciplinary action due to another state’s laws.
Oregon’s even considering legislation that’d make abortion available to anyone, regardless of age.
And so the escalation continues in a Hatfield/McCoy fashion as states begin to challenge the soverienty of others. We’ve become a house divided. Abraham Lincoln warned us about this. Citizens have turned against each other. States are starting to turn against each other. Some lawmakers are vocally supporting a “national divorce”. How much more do you thing we can take? But feel free to return to blaming the other side while bathing in your side’s perceived righteousness. I’m sure that’ll make things better.
Randy Lynch writes/hosts The Midnight Ride blog (midnightride.co) and internet radio show on Radio New Mexico (myradionm.com). Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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