Thoughts from Antebellum America
The end of Roe puts us closer to a coming orgy of political violence.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade has me wishing that Sweet Meteor of Death come quickly and wipe humanity off the face of the earth. I’m upset, not that we are heading towards the Handmaid’s Tale, but that we are heading towards low-level political violence, all against all. I’m upset that we seem to be more interested in winning than we are in solving an thorny issue like abortion. It’s about owning the other side, and both sides in the abortion battle have wanted to win all the marbles and leave the other side with nothing.
When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, Congress and the President should have worked to come up with national abortion legislation. It wouldn’t have been perfect, probably being a half a loaf to both sides. But it might have been a compromise we could live with. But that never happened. Other nations crafted laws that permitted abortion up to a certain point and then gradually banned it thereafter. But liberals seemed to frown on anything that put any limit on abortion. This is maybe why they never codified Roe. Codifying would mean making some concessions and that meant giving legitimacy to the other side. Conservatives were putting forward 20-week bills, but you have to wonder if they were serious about those bills or was it a trojan horse to what they really wanted: outright bans.
The abortion issue is even more dangerous these days because it has become bound up in identity. Liberals and conservatives cling to their identity like a tight-fitting garment. Being pro-choice means being liberal. Being pro-life means being conservative. There are no pro-choice conservatives or pro-life liberals anymore. These people tempered the passions of each side of the debate and made it more a political issue than one of identity. But those cooling agents are long gone. Abortion is one more way for Americans to identify who is embraced and who is excluded; it is a way to identify what camp you belong to.
The problem is when all you have is your identity, you are on the road towards ruin. Democracies die when we stop to think of each other as fellow Americans but define ourselves in light of our political enemies. Indeed, there are worries that striking down Roe is only…