by Sidra Owens
Elections have consequences. That is more than just a quote from a former president. It is an absolute truth that we are dealing with daily. Trump is the current president, and he is the current president for just a few reasons.
- Trump’s own racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic idiocy appeals to the lowest common denominator in this country.
- The DNC was bought and paid for by Hillary, so they railroaded the only candidate who could have defeated Trump.
- The outdated Electoral College failed the masses it’s meant to represent; once again showing how our vote doesn’t seem to amount to much
- All the stupid undecided voters thought that the reality star would be ideal for the presidency
So, he became president. Many of us are or have been thinking… Okay, we’ll just grit our teeth and bear it until the next election, and someone else is sure to be voted into office. But for most of us, the damage has already been done — irreparable damage. For one, Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. He has been destroying the lives of immigrant families seeking asylum in the U.S. He has been rolling back every regulation imaginable; injuring the environment, the economy, and the future health of this country’s citizens. And even with all that being said, that isn’t the worst of it.
Since Trump became president, he has put two justices on the Supreme Court. Two ultra-conservative justices; one of which has definite misogynistic tendencies. But a lesser-known fact, that I only learned three days ago, is that he has also appointed 40 appellate court judges and 65 district court judges. These judges are appointed for life. The majority of these appointees are white men, roughly in their 40s, and they could potentially be on the bench for next 30 to 40 years.
Now some of you may ask, what does that have to do with anything? I’ll tell you. This current conservative, republican, racist, xenophobic and misogynistic president can be guaranteed to have appoint those he felt were like-minded in their pursuits. With this being said, it puts the citizenry in jeopardy when it comes to suing for constitutional violations. For example abortion
- Alabama just passed a law that bans abortion at every stage of pregnancy and criminalizes the physician who would perform those abortions.
- Missouri has just banned abortions after eight weeks.
- Georgia passed a law banning abortion once a heartbeat is detectable.
All of these laws are clearly in violation of Rowe vs. Wade (1973); the case that made abortion legal in this country. But the conservative lawmakers in these states don’t give a shit because they feel empowered. They know that now this country has a predominantly conservative-leaning supreme court. Even though, they know that these laws are unconstitutional, and they knew they’re going to be sued by multiple entities; they are riding high in the confidence that when these cases reach the Supreme Court, or hell, maybe even a lesser court, that they shiny new bans will be upheld. What will this do for them? Nothing.
These conservative, lawmakers get nothing out of banning abortion. Nothing more than finally exerting the control over women that they’ve been thirsting for since 1973. They don’t care about the women who will suffer because of these bans. They don’t care about women pregnant via rape or incest. They don’t care about women who carry stillborn babies. They don’t care about the lives these babies will have once they are born.
All they care about is a win. But let’s pull back from Rowe V. Wade and get back to the bigger picture. There are many monumental Supreme Court decisions that conservative, republicans would be obliged to undo for the sake of power, control and a notch in their win column. And those who would be sacrificed at the altar of control by the conservative, hyper-religious right are us, the citizens of the United States.
- Engel vs. Vitale (1962)—public institutions cannot require prayer.
- Gideon vs. Wainwright (1963)—defendants in criminal cases have an absolute right to counsel
- Miranda vs. Arizona (1966)—suspects must be informed of his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination
- Mapp vs. Ohio (1961)—Evidence that is illegally obtained by the state may not be used against a defendant in court
- Brown vs. Board of Education (1954)—In the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place.
So many cases argued before the Supreme Court have been vital to laying the foundation of equality in this country, but all it takes is a series of bad decisions to pulverize that foundation into the dust from which is was formed. That first bad decision was Trump becoming president, the next is all the like-minded individual that he has given judicial power for life. The next bad decisions cannot be far behind.
And how many of the rights and liberties bestowed by the aforementioned Supreme Court Decisions are violated daily on a micro-scale? More than we can count. Elections do have consequences, and we cannot afford to be complacent or uneducated about the blight that consequences can have on our collective futures.
Even when we feel jaded, disappointed and tired of the endless political, rhetoric, pandering and party-line dick swinging, we cannot close our eyes, because those holding the reins of power are expecting us to. They want us to give up because then it’ll be that much easier for us to give in. We need to be more vigilant now than we’ve ever been, and as hard as it may be, we must stay that way. Mostly because the integrity of these appointed officials can never be trusted simply based on who elected them. It isn’t fair, but guilt by association is the only way to keep the populous clairvoyant enough to thwart what unconstitutionality may arise down the line.
The state of things is enough to make anyone want to stick their heads in the sand, but we cannot. With the campaign cycle in full swing, there are a plethora of smiling faces screaming vote for me; shaking your hand, while stealing your wallet. Go into this elections cycle understanding that these candidates are fallible, they are human, and above all else, they are politicians.
Don’t let candor and excitement cloud your judgment; don’t let campaign slogans and rally mentality prevent you from doing your homework. Research their agendas, view their platforms, and then dig into whatever swerves they may have made in their careers up to this point. Only then, will we be properly equipped to make the best decision for this country and its citizens, as a whole, and preserve what shreds of constitution integrity that we have left.
Sidra was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA but has spent the entirety of her life in the heart of Piedmont. Having cultivated a love of reading in elementary school, Sidra was first introduced to writing prose when she had to write a mystery story in sixth grade. She expanded her artistic horizons and her storytelling expertise through experimentation with tabletop and verbal role play, allowing her to master the ability to develop characters, their motives, and the worlds where they dwell. With A Haven Amidst Perdition being her first published work, she demonstrates the abilities she has honed since leaving college, having returned to secondary education and obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Behavioral and Social Science. She will be able to add greater historical and sociological depths to the characters that are clamoring for their stories to be told.
Artist: Vienna Rye