Today, the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade.
The concurring opinion of one Justice, whose wife apparently freely strategized to overturn the election of Joseph R. Biden as President of the United States, argues that the rationale used to overturn Roe v. Wade also applies to the rationale which supports the right to contraception, the right to same-sex marriage, and same-sex consensual relations. Clarence Thomas gave this opinion despite Justice Alito’s assurance that nothing in this decision should affect anything other than cases regarding abortion.
It feels like a bad, bad morning: our Supreme Court is undermining the separation of church and state, making it easier to carry guns that take the lives of others, while confirming that conservatives really don’t think women can or should make decisions about their own lives.
I am sitting next to a table of three queer women. They joke with the waiter who gave them a choice of sides. “Thanks for respecting our dignity,” they quip. I laugh out loud, and comment about how low our bar for dignity has just become. They wryly laugh and go back to their conversation.
“Things are better,” they say, “even if they aren’t great.” They cite one bit of changed history after another: blacks aren’t enslaved, women can vote, many have healthcare. Not perfect, but better.
“We do see that the arc of justice is long.” I sort of love that even a mangled version of this quote, that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice” is part of coffee table conversations.
The butch dyke agrees. The black woman agrees. The J. Jill model agrees.
They start strategizing:
“You know, reservations are sovereign, right? So what if they provide family planning services?”
“Well, they are sovereign as long as they are recognized by the federal government.”
“So, we need to get them recognized.”
Who knows if it is a viable strategy, but it is exactly what we need: strategy, creative and thoughtful plans to override, overturn, or circumvent. Aaron Tang in the NYTimes opined recently that “Sometimes, the best way to protect against overreaching by the conservative court is through good old-fashioned lawmaking.”
The moral arc of the universe does not bend towards justice by itself. It bends because we are angry and outraged at injustice towards the vulnerable, and that anger energizes us to engage with thought, conviction, creativity, and action.
So, strategize. Shift the boundaries. Make new laws and revoke old ones. Vote, campaign, create local safe spaces that trickle up. Go read books that show just how slow social change is, and then spend time “conjuring, planning, debating, and convincing.”