Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.
—GOP icon Barry Goldwater
There’s a lot to unpack in the leaked Supreme Court opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade, the case that gave American women the right to choose whether or not to reproduce.
Let’s get a few things out of the way first: This is an opinion, albeit a majority one, which has not yet been ruled upon, so it’s not yet set in stone. Yes, SCOTUS has suffered very few leaks in its existence, but the leak is not the story — we are very pro-leak here at Triad City Beat. And yes, this is exactly what new justices Bret Kavanagh, Amy Coney Barrett and Neil Gorsuch — all appointed by a president, Trump, who did not receive a majority vote and who tried to overthrow the government after he lost his re-election bid — told everyone they would not do in their confirmation hearings. And yes, this is an unpopular opinion among the American populace. Almost twice as many Americans believe the court should uphold Roe v. Wade than who think they shouldn’t (54-28), and 70 percent feel that abortion is a personal choice between a woman and her doctor and not the government’s business at all.
Yet, here we are. And if you’re surprised, then you have not been paying attention.
The Republican party — which once stood for individual freedom and against government intervention in personal business — seized on the abortion issue in the 1970s, when their other policies became unpopular with most Americans and their president, Nixon, barely escaped prison. And so they courted the religious right, which was already incensed about a SCOTUS decision banning prayer in schools and the general deterioration of their worldview, to beef up their numbers. It was part of the Southern Strategy to realign white Democrats in the South with a new kind of conservatism. Fealty to the pro-lifers was the price they paid. And, as Barry Goldwater warned, the party abandoned its core values to keep them happy.
Remember: Goldwater was an asshole, an anti-labor war hawk who voted against the Civil Rights Act and tried to pull the US out of the United Nations. But he also helped de-segregate Arizona schools, the Arizona Air National Guard and the Senate cafeteria. He was a proponent of gay rights and legalized marijuana as well, because Goldwater’s Republican Party was about personal freedom without government intervention.
Obviously, that is no longer the case.
Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.
We believe that reporting can save the world.
The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.
All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.