Progressive Democracy Is The Remedy For Rightwing Theocracy, and How We Win Full Equality for Women and All People
By Alan Minsky, Executive Director, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)
With Mike Hersh, Communications Director, Progressive Democrats of America
Progressive Democrats of America is outraged by the Supreme Court decision that recklessly overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. This opinion reverses a half century of precedent on women’s basic human rights to autonomy and self determination, imposing second-class dehumanizing status on them.
We will not stand for this injustice, we will not rest until we have negated this decision and guaranteed full equality and body-autonomy for all residents in our country.
Overturning Roe is just the beginning. This extreme, overreaching, and regressive decision threatens equally egregious attacks on a wide range of human and civil rights. We assert that the best remedy for theocratic tyranny is an invigorated, vital, and vigilant democracy. We’re committed to breathing new life into the American Republic at the polls, in the streets, through boycotts, and by every legal means necessary.
Reversing the overwhelmingly-popular and sensible Roe decision unleashes barbaric penalties for commonplace activities, thereby ruining lives and destroying families. Under dozens of ‘trigger laws’ already enacted by state legislatures that went into effect upon the Court’s decision to overturn Roe, women and health professionals now risk prosecution and punishment even unto death for providing and receiving healthcare, and even for having a miscarriage.
Under these laws, women face long prison terms for using contraception. If convicted of these ‘crimes’ medical professionals and women will lose their freedom, face strict fines, and in most cases lose their right to vote.
Decades of extremism from radical Republicans have placed the United States and Planet Earth on the precipice of myriad catastrophes. These, including the climate disaster and other environmental perils, the risk of nuclear war, horrendous healthcare failure, and runaway economic and political inequity.
Adding to these existential crises, legal scholars warn that the Supreme Court is poised to lay waste to established legal foundations of U.S. society. This and other recent Supreme Court decisions are based on antiquated, misogynistic, and theocratic notions, and exposes the extremist Justices’ intent to strike down dozens if not hundreds of precedents and laws.
This outrageous imposition of a de facto state religion defies the First Amendment of the Constitution. Worse, it risks shattering our pluralistic society, already unraveling under increasingly bitter and divisive civil strife.
We see this theocratically-motivated judicial coup as the inevitable culmination of neoliberal failure to effectively oppose a long and concerted conservative crusade against equality and respect for the rights and dignity women, People of Color, religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, and other vulnerable people.
Such an usurpation of political power and abrogation of Constitutional rights is only possible because of decades of court packing by a string of presidents, including George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump who—despite losing the popular vote—appointed five Justices: Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney-Barrett.
These five Justices, plus Justice Thomas, all probably lied under oath during their confirmation hearings when they swore they considered Roe established precedent and would not overturn it. Many, including PDA, believe they must be impeached and removed from office for this and other crimes and misdemeanors.
Any five of these six rightwing presumptuous, presumably perjurious Justices is enough to impose a radical, abusive religious dogma. Unless stopped, the extremist majority on the Court will likely turn back the clock to the days before the Griswold v. Connecticut decision allowed access to family planning. This, as well as several other bedrock rights and freedoms are in dire peril.
At risk is marriage equality, not only the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that held the Constitution guarantees an equal right to marriage for same-sex couples, but also the Loving v. Virginia decision that struck down laws banning interracial marriage.
Based on this week’s opinions, we might see decisions like Brown v. Topeka Board of Education asserting fundamental racial equality struck down, reinstituting racist ‘separate but equal’ pro-segregation doctrines as espoused in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision as the law of the land.
We arrived at this place because of relentless political organizing, power grabs, and propaganda from an extreme, radical rightwing cadre. Their doctrinaire ideology seeks to impose ruthless political, social and economic inequality—theocratic tyranny of, for, and by their minority faction.
The fifty-fifty split in the U.S. Senate has made passing necessary legislation impossible. This, largely due to the intransigence of Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, along with the cowardice of so-called moderate Republicans including Senators Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and Lisa Murkowski. Any two of these five Senators could and should join with their sane, sensible colleagues to codify Roe and all of the other at-risk decisions into law. Their refusal to reform the filibuster perpetuates Senate gridlock.
The Senate must do that, and initiate long-overdue sweeping reforms to unpack our federal courts and modernize our judicial system. We will work alongside our allies to urge them to do so. Absent that showing of political courage and wisdom, we will work to elect empowered, effective progressives to Congress. We must elect reasonable Senators and Representatives, in order to expand the current razor-thin Democratic majorities with smart, strong leaders.
We’ve endured steady erosion of our basic rights, political comity, and our institutions due to increasingly emboldened rightwing extremism. Adding gasoline to the fire, previous Supreme Court rulings struck down hard-won compromises on campaign finance laws, letting unfettered dark money corruption poison our elections.
To reverse these pernicious trends, we must elect champions who will stand up for women’s rights. We need leaders in Congress committed to advancing economic and racial equity. We require empowered, fearless defenders of all the basic fundamental human rights and standards this Supreme Court is attacking. Also, it is absolutely essential that the Biden Administration and the Congress do everything in their power to quickly recognize the recently-ratified Equal Rights Amendment as part of the U.S. Constitution.
We’re working to re-elect the new guard in Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, Katie Porter, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib; as well as progressive incumbent champions including Pramila Jayapal, Donna Edwards, Barbara Lee, Judy Chu, Debbie Dingell, and Jan Schakowsky. We’re also backing talented challengers including Summer Lee, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, and other new leaders.
We’re proud to stand behind these women and follow their strong, smart, determined leadership. They, and the progressive men we’ve also endorsed, will uphold the endangered rights of women, People of Color, working families, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, survivors of abuse and exploitation, and others in need against the ongoing rightwing onslaught.
For all of these reasons, PDA will do everything we can to lift our endorsed candidates to victory in their primaries and in the General Election. We will facilitate donations, make phone calls, and otherwise mobilize support for their campaigns. We’re doing this because they are all proven principled, qualified, and experienced leaders we desperately need in Congress.
Progressive Democrats of America is a Grassroots Political Action Committee launched in 2004 to advance progressive policies and help elect progressive candidates. Our goal is to help create governing progressive majorities in the House and Senate. For more information please see: PDAmerica.org