America has been at war with itself since the 60’s. And we thought the War on Terror was never ending.
We’ve had times in our history when it’s been worse. The Civil War comes to mind. But eventually that war ended and the country got back to pretty much ignoring the parts of itself it didn’t like, which was easy because most people didn’t travel much and were too busy staying alive to give a shit.
We also ignored the rest of the world except until the 20th century when we realized we were good at traveling to far away lands, meeting new and interesting people, and killing them. This pretty much describes the two world wars and Korea. We would have won in Korea except China decided to intervene, driving the war into extra innings, and since there were (and are) a shit load of Chinese people, the US wisely decided to settle for a tie.
Not having learned our lesson in Korea, and having a bunch of new weapons it had to try out (remember, this is literally decades before Trump wanted to invade Mexico) the US decided it needed to protect its interests in Vietnam by killing more Asians. We won the body count but nothing else.
Since Vietnam, America has largely decided to fight itself. There have been exceptions, such as when the Marines defeated Cuban construction workers on Grenada making the island safe for overpriced off shore medical education, but by and large, it fought it’s own culture war and that was enough until 9/11 when we decided to fight Al Quid-a, the Taliban, Iraq, the Islamic State, and the Borg, in the war on terror.
But the Culture Wars have been going on for most of my life. Today, with the Dobbs opinion written by Justice Alito, the Culture Wars entered a new phase. Roe v Wade is overturned and even political moderates are pissed.
Not content to wage war on abortion, Justice Thomas penned a concurring opinion in which he exercised his Second Amendment right to be a paste eating Moron and took aim at gay marriage and even contraception. By his own logic, since those rights aren’t specifically described in the Constitution, neither is Loving v Virginia, which gave him the right to marry his White wife; you know, the woman who used her position was the spouse of a Supreme Court Justice to try to overturn the election.
I’m no scholar, but it seems to me that a document as brief as the Constitution was never intended to cover every eventuality of life in America. It does have this in it however. It’s the Ninth Amendment, something every American should memorize. It reads:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Stated another way, simply because some rights were not specifically stated (“enumerated”) in the Constitution, does not mean they do not exist and are “retained by the people”.
Prior to the Bill of Rights being amended to the Constitution, some of the Founders were concerned that the enumeration of specific rights might infer that those not enumerated did not exist. Others thought of course they exist, they are derived from natural law and are, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration, “self evident”. Still, included in the Bill of Rights was the Ninth Amendment making that the existence of unenumerated rights explicitly clear.
From time to time in our history, it has come to the Supreme Court to update the law’s understanding to reflect the nation’s more modern understanding of what was a right under the Constitution. Earlier, I mentioned Loving v Virginia, which in 1967 struck down Virginia’s law against interracial marriage. I’ve looked. The Constitution is silent on the matter. Loving relied on the 14th Amendment (equal protection and due process) but if you’re an originalist (such as Thomas), is is impossible to believe the intent of that amendment was to allow whites and Negroes (as African Americans were known then) to marry, any more than same sex couples.
The Dobbs ruling should terrify every American, no matter your views on abortion.
But if Dobbs is wrongly decided, what would be the correct decision and upon what basis should it be made? If the Constitution is written so as to be the Law of the People, then the plain text should not require a Juris Doctor degree to interpret it. To me, the plain text of the 9th Amendment is sufficient to support each of these rights we now take for granted. People have a natural right to be left alone, free from others telling them how many kids to have, whom to love, where to live and work.
Personally, I think Roe itself was too much too soon and was torturous in its logic. But I now think the pendulum has swung like a wrecking ball in the opposite direction, throwing the aborted fetus out with the bath water. As my daughter said, the Court seems to want babies to live long enough to be murdered in school with a weapon protected by the Second Amendment. She’s not wrong. Must have been good parenting.