We are just past the solstice and are sliding ever so slowly towards winter’s darkness. Today we awoke to bright sunshine and a breeze off the ocean which has kept the temperature cool. Now, nearing midday, the shadows are deep, offering a sharp contrast to the sunlit world.
This week we were in Philadelphia where the Park Service has created a sanitized version of American history; a sort of theme park memorializing male settlers without placing their actions in context. The story told is decidedly one-sided, the experiences of Africans, Natives, and Spanish people being very selectively edited to reinforce the dominate narrative.
This morning the Supreme Court, deeply immersed in the this mythic view, overthrew Roe Vs. Wade as expected. For some this is another sign that the dark is rising; for others it is a thrilling victory. For yet others, it is simply more of the same. Certainly, the deep divisions in our country have been dramatically intensified.
This sharp turn to the extreme right is firmly rooted in American history and the refusal of many to acknowledge the slavery and genocide inherent in the very founding of the State. (Passing laws forbidding the teaching or even public discussion of these truths will not make them go away.)
I find the current winner-take-all attitude of the court and its denizens, a position firmly anchored in the idea of Manifest Destiny, alarming in its short sightedness,. There will certainly be more suffering as women choose illegal abortions or bring unwanted children into the world with few supports. It is likely many states will read the decision, most likely correctly, as permission to enact a wide array of regressive and repressive laws. The response to that is likely to be intense and violent.
In the near term all of this will seem like a victory to those who would take us back to the middle of the 19th Century and those who believe violence will bring the Second coming. Yet, in the end, there is no going back as the world is a very different place than it was two hundred years ago and the challenges we collectively face are vastly more complex and dangerous. Pretending these problems, like our true history, are not real and immediate is folly. Sadly, the longer we pretend we can return to an idealized past, the more severe will be the consequences of delay.
In the end, everything remains interconnected and there is not, nor will there be, a way for anyone to avoid the consequences of these actions. Imagining otherwise is just another colonial dream.
For a view of all this from Indian Country click HERE.