Henceforth, June 24th will be marked as the date USA women were re-subjugated. Henceforth, but not forever.
Normally I’d be putting Old Glory out this weekend in celebration of Independence Day.
I’ve always been a stickler about that.
It’s Independence Day, not “The Fourth of July.” July 4 is just a date on a calendar; Independence Day marks a decisive moment in the USA’s history.
It’s a powerful word with powerful meanings:
Autonomy. Freedom. Liberty.
But with the illegitimate Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, we’ve suddenly shot backward in time. Women might as well be in 1776 again for all the autonomy, freedom and liberty that’s left to them.
As a popular meme that’s circulating on social media right now points out, the minority is now ruling, and its rule of law ensures women have no more reproductive rights than livestock.
We can no longer, honestly or in good conscience, celebrate an “Independence Day” when all meaning of those words has been stripped from the lives of millions of our fellow citizens. It’s false. Empty. A sham. A lie that must taste like oil-soaked dirt in the mouths of women.
How can we celebrate a day for independence when she has none left?
Because – make no mistake – the SCOTUS ruling is about way more than the Constitutional right to abortion.
It’s about severely limiting self-determination; removing privacy protections in a land where keeping one’s nose out of others’ business is supposed to be a virtue; and allowing religion to rule in a nation where the separation of church and state is allegedly a cornerstone thesis. More than anything, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is about privileged white men keeping women and people of color underfoot, under wraps and in chains.
Henceforth, rather than Independence Day, the USA should mark June 24th as “Loss of Independence Day.”
It will acknowledge another decisive moment in the USA’s history. Not a good one.
But the celebrations will go on this weekend, anyway. For a huge swath of the population, it’ll be just another long weekend of blissful ignorance or communal burying of heads in beach sand.
They’re taking away women’s rights? Huh. How about that. Grab me another cold one, will ya? Karen! Where’s the mustard?
But one day – perhaps soon – the right-wing activist justices will rule on a right that the apathetic mob has taken for granted, something the average slob in the USA actually gives a damn about.
It’s difficult to imagine what that might be, given that SCOTUS has already ruled egregiously on women’s rights, curbing gun violence, public tax dollars funding religious schools, police who no longer have to read you your rights or a government that can no longer protect us from the catastrophic consequences of additional heat-trapping gasses emitted into the atmosphere by private, for-profit businesses.
And that’s just the past two weeks in the United States of America.
I’ve lost track of what that’s supposed to mean, or in which year I last caught a glimpse of it. What I know is that by the spring of 2016, when the presidential election race was heating up, it was long gone.
My “new normal” for July 4 became sharing my post, “I Am a Patriotic American.”
While everything in that post remained as true to me as ever, by July 2020 I was thinking a lot about this nation, how it had become “One Nation… Under Duress,” and about empty expressions of patriotism like flying Old Glory on Independence Day. After going back and forth for a couple of days, and with input from my family, I decided to not display a USA flag at all rather than flying it upside down, even though that would have been completely justified.
I didn’t display it last year, either.
It’s not even close to a hem-n-haw kind of thing this year.
There is no glory, old or new, in a nation that oppresses its citizens. As long as there’s no independence for women, there’s no independence for me. Since there’s no freedom for them, there’s no freedom for me. When their rights are taken away, mine are, too.
Frankly, I feel like a jerk for ever flying the stars and stripes, given the marginalized existence so many have endured under the ruling class for centuries now. Freedom has always been a phantom promise in this country for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, immigrants, poor people or any other subjugated group.
The Dobbs ruling and how it affects my wife and daughters, not to mention millions of women across the USA, opened my eyes a little further.
It’s left me disgusted. Disenfranchised. Furious.
But still defiant.
As long as this nation puts its knee on the necks of my fellow citizens, I’ll not be expressing fealty by flying a flag or through any other gesture.
It is the very least my patriotism demands.