The War Being Waged
There is a war being waged right now, and it is unlike any we have ever seen. Beyond the overt and repugnant attempt to overturn an election on January 6, we are seeing a more pervasive and far more dangerous war being waged.
We are seeing a systematic attack on voting rights, science, intellectualism, transgender rights, the first amendment, and the 14th amendment. Across the country, in too many places, states are revising their voting laws to restrict voting rights, limit polling places, and put significant barriers in place to make voting more difficult.
These moves are all designed to limit election participation in urban settings, make it more difficult for poor people to participate, and ultimately ensure populations that are typically Black and brown have suppressed participation in future elections. Because this attack is happening as a coordinated effort by one of the two major political parties it is being accepted as a tactic of politics instead of an attack on our system of government.
In addition to the attack on voting rights, there is a systematic erosion of intellectualism and science, because an educated citizenry would not accept such attacks. So we see attempts to demonize academic concepts such as Critical Race Theory. Without even being able to define it, describe, or identify a single place where it is being taught, Republican legislators are railing against and outlawing CRT. In addition to attempting to ban it outright, they are also trying to redefine it as something wholly different from the academic concept that it is.
In an attempt to out-Trump Trump, many governors and other lawmakers are rushing to enact legislation that is harmful to transgender people, especially youth. Despite medical evidence that shows transgender youth are at extremely high risk of suicide, states are outlawing medical providers from treating them as anything other than the gender assigned at birth. Additionally, we have seen a rash of ridiculous laws banning transgender youth from competing in high school sports. Sponsors of these laws concede that the law is not addressing an existing problem. It is only addressing a fear that they have — that perhaps there are boys out there that are not transgender, but have such a desire to win a race they would pretend to be transgender to win a race against girls. This is blatant bigotry, not masked by even the thinnest of veils.
Most recently, we have seen the Governor of Florida, in an attempt to demonstrate to Trump’s base, just how far he is willing to go, sign a law in which college professors need to register their political views. In addition to registering their political views, they are also subject to videotaping without their knowledge and can be fired for expressing political opinions that are not in line with the state’s view of appropriate orthodoxies.
It is not a hyperbolic statement to say that these actions, taken together, are an all out assault on our republic. If we can step back and look at these events through a wider lens, we can easily find other times in history when these kinds of things happen. The patterns of government are not terribly unique and tend to replicate themselves in recognizable patterns. We can recognize these patterns and we should. We are headed for a terribly turbulent time if we do not recognize this assault for what it is and stop it in its tracks.
For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.