On Liberalism and Roe v Wade
The reversal of Roe v Wade has undoubtedly left shockwaves across the nation, as feminist movements, LGBTQ organizations, and liberal lawmakers rush to protect what was once a right granted by the Supreme Court. The decision has exacerbated polarization among neighbors, family members, and coworkers, preventing an exchange of ideas from being passed freely and alienating those with an apparent "wrong" opinion. Consequently, the reality of American democracy, enumerated within our Declaration of Independence as that which are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is perceived to be in an existential crisis. But this is not the case. The small yet remarkable example of the Kansas decision last night portrays the strength of our democracy and destroys the idea of an irreparably divided nation.
What unfolded last night was not an attempt by one party to perform retaliatory actions over another. It was the democratic machine and the foundations of liberalism that prevailed.
But to understand the decision as a victory is to understand the factors themselves which prevailed as they apply to our representative system. Fundamentally, we recognize America and leading western nations as democratic, where the people's votes lead the nation's decisions. This part is genuine. But we rely more so on the firm belief of liberalism, not in the sense that many Americans have adopted where it is one side of a political spectrum, but as a theory where social values, ideals, and the acceptance of one's behaviors and decisions are encouraged.
Critics may disagree, but with regard to our relatively young age, the accomplishments and advances in culture, politics, and science are incomparable with those of other western nations. To delve further into the comparison would equate to writing a doctoral thesis, which we will refrain from doing. But, what allowed the U.S from the very beginning to nurture an environment of innovation across all fronts has been the firm belief in quasi-tranquil deliberation. Neighbors, local leaders, and coworkers of old relied heavily on exchanging ideas while pursuing a legislative agenda. Such practice allowed members of a society to disagree and find common ground. Once achieved, the effects of laws, patents on technologies, revolutionary literature, and science further advanced the community in which they lived. Liberalism in this respect has therefore allowed the United States to evolve faster than any other nation that preceded it.
In simple terms, regarding our political system, the practice of liberalism has had far more demanding authority amongst ourselves -locally- than the federal government.
To bring the subject back to its original context, what Roe v Wade had established in 1973 by the Supreme Court was the removal of the ability to expand any further discourse on the matter. The Court's decision stripped the ability of the states and its people to determine amongst themselves what to do on abortion. No deliberation, no debate on the matter immediately left ramifications for those opposing the idea, or any idea, thus, alienating certain members of our society.
If we examine the case's effect on how we approached abortion after the ruling, we see it as a statute that could not be scrutinized or reversed. Any talks or any person opposing the matter were met with immediate condemnation. If you consider yourself liberal in your politics, with a firm stance on the right to abortion, reflect on whether you inappropriately judged an individual because they did not share the same belief. If you recognize you have, that is precisely the effect Roe v Wade left upon society; You are automatically resigned from having any further discussion with the individual.
If you are having difficulty grasping the principle, consider this example. In the case of Hill v Colorado, a law was enacted that regulated the ability to protest in front of a medical facility. What was the protest? Abortion. In simple terms and to keep matters short, this law prohibited those who wanted to protest abortion from doing so, thus violating the first amendment. To restrict these protestors illustrated the power a decision like Roe v Wade had on state governments; no one can appeal, no one can refute. The abortion ruling crystallized ever further.
However, all this changed when the Supreme Court reversed its decision early this summer. Abortion had now been left to the states and the people of those states to decide.
The Kansas decision wonderfully shows the process of democracy, formal debate, and our concept of liberalism in motion. Do not view the ruling as an opportunity to defeat an opponent out of pure resentment; view it as an opportunity to recognize the power local government and the people can instill. What Kansas illustrated was a revival of local municipalities once again deliberating on issues, not leaving it up to the hands of those out of reach. It is the first step in repairing order in our already divided nation simply by accepting the ideas of those who differ from us. However, we must not forget that with these future political decisions, democracy and peace can only prevail by accepting defeat. If we riot, condemn, or demonize our opponents out of spite, we once again strip away our national values and all that holds liberalism and democracy true.