• StevenF

I Am Concerned

Can I just start off this post by saying that I am not pro-abortion? I'm not out here advocating for everyone to go get an abortion at the drop of a hat. I do believe in the sanctity of life.

What I am, though, is pro-choice. As a man, I just don't think I have any right to tell a woman what she has the right to do with her own body. And I also support measures that will allow women to have safe, legal abortions if that is what they choose to do.

I think the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court is a huge mistake. It is not going to stop abortions. It is only going to make them harder to get safely. But if a woman doesn't want to carry a baby, she will find other, more dangerous and illegal ways to deal with that, and that is no good, either.

And based on comments Justice Clarence Thomas made in his opinion, it will not surprise me if gay marriage will be up for reconsideration in the near future. These are scary times for people like me.

I recently saw a video of a pastor in Texas saying gay people should be lined up and shot in the back of the head. Here is a brief news story about it:

I shudder to think what will happen if people like this get more power over this nation. I'm sure there are ultra-conservatives who are celebrating the Supreme Court decision today and would equally celebrate if federally-recognized gay marriage were struck down as well.

I really fear for what is happening to this country. The extremism that seems to have taken over common sense is mind-boggling to me.

I will go to my grave saying this, but Donald Trump's presidency was one of the worst things to happen to this country. If you voted for him, if you adore him, that's your prerogative, but while I certainly think he is the worst president of my lifetime, he is also one of the most consequential presidents we have had. His behavior and enablers have weakened our democratic norms, caused masses of people to lose faith in our very electoral system, caused citizens to not even be able to agree on what is true, turned the Republican party into something I don't even recognize anymore, and put justices on the Supreme Court who will affect our lives for generations to come.

The irony is that so many feel that the ends justify the means that they are willing to ignore the fact that Trump is an amoral man who only cares about one thing: himself. He has no value system other than benefiting himself, and he will lie and cheat and throw anybody under the bus who isn't loyal to him to get what is good for him rather than what is good for the country.

The fact that there are so many who still believe these lies about rampant election fraud that supposedly caused Trump to lose is so dangerous and disheartening. And Trump continues to feed those lies, seemingly facing no consequences.

I've been watching the June 6 hearings. It is so clear that so many knew that Trump's insistence that the election was rigged against him was not based in reality or verifiable evidence. Yet, so many went along and continue to go along with that lie because they are more afraid of losing power than in doing the right thing.

I hope he is held accountable. If not in this life, he surely will be in the next.

Trump is very good at branding and in creating distractions and chaos. But he is not a smart man. If you think he is, I am sorry to tell you, he is conning you, which he is also apparently good at.

What scares me is that a future president who plays by Trump's playbook will be smarter, more cunning, and more devious. He or she will be better at achieving their aims than Trump was.

I watch episodes of The Handmaid's Tale now, and it doesn't feel like it's that far from fiction anymore. And I find that terrifying.

I recently listened to an audiobook called The Unfathomable Ascent: How Hitler Came to Power by Peter Ross Range. It talked in depth about how Hitler came to power in the first place. What I found fascinating about it was how many clues there were that Hitler would be just as terrible as he turned out to be and how many chances there were to stop him before he became as powerful as he did. But Hitler preyed on people's fears and anger and manipulated people who were feeling desperate about their situation and channeled that into becoming a populist demagogue.

One things I found utterly compelling when I visited the Jewish Museum in Sydney, Australia was the section about the Holocaust. The very first thing one saw before entering that exhibit was a video showing German life before Hitler came to power. It was a republic with some similarities to our own. And it was lost.

The video showed clips of happy people living their normal lives, in this case, Jewish lives. I was struck by how drastically things would change for these people because not enough individuals were willing to stand up to injustice and evil.

I remember reading Madeline Albright's book, Fascism, where she talked about how easy it is for a country or government to devolve into a fascist state. And one thing I was particularly struck by was that extremism on any side can cause fascism. She used examples of both left, right, and centrist extremism and how those could create the very issues she was warning us of.

And there is certainly extremism all around. These extreme views and divisions are so troubling to me. I just worry about where we are headed as a country.

Democracy is frail if we aren't careful. If we put too many people in power who don't care about democracy than we could really be lost. What felt to me unthinkable fifteen years ago seems very prevalent today. Some of the crazy conspiracy theories spouted by prominent leaders in government ring alarm bells in my head.

I don't even know if these people actually believe what they are are saying or are just trying to appeal to a large, powerful bloc of people that do. Either way, neither is good.

I like Joe Biden as a person, but as a leader, he feels a little weak to me, which is not great. Don't get me wrong, I would take him over Trump or any of his cronies any day. I will also gladly take inflation, high gas prices, supply chain issues, etc. over ever having Trump or anyone like him as a president again. Not that I blame all of those on Biden; in fact, I would guess Trump's mishandling of the pandemic had something to do with that, too. But I rather have a Joe Biden than a Donald Trump.

But Biden was not my first choice, and I am not particularly excited about his running again. But if it's between him and some Trump wannabe, I'll take Biden again.

I think we are continually sailing toward terrible waters. We have to get our democracy back on track or we may lose it. I fear that is where we are headed, anyway.

There is a faction of the country that is overjoyed today. I am not one of them. We are headed for dangerous, perilous times, I fear.

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