Please don’t fall on the filibuster sword

Dear President Biden,

I swear I didn’t use the words “surreal” or “unreal,” or anything at all like them before the young woman I was speaking with yesterday said that it’s feeling to her as though we’re living through a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction sort of dystopian time. And then later in the day, Laura said much the same thing – or at least I think she did – admittedly I was primed by being in my own “please let me wake up and find out this was a bad dream” space and my friend’s comments, so maybe I over-interpreted what Laura was saying.

Did you know that the world lost thousands of giant sequoias to the global-warming spurred California wildfires this summer? The estimates range from 2,261 to 3,637 (weirdly precise “estimate” numbers) for the fire in Sequoia National Park, which when added to the estimated 7,500 to 10,400 (much more typical estimate-type numbers) lost in the state the year before, amount to between 13% and 19% of the huge older-than-most-any-other-living-thing-on-earth beings having gone up in smoke and ashes in a matter of months.

Also, did you know that the Supreme Court – that tiny group of people entrusted to protect our democracy and act “as the final arbiter of the law …. (and) as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution” – is listening to oral arguments this morning about whether to strip people born with uteruses of their right to self-determination?

Please note, I very deliberately chose not to say something like “strip people born with uteruses of their right to self-determination regarding reproduction” because our right to determine for ourselves whether we remain pregnant impacts every aspect of our lives and is absolutely not confined to the narrow “reproductive rights” lane.

While I’m sure you’re well aware that the Supreme Court (stacked with DJT/Federalist picks) is hearing about the Mississippi 15-week abortion law this morning, if you’ve not yet read Alexandra Petri’s column in the WP, please do (you’ll find it here: Woman savoring last few hours before getting turned back into a vessel). Since it’s by Petri, the piece is billed as satire, but she’s dead serious.

In case you missed my letter from two days ago and the copious headlines about it – did you know that several Republican governors and state legislatures are now allowing people who quit or are fired for not getting vaccinated to collect unemployment, essentially paying them to gravely endanger themselves, their families, and their communities?.

And do you see how the more desperate our global climate situation becomes, the more our primitive impulses to revert to ‘might is right’ hierarchies (patriarchy, White supremacy, he who has the most assault rifles or handguns….) are activated? You might have to squint a bit still – though not for long, I fear – to see how the GOP’s willingness to sacrifice their own voters is in service of the larger goal of undermining uppity women’s self-determination and the health and well-being of most people of color. As L and I discussed last night, the writing’s on the wall that we aren’t going to turn the tide on global warming, which means that competition for resources (i.e., habitable land, water for crops – the basics) is going to get catastrophically more intense and the fewer of us still around to engage in the competition, the better. Cynical, jaded, paranoid?

I hope so.

I’d sure feel better, though, if you all started calling out the GOP’s nihilism and showed yourselves willing to do what it takes to re-instate representative democracy. In other words, please don’t die on the filibuster sword. If you do, you’ll be taking us all down with you.

May we all be safe to exercise self-determination.
May we all be willing to resist the pull to give up on collective well-being.
May we all reject the ‘might is right’ ethos that got us into this mess in the first place.
May we accept that the stakes Right Now are very, very high.

Tracy Simpson

P.S., I do get that undermining access to abortion in most states would likely temporarily increase the birth rate a tiny bit, but it can’t possibly offset the death toll stemming from various nihilistic policies/practices favored by the GOP. Plus, in solidly setting those of us born with uteruses back at least 50 years, the move would more than make up for any small uptick in births. ts

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