Like everyone I know who has been paying attention, I’m fucking terrified of what’s becoming of my country. In the past few days, the Supreme Court has issued decisions that leave no doubt of its illegitimacy or its lack of interest in the integrity of our system or in the right to freedom from religion, bodily autonomy, safety, a livable planet. Yesterday, we learned more jaw-dropping things about our violent, venal former president and the coup he and a small army of bottom feeders attempted. And there’s little reason to think the court wouldn’t help him or one of the many Republicans patterning themselves after him into the highest office next time.
Likewise, like everyone I know in Missouri who has been paying attention, I am terrified by what my state has already become. Because Missouri was one of nine states with trigger laws–the ludicrously named “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act”–as soon as Roe was overturned, the law went into effect, and abortion was banned here.
Yesterday, a major Missouri hospital system announced that it would no longer provide Plan B because it wasn’t yet clear that it was still legal to prescribe emergency contraceptives and it didn’t want its doctors to get arrested. According to a statement made today by the governor’s, it is, though there are some who say an ambitious prosecutor could still test that determination. Regardless, the state house is filled with the kind of people who would name a law the “Right to Life of the Unborn Child Act,” and there is no reason to think they will be stopping at abortion or that those who think that women should have control over their own bodies and that religious belief should have no place in public policy will be able to stop them.
And just as democracy in my country has been under attack by coup plotters and election riggers, so it is under attack now in my state. The party simply ignored a popular referendum on Medicaid, refusing to accept federal money that would have helped alleviate an underfunded healthcare system. Gerrymandering has long been common practice in Missouri, and the state GOP is forever on the lookout for more ways to create long skinny, misshapen districts designed to rob Democratic voters of the chance to have the representation they should.
Today the governor signed an awful bill into law that contains a number of provisions designed to further chip away at the ability of the opposition to oppose them, from voter ID laws to procedures that make it much harder to register voters. As it is for the national GOP, democracy–elections, lawmaking, constitutions–is an obstacle, something that gets in the way of their hold on power, power that is to be used in profoundly antidemocratic ways.
It all feels hopeless for us here, just as it does for many across the country. We march, we call our elected representatives, we work to get out the vote for candidates who might better represent our interests and the interests of the state as a whole rather than a small, vocal minority. And they sometimes are able to fight back against bad legislation. But more often they aren’t. And we have our own criminal who might make it back into office, just like the country does, with his own people eager to get him there. And it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot we can do about it–if Greitens emerges from the primary, all we can do is hope he flames out. And unless the Department of Justice makes it so Trump can’t run again, unless Biden and others in DC who could make court reform happen do, unless in doing so they make it impossible for SCOTUS to continue to ignore our legal tradition and the separation of powers and to steal the White House for the GOP, we’re going to need a plan B to save us from a future we don’t want and shouldn’t have to have.