What’s Really at Stake

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The media have managed to turn the current campaign season into a ratings-rich reality show, complete with make-believe triumphs and tragedies, OMG moments and did-he/she-really-say-that? twitter feeds.

And the candidates are playing along. Marco Rubio even went so far as to make a sex-oriented joke at Donald Trump’s expense. (You know, the one about Trump’s “small hands” and what that’s supposed to signify.)

Watching Robotic Rubio swagger over his one win last night… watching Ted Cruz congratulate himself on being the only true conservative on the planet… watching Trump and Chris Christie present a tableau that should win the well-nourished Americans vote…

Watching Hillary promise to break down Trump’s wall (and other barriers)… Watching Bernie do his Mad Max impersonation…

Watching the show, I wondered where the issues went.

And there are issues a-plenty. Real-life issues.

So much is at stake in November. Hard won personal freedoms, civil rights, the last-ditch chance to avert a climate change catastrophe, the future of America’s children, the fate of the old and sick, the continued dominion of the super-rich, the social and economic progress of the past hundred years…

While the media are captivated by red-herring issues like Hillary’s emails and Trump’s colorful insults, one of America’s most endangered freedoms is being tested in the Supreme Court. Across the land,  Republican legislatures have been attacking abortion rights. And a Texas woman is finally fighting back.

Amy Hagstrom Miller (above) is asking the court to save her group of clinics from the right-wing Texas legislature.

For almost a decade, Miller and her staff have jumped through hoops as the Texas legislature imposed a series of laws aimed at banning abortion access.

After passing laws to ban abortions after 20 weeks, severely restrict access to medication abortion and force doctors to seek hospital admitting privileges, the Texas legislature ruled that clinic staff must walk a woman into an operating room before handing her a couple of abortion pills.

Hagstrom-Miller decided she’d had enough. She has fought the law all the way up to the country’s highest court.

Now, the Supreme Court must decide whether to uphold the ridiculous law.  And with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the court is evenly divided. If the justices fail to reach a majority decision in this case, as seems likely, the law stands.

The Religious Right has been waging a bitter war against abortion rights, and if Republicans win in November, you can expect Scalia’s replacement to be an anti-choice zealot.

The continued existence of Roe v. Wade is at stake.

And that’s just one of the many menacing shadows hanging over this election.

Meanwhile, on TV and on the Internet, the reality show goes on…

Click for Hagstrom-Miller’s case.

Click for Super Tuesday results.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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