Letter 2 America for September 10, 2021

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Dear America,

All of a sudden, there is plenty of news to talk about, and some of it is good.  President Biden has put his federal foot down with regard to vaccination refusers in all sorts of quarters: federal employees, federal contractors, every business subject to OSHA regulation, healthcare workers and so on.  Maybe now we can get on with overcoming COVID-19 and get our collective life back.  But on other issues, the news is not good at all.  The zealot governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has now shepherded through the state's legislature what amounts to a state repeal of the common law doctrine the decision in Roe v. Wade comprises.  I read the contents of the set of statutes involved today, and I have to admit, I am not certain how this will all turn out.  The U.S. Justice Department has filed suit against Texas as a state arguing that the statutes are unconstitutional within the meaning of at least one abortion rights case other than Roe, though I believe that case to be derivative of Roe, and that may be a successful argument, but I believe that the statute will ultimately fail on other, technical grounds.  It allows people without injury to collect damages from total strangers, which implicates procedural law relating to "standing."  For someone to be a plaintiff in a law suit, he or she has to claim to have suffered an injury that is "judiciable" in some way, and with regard to someone else's abortion, it is hard to see how such an injury can be successfully claimed.  We'll see what happens, but this is discomfiting at the very least, though not an ineluctable blow to the rights of women.

Then there's Afghanistan.  To this point, it appears that no one is dieing in that country over the American involvement there, and people with appropriate documents--passports, visas and the like--are being allowed to board private flights and leave the country, presumably in what the Taliban construe to be the regular course of business...a sort of normalization of travel.  And in light of that development, a semblance of d├ętente with the rest of the world might now be incipient.  This is just my surmise based on the news that we all have seen lately, but I think it possible that the Taliban has in the end acknowledged that they exist not in a vacuum born of medieval fervor, but in the secular 21st century, and that living in it could be conducive to their goals and facilitative of their agenda if they will just tolerate the rest of us.  A populace that is healthy and well-fed will be easier to control and coax toward the fundamentalism that I suspect is actually desired by, if not the majority of Afghans, at least a substantial constituency there.  

There's also the economy, which has taken a step or two back from the heady days of early summer when President Biden pronounced us...prematurely, obviously...back to some semblance of normalcy.  The regression of the American effort to put the pandemic behind us hasn't done him any political good, which reminds many of us that the malicious, narcissistic, megalomaniacal, nefarious (need I even mention his name?) Donald Trump is still conniving and contriving, motivated by what we all presume is an intention to return to power.  Finally the news media have stopped accommodating him in his "there's no such thing as bad publicity" strategy and recognized that they were unwittingly complicit in his rise to power and near usurpation of its continuation.  He's still out there holding rallies for who knows what, and his supporters still attend, staunchly defending him and refusing to admit the real reasons for their support: adherence to his abominable philosophy.  The fact that they do not see that Trump is just another tin-horn autocrat-in-waiting mystifies me.  In Brazil, the incumbent president,  Jair Bolsonaro, is spouting the same provocative and blatantly self-serving and false claim that Trump did in 2020 and before; the only way he could lose the election is through fraud.  Any one with even a tiny capacity for critical thinking would see through that tautology and repudiate the man.  The peremptory claim that he cannot lose is just like Trump's strategy during the years of his election: just call defeat a victory and the faithful and fanatical will subscribe to the myth as if it were gospel.   

So overall, how do we think things look.  For my part, I dread the worst, but I suspect that something between that and the restoration of American democratic ideals will be the outcome of the next year and a half until the next congress takes control.  In the end, it is congress that will determine our destiny, but that doesn't mean that the tin-horns won't try to hijack it.

Your friend,


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on September 10, 2021 1:17 PM.

Letter 2 America for August 31, 2021 was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter 2 America for September 17, 2021 is the next entry in this blog.

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