Last week, there was an unprecedented decision from the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn Roe vs. Wade which gives the states the right to ban abortion. This was the first time in history that a “right” has been taken away from the American people.
According to Pew Research, more than 60% of American’s support abortion rights while only 37% believe that abortion should be illegal in all states. Interestingly, nearly 75% of Americans favor stricter gun laws and seven in 10 voters desire a single-payer/Medicare for All system of health insurance.
These three topics are some of the most debated issues in American society – healthcare, guns and abortion. As the research suggests, the majority of American citizens have definitive views on these topics and in a proper democracy, the wishes of the majority should prevail in determining legislative frameworks that take these views into account. Why then, is the Supreme Court making decisions that are contrary to the majority views of the American people? Why are politicians either passing, or avoiding passing, legislation that is so clearly in opposition to the will of the American voter?
I am of the opinion, that American democracy is in peril as evidenced by the way a very vocal and well-funded minority continues to force their will on the majority through the courts and politics. This is not a right vs. left issue. Based on the current political climate that includes a roughly 50/50 split between Republicans and Democrats, there is no way that a majority can be achieved unless a certain number Republics are included in the 61% of abortion supporters, the 75% of more strict gun law supporters, and the 75% of those who desire Medicare for all.
Essentially, 30% – 35% of Americans are dictating the future of America. This is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned, and it is certainly not the results they tried to achieve when crafting documents such as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Historically, minority rule ends up badly. The 30% – 35% minority in America consists of two primary factions – one that is driving social issues and one that is driving political issues.
Social and political issues such as immigration, gun rights and abortion are being driven by a highly conservative and frightened population of white citizens who believe that democracy should be sacrificed in order to maintain the historical status quo. While big money organizations like the NRA, healthcare companies and oil & gas continue to ensure that votes on the political side keep falling their way. Either way you cut it, these two factions represent a significant minority of American opinion and votes.
What is the solution that allows the rule of law to take precedence, individual rights to be upheld, and social tolerance to move forward rather than backwards? I honestly don’t know. The easy answer is to get louder and richer than the minority – but more importantly more active at the local level. All change begins with grass roots efforts. But that takes time; time that we may not have. Perhaps that a major fundraising effort to establish a PAC and a platform that is “common sense” based with no outward political affiliation is the answer. We know that there are three key issues on which Republicans and Democrats can mostly agree as this piece discussed. Someone needs to move us back to the middle and advocate for common sense solutions to American issues. More than anything, we simply need to lower the temperature of the warring factions and awaken the sleeping giant that represents the 33% in the middle.