Abortion, Democracy, and Freedom
Remember, Democracy starts at home.
Recently at The Bulwark:
Thanks for your support of The Bulwark by being a member of Bulwark+. If you like today's edition, please share it with someone who you might think would value it.
MONA CHAREN asks: Can We Talk about Abortion Without Tearing Each Other Apart?
Those of us who have long criticized Roe v. Wade for usurping the power of legislatures to make serious policy decisions must now contemplate the reality that We the People may yet get a chance to legislate on this fraught matter. Hold the brass bands. Are we capable of discussion and debate? Congress cannot seem to pass a budget and perpetually accelerates to the edge of the default cliff before veering off at the last second and raising the debt ceiling. Presidential nominees (of both parties) cool their heels for months and years without confirmation votes. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has signed legislation shielding those who drive their cars into demonstrators from civil liability. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas signed a law permitting almost anyone to carry a firearm without a license or training. And government spending so far outstrips revenue that every American child begins life owing about $67,000. As Windsor Mann quipped: “A country that goes berserk over masks is about to debate guns and abortion.”
Still, we must try.
Trump's official power as president wasn't what got him so close to toppling the 2020 election. It was his ability to convince supporters that black is white, and up is down — and they're preparing for next time. The Atlantic's Bart Gellman joins Charlie Sykes on today's podcast.
TODD GITLIN, JEFFREY C. ISAAC, and WILLIAM KRISTOL propose that President Biden must lead an American Democracy Campaign. Now.
Last month the three of us—coming from very different political backgrounds and points of view—organized an Open Letter in Defense of Democracy. It was signed by almost 50 writers, academics, and political activists from across the political spectrum. We were hardly alone in expressing our apprehension about democracy here in the United States. A week later, over one hundred former high-level national security officials published a similar letter, and a week after that, over a hundred scholars of democracy sounded the alarm. That our democracy may be headed over a cliff is widely understood.
And yet little is being done. Legislative efforts are being obstructed and allowed to stall. The Biden administration’s attention seems to have been focused on other policy goals.
It’s time to pivot. We need a Campaign for American Democracy that focuses on the clear and present dangers to our democracy, and we need President Biden and top congressional Democrats to lead it now, so that we can have confidence that the elections of 2022 and 2024 will be free and fair in every state. States must not be permitted to restrict the vote for partisan advantage. Elections must be administered by properly trained and certified election officials. The results of elections must be recorded and honored without political interference.
Democracy starts at home. Read the whole thing.
Merry politicized Christmas! A message from our friend, Matt Labash.
Let’s talk about Freedom. And by that, I mean Enes Kanter Freedom. He just became an American, and that’s awesome. America needs more Enes Kanter Freedoms, though I’m not sure about the whole changing the last name bit. It’s like naming a child Liberty or, if your last name were People, naming a kid We The People. I’m Catholic so I stick with the names of Saints. But this is America, land of the free, so if you want to change your last name to Freedom? Be my guest.
Freedom is a talented and wealthy NBA player who is also an activist. Writing at Intelligencer, Will Leitch wonders: is he diluting his own activism? He’s at the end of his career, and he’s doing some… interesting things. Like going on Tucker Carlson’s show. Here’s Leitch:
Rebrand, pivot, extend his fame, get his own show. (Hell, he’s even dating a Rockefeller.) Kanter Freedom started from a good place, and there is little doubt he has a hard-earned passion for his pet causes. But there’s also no question that the likes of Cruz and Kushner are using him, and it’s becoming clear that he does not mind. You may be about to hear more about Enes Kanter Freedom when his career is over than you ever did when he was on the court.
Good for Mitch McConnell. The Minority Leader alerted the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, which helped planned today’s touching funeral at the U.S. Capitol, that one of its volunteers was involved in the January 6th Insurrection. That person was fired. Naturally, Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist was incensed!
She seriously typed these sentences:
Mitch McConnell is personally trying to destroy someone's life and livelihood because he was an advance staffer for the top Republican vote-getter in history. I get that McConnell loathes the previous president, but this is *scandalous* and unacceptable behavior.
I don't know who needs to hear this other than, oh, I DON'T KNOW THE FREAKING TOP ELECTED REPUBLICAN IN THE COUNTRY, but people have a right to peaceably assemble and protest without being attacked by powerful politicians and having their lives destroyed with witch hunts.
I know Fox News thinks Mollie’s insights are worth money, but has she no experience with Mitch McConnell? He’s a ruthless tactician! The SCOTUS rulings she’ll be praising on Special Report are going to be thanks to Mitch McConnell, not Donald Trump, for whom she sold her soul. They don’t call him Cocaine Mitch for nothing.
Granted, she does work at a place that is very powerful in media and has a storied history of destroying people’s livelihoods, but as a pretend media critic who is really a cheerleader, I suspect she cannot look inward. Cognitive dissonance and all that.
Speaking of insurrectionists and those who cover for them… Tucker Carlson had a lawyer on his show suggesting a person was an undercover cop. Nope! Turns out, it’s a Tucker Carlson super fan who also really loves the Saint Louis Cardinals.
Digital driver’s licenses? That’s a strong no from me, for a variety of reasons. Do we really want to get in the business of handing our cell phones to police officers when we could have a… driver’s license? No. A better proposal? Finalize REALID. Quit punting.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.