Turn sorrow and rage into power and progress

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We knew it would come, but it did no less last week when the Supreme Court overturned almost 50 years of established precedent of abolition of the constitutional right to abortion. But as devastating as the ruling is to many, this most regressive of moments could serve as a path to new political power and progress in abortion, as well as a series of issues that have disappeared in Congress for decades.

In fact, a sentence is buried in the SCOTUS decision aimed at spreading responsibility, but it is in fact a clear call for action. Judge Samuel Alito wrote: “Women are not without electoral or political power. It is noteworthy that the percentage of women who turn out to vote and cast their ballots is consistently higher than the percentage of men who do. In the last election in November 2020, women, who make up about 51.5 percent of the Mississippi population, made up 55.5 percent of the electorate. ” This is a dishonest reason to overturn a 50-year precedent, but abortion enemies may well find out exactly how right Alito is.

“Abortion opponents were geared to play the long game.”

The road to successfully correcting this historic clock requires work at the local election level, as much as on the national stage. This means allowing for many years of sustained mobilization to remind those in power of the issues, and it requires bringing a broader awareness of candidates’ positions election after election after election. Most of us have known the goal of abortion opponents for years, and now we know how long it took them to reach their victory: 50 years. Abortion opponents were geared to play the long game. They ran graduates at the local and state level, but they also ran a campaign for hearts and minds. They placed ballot papers in state after state. They focused on a cultural shift in how this country views women and their place in it.

But these tactics are not exclusively the domain of the right wing. In 2011, Mississippi voters rejected a ballot paper that would have banned all abortions and many forms of contraception. The measure was almost guaranteed review until the final weeks of the election, when a major campaign to defeat the initiative was launched. It focused on how to talk to people and inform them about what the unintended consequences of the measure would be. People who were against abortion were willing to change their minds. Elected officials publicly distanced themselves from the measure, as a broader narrative brought context and nuances to a seemingly black and white problem. And it worked, even in one of the most conservative states in the nation.

The overall lesson is that the Democrats ’50-50 majority (Vice President Kamala Harris’ vote as president of the Senate tips the scale in favor of Democrats) is not enough to pass legislation codifying abortion protection. To have any chance of passing legislation at the federal level, Democrats would have to keep all of their current Senate seats plus turn over two more in November, thereby getting rid of the filibuster that Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will not vote for. to complete. They also need to keep control of the house after mid-term periods.

Democratic voters can no longer ignore the state legislature, as they have for the past 20 years, hardly shows up to vote by state election. At the same time, the democratic political machine can no longer afford to abdicate state races, as they have done for decades. In Florida this year, Democrats did not field candidates in nearly 50 of the 160 state and Senate races on the ballot.

“The journey may seem overwhelming, but it is the step-by-step actions that provide a sea of ​​change.”

From the individual to the systemic, all angles matter. Yes, the journey may seem overwhelming, but it is the step-by-step actions that provide a sea of ​​change. Become a volunteer for a pro-choice candidate. Attend a protest. Donate to a pro-choice organization and turn up to vote in local, state, and national elections. Use your voice and be willing to participate in a conversation with someone, share your personal experiences and be willing to listen to them in return.

If you think the political system is flawed, the good news is that the power lies in the people to change it. But it takes one day at a time.

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