Saturday, June 25, 2022

Puritan shackles

I have written about Supreme Court decisions before. Would I say that any felt as momentous as yesterday's overturning of Roe v Wade? Maybe the one that legalized same sex marriage but with yesterday's decision, that ruling, and many others, may be in jeopardy.

By now many others have written or spoken more eloquently than I on all sorts of angles of yesterday's ruling. And there have been several decades of the court scaling back its support for the original Roe v Wade decision. But I didn't expect it to be completely overturned. Even with the document leak back in May that led me to expect it, I was still surprised yesterday when I heard of the ruling.

I am much less sure these days than I was as an 18 year old about the question of where life begins. But I am still not in favor of outlawing abortion or severely restricting it. I don't know any women who use abortion as birth control but I do know people who have had problematic pregnancies and needed to be able to abort. I haven't met anyone who is cavalier about needing to abort.

It has been a strange week what with yesterday's decision and the decision overturning a New York rule that restricts guns that came a day earlier. When I look at these decisions, I see not an issue of states’ rights but instead a fear of humans and the longing to control humans. There are days when I look at the news and I sense the presence of our Puritan ancestors still influencing so much of how we live in this country: their fear of women, their fear of others, the longing to control, their rather limited idea of what joy should look like. It's hard to shake off those Puritan shackles.

But it's also a week where I found some causes for hope. We live in a world where Emma Thompson makes really amazing movies. We have more books than ever, quality works of fiction and nonfiction. I saw three doves on a lake bank today, and they seemed unafraid of any of us: me, the man walking his dog, the lake which always wants to go over its banks because of flooding caused by global warming.

Let me collect some possible images for a poem:

Bone covers screws with a quilt constructed of calcium

Three white doves shelter in the curve of a lake bank

Wombs full or empty

A cabinet of china destined for the dust heap

A Puritan spirit swirls beneath


No comments: