The Isley brothers have a song, “Fight the Power,” which has the line “When I roll with the punches I get knocked on the ground – by all this bullshit going down.” Yet rolling with the punches is what black folk have been good at throughout their history. From being rounded up by slave traders in Africa, surviving the long oversea voyage across the Atlantic, years of slavery and Jim Crow, black folk have continually been forced to make the best of bad situations. I would paraphrase the song to “you have to roll with the punches or you’ll get knocked to the ground, by all the bullshit going down.” This brings me to the recent Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v. Wade. I want to be clear on this: I think it is not only a warped opinion, but that it is a misreading of the Constitution. Clarence in his written opinion states that rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution like the right to have an abortion, the right to same sex marriage, and even the right to use contraception are not mentioned in the Constitution and therefore are not protected by it. However, the ninth amendment (part of the bill of rights) says “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Thus, it is quite proper to add rights not enumerated by the founders who lived in an 18th century agrarian society to those protected by the Constitution. The right to privacy for example. The Supreme Court has over the years taken on this task and defined what those rights should be. The right to abortion has just been one of them. This edition of the court has deemed it not to be, even though several justices in their Senate hearings said they consider it settled law and precedent. And the punches keep on coming as the court sides with prayer by high school coaches, concealed carry guns that you do not have to have a reason to¬† carry, police who have not Mirandized suspects and on and on with the Court’s conservative majority.

That’s where we are. The question is what do we do about it now? Sure national opinion polls show a majority of people favor a woman’s right to choose over the right to life of an unborn fetus. This is meaningless. The Court has ruled that the choice to protect women’s rights to choose, should and will be decided by the legislatures of the states and maybe the federal one. This means that we need to roll with the punch and elect more people that will vote for woman’s rights. That is why the national opinion polls are meaningless. The only poll that counts is the election poll. If the great majority of people who hold this position are in blue states, the anti-abortion folks may still control red states. Even if more people support abortion in the red states, they need to get out and vote accordingly. Even in a state as red as Texas, in a recent UT pool 39% of respondents say abortion should always be a matter of choice, and 78% say abortion should be available in specific cases of rape or incest. Only 15% say abortion should never be allowed. Unsurprisingly there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans. Among the Democrats polled 67% said that abortion should always be allowed and only 15% of Republicans agreed. However, 42% of Republicans agreed that abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest and 15% believed that there were cases outside of rape in which abortion should be allowed.

Since the ruling my email inbox has been flooded with requests for money from politicians and women’s rights groups. They are right that the battle needs to move to the political battleground. Of course I don’t donate to every candidate or cause that asks me. How do I choose? First of all I never donate to the Democratic National Committee or its subsidiaries. I do not like its preference for centrist candidates when we actually need progressive ones to win back the working class. Secondly they use money inefficiently spending it on candidates who have little chance of winning but who have been good fundraisers or who face big name opponents. I try to direct any of my few dollars to candidates who are at least within hailing distance of their opponents. I also direct some money to organizations who are working against the voter suppression activities that the Republicans have passed. That means groups like Fair Fight in Georgia or Rideshare2vote. If any of these candidates are going to have a chance it will be because the turnout is so high they will have difficulty stealing the election. I am too old and infirm to participate in demonstrations these days, but they are valuable for networking and lifting one’s spirits by finding like minded people. They need to be followed up by voting and voter registration to be effective though.

All in all there are many things we can do to roll with this punch by the bullshit going down. Get involved. Even if the opposition candidates to these sob’s are not perfect it is important to stop the attack on our rights first. We must make the best of a bad situation. We cannot let despair drive us to inaction. Let it drive us to the voting booth.

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One Response to “Rolling with the Punches”

  1. Zanada says:

    Well stated!


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