The singular focus on the draconian features of the abortion bill passed by the Alabama legislature is understandable. They are draconian. But such a narrow focus can easily become a problem when it is turned into a pivot by anti-abortion advocates and too many well meaning people to legitimize a more “reasonable and humane” legislative bill to limit a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions.

The framing in this contentious fight isn’t pro-life vs pro-choice, but pro-choice vs anti- choice.

Peace sentiment endures

War threats and the peace movement is barely in sight. Ironically, peace sentiment endures, and broadly so, and acts as a restraint on Trump’s war making. The Iraq debacle still resonates with lots of people across the country. This enduring feeling provides the ground on which to not only challenge the Trump administration’s militarist rhetoric and actions, but also the assumptions that underlie both.

Greenhouse on the courts and abortion rights

Here is an interview of Linda Greenhouse, who covered the Supreme Court for many years for the NYT and has few peers when it comes to understanding the court and its decisions. Its focus is on Roe vs Wade and the struggle for abortion rights. It took place shortly before yesterday’s draconian action by the Alabama legislature to outlaw abortion. I thought you also might find it illuminating.

Crisis and not just constitutional

Some say that we aren’t in a constitutional crisis. The proponents of this point of view argue that the courts have yet to register their opinion on Trump’s refusal to cooperate with Congressional oversight. And in the event that they rule against the administration, we don’t know what the White House would do. Would it comply with the ruling? Or would he defy it? And if it did then what?
I can’t think of a more narrow, sterile, and formal way to determine whether we are in a constitutional crisis. Any answer to this question has to employ a much wider lens. When we do, we observe that in the wake of the Mueller report, Trump and his coalition of supporters in and outside of government have become more emboldened, not chastened. Their obstruction and lawlessness continue unabated. They openly sport an “enemies” list. The finger of executive privilege meets every request from Congress. Nixon’s transgressions look like small potatoes in some ways. Moreover, the earlier push back, mild as it was, from the National Security State and the Republican Party against the Trump administration has largely disappeared. Worse still, Trump has his guys, or better hacks, at Justice, State, and Defense now, not to mention John Bolton as his National Security advisor and his new appointees on the Supreme Court. 
Finally, this right wing, white nationalist authoritarian political bloc, headed by this reckless and narcissistic president, is executing at this very moment a broad scale, offensive at home and internationally to make the world bend, and break if necessary, to its dictates. Such an offensive can only happen by further laying waste to constitutional and democratic norms and institutions as well as people’s lives, economic well being, and rights. The crisis of this moment then is political as well as constitutional, immediate as well as general.
While next year’s elections can’t come soon enough, it is imperative that the leaders of the diverse coalition resisting Trump finds ways at this moment to practically engage and unite the majority of the people that oppose this exceedingly dangerous turn in our country’s politics. Later could well be too late!

New dangers and the imperative of unity

Trump not only believes, but is acting as if there are no limits to the projection of US power globally and to his presidential power at home. This would be dangerous in any circumstances, but what makes it especially dire at this moment is that his new appointees at the Justice, State, and Defense Departments — core institutions of the National Security State — share a similar world view and possess a similar zealotry. And into this hot mess we have to throw John Bolton, Trump’s new and belligerent National Security advisor.

The elections can’t come soon enough for me. And I sure hope the imperative of unity against this onslaught figures at the center of the thinking and actions of the diverse coalition resisting Trump and Trumpism. A repeat of the election drama and divisiveness of 2016 would be an unmitigated disaster for the country and world.

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