Russia’s attack on Ukraine was a mask coming off. The oligarchs who embraced Vladimir Putin for two decades, and all those who pretended he wasn’t the second coming of Hitler, were exposed. Some tried to back away. Others doubled down. It doesn’t matter. We know now who is on the side of freedom, and who isn’t.
It was a clarifying moment. It created clarity across Europe, and in much of America too. Lines have been drawn. On one side lies democracy, liberty, everything we’ve claimed to stand for over 230 years. On the other side lies evil. Yes, many of its ghosts are American, in genocide, in slavery, in racism and eugenics and the rest. But these are ghosts.
At least we pretended they were.
The leak on overturning Roe vs. Wade is a second clarifying moment. That’s not so obvious yet. Many still try to pretend it is politics as usual.
It’s not. It’s a declaration of war.
Chaining more than half of America to the other half, proclaiming that men decide procreation and women are made to just suffer the pain of it, that’s a huge step. What’s chilling is we know it’s just the first step. The same unreason that overturned Roe can overturn every other Warren Court precedent, from Griswold to Gideon to Brown vs. Board.
This struggle, to reassert the exclusive America of Andrew Jackson over the inclusive one of Abraham Lincoln, lay buried under all the struggles of the late 20th century. It only came into view with Barack Obama’s election. What should have been a turning point toward civil peace began the march to civil war.
For a time, the long-term aim of the religious extremists, the oligarchs, and the racists could be hidden behind smaller issues. The Tea Party. Smaller government. Donald Trump brought it into the open, and the battle was joined. Without the 81 million who voted for Joe Biden in 2020, the war would already be lost.
Now the masks have all come off, as Republicans openly admit their aims are to enslave women to men, black people to white, and sexual relations to closets from which no victim may escape. It’s another clarifying moment, giving clarity to this year, making it more important than any previous year in the history of America.
Many have reacted to this new reality with fear. Others have tried revulsion. Many refuse to believe things are as simple, and as basic, as that, the ghosts of the Civil War and of World War II, rising to reassert the power of wealth, of exclusiveness, of religious absolutism.
I’m thankful, because now everyone knows what I long feared. Things really are that clear, that stark, that black and white. It’s Putin or Zelenskyy. It’s Obamaism or Trumpism.
It’s freedom or slavery. The choices we make now may last forever.