by Kellen Squire, RN
Hammerblow after hammerblow over the last week. Idaho is going to start extraditing people for seeking and providing abortion care. Democratic lawmakers in Tennessee were expelled from office in a nakedly partisan move. A Democratic lawmaker “mysteriously” decided to flip parties – for totally above-board reasons, I’m sure – delivering the North Carolina GOP a veto-proof majority in their House. The Governor of Texas has seemingly made it legal now to murder liberals. And a Federal judge decided that mifepristone – the most common abortion pill – was now illegal, openly opining in his written judgement that he was doing it because he felt like it – with the 5th Circuit agreeing this morning to uphold some of these restrictions with “just because” rationales for no reason whatsoever.
If you feel like things are accelerating… well. You’re not wrong.
I’d say the game has changed, but this is where the game the Republicans have been playing has always led to. This is their game – situational ethics and moral relativism in the pursuit of winning at all costs.
They don’t have policies – the progressive things we’re fighting for are the true new American center, supported by a wide majority of Americans in every corner and every zip code of our country. They don’t have the future – every age group from the Millennials to Gen Z, are becoming more and more progressive, and aren’t changing the older they get. They know the GOP offers them nothing and actively despises their freedom to love, to live how they so choose, to support the health and well-being of their neighbors.
And the MAGA folks are smart enough to realize the implications of that.
We all need to be prepared for the reality that we are about to see a dramatic escalation in the number of instances of “using power for power’s sake”. As hard as things have been over the last few years, they’re going to get worse before they get better.
And folks on the other side have an easy job. They just break things and muck up the system. If everything breaks, they still win. Dismantle and degrade public education? Their kids will still have access to elite learning opportunities. Destroy the healthcare system and make it unusable for the people who need it most? They’ll have Cadillac medical coverage available to them. They don’t care if the people who support them get hurt or die; that’s a feature, not a bug.
So, what? Time to lose hope? Time to give up?
No. Absolutely not.
But we need to have a clear-eyed, realistic view of the hard work it’s going to take to be able to hold on to our Republic; to our rights, our freedoms, and to give our kids the kind of future they deserve.
We need to recruit, train, and equip progressives to run everywhere. Look at me – in 2017, I took on the most entrenched incumbent in Virginia. Yeah, I lost – but we made the Virginia GOP blow $500k fighting us off, money they couldn’t send to other races. And given Medicaid expansion passed in Virginia by a single vote in 2018, it was our race – and all the other candidates that stood up in races like mine – that delivered our win that year.
Without that experience, I wouldn’t be here, today, as the only legislative candidate in Virginia – and one of the few in the entire country – who has provided abortion care. Who can say, from first-hand experience, that the abortion pill is safe. Safer than Viagra, safer than tylenol, safer than antibiotics, safer than so many other medications. Now I’ll be in a position to bring those truths not just to the General Assembly building in Richmond, but as an example across the country, proving even in rural America, we can run on these issues and win.
We’re running out of time and space to be able to do that. We have to start on this now. The future of our children, of our democracy, depends on it. I can’t make anyone listen, but they are going to hear about the problems in our community. And they’re going to hear about it from someone who sees it every day when I clock into my shift.