My Turn: The rise of American medieval patriarchy


Published: 7/3/2022 9:06:55 PM
Modified: 7/3/2022 9:04:15 PM

Last May, after the leak of the Supreme Court’s plan to overturn Roe vs. Wade became public, there was a rally in our Taos park for reproductive rights, attended by 150 mostly women and men including me. An open microphone was presented for anyone to speak and on impulse; I mounted the stage, having no idea what I would say.

What I finally did say was that as a Jew, I had what is known as “Jew-Dar” (Jewish Radar) the innate ability to sense when fascism is rearing its head and about to transform an otherwise normal nation into a nightmare. That nightmare has become real for American women and girls. But that day, in a rare prescient moment, I told the assembly that LGBTQ+ rights would be next on the Supreme Court chopping block and unfortunately, I may have been correct.

We now face immediate danger from this radicalized court and a well-organized Republican Right. Mike Pence made it clear that he and others like him favor a national ban on abortion. Clarence Thomas favors overturning the laws safeguarding same -sex marriage and contraception. In short, they want to transform the United States into a repressive medieval patriarchy where women’s lives are proscribed by men. For some reason, human beings in control of their own sexuality terrifies the conservative Right who aren’t any different in this regard than the Taliban.

Let’s make no mistake; the anti-abortion movement could care less about “life” considering their complacency around schoolchildren being shot to death in their classrooms and their ignoring the millions of American children living in poverty and suffering from hunger. It’s all about control. Control of women. It’s not surprising that all the letters to the editor I’ve read on these pages that condemn abortion come from men. And no matter how much pseudo-Christian double-talk they camouflage their views with; it still comes down to men wanting to control women.

I can go to great lengths condemning the hypocrisy and entitled cruelty of the current GOP but they could care less what I think. They are hell-bent on destroying the rights gained over the past 60 years, rights we’ve all taken for granted. But they are taken for granted no longer. Hopefully, younger generations of American women are now aware that the state has control over their bodies. And that those powerless will be further condemned to misery and poverty as the state forces them to bear children against their will. I would love to see these young folk of all genders, rise up, raise hell and most importantly, march to the ballot box in November to elect officials who are dedicated to making America what it ought to be. An enlightened democracy that used to be the envy of the free world instead of a brutal religious dictatorship.

As my wife keeps reminding me, reproductive rights aren’t just a women’s issue. It’s time for men to stand up and remind our so-called leaders that we will not tolerate our mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, lovers and friends being treated as second-class citizens. Why should women be watched and criminalized for their reproductive choices while the men who impregnate (and too often abandon) them go scot-free?

The day after Roe was abolished; I went to the Taos Farmers Market which, like its Greenfield counterpart, is a festive and joyous occasion. But upon entering the nearby public rest room, I saw scratched on the wall graffiti reading “The Holocaust Never Happened.” It was an unexpected punch in the gut which ruined the day for me. Antisemitism, from Right or Left, is always a bellwether of things to come.

In some ways, I wasn’t surprised. Hate is a slippery slope. It first targets a minority but like cancer, grows and spreads. The Supreme Court has spread that cancer further. The question is how far it will go before it poisons us all.

There are times to vigil on the Common and march in the streets even though the forces taking our country backwards will ignore us. In the end, however, voting matters, especially when the Republican Party is doing its best to prevent it from being free and fair. We were warned that if Donald Trump was elected, he would make good on his pledge to place ultra-conservative judges on the Supreme Court. Elections aren’t a purity contest where you “vote your heart, not your fears.” It’s a chess game. In the coming elections, please don’t vote your heart. Vote your brain.

Daniel A. Brown lived in Franklin County for 44 years and is a frequent contributor to the Recorder. He lives in New Mexico with his wife, Lisa and dog, Cody.


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