Let’s be clear: the times when progressive actions could circumvent the legislature have now ended. In the face of persistent obstructionism by republicans elected to Congress, Obama turned to executive actions and he did what he could with what he had. (For the record, it has not escaped my memory that Donny with the Combover relied on executive actions as well in the face of what a false equivalence would call ‘democratic obstructionism.’)
From today’s Supreme Court decision in North Carolina v. EPA it is now clear that Congress must not only be given a mandate by the people with the upcoming midterm election, but that Congress must also issue new mandates to our regulatory agencies. The Clean Air Act is old, as has been said many times today. It must be updated to reflect the tremendous advances in our scientific knowledge—to say nothing of the moral culpability resulting therefrom.
But we cannot take issue with the basic logic of the decisions, even—as disgusted as I am by it—the dismissal of Roe: the legislature is there to frame our policy, to offer legal clarity and to protect us all with science-guided legislation. We ought to have clear rights written into federal law and we must have democrats there who will do it.
First of all we must demand the right to bodily autonomy, under which I include not only a person’s right to make decisions about their own uteruses but also about what their bodies look like to match their own deep-held understandings of themselves. Second of all, we must have it in our legal code that the government is uninterested in the configuration of a person’s household, because it is none of anyone’s business so long as no one faces harm (in which case there are already Human Services divisions nearly everywhere to intervene). Third, we must have a broad right to marriage enshrined in law guaranteeing every human being the right to a meaningful shared existence if they so choose with whomever they so choose, and with that we must guarantee the right to adopt children, when there are so many would-be parents, couples or committed singles, and there are so many children who grow up without ever knowing a parent’s love. Fourth, we need a robust internet bill of rights, wherein we are granted the freedoms from surveillance granted us in our physical lives.
Fifth, and this is the big one, we must have an updated mandate for the EPA that includes an air-tight plan to get our emissions down to zero as quickly as possible. Not cut in half by 2030 but brought to absolute zero as soon as possible, if not by 2030 then by 2028 or 2029, but it must happen now. To that end, we must have clear legislation with full funding. We must have a declaration of national emergency and we must have war powers to combat what is the greatest global threat we will face short of a global alien invasion.
All of this and so much else that we desperately need, the right to the pursuit of happiness restored to us with sensible legislation tackling our gun epidemic, rethinking the configuration of the Supreme Court (should it really be down to only 9 people to cast a decision in the most important matters?), and others, all of them depend on a democratically controlled Congress. And that depends on how many democrats we can get elected this cycle. We need an overwhelming majority of democrats committed to change in both houses or else all of this will fail, our country will fall apart either slowly as now or all at once, and our planet will become so destabilized that we all will die, the 99% on the planet polluted by the 1% who will undoubtedly die in their phallic-shaped rockets adrift in space, dead of starvation and dehydration if not some other unknown death. This election matters more than any other, and those who agree must all now get out and do what we can to preserve our lives, our country and our planet by working to get more democrats sent into the Senate and the House. There must be a mandate.
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