Roe vs Wade — What I learnt as an outsider
“Tout homme a deux pays, le sien et puis la France!” said Henri de Bornier in his play, more than 100 years back. It means, every man has two countries, his own and France. In our time though, it’s safe to say, that every man has two countries — his own and the US. No other country can rival America in military, economic or cultural influence. It is the one true hegemon, the lone superpower. So what happens in the US, reverberates beyond its borders — directly or indirectly.
The recent Supreme Court rulings on gun law and the “abortion ban” (Roe v Wade reversal) are stunning victories for the conservative movement and the American right wing. Of these , reversal of Roe vs Wade has a ring of universality to it — since all countries have abortions, but other countries rarely have such gun laws like the US. The recent judgement basically gives the power back to the individual states to regulate abortion — ending federal protection to abortion as right. Thus the red states can effectively ban abortion, sometimes with no exceptions.
A few years back, this would have been unthinkable.
Here are my personal learnings from this
- Nothing is set in stone. What is settled, can be unsettled . It always seems impossible, until it is done.
2. Culture wars are eternal. Electoral politics is ephemeral. The conservatives had worked for decades for this victory. It took concerted efforts, voting for Trump while holding their noses, to get here.
3. It’s important to be a good loser, but much more important to be a good winner. Sun Tzu in his thousands of years old war treatise says, “ Never burn the bridge behind your enemy”. Give wiggle room for you opponents — so that they can sell their failure to their followers as a ‘moral’ victory. If you push your opponents to the wall, they have no choice but to fight for survival. Such a response will make “holding” victory very difficult. The progressives, at least a section, pushed the limits of what is considered socially acceptable. If there is a crowd that wants, “on demand abortion until birth” and celebrates abortions, and the moderates do nothing about it, then it is inevitable that a crowd will ask for “total abortion ban, with no exceptions for even rape or incest”. Now the pendulum has swung the other way. One can only hope that the conservatives don’t dance on the grave of Roe v Wade.
4. Courts are manned by human beings. And courts can be packed.
5. Never underestimate the determination of your opponents. If your position feels righteous to you and you are determined to defend it, their position feels righteous to them and they will be determined to defend it
6. Every dog has his day. So does every ideology.
7. You live today, to fight another day