Nobody knows where the Roe v. Wade decision will lead in American public life. Which "side" will be more energized, likely to vote, and the rest of it. But one thing is for sure: now in play is the role of law enforcement in wresting control of women's bodies from pregnant women themselves. The basic takeaway from the Supreme Court decision is that state officials know better than pregnant women themselves how to proceed with the governance of their own bodies.
Now state level voters and politicians they choose will make the call. In Arizona, this means a gaggle of nut jobs mixed in with normals will fight it out - probably much like they've parsed the winner of Biden v. Trump. The new wrinkle is a determination as to what "God wants". Call it the audacity of idolatry; that is, making claims to know and certify the unknowable, draw a conclusion therefrom and run it up the flagpole of righteous certainty.
This wouldn't matter so much if the iron fist of law enforcement wasn't the grand prize - the ultimate decider in the fraught circumstances that matter most to pregnant women. At bottom, power relationships backed by state sanctioned threat/force move front and center once again.
Marge, Heather and Day Creamer schooled me in what was an emergent force in American political and social life - Women's Liberation. From Marge I got an intimate education in how it all fit together. In my life the transformation was profound and irreparable. A door I passed through that I couldn't back out of and didn't want to. I look back on it as a gift of great and lasting value.
Heather's critique of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), where she trained for a time before striking out on her own with the Midwest Academy, was trenchant - perhaps deeper than any other delivered over the years. Not bitter, just centered, sharp-eyed and relentless. Of course, it was focused on male patterned acculturation and its attendant perversions. You know what I mean; unwanted sexual allusions and innuendos, assumptions about qualities of leaders, and pretense to never showing weakness, that kind of thing. Alinsky was there with it, Chambers too, and no doubt many of the rest of us.
So here we are again. Fifty years later with many of the same battles still raging, the losses and wins mounting up, no final resolution in sight. And it comes down to the same challenges posed in 1969. As Joe Hill put it so memorably: "Don't mourn, organize." Or as Heather Booth might have put it even better as imagined in my mind's eye: "Be tender with each other have a cry but when you're finished with that stand up and fight back."
I pulled this pic from an old file of memorabilia from my Swarthmore, PA upbringing. Guess what stands out?
For me, at least, race and death. The one black individual who was a stalwart teammate lived in a tiny "ghetto" on the edge of town I rarely visited. My two best friends - athletes both - passed away, one just a month or so ago. I know when they died, but I'm not sure if Russ Jones, number 44, is dead or alive.
Certainly alive and well in Swarthmore were race matters however you cut them because race mattered hugely, as did matters pertaining to race. The title of Cornel West's book Race Matters captures it both ways - perfectly.
I learned about race in my home - two black women in particular come to mind. Both were powerful in their own way and taught me a thing or two about toughness as they navigated their responsibilities under the employ of Rita Pierson. Then there was the basketball court. We were regularly beaten by the all black team from rival Darby as our ninth grade coach (Dick Bernhardt) relentlessly debunked my evasions and excuses.
The whole race scene was topped off by events at the Swarthmore Swim Club. That's where my brother and I spent most of our summer days until the club board flipped out over concerns that the new black kid in town, Reggie Harvey, might piss in the pool. Liberal white preachers didn't do well with this one. My parents and the Swarthmore Meeting did - by boycotting the club and lining up behind the Harvey family.