I have long thought, in my worst moments, that the lowest moment in United States foreign policy was when that far too good man, Abraham Lincoln, "with malice toward none", asked the seceded, justly defeated South to return to the Union. Oh, I know that had he not done it, millions of recently freed slaves would have faced a hell that would have made Jim Crow and the Klan seem mild, but really, who needs these states?
The old Confederacy routinely bash their poorest, weakest citizens and in a thousand ways you need not hear listed today, yet again. Yet they rhetorically secede from the United States at every chance, knowing full well that they're floated by blue-state tax dollars: the old Confederacy year over year takes in far, far more revenue from the federal government than they ever pay in federal taxes.
And yet bashing "the least among us" has never been cashiered there. It almost seems a sport. Three recent moves, one in Mississippi and two in North Carolina, are worth bringing to your attention.
Despite a losing, fanatical push to approve an anti-abortion 'Personhood Amendment', the very bad idea that would give zygotes the same legal status as full grown persons and eliminate fairly well all forms of contraception, voters rejected the plan. Good news to be sure, but misogynist fanaticism has a home in the Mississippi legislature (did it ever not feel welcome there?). Its newest scheme would close the state's only women's health clinic that offers abortion services. A Federal District Court has at least temporarily put the brakes to this harebrained and nasty plan.
The fact is all abortion-restriction laws are nothing more than a continuation of a despicable war on the poor: every family of means can find and use and when necessary does find and use out-of-state abortion services. It is the poorer women and their families who suffer; only they bear the brunt of this viciousness.
And it isn't over; a court hearing will be held on the 11th.
Several months back, too, North Carolina ditched its plan to compensate those African-American women who, over decades, had been forced by that state into sterilisation. Despite the fact that most who were subjected to the procedure are dead, the North Carolina legislature, in a slap to Governor Bev Perdue, decided that the planned, modest compensation, was just too expensive.
And on Monday, the same legislature overrode the same governor's veto of legislation that, according to the Associated Press, "rolls back a state law that gives death row inmates" (nearly all men of color) "a way to seek a reduced sentence because of [overt] racial bias." The original law would have had judges reduce death sentences to life when racial bias could be shown to have had a significant role in the sentencing process and/or in jury-selection.
Granted, these are but three mean-season moves.
And I know we wouldn't be the United States had President Lincoln not done what he did after that war.
Yet it's been an awfully, too damned long Mean-Season.