Monday, July 4, 2022

Congratulations! Underdogs West Virginia and Mississippi Win, Big Government is the Loser (A Female Perspective)

For as long as I can remember, West Virginia and Mississippi have been the butt of more than a few unkind and derogatory characterizations. While the connection to "By God" West Virginia had come with family ties, I did not realize the similar national prejudice  to Mississippi until I unexpectedly became a short-term resident of Starkville, MS, forty couple years ago.

Through no planning on my part, I attended State universities in each location. I can honestly say that the coursework taken  was based on practical and factual knowledge, not high brow theory that has little real-world application. Not all of my studies from my drawn out and disjointed higher education yielded as strong a foundation. And yet, these states are seen as dumb and incapable of knowing what's good for them.

To get to the point,  this is a fancy but diplomatic way of saying "If you think these states are run by uneducated and  mindless puppets who pander to the religious right or big business, you are sorely mistaken." From my perspective, this isn't even about abortion or coal. 

In fact, this rare and unexpected display of defiance by two small states is about a federal government that demanded obedience and loyalty for a political agenda, even when it meant decimating the wealth and security of a state's population. The Supreme Court merely sided with them

 Why This Isn't About Abortion or Coal

Like a woman who uses her best pair of high heels to hammer in a nail, the legal profession must sometimes use an unusual tool to make its point.  In this case it happens to be abortion and coal with the job being to punctuate the message that states have tired of the "anything goes" mentality that both Republican and Democratic parties support. 

So often viewed as an emotional us vs. them position, the recent Supreme Court decisions that appear to favor the conservative perspective may quickly result in equally restrictive actions as individual rights of all kinds are questioned in the name of public responsibility. 

Either way, an over zealous Democratic President and a fanatically right-leaning Supreme Court came together to break the stalemate that has existed for too long. 

Why Coal Isn't the Issue?

Prior to the late 1960s, much of this country was enjoying economic benefits that seemed evenly distributed across all locations.  In West Virginia particularly (and still in MS when I finally arrived) each county and town had its mix of retail, manufacturing and professional  businesses. There were the old, rich families, and the young adults who could stay in the community if they so desired.  But with the push for clean air, those manufacturing jobs dried up as if the Dust Bowl Droughts had again returned to rural America.  The regulations, set largely to California standards, were so restrictive that factories could no longer operate at a profit.  

Even more devastating were the federal mandates that limited product options for converting homes and other properties to gas, oil or electric.  Everything from large, fine homes to small two room shanties were demolished or abandoned because there was no way to afford the preferred central heat and air system that the construction industry and urban lifestyles preferred.  Everything a family had built be it business or home disappeared for some in a matter of years.   

It wasn't the ban on coal that mattered in the end, it was the destruction of a working economy that put thousands of citizens at the mercy of low paying jobs and federal assistance programs.  The EPA didn't take coal away from West Virginia. It took their way of life. 

Why It's Not About Abortion

Fifty years ago, abortion was the unusual tool that was used to break a hard-line medical profession that took its "Do No Harm" motto very seriously,  While thirty years of almost continuous war had allowed surgeons to make huge advances in technique and methods, those skills and equipment had yet to come to private practice.  Elective surgery of any kind was considered dangerous and avoided for several reasons. Pregnancy, unless threatening to the life of the mother might not be convenient but it simply was not worth the chance of complications.  

Even now, advocates believe Roe vs. Wade was about abortion and female productive rights. They have yet to recognize this one Supreme Court decision was the beginning of the largest, most expensive and not often curative healthcare system in the World, The downside was that small and less affluent states, like Mississippi and West Virginia, were saddled with the expectation of unlimited, on-demand healthcare as a constitutional right because of Roe vs. Wade.

The reality that these elective procedures and tests drain funds from other more productive programs like police protection and education are of no concern to a federal government that only toots its own horn but never pays the cost, until now.

What Will Happen Now?

Without question the federal government will push back and attempt to over turn these rulings but the pendulum of societal thought has started to move and it will gain speed. 

Now with the freedom to look at actual fact, science will do a 180 and realize that pollution is not the end-of-the-World scenario that two generations of been taught. Old science based on centuries of actual experimentation will replace computer guesses.  Health problems will begin to abate for younger populations and in a couple of decades health will be an afterthought instead of a daily concern. 

As for abortion rights, there are two issues. Insurance companies and medical professionals will quickly and quietly begin to refuse services for more radical procedures.  Surgery will not be the automatic first course of action and health will become the focus, not healthcare. 

As for abortion itself, the states who are rushing to ban all abortion will find it harder to prove it is justified.  You see, before childhood vaccines made it possible for most children to survive their fifth birthday, banning abortion was not a moral issue but a means of forcing women of all races and status to have children for a growing workforce. Capitalism is a cruel taskmaster that does not discriminate.

With an open-door immigration policy and better healthcare, there is only morality that keeps the act of abortion banned.  State and federal courts alike can will find their court cases more difficult to draft since robotics, illegal immigration, remote employement and a steady stream of young healthy children now fill all concerns for a ready and willing workforce. 

For now, let the protestors be outraged and the politicians act without thinking. History will remember how the last fifty was not a time of enlightenment that ended with a thud and a crash but a sad example of what happens to a civilization when opinion replaces truth. 

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