This is a short “worst-case scenario” vision of America’s possible future. For an even more compelling and plausible take, please read Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
1ST Amendment to the United States Constitution
Imagine along with me a world cloaked in darkness, a world where the expression of independent thought is limited to the precepts of a “moral” majority. You slink along in the dark, ducking behind trash cans and keeping to the shadows so you are not caught in your secretive mission. From streetlight to streetlight you look over your shoulder to ensure no one is watching you; you look above for the telltale red lights of a quadracopter drone following individuals with the nerve to be out after dark.
With a sigh you can see your destination ahead of you, the low relief wall of plain concrete blocks and safety glass, barbed carbon fiber threads sitting on top of the metal detectors. You show your ID, your birth certificate to prove citizenship and after your $100 ‘entry fee’you are led down a long, harshly lit corridor to the back of this citadel.
What is it you’re doing? Are you selling state secrets? Attending a meeting of atheists?
You are a young woman sometime in the near future trying to secure your rights to privacy and access to healthcare. This prison-like fortress is one of the few places left in your state where access to certain types of birth control are still available, all paid under the table and all off the books. There was a time when these types of services were covered openly, where you were not a criminal for taking the functions of your body in hand and guiding them by your own choices. Your mother told you of the time when the Pill was available at free clinics and women fought for equal pay and recognition. Before the dark days of repression and decades in the past, a time belonging to a world much less cloistered than this one.
How did this happen? Where did America go wrong? The Constitution used to allow for freedom of expression, freedom of religion (or even the lack thereof). On a sheet of musty, browning parchment sitting in the blocked off marble halls of the National Archives it still does. But here, in the real world, it is doublespeak. Freedom is a word that has become meaningless. Freedom is the selling point of the priests, reverends, pastors, the citizen-corporations united under their definition of God. God and business; Presidents, profits and prophets have become the cold rivets on the iron cross with which American society has been crucified. Jesus is watching you and the state ensures that he sees all.
The first amendment was long ago altered to reflect that corporations had civil rights, that a company created as a fiscal fiction could somehow have the need for free speech and be honored with the right to practice the religion of its board members…and how few of them were women. There were female politicians before the repeal of the 19th Amendment, but they fought against themselves, they held to party lines and conservative Christian values and even voted to take away their own rights. You ask yourself “how did this happen?”
Standing in line with a dozen other females, some your age, some younger, you wait for your turn at the cold aluminum counter. You are can’t have a baby, not now, not unmarried. The law was strict on the part: forced birth, with the child taken away to the Clutch and you to the work farm for 5 to 20 years working the drought ridden land. You could hear the low murmur of the ladies in the fields, singing the state approved hymns as they bowed to their labors. It was a hard life for them. But that life will not be for you.
“Doe, Jane,” they call your name and you step to the counter. The kind face of the gray haired oldie behind the metal screen looks down at the package he hands you, contained in a wrapper marked only with curt directions, “you take one of these when you get home and rest.” He turns from you and the next name is called out. Waking away with this precious cargo you are grateful that there are still people from the previous generation who work together to maintain this underground, heavily guarded compound in order to give some small measure of choice to the otherwise helpless that come through their doors.
FOX NEWS 24/7 SPECIAL REPORT
Praise the Lord! Today the 138th Congress voted unanimously to assert total control over the remaining dens of sinful birth control advocates still licensed under antiquated state regulations. The Department of Homeland Orthodoxy will be raiding any remaining underground facilities starting this week. “The freedom of women to be unburdened by not having to make complicated healthcare decisions” can now be assured said President George P. Bush at a recent press conference.
You walk through the underground tunnel that takes you to a branching series of exits and lead yourself,clutching your salvation, out into the humid night air. The low sounds of the port at night-practically deserted due to the rising sea levels, gives you a false sense of security. No churning police sirens, no hunting drones buzzing above like angry hornets, no blinking camera eyes performing facial recognition- means you might make it home without having to explain yourself and what’s in your purse.
You wrap your baklava scarf around your face and set off down the boulevard, heading to the last bus downtown. Tonight you’re free.
Tomorrow you may not be so lucky.
“(this ruling)…demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on third parties who do not share the corporation owners’ religious faith”
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dissenting opinion of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.