BY MIKE MAGEE
If there’s a silver lining to Trump’s assault on decency and civility, it’s our majority response to this “stress test” of our democracy and the strength (so far) of Trump’s vision. our founders.
It was, after all, a long shot when Alexander Hamilton, under the pen name Publiuspublished Federalist No. 1 October 27, 1787, writing: “It has often been remarked that it seems to have been reserved for the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not to establish good government by thought and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on chance and force.
Two weeks before the Iowa caucus in 2016, Trump himself on the side of “strength” and pointed out a rocky road ahead when he said in Sioux City, Iowa, that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? He‘s, like, amazing.
Of course, Trump, while representing our executive branch, was not acting alone. He was supported by members of our legislative branch as they succeeded in piling the judicial branch with religious conservatives. The net impact was last year Roe v. Wade overthrowand an evangelical Christian legislative windfall (and subsequent political backlash) in several red states through the union.
This too was foreseen by our Founders. In 1799, Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison, warned that “The tyranny of legislatures is the most dreadful fear at the present time, and will remain so for many years. That of the executive will come in turn, but it will be a distant period.
Without law, there is no society. President Teddy Roosevelt made that clear in his 1903 State of the Union address when he said. “No one is above the law and no one is below it; and we don’t ask anyone’s permission when we ask them to obey. Obedience to the law is required as a right; not asked as a favor.
In the current assault on Roe vs. Wade buried is an attack not only on democracy, but also on women’s rights, their autonomy and the integrity of the patient-doctor relationship. Pushing patriarchy and republican domination MAGA, a marginal minority is ready to bend the law in their favor and undermine the health of our nation.
On June 24, 2022, Roe v. Wade was overturned. Only 5 months later, the Indianapolis doctor Dr. Caitlin Bernard was taken to court to face a judge in response to a complaint by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita that the doctor violated state law requiring notification of police and officials child protection in case of child abuse.
The 10-year-old child involved had been raped by a 27-year-old man from Ohio who was under arrest. from ohio “Fetal heartbeat” at 6 weeks the ban on abortion (which took effect after Roe vs. Wade was eliminated) forced the child’s parents to cross state lines and seek help in neighboring Indiana. After the required 3-day waiting period, Dr. Bernard provides the care necessary for a medical abortion. As his lawyer said, “Dr. Bernard is a qualified and competent doctor, and I would say she is exactly the doctor people would want their children to see in these circumstances.
She and her colleagueactors across the country, offer compassion, understanding and partnership to Americans from “coast to coast”. But less well recognized is their function of providing health to our democracy in three ways. First, they deal daily with the nation’s fear and worry, which could otherwise have a destabilizing effect. Second, they strengthen the bonds between individuals, families and their communities, directing those in need to resources that could help them. Third, they reinforce a sense of hope. If that’s not a cure today, maybe one just around the corner.
MAGA’s extreme Republicans have inadvertently awakened deeply buried and historic fears and resentments. As a historian Lawrence Friedman put it, “The American Revolution, however, was fed on resentment against English oppression… Penal laws are one of the levers government uses to exert its power over the individual , on the ordinary citizen…the British had abused criminal justice, and violated the rights of settlers…The leaders of the revolutionary generation were convinced that there must be safeguards against abuse of criminal justice or the use of the criminal process to crush political dissent – the offenses for which King George was blamed.”
Trump, no doubt, remains eager to test his theory with one last stand “in the middle of Fifth Avenue.” But in the process, he quickly propelled his followers into a position of excessive state government, which puts low-level bureaucrats at the bedside, criminalizes doctors and nurses and drives former “Sons of Liberty” into King George’s. (or Donald’s waiting arms).
Mike Magee MD is a medical historian and author of CODE BLUE: Inside the