Within Greek Mythology the thread of life is woven by the Fate Clotho, her decisions can overrule the gods. In the near future, on a brisk November day, she is has two threads in her hand, one red the other blue. What is our fate if she begins to weave with the red one?
The red strand begins to entwine in the fabric of our future as the new Conservative Legislature passes the Ryan Budget through a process of budget reconciliation blocking any Progressive attempts to stop it in the Senate. The new Conservative President quickly signs the bill into law, ushering in the demise of Medicaid, the Affordable Health Care Act, spending on infrastructure, education and training, farm subsidies, income supports, veteran’s benefits, retraining, basic research, the federal workforce and much more. Of course, defense spending increases and taxes drop, paid for in most part by this ravaging of social and support programs. The current elderly, in their deal with the devil, retain Social Security benefits; however, the future elderly (born after 1958) face an uncertain future.
She passes the shuttle through the loom adding one more red weft. Justice Ginsberg is eighty years old and Justice Breyer is now seventy-five. With failing health, they both retire and a “Severely Conservative” president appoints their replacements making the Supreme Court 7 to 2 Conservative. The moderating influence of Justice Kennedy is of no consequence as a challenge to Roe v. Wade is argued before the court. With a 6 to 3 decision, the cornerstone of women’s reproductive rights is vacated and social policy begins an inexorable slide back to the norms of the fifties. The reactionary influence of this court has a deleterious effect on social justice for decades to come.
Under her fingers, the cloth passes from blue to purple to red; voter suppression in the guise of voter ID legislation, spreads across the country. The Conservative agenda, built at the clay feet of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of “I’ve got mine, you are on your own”, deconstructs the EPA, makes the repeal of DOMA a forgotten dream, gives corporations unbridled influence, and basically abandons over a third of the population to fend for themselves. Hugh Hefner, speaking about Conservative goals, wrote, “If these zealots have their way, our hard-won sexual liberation — women’s rights, reproductive rights and rights to privacy — lie in peril.” As we admire the forest of oil drilling rigs on the horizon, we take some solace that this overreach power will be reversed by the ever-changing demographics of the country. It may take a generation to swing the power in a different direction and claw our way back to a progressive society, but how much damage will be done in the interim?
Even Clotho listened to Zeus on occasion. That brisk November morning is six months away and the Fates have not yet decided. This may be the most significant election in your lifetime, you must vote, you must encourage all that you know to vote; the consequences are too grave to ignore. There is still time to persuade Clotho to pick up the blue thread.