To be clear before we begin…
meme | mēm | n. — an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by internet users, often with slight variations.
muck | mək | n. — dirt, rubbish, or waste matter; mire, mud; manure.
I don’t believe it takes any bit of rocket science to suggest there’s quite a bit of memes and muck out there right now — and most of it, incredibly disrespectful.
The memes are oft insulting mic drops; thus, contrary to its definition, memes aren’t all that funny… or rather, they are only funny to the ones who wish to rebuke or bully one who adheres to a different belief system or opinion.
The muck is all that gets in the way… what gets in the way of truth… what gets in the way of objectivity. All the misinformation filling the media (Note: I will resist the rather enticing impulse to utilize muck’s last listed definition above.).
So allow us to be coherent and clear. Know, too, we are not expressing any advocacy or opposition today. Our goal is simply to wade through the memes and the muck, so that the mockery and mean-spiritedness would be minimized and respectful dialogue can continue.
The Supreme Court’s recent, notable decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization does not ban nor back abortion. As stated in the majority opinion, the decision today “returns the Court to a position of neutrality.” That means not for it or against it. Not making it legal nor illegal.
Attorneys (not activists) on all sides of this issue objectively share that the bottom line in the high court’s decision has zero to do with the morality of abortion; it wrestles instead with where the authority to make said decision rests. Hence, both accusations of evil and proclamations of victory are misguided. No doubt clouded by the muck, abortion will still be legal in all stages in some states — limited in others.
Herein lies a point that the memes and muck also pollute…
As shared previously, public polling has told us that the majority of the public is in favor of Roe v. Wade but not in favor of Planned Parenthood v. Casey — two legal decisions that were rescinded in the recent decision. This is significant.
The Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973 stated that Texas statutes criminalizing abortion violated a woman’s constitutional right of privacy in most cases. While ruling that government could not prohibit abortions during the first trimester for any reason, it permitted state regulation thereafter.
The Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling of 1992 removed the first trimester requirement, allowing state legislatures to legalize abortion up to the moment of birth.
Also in 1992, then Pres. Bill Clinton worked to find common ground language, stating he wished for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare.” Ten years ago, the Democratic Party removed those words from their platform.
Hence, with respect to all parties but to again be factually clear, the majority of the public is in favor of what the Democratic Party supported ten years ago — not what they purport to support now.
Let me not suggest public polling is a judicious barometer of wisdom; we are solely noting what the public supports — and what it doesn’t.
Let me also assert once more that I am sharing neither advocacy or opposition. I am simply attempting to wade through the memes and the muck so that we can have better conversation. As one who did not articulate advocacy or opposition last weekend, I was personally on the receiving end of over eighty insults and questions of integrity and/or character. No need to fight back; it’s not about me; I intentionally work to understand diverse conviction and passionate expression. It does reveal, however, the lack of wisdom in our collective, cultural conversation. It reveals a lack of listening — an unwillingness — and is indeed a societal weakness.
Too many memes. Too much muck.
Let’s resist what therefore hurts us all… knowingly or not.