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Ask The Cheshire Cat, “Which Way Do You Want To Go?”

ACCORDING TO LIZ - Reports about what has been the most horrific assault yet on human rights by the US Supreme Court in modern times started trickling out on Monday. Our fears and imaginations ran rampant. 

Alice in Wonderland asked the Cheshire Cat: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
And he replies “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” 

So, our question then becomes “Quo vadis?” – where do we march from here? 

Because this is a battle, it’s outright war between an extremist enforcers and a kinder gentler America that is open to cooperation and repairing the environment, equivalent rights for all and what is good for Main Street. 

We-the-people are a David facing down a Goliath rightwing Supreme Court propped up by secret sources of money and an ideology that continuously strives to avoid its responsibility to protect the people from the abuse of corporate power, insisting this is shrinking the government, while battering down the doors to our bedrooms to control with whom we sleep and how, and even our gestation. 

“Once when I was 6 years old I saw a magnificent picture… of a boa constrictor in an act of swallowing an animal” – so begins The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's fantasy about an airman downed in the desert and running out of water. 

There is that sense of desperation spreading across the land. 

Do we let that despair immobilize us? Do we ignore what is going on? Or do we put one foot in front of the other and make a plan for the rest of our lives? 

Or jump down the rabbit hole: stepping up because there is no falling back. 

Just as in our universe we believe the nature of mankind to pursue the arc of the moral universe towards justice, the Federalist Society and its adherents – which, not surprisingly, include Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Chief Justice John Roberts – are extremists enmeshed in the 18th century. 

Despite what Alito wrote, opposition to abortion is not a moral issue, it is a religious issue and it is the obligation of the Supreme Court to safeguard the Constitution and ensure no American is allowed to impose their religious beliefs on another.

But the law is a living thing evolving over time and no matter how hard, these hardened purists cannot hold back the flow of the universe. 

Why did the scorpion sting the frog? 

It’s in its nature. 

And it is clearly in the nature of a majority of the current Supreme Court to be self-destructive. The question is – how self-destructive? 

The fox in The Little Prince shares a secret – “it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; (what is essential is invisible to the eye).” 

The vote is not final. 

Given that the Federalist Society members of the Supreme Court are extremely political animals, it is not unreasonable to cynically posit that one or more of the others may defect from Scalia’s camp to give rightwing candidates a better chance in the midterm elections. 

Especially since the Chief Justice has made it clear that the final decision would not be released until the end of their term this summer. After many of the primaries. 

Perhaps the leak was a deliberate attempt, not by leftwing activists but by their conservative brethren, to set a windsock to see how power aligned against a Handmaid’s vision of America. 

Now that it’s time to jump down that rabbit hole, we are truly like Alice. Flying blind without a parachute. 

Remember that Alice had to confront not only the Cheshire Cat but also the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts. Plus, if we go through the Looking Glass, we will find the Tweedledees and Tweedledums of the Senate Republicans, led by the Mock Turtle. 

We cannot do nothing, or the United States will be overthrown by the Republic of Gilead. 

We must be clear about our goals and our opponents. We must use all the devices at our disposal to ensure we keep bending the arc towards real justice. 

One is to use the cards that the Politico leak dealt us to get out the vote in all upcoming elections no matter which way the Court may swing in the meantime. 

The greater the progressive turnout the greater chance we will have to hold the next Supreme Court accountable to those of us living in the 21st century.

A Supreme Court that will protect us all, not just an idiosyncratic right wing infected with religious bias and neoconservative greed. 

A Supreme Court that will endorse do-overs of decisions on corporate personhood, voting rights, and the right for woman to control their own bodies. 

To paraphrase the Cheshire Cat, “Imagination is the best weapon in the war against reality.” 

Near the end of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's fable, the Little Prince tells the pilot that “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well...”

 

(Liz Amsden is an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She has written extensively on the City's budget and services as well as her many other interests and passions. In her real life she works on budgets for film and television where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today's world.)