I am tired of fighting. I think I will just throw in the towel and join the Supreme Court, the 22 States that have a Republican trifecta (i.e., Republican governor and Republican House and Senate), the 6 that have a Republican governor without total control of the state legislature, and all the other “originalists” who want to believe that everything said in 1788 suits us perfectly in 2022. After all, we are a mere 85,481 days (or 234 years, 15 days) from when New Hampshire ratified the Constitution, and it became our national founding document.
I mean, why not? Let’s all go back to a simpler time, right? Just think how much less complicated our lives would be. Here’s how a simpler, less complicated approach to America’s current hot topic issues would have played out today:
- Vaccine mandates – in a simpler time, there were no vaccine mandates. So, smallpox, chicken pox, mumps, measles, German measles, diphtheria, tetanus, influenza, and other viruses would kill millions of people over the next 234 years – a small price to pay for “freedom,” right? And besides that, think of the environmental damage that will be avoided from having fewer people.
- Immigration – of course, we would lock up the borders of our new nation, the way we do now. The US had a population of approximately 3.9 people in 1790. Assuming 25% of this population was women of childbearing age and 50% had a child every year, our population today (using the Calculator Academy Model for Population Growth) would be just over 7 million.
The only downside for our “originalists” is that in 1790, there were some 700,000 slaves. Using the same model and assumptions above means that there would be 1.25 million African Americans in 2020 – 18% of our total of 7 million. That is considerably higher than the 12 % in our current situation. But we would have far fewer other people of color. Between European diseases and genocidal intent, the Native Americans would be decimated just as they were in our current timeline.
Overall, America would be vastly smaller, less influential, and less wealthy. My guess is that this fledgling country would have been crushed by the Spanish, French, or English within 50 or 60 years.
- Lifestyle – in the late 1700s Americans spent an estimated 80% of the family budget on food. It is now hovering at 5% or less. The “original” version of your life is hunting, farming, eating, and sleeping, with the very occasional hootenanny. Oh yes, and you could, on average live to age 38 (as opposed to 79 currently). Have fun!
- Voting Rights – again, we would be just where today’s Republican Party wants to be. First, only white men can vote. Second, they need to be people of means, i.e., they need to own land. And, of course, there would be no fraud because there were no Democrats in 1788. No Republicans either, so maybe this would work.
- Christian Identity – Given our 1790 religious make-up – overwhelmingly “Christian”, with Quakers, Anglicans, Catholics, Lutherans, evangelical Methodists, and Baptists, and very few non-Christians, our current Republicans would get their Christian nation. The only fly in the ointment is they’d also be stuck with the founders’ original insistence on the separation of church and state. Oops.
- Guns – again, the Republicans would get what they want – everyone could own their own musket or two, along with the lead and powder required to make them work. This is important, because a much small population (see Immigration above) would mean fewer farmers and later, agricultural workers, so a fair amount of our protein would have to come from hunting. Brunswick stew, anyone?
- Equal Rights – wouldn’t exist, not for women nor poor people nor Black people. Wealthy, white Protestant men will rule the country. Then as now. Only then it was official.
- Reproductive rights – in the 18th century abortion was legal and common. Oops again.
I could go on, but I’m going to surprise you and not. The obvious point is that the concept of “originalism” is nonsense. A bullshit, vapid, wildly inconsistent theory grounded in a desire to impose rigid conservative values, held by a minority of the country, on the majority. The originalists are picking and choosing their philosophies, avoiding the implications that would occur if this idiotic thinking were applied more generally.
No mask mandate? OK, what do you think happened to people with smallpox? They were ostracized from society and if they tried to interact with the unaffected, in 1790 or 1820, they got shot or burned out.
No separation of church and state? We might be all Puritans….and if we did not like that, we could be expelled from Puritan lands.
You all think this nation would have survived having close to 20% of our population being held in slavery? I doubt it.
Women, stay in the kitchen, produce and raise children, and learn the traditional arts of cooking, sewing, and managing the household. Education? Jobs? Equal pay? Forget all of that. (But abortions? No problem.)
The truth is the “originalists” on the Supreme Court only want to accommodate the economic and religious beliefs of the far Right. They certainly do not want to go back to the world when many of those “original thoughts” made some sense.
They want our cake, and they want to eat it too.
This vision of our country benefits only the wealthiest, only white males, and religious zealots. The leaders of this movement, and their supporters, know they can break all the rules the rest of us have to follow, and without consequence. And they can afford to escape the raping and pillaging of the people and ecology of the world that their unimpeded wealth creation demands.
They want to own it all. The only time they really want small government is when it is spent on helping people or when it is lining their pockets. They are accomplishing this through minority rule and the constant repetition of big and little lies.
Well, fuck that and fuck them. Given the choice, I’d rather not live in that world. So, I might as well confess. I lied. I am not giving up. Letting the fascist elite get away with the big lies, the destruction of the environment, the heartless and cruel belief that poverty is a character flaw, the accumulation of wealth for the sake of accumulation is not an acceptable outcome. I’m going to fight like hell against this vision of my country. You should as well.