Within 24 hours of the United States pulling out of Afghanistan, ending a 20-year war and turning over the country to the Taliban, the brutal crackdown immediately began in earnest.
Women would no longer have control over their own bodies and, if caught, they would be jailed, or worse.
In addition, any neighbor, relative, or stranger could snitch on any disobedient woman who wanted to break free of the yoke of misogynistic patriarchy. These vigilantes could also turn in sympathetic doctors that assisted these oppressed women.
Voting was so severely restricted that the party in power could maintain control over the populace in perpetuity. These restrictions were aimed at minority groups whose populations had grown over the past 20 years.
Guns could be openly carried on the streets; no training or permit necessary. And there was no limit on the number of firearms and ammo one could possess. Because of widespread religious and cultural beliefs and buoyed by a propaganda-driven distrust of modern science, people refused life-saving vaccines, allowing the rampant spread of the coronavirus, especially in rural areas.
It was so sad to watch what had begun as a unique experiment in democracy turn into a toxic combination of theocracy, autocracy, and corporate corruption.
The United States of America, ‘Taliban Style’
What kind of country does this? What sort of nation stacks the highest judicial arbitrator in the land — its Supreme Court — with unqualified political toadies who serve on bended knee, blessing anti-democratic laws according to the whims and wishes of corporate and religious fundamentalists?
This is the kind of country the United States of America has become.
Texas and Florida, specifically, and many of the states south of the Ohio River, have coerced their citizens into living under a repressive, Taliban-style government controlled by cynical white men and their rich, powerful corporate masters. Their motivation is to become even richer and more powerful by manipulating such hallowed democratic cornerstones as voting rights, women’s and children’s health care, and equal access to the American Dream by ensuring that education is financially out of reach. Who can forget the conservatives’ Supreme Leader — the disgraced, twice-impeached perpetual grifter, Donald Trump — who famously said, “I love the poorly uneducated?”
The viral spread of misinformation about elections and vaccines by dangerous pillow-hawking hucksters and violent, flag-toting insurrectionists is a gift to the “leaders” of these states, especially Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Both of these “leaders” will do or say anything as they position themselves for a presidential run in 2024 — providing their Supreme Leader Trump decides not to run again.
DeSantis, whose resting face seems to be one of befuddlement or severe abdominal distress, has recklessly guided his citizens from the cradle to an early grave by refusing to impose mask mandates as the delta variant of COVID-19 sweeps through Florida. He has even tried to impose fines on school districts that impose them. The courts have ruled against him, but the dogged DeSantis has assured all of us that he will appeal this decision.
What a fighter! I guess the idea of protecting children that are not his own somehow appears to the governor to be a restriction of one’s right to die unnecessarily and at the expense of over-stressed Sunshine State healthcare workers. “Retiring” in Florida now has an entirely new meaning.
‘Texas Style’ Freedom
Over in the Lone Star state, Governor Abbott is on quite a roll. He just signed off on perhaps the most restrictive voting rights legislation in the nation. The demographics of Texas and the nation are changing, and way too many people of color are now going to the polls and threatening red Texas may turn blue. And that, my friends, just can’t stand.
But, wait, there’s more. Hold my beer, Abbott said. How about we pass the most repressive Sharia-like abortion bill in the nation? The bill outlaws abortion as early as six weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, often before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Oh, and no exceptions for rape or incest. But what does she know about her body anyway? Men like Abbott know better. The law took effect because the Supreme Court refused to take any action against it. Well, it’s not their problem; and besides, the six conservative judges must please the paymasters that greased their paths to a job for life.
But even the six-week ban was not enough for Texas. Tucked into Senate Bill 8 is a $10,000 “reward” payable to those enterprising bounty hunters that find a woman getting an abortion or a doctor performing the procedure. Even a person giving a ride to a woman seeking an abortion can be sued.
And, to top it all off, as of September 1, those whistleblowers can now enforce their vigilante justice by openly carrying their sidearms without the pesky permits that other states require. When Abbott signed the “constitutional carry” bill last June he crowed, “You could say that I signed into law today some laws that protect gun rights, But, today, I signed documents that instilled freedom in the Lone Star State.”
Yes, you could say that, but freedom for whom?Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.