BY MIKE MAGEE
If there is a silver lining to Trump’s assault on decency and civility, it is our majority response to this “stress test” of our Democracy and the strength (so far) of our Founders’ vision.
After all, it was a long shot when Alexander Hamilton, under the pseudonym publiuspublished Federalist No. 1 on October 27, 1787, writing: “It has often been remarked that it seems to have been reserved for the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether the societies of men are really capable of or not to establish a good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are destined forever to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.
Two weeks before the 2016 Iowa caucus, Trump himself sided with “force” and signaled a difficult road ahead when he declared in Sioux City, Iowa, that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? He‘It’s, like, amazing.
In doing so, he was up against the medieval jurist Henry de Bracton, who wrote in On the laws and customs of England in 1260 that “The king should not be under any man, but under God and the law.”
Of course, Trump, while representing our Executive Branch, was not acting alone. He was supported by members of our Legislative branch as they successfully filled the Judicial branch with religious conservatives. The net impact was last year’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, and an evangelical Christian legislative windfall (and subsequent political backlash) in several red states across the union.
This was also foreseen by our Founders. In 1799, Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison, warned that “The tyranny of legislatures is the most formidable fear today, and will be for many years to come. That of the executive will come in his turn, but it will be a remote period ”.
Without law there is no society. President Teddy Roosevelt made it clear in his 1903 State of the Union address when he said. “No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask anyone’s permission when we demand that they obey it. Obedience to the law is required as a right; it is not asked as a favor.
In the current assault on Roe v. Wade lies buried an attack not only on democracy, but also on women’s rights, their autonomy and the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship. By pushing patriarchy and MAGA Republican dominance, a fringe minority is willing to bend the law in their favor and undermine the health of our nation.
On June 24, 2022, Roe v. Wade. Just 5 months later, Indianapolis physician Dr. Caitlin Bernard was brought into court to face a judge in response to a complaint filed by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita that the doctor had violated the law. State law that requires notification of police and child welfare officials in cases involving children. abuse.
The 10-year-old boy involved had been raped by a 27-year-old Ohio man who was under arrest. Ohio’s 6-week “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban (which went into effect after Roe vs. Wade was removed) resulted in the boy’s parents being forced to cross state lines and seek help in nearby Indiana. After the required 3-day waiting period, Dr. Bernard provided the necessary care for a medical abortion. As his lawyer said, “Dr. Bernard is a trained and competent doctor, and she would say that she is exactly the doctor that people would want her children to see in these circumstances.”
She and her medical colleagues across the country bring compassion, understanding and partnership to Americans from “sea to shimmering sea.” But less recognized is her role in bringing health to our Democracy in three ways. First, they process the nation’s fear and concern on a daily basis, which could otherwise have a destabilizing effect. Second, they strengthen the links between individuals, families, and their communities, pointing those in need to resources that could help. Third, they reinforce a sense of hope. If there isn’t a cure today, maybe one is just around the corner.
MAGA’s extreme Republicans have inadvertently stirred up deeply buried and historical fears and resentments. As historian Lawrence Friedman put it, “The American Revolution, whatever else was at stake, was fueled by resentment against English oppression…Criminal laws are one of the levers the government uses to exert its power over the individual, over the common citizen… The British had abused criminal justice and were undermining the rights of colonists… The leaders of the revolutionary generation felt strongly that there had to be safeguards against abuse of criminal justice or the Using the criminal process to crush political dissent: the crimes King George was blamed”.
Trump is no doubt still eager to test his theory with one last stand “in the middle of Fifth Avenue.” But in the process, he has quickly led his followers into a position of overreaching state government, which places low-level bureaucrats at the patient’s bedside, criminalizes doctors and nurses, and takes former “Sons of the Freedom” at King George’s. (or Donald’s arms) waiting.
Mike Magee MD is a medical historian and author of CODE BLUE: Inside the