Just Saying…

Essays by Our Members

Mort Goldfein

Remember when the arrival of August meant Labor Day was coming soon and so too the beginning of the school year? Parents took us for new shoes (this was decades before the rise of all-the-time sneaker-wearing) and maybe some “school clothes.” Now it means that the next election cycle is about to begin in earnest—and so its time we get ready to join the fight.

Our weekly Zoom sessions will resume in early September and the fabled STA postcarding team, which has hardly skipped a beat during our summer pause, will be giving you even more options to do this important work. Take a bow, Diane Dodge and Kate McMullen.

Even before the cycle heats ups, there are some November elections we will have to address. In a number of legislative races, incumbent Republicans are shamefully offering culture warfare instead of fiscal policy, healthcare or the other issues that they have been elected to address. The reason for this is some polling results that suggest voters are more animated by fears of transgender children, immigrants at the border, and literature. And there are referenda on the ballots of several states designed by Republican-controlled legislatures to restrict voting and/or make life harder for those horrible transsexuals.What we have learned thru STA is that EVERY election matters and we have to be doing what we do– reaching out to voters who think our way and getting them to the polls.

Hundreds of thousands of young people become eligible to vote each year and we must continue to support organizations with programs that have been proven to get them onto the rolls and then to the polls. We have seen data from experts at Tisch College of Civic Live at Tufts University (“Hail to the Name of Jumbo”) which vividly demonstrate that new young voters break our way. But we have also seen data that show that in many states conservatives are doing a better job of getting young people registered. Reversing that stat is a priority –and we are working to energize educators and local allies with a goal to get every eligible student registered! Thank you, Diane Saatchi et als.

Both parties have been stocking up mountains of cash to influence the ’24 election—and we can expect them to start spending lots of it very soon. Let’s not get distracted from our work. While we are certainly concerned about the presidential , Senate and House campaigns, our goal is to activate our peers NOW, to offer them ways to overcome the anxiety they feel watching the news and invest their time and energy in activities that will yield progressive outcomes of ALL the races they will encounter when they get to the polls.

So, please get your back-to-school wardrobe in hand and get ready to join the fight when Mary rings the bell.

The Supreme Court and Pro “Some” Life
Dr. Robert A. Scott
President Emeritus, Adelphi University and Ramapo College of New Jersey

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to decide “Dobbs v. Jackson (Mississippi) Women’s Health Organization,” a case whose arguments were heard in the fall, it is timely to consider the issues at hand. The arguments are about a women’s right to healthcare privacy as opposed to a restriction on those rights.

The arguments against a woman’s right to choose when to terminate a pregnancy are framed as “pro-life.” They are anything but. They are anti-choice. They consider neither the risks to a woman’s health and life, rape, nor severe fetal anomalies as reasons for a woman to make the choice. If they were “pro-life”, advocates would have more consistency in their beliefs. Yes, it is said that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” but being consistent is not always foolish.​ Pope Francis, for example, is ​consistent in calling for peaceful solutions instead of war, ending the death penalty, addressing climate change and poverty, and condemning predatory priests as well as celebrating the sanctity of all life.

Why ​do some value a​ ​fetus’s life more than ​its​ mother’s life? Why does the unborn, unformed fetus have rights that are denied to the living? Why is a woman denied control of her body while men can get prescription help for theirs?

A “pro-life” stance would advocate for vaccinations and masks in public places. A consistent approach would be to argue for government intervention in support of public health and safety, not just to deny the right to end a pregnancy. A true “pro-life” stance would argue for access to affordable healthcare, nutrition, housing, and schooling for children. Wouldn’t these be consistent “pro-life” positions?

Wouldn’t a “pro-life” philosophy include Black lives and concerns about the disproportionate disadvantages of being Black during a pandemic and while walking in a white neighborhood?

And what about guns? Wouldn’t a reasonable “pro-life” position be to support gun control measures, including requiring a license to own and operate a gun just as we do for driving a car?

The list goes on. Think of executions and exonerations? How can capital punishment be “pro-life”? Aren’t exonerations supported by fetal tissue DNA? And fetal tissue research is elementary in the development of life-saving vaccines.

Think about climate change. It threatens all life, on land, in the air, and under the sea. Shouldn’t a consistent “pro-life” position take into account the lives of all living things? And what about war? Wouldn’t a true “pro-lifer” address differences through peaceful means rather than by violence and weapons? Wouldn’t a true “pro-life” person act to ban nuclear weapons, the gravest threat to human, animal, and plant existence? 

Making Our Mission a Movement
Mort Goldfein

We all have our political fantasies. Mine is a Booker-Frost administration, some day. Judy’s is Klobachar-Porter. We should be so lucky, right?

In this dark pandemic-contorted period (which we hope will not become an era) of political gridlock and social disfunction, it is difficult to foresee a future of sustained progressive leadership that can lead the nation to solve the issues you and I want addressed.

But that’s why we do this work. The fate of the planet itself hangs in the balance; so too the prospects of our kids and grandchildren. No need to detail the issues. Those reading this are all in, right?

So how can we get more done? Methinks we need to make our mission a movement. We can be proud of our success in launching STA, introducing our list to excellent speakers via Zoom, and enlisting a dedicated cadre of postcarders. Imagine how much more work could be accomplished if we increase our ranks.

Each of us has a network of friends and relatives who share our values and could be listening, writing and calling with us. We gotta ask them!

That amazing young Maxwell Frost doesn’t have time to go to college because he is organizing around the clock. That’s not for us yet we have the communication skills to broaden our audience. Doorbell-ringing may be history for us but your cellphone is a mighty tool. Put it to work! How about a February resolution to tell five friends each week about us; invite them to join the Zoom; follow up.

We cant prevail in this most critical “22 election without more help. Let’s grow our list, build our arsenal of truth, and make our dreams reality.