We just had a pretty special 24 hours in Bloomington, with our annual boisterous July 4th parade and what we hope will become new traditions of downtown fireworks and accompanying street parties. The downtown twice filled with 1,000s of residents and visitors celebrating community and history.
We honored 200 years of Bloomington’s and 242 years of America’s stories. But even during those happy events, I worried about our next decades – how will those stories be written?
And how so much of that comes down to the U.S. Supreme Court.
When Justice Kennedy announced his imminent retirement, it put in motion the threat of a radical five-vote Court that would dramatically change America, by:
striking down the Affordable Care Act and other efforts by Congress to fix health care, economic inequality, and other vital national challenges
affirming overwhelming and secret corporate money in politics
locking in outrageous gerrymandering to lock out democratic vote results
denying the most fundamental rights to women, LGBTQ+, immigrants, and others
perpetuating racial inequality and discrimination
destroying working people’s rights to organize and favoring the wealthy and powerful corporate interests
limiting our abilities to respond to climate change and protect our planet
blocking access to justice to those who have suffered wrongs by powerful interests
insulating authoritarian, unlawful, and anti-democratic presidential actions from meaningful checks
President Trump with Senate Republicans can change the course of our future in these and other radically harmful ways. That’s the same Trump who lost the popular vote by millions, who is under investigation for colluding with a foreign enemy to win the election (as Senate Republicans affirmed this week that Russia secretly worked to help put him in office), and who regularly demeans our Republic with his bigotry and lack of character.
We should take inspiration from history: Justice Kennedy served on the Court only because progressives stopped Reagan’s ultra-conservative Robert Bork from taking that seat in 1987. Instead, swing-vote Kennedy was the deciding vote to reaffirm Roe v. Wade and to guarantee marriage equality.
Thirty-one years later, we have to do it again. It’s harder because we don’t control the Senate, but the stakes are as high or higher.
I believe the national Republican Party – which sees a more progressive, diverse country coming, demanding more justice and opportunity for all – is seeking to disempower the American people in our efforts to move our country forward. And the Supreme Court is ground zero for that struggle.
With everything on the line, we all need to act. Now. Our own Senator Donnelly, facing a tough reelection, is one of a key handful of votes that can direct the course of our country’s next decades. He needs to hear from us all. Regularly. Strongly. He needs our support, and we need his on this critical issue. Our next generations depend on it, so that future celebrations of the 4th of July still honor a land of liberty and justice for all.
P.S. Remember to hold Sunday afternoon, September 9th for the fourth annual Hamilton Family Picnic at Bryan Park, with local, state and federal candidates, music and food for political momentum building for the critical mid-term elections coming up. And remember to help get everyone registered to vote for this November!!