I was a post-war baby, raised in the 1950s in a racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, sexually repressed, theocratic America. Civil rights for people of color and “queers” were non-existent. Women’s rights were virtually unknown and women’s liberation was widely regarded as a plot to destroy the American family. Legal abortion was more than a decade away and even providing contraceptives to married couples was illegal until 1965 when, in the Griswold v. Connecticut decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declared this prohibition an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.
Then, the counterculture movement in the 1960s and ‘70s brought change. Personal freedom took the place of government attempts to regulate private behavior. Civil rights for minorities and women became law. America became a symbol of freedom and moral leadership respected around the world. But now, with the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, I am afraid I will soon be living in the 1950s once again.
The rise of Trump’s disregard for law or civility, the fervor of the religious right and a conservative Supreme Court is rapidly creating a culture of intolerance and repression. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this show before. The plot hasn’t changed, only the actors and the remake will not be any more entertaining than the original was.
My only hope now is that the midterm elections will stop the this process before The Handmaid’s Tale becomes reality TV.
Dr. Paul Bluestein lives in Bridgeport.