Our political landscape can sometimes be read just like the a real landscape. You need only know how to read the signs, how to interpret the evidence left behind. Policies and actions that are hurtful to the body politic can leave behind small signs like those in my back yard, or they can alter the political landscape like the landslides in Hawaii this week.
One such sign - among so many lately - is this:
Not a single doctor in South Dakota will perform an abortion, which is why Dr. Miriam McCreary has come out of retirement.From close enough, following the laws of fractals, the small clefts in the dirt behind my house look like miniature Grand Canyons. It's only a matter of the amount of dirt and rock removed. And once started, such scars grow more rapidly with each new rainfall. Such is the possibility of the erosion of more rights should South Dakota's new and still-untested abortion ban survive its almost certain Supreme Court challenge. And if more states should try the Constitutional waters with their own bans, not only womens' rights will be at risk. Emboldened by any success - or even perceived success - conservatives and the religious fundamentalists who hang from them like leeches - will press for other so-called family friendly or religiously sanctioned inroads on all of our rights.
Once or twice a month, the 70-year-old grandmother takes a 45-minute flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to perform abortions at the last clinic in the state willing to offer the procedure.
This is dangerous territory that South Dakota has set us all upon. What has started as a series of small rivulets in the landscape of American politics could be turned into a veritable Badlands of restrictive, fundamentalist and intrusive laws and the near permanent erosion of our valuable and vital civil rights.