The floodgates of America’s right-wing morality machine have opened. Their goal of overturning the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision has been achieved.
Washington’s 30th District Senate and legislative positions, currently held by Democratic incumbents, are firmly in the crosshairs of this country’s ongoing moral tirade — a tirade that has been part of our country’s culture war against a woman’s right to choose.
Next in line for the right-wing fear machine is marriage equality, being openly LGBTQ, personal privacy, worker’s rights, unions, your religion (if not conservative Christian), what gets taught in our schools, your color, and how and when you came to this country.
Our current toxic political climate has been years in the making and is part of American culture. News organizations, who have disguised themselves as infotainment media outlets, are providing political fodder, demeaning views of anyone who chooses not to conform to their ideology and shaming everyone who is not a believer in their so-called American truths.
Seeing the world as half-full and being concerned with how the empty-half may be filled by ideas and cultural diversity — that scares the control-freak values that define white privilege, evangelical theocracy and billionaire libertarians protecting their interests. Rights and privileges gained by progressive political efforts are being clawed back by successive elections and federal court appointees who have passed a litmus test of having fealty to those who prefer god, guns, pro-life and authoritarian nationalism disguised as a patriotic lie.
We have arrived at a new ground zero in this country’s fight for the rights of people. In some states, new laws are criminalizing accepted medical abortion procedures because it does not conform to a religious or moral standard preferred by a minority of the population. The Republican Party and their pro-life agenda seem to have lost their voice where democracy is concerned.
Outrage for abortion, yes, but no outrage for the lies and attempted coup staged by a former president.
The next election is no longer about solving local problems. It has morphed into another phase of this country’s forever culture war of vilifying and taking back rights gained over years of hard political work supported by a majority of Americans. Workers’ rights, reproductive choices, marriage equality, sexual preference, and people of color are all targets of those favoring ultra-conservative values and fascist control to that of a fairly elected government.
Washington’s 30th Legislative District, which represents Federal Way, Algona, Pacifica, Milton, part of Des Moines and Auburn as well as part of unincorporated King County in Olympia, will be ground zero for ultra-conservative political efforts to make our state’s Legislature friendlier to pro-life, anti-gay and pro-police legislation. The Republican Party wants to flip the balance of power in the state Senate and House, and they believe that any Democratic candidate vying to represent the 30th District Senate and two House positions is vulnerable.
The 30th District Democratic incumbents seeking re-election are Sen. Claire Wilson and Rep. Jamila Taylor (position 1). The Democratic candidates seeking to fill Jesse Johnson’s seat, who is not seeking re-election, are Kristine Reeves and Carey Anderson for position 2.
The Democratic candidates will need to address their positions on police reform, best policing practices, clarify their ideas on crime reduction and connect with voters who are trending conservative. It is not likely that any successes by the incumbent state senator and current legislators, regarding dollars and community support achieved for the district, will be discussed, heard, understood, or valued by voters.
Federal Way City Councilmember Linda Kochmar, a Republican who is the challenger for the Senate seat, has prior service in the state Legislature, is pro-life, and focuses on slow growth development and small government. Kochmar is joined in the Senate race by fellow Republican Mark W. Christie.
The Republican candidates vying for representative position 1 are Paul McDaniel, Casey Jones and Janis Clark, and for position 2, it’s Ashli Tagoai and C. Mark Greene. They are known to many in the community and want to improve the community from their point of view.
The Republicans seeking office represent a conservative agenda first and their solutions for crime challenges will favor less accountability with a more stringent approach to policing. If elected, they will regressively address the moral issues affecting our state and become more entrenched in the anti-democratic politics taking hold of the Republican Party.
The election challenges affecting our 30th District and our daily lives focus on jobs, economics, education, transportation, public safety, crime reduction, drug misuse, mental illness, homelessness, inflation, climate impacts, housing affordability and fiscal responsibility – standard meat and potato issues of every election cycle. However, morality issues are likely to be central to how candidates appeal to voters.
The 18th Amendment, passed in 1917, banning the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors shepherded in an era known as prohibition. The culture warriors of the day believed that all Americans would appreciate a life of temperance, improved family values and prefer living within their chosen standards.
The opposite happened. Fortunes were made bootlegging, smuggling and opening illegal bars. Alcohol was consumed at record rates, and organized crime was a major benefactor. Prohibition was repealed 13 years later by the 21st Amendment when it became apparent that it solved nothing and actually made matters worse.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade and criminalizing abortions will, over time, fail as well. The issue has been good for conservative culture warriors and those seeking theocratic moral control in a secular society. As a political issue it has divided our nation, stigmatized those seeking a legal medical procedure and, where unavailable, has increased poverty. Abortions will not cease, deaths will occur, some families will be financially compromised, and society overall will not improve from criminalization of abortion on a state-by-state basis.
A woke America is not good for the guns, god and xenophobic MAGA movements. For our democracy to survive and continue striving for the betterment of all, it needs to assure voter access, accountability, honesty, knowing how to agree to disagree while finding balance, and valuing our increasing diversity. It is not a zero-sum game.
Our freedoms of choice, privacy and ability to continue building an inclusive and well-informed America are at stake. Choose the future you want wisely.
Keith Livingston is a retired municipal management professional, lifelong artist and Federal Way resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.