Co-hosts Robert Meyer Burnett and Mike Bawden talk politics and specifically why things seem to be so broken. Is there hope for the future? And if so, how do we get there? It’s not your typical entertainment podcast – but it sure felt good to have the talk.
Petty political gamesmanship leads to a Supreme mess.
by Mike Bawden
Every now and then, Rob and I have an opportunity to talk politics. We’re not members of the same political party, but there’s a healthy level of respect and a shared interest in finding solutions and working together, so we tend to work through the nuanced differences of opinion we have and arrive at shared (and I think better) solutions to problems.
Not so when it comes to political leadership in this country.
And there isn’t a better demonstration of that fact than yesterday’s leak of the coming ruling on Roe v Wade. It’s a new political crisis in a decade that seems to have been nothing but one political crisis after another.
Rob and I take a break from talking just about genre entertainment and discuss the concerns we have (some shared, some not) for our country.
If you’re expecting a light, fluffy talk about comic book movies, you might want to skip this podcast today. If you’d rather learn something about the hosts and where we’re coming from and, I think, how we’re able to disagree occasionally without being disagreeable and find points in common rather than points in conflict, then, by all means, give this a listen.
You can listen to it here …
Of course, the podcast starts of innocently enough, with Rob talking in more detail about what he saw of DR. STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS at CinemaCon last week and about his prior experiences with the film’s director, Sam Rami. Rob worked on Rami’s ARMY OF DARKNESS and had several interactions with the director during that time.
The big news of the day, however, was the overnight leak of a draft majority ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States that would overturn Roe v Wade, the court’s decision (made nearly fifty years ago) that allowed for legal abortions to be performed in America. The ruling was controversial at the time but over time has been accepted by a majority of citizens.
That fact notwithstanding, activists in the Republic party have continued to work to undermine the ruling and make abortion illegal again. It now appears they may have succeeded now that the Supreme Court has a solid, conservative majority.
This is where our conversation began. And both Rob and I had different points of view on what was wrong with the course that now seems to be set by the court. Rob offered his personal experience – as an adopted child and, more to the point, an individual who was very near being aborted by his birthmother while a fetus. Those facts aside, Rob has thought deeply on this subject and can’t square forcing a mother to carry a child to full-term and give birth if there is not any interest (either publicly or privately) in supporting both mother and child after birth.
My position, in the end, isn’t all that different, although I get there by a different route.
I’m very much a “proceduralist” meaning I think the processes and structure of civil administration is very important. In my view, we have to have a functioning, working government that enables our elected leaders to thoroughly debate the legislative and executive actions they intend to take to such a degree that they understand the ramifications of their actions. Politics has no place in the courtroom, in my view. And the decades-old trend of Congress or the executive branch kicking tough decisions to the Supreme Court for a final (or tie-breaking) decision is foolish and cowardly.
It also makes taking control of the Supreme Court – as a political arena – the ultimate prize. If you can stack up a majority of justices who will hide their true intentions in order to receive lifetime appointments and then make decisions that run contrary to the will of the people they serve – a hyper-partisan, extreme political wing can command the levers of national power.
This is how you end up with Margaret Atwood’s Gilead, or George Orwell’s Oceania. We may idealize a utopian setting like a United Earth in Star Trek – but we stand a much greater risk of looking like the United Earth of The Expanse.
There’s only one thing that can make sure we don’t slide down the slippery slope of extremist ideology that leads to totalitarianism and the dystopic vision of the future so popular in present-day sci-fi.
In my view, that’s where we are today. We are the only thing that can make a difference and make an undeniably bad situation better. There’s no doubt that it’s going to take a while to resolve the hundreds of issues (both known and unknown) that stand between us and a better, brighter future.
Let’s just hope that people will eventually wake up to the fact that it’s on us, as citizens, to hold elected officials accountable to work toward sustainable rules, regulations, and laws. That means there is no place for extremism in government – at any level. Of any kind.
And most definitely not in the Supreme Court.
What do you think?
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I invite you to listen in on my weekday conversations with my friend and business partner, Robert Meyer Burnett, as we talk about the things we love: great movies, inspiring television programming, nostalgic genre entertainment, and pop culture.
This episode streamed on May 3, 2022.
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