A couple of weeks ago, the Riverside Village Board took the unusual step of voting to approve a resolution urging the state of Illinois to bolster protections for women seeking abortions and for the healthcare providers women seek out to exercise their right to choose one. The Landmark followed up by applauding that action.
Both actions were not universally praised by Riverside residents and those disagreements played out over social media and in the newspaper’s opinion page today, which is absolutely appropriate and welcome. Thanks to those submitting letters this week.
While we don’t know all of the reasons motivating elected officials in their decision to vote in favor of a resolution that otherwise has little to do with their roles in the typically mundane matters of local governance, we can give you insight into what motivated us to write favorably about that action.
Typically, our editorial positions – like our news coverage – are hyperlocal. That’s intentional, and it has been our longstanding policy. It’s rare that we stray past issues pertaining to those living within the boundaries of Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield.
But, when a Supreme Court ruling overturned Roe v. Wade in June, our alarm bells went off.
While the resolution in support of reproduction rights passed by Riverside earlier this month was about abortion, it was also about an organized, concerted effort on the part of Republican-dominated, anti-democratic state legislatures and a right-wing, ideological judiciary to roll back civil rights in this country.
This is not hyperbole. These lawmakers and judges will not stop with abortion. Next they will legislate whether or not you’re entitled to birth control, who you can and cannot marry, who may or may not qualify for healthcare and whether or not they will allow free and fair elections.
Their efforts to strip Americans of fundamental rights are happening in plain sight, and those advocating for such anti-democratic measures are so emboldened they speak openly of their desires. Believe them when they tell you who they are.
While Illinois has resisted such demagoguery, a sizable chunk of the nation has embraced it and that is a threat to all of us – here down at the local level as well as elsewhere in the U.S.
The resolution passed by Riverside was a resolution in support of the civil rights of women, because those rights are in danger and the rollbacks will expand if people choose to underestimate the danger.
This is not a drill. American democracy is under attack from within, and we downplay the threat as “just politics” at our own peril.