An old editor in chief — Mark Harrison — of the Montreal Gazette once told me that when you give readers something, you can’t take it away so easily.
Well, he was right, even if many legacy newspapers chose not to follow that old maxim and have since gone on to take away a lot of the features they used to offer. Readership numbers have plummeted across the traditional newspaper industry as subscribers choose not to pay for products that are giving them less and less.
It’s a no-brainer, right? It’s applicable to so many situations in life. Take things away from people, and they will respond negatively.
I was reminded of my old friend Mark’s wisdom — as I so often am — this morning as I read the results of the Kansas referendum vote on abortion. After seeing their right to abortion stripped away from them by the United States’ Supreme Court, the people of Kansas voted down an amendment to change the state’s Constitution to declare there’s no right to an abortion.
I bet even some people in Kansas who are uncomfortable with the idea of abortion voted against the amendment simply because they don’t believe politicians and courts with questionable validity should be arbitrarily taking away people’s civil rights, especially long-held rights.
What else would you expect from a great democracy like America?
Expect more defeats for those who would attempt to take away the civil rights of Americans in future referendums on the abortion question — and any other questions designed to take away rights.
After the SCOTUS ruling on abortion, former U.S. president Donald Trump was quoted saying the decision would result in lost votes for the Republicans. No kidding, eh? Even the Donald knows Americans will never surrender their civil rights to would-be Republican autocrats trying to impose their medieval superstition-based theologies on the population. Americans would sooner fight to the death than become subservient zombies like the people in such countries as Russia and China.
The SCOTUS abortion decision may very well end up galvanizing Americans against Republicans seeking to restrict their rights, and ultimately be the beginning of the end for that that party altogether.
Because like Mark said, you just can’t take things away from people so easily.
Especially in America.
Power to the people!
P.S. R.I.P Mark. You were the greatest newspaper editor I ever knew and are sorely missed in the industry today.