Like you perhaps, reading the leaked SCOTUS draft opinion had me not REELING FROM but rather REALIZING the full impact of what we saw coming when Mitch McConnell refused to hold a hearing on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee in the wake of the death of Justice Scalia who died seven months before the next presidential election.
We knew Roe's end was coming. We knew that this was their strategy.
We should have taken to the streets way back then to protest Mitch McConnell's stranglehold on the majority of Americans. We did not.
And then we failed to elect Hillary. And then.
And I say "we," but in addition to those who don't vote at all it's the Electoral College that is failing us, for the majority of voters did indeed vote for Hillary, and the Electoral College will continue to allow a minority of voters to determine who becomes president for some time to come unless a whole bunch of Blue voters from big Blue states move to small Red states, or we enact Electoral College reform.
In the meantime, we officially enter the long and painstaking process of taking up the cause of our grandmothers for the sake of our granddaughters to ensure access to abortion for all.
The morning after the news was leaked, I went over to my mom's cottage for coffee as I do most days. We spoke of the SCOTUS opinion, then muddled through our next few moments, as if the crumbs we rely on to lead the way forward had been tossed into the woods. Then mom said, "I don't know what we should worry about most," and it felt to me both innocent and desperately profound.
How do you fill the rivers back up, while providing refuge for all who are experiencing violence in their homelands or homes, while stopping the glaciers from melting, and stopping the guns from killing, while healing our mentally-stricken youth, and restoring voting rights to all, while ensuring that we are the ultimate authority over our own bodies? (And I didn't even mention Covid!)
This week, I've been not knowing what to worry about most.
I do not have the answers to any of this.
But here's what I do know:
Putting our heads in the sand is not a strategy.
Expecting that others will handle it is not a strategy.
Feeling helpless harms us.
As Atul Gawande wrote in Being Mortal, having a cause beyond ourselves that we can ascribe meaning to gives us a sense of purpose that pulls us through the toughest of times and helps us feel, in the end, that our life was worthwhile. These very challenging times are therefore times not to languish in fear, but to clarify what matters most to us, and to show up for it. So, whether you're motivated to help and serve others, or simply as a function of your own wellness, we each need to figure out our role in healing even some small fraction of this stricken world.
This week, I attended a fundraiser in my town for Facing History and Ourselves, an organization that empowers educators to thoughtfully teach students about the most challenging historical events of human history. (This is the opposite of banning books and refusing to teach certain things. YES!)
This week, I spoke at a fundraiser one town north for Children's Health Council, an organization that provides clinical support, parent education, and alternative schools designed to further the mental health and wellbeing of our children and young adults. (This is facing the mental health crisis of our youth head on. YES!)
This week, I made a sign and drove to a street corner in my town to stand up for reproductive freedom. Pumping my fist to get cars and trucks and busses to honk felt good. And I know that a bunch of us standing on a street corner will lead others to do the same – it always has. And that giving a stranger the opportunity to honk their horn may set them on a path to do even more than that. (This is refusing to sit down and just take it. YES!)
This GoogleDoc compiled by my friend Alison Turkos is a fantastically rich, accurate, and evolving list of resources related to all aspects of reproductive freedom from how to talk to your kids about it to accessing abortion care for yourself to being a political advocate and everything in between.
This piece by pastor John Pavlovitz on how conservatives seem to love embryos more than actual humans really hit me.
This TED Talk given last fall by attorney Kathryn Kolbert anticipating the end of Roe and Casey, and advocating for what to do next was sobering and uplifting.
This notion that 50 senators could preempt the erosion of abortion rights tomorrow by ending the filibuster and codifying Roe feels so elusive, but might it be possible? Harvard Law professor of constitutional and governmental law Nikolas Bowie seems to think so:
As I was emerging from the stupor of the leaked draft opinion, here were some of the graphics that buoyed me this week. If you don't already follow these accounts, maybe do!
As ever, I welcome your thoughts.
What did you feel when you heard the news about Roe?
What did you do this week in furtherance of what matters to you?
And most importantly, what are you going to do next?
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