Waking up to a troubling new world order.
I should have seen this coming.
You see, my sister warned me. And I didn’t listen. But I will get to that in a moment.
Before I continue, I wanted to touch on why I’m writing this. There are a million people who are going to write about this subject — this monumental, historical, life-changing decision that has come down from the Supreme Court. Most of those people will be more knowledgeable and have a far more analytical perspective than I do. Go read their pieces! I ask that of you. I ask that you read as much to be as informed on this as you can.
But that’s just the thing. The fact that I’m even writing this is telling.
Anyways, back to my younger sister.
It’s September 2021 and my younger sister and I are having a discussion. It’s not a fun one. We have had a few drinks, but it feels as if we are sobering up with every word. Climate change, the deepening political rift, gun-control. My sister is painting a dreary picture of America, one which is hard for me to fight back against. I am concerned too, but I do see some light at the end of the tunnel. I, at my core, am a hopeful person so I find myself trying to be that light for her.
Eventually our chat turns to her worry about Roe vs Wade and the potential that rights are going to be stripped from women and those in the LGBTQ+ community in the very near future. This is where I look back in regret. I scoffed at this idea, in what I thought at the time was a supportive way. I couldn’t wrap my brain around us going so fundamentally backwards in this country despite the alarm bells all around.
My sister, as part of the LGBTQ+ community herself, was scared that her rights were in danger. I told her there was no way. The majority of our country supports these rights, supports abortion. There was just no way.
I thought I was being an ally. Being supportive. Being glass-half-full.
But today, June 24, 2022, I sit in a coffee shop writing this and fear I was simply being ignorant.
She knew in September what I was too scared to see. Equality, progress — things I have maintained are moving forward every day — are under threat.
The ludicrous idea of this Supreme Court decision, that only rights explicitly found in the constitution — a document written when other humans were regarded as property and woman could not vote — are valid is something I never thought I would live to see.
Since our conversation in September, I have been forced to change my approach. If you don’t see the threats, the injustice, and the need for activism at this point, you aren’t paying attention. It’s not about being positive or having hope in humanity — you’re being ignorant. I know, I was there very recently.
The shift in my view during all this is a small but incredibly important one. I am not a journalist and I’m not a political aficionado. But I no longer believe you must be to see the inherent morality (or immorality in this ruling) going forward. I am still a writer. I am still a storyteller so I will end this piece leaning on what I know.
There is a quote from Lord of the Rings that has always been amongst my favorites. It is from Samwise Gamgee, the literary representation of the everyman in an otherwise fantastical and high-stakes story.
All seems lost in the second movie The Two Towers and Sam gives this iconic speech:
I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here.
But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end.
Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened?
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t.
Because they were holding on to something.
Powerful words, but this is a moment of great despair. Frodo asks Sam what exactly they were holding on to in these stories:
That there is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
As I said, I have changed since my September conversation with my sister who I love dearly. Well, less a change and more an amendment of sorts. I was focused on the first part of this quote when I spoke with her. I was focused on noticing the good in the world.
Unfortunately, we find ourselves reckoning with the fact that we have quite the fight ahead of us.
But for family, friends, and the common good — that fight is beyond worth it.
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HOW CAN I HELP? Five ways to support reproductive rights now:
- If you have the financial means, donate to Planned Parenthood
- Volunteer for Elizabeth Blackwell Women’s Health Center at 1144 Locust Street.
- Vote in every election for candidates who support reproductive rights.
- Protest judicial appointments for any individuals who support forced birth
- Educate yourself on the history of abortion, and the efforts to undermine women’s reproductive autonomy.