When I was a child, I had no idea that my gender gave me a lesser legal status than that of a male. I was a tough little kid, a smart little kid. I have no idea why my dad, my political mentor, taught me that I should always assert my intelligence and to never compromise my principles if I was sure they were right. He certainly was no feminist. He was over-protective and limited all three of his daughters in our autonomy by refusing to help us get driver’s licenses, unlike my older brother who got his as soon as he was eligible. I think he didn’t quite anticipate that under his tutelage, by the time I was a teenager in the ‘60’s, I was moving further and further into left-wing politics. I was paying attention to the struggles of the civil rights movement, was anti-Vietnam, pro-ERA and pro-choice. Off to college at seventeen, I spent those years as an activist, especially eager to stop being viewed as less than a full person in the patriarchal culture which had defined U.S. history since its inception. I was angry. Often and vocally. When Roe v. Wade was passed on January 22nd, 1973, I, along with many women, felt that at long last, government had been kicked out of our bodies, a good start to crashing through the infamous glass ceiling that treated us as lesser than males in this country. We had our male allies. My dad was somewhat bewildered that he’d helped create my fervent activism. Michael, my partner, was with me from the beginning, one of the most feminist men I ever knew.
Today, January 24th, 2022, the day that the Supreme Court chose to strike down Roe v. Wade, overturning women’s rights to maintain control over their own bodies in the most fundamental, essential way, I have been burning with hot anger all day. Despite the fact that a majority of Americans support this basic right, all over this country women will be deprived of their choice in bearing a child, even in cases of rape and incest. The meddling of government in these decisions is the patriarchy re-asserting itself into private lives in the most invasive manner possible. A court representing the minority opinion of the population has criminalized a fundamental human right at a time when wearing a mask was a rallying point for those defending their individual freedoms. In a time when people can stroll through public places armed to the teeth, what a woman chooses in the privacy of her home is now a criminal offense. As I sat here seething, I remembered a blog I wrote back in 2018, when I was also furious about what I was expecting from the morally bankrupt Trump administration. After looking it over, I decided it was worth another read. I don’t think I could state things any better tonight than I did four years ago.
Throughout my life with Michael, my rage was a frequent topic of conversation between us. He worried about my health. He also couldn’t understand how rage was my first line response to virtually any situation that I thought was unjust or morally reprehensible. Me neither. When I read an article or see a news story that rubs me the wrong way, I’m immediately furious. I can’t stand anything that smacks of unfair. And I start expressing myself right away, often with inflammatory statements or snide jabs. The frustration is unbearable for me. I’ve been living angry for as long as I can remember. Here we are, he wearing his history hat, standing in front of one of the icons of this country.
When he was alive, things were easier. He oozed some inexplicable sedative effect through his skin and when I was next to him, I eventually was able to defuse my all-consuming heat and function in a more reasonable frame of mind. But he’s not here now. So I have to find other ways to stop myself from spontaneously combusting.
I’ve visited this topic before on this site. I was devastated by Donald Trump’s election. Although not a devoted Hilary follower, I was looking forward to experiencing life with the first woman president. The future under her administration looked reasonable, if not the most perfect fit for some of my fringe views. Certainly she looked great compared to the ringmaster buffoonery of her opponent.
As I thought back on all my historical knowledge, all I heard were the echoes of fascist voices of the past. And watching those white supremacist haters come into the light was truly terrifying, although not surprising to me. There have always been groups meeting in the shadows and committing hate crimes. Trump’s presidency empowered their emergence into the light.
And while I struggled to give Michael his dying wishes, to have one last good day, to end his life in our home, I was stewing away with anger at the injustice of seemingly everything, watching Trump rapidly dismantling as many of Obama’s signature accomplishments as he could. Worrying constantly about the potential for a nuclear disaster, the denial of climate change and the rolling back of protections for clean air and water. The shocking racist attitudes and the incendiary commentary. I remember watching him say, look at my African-American over there during some speech and thinking, we’re in a time tunnel heading backwards at breakneck speed. Young black men are unsafe on our streets. An absolute horror. Lynching in the modern age. My list of furies could go on for pages but that’s not where I want to go with this piece.I know what I believe and I can back it up with historical reference. Today, I pondered the calamitous recent decisions of the sitting Supreme Court and what they will potentially do, especially if the smug hypocrite Mitch McConnell, who blocked an Obama appointee with glee, turns on his own argument and pushes a candidate through before the midterms. I went to my bedroom, my safe place where Michael’s presence feels particularly strong. I started scanning my bookshelves where the ones I love best remain, even after purging our library as I try to go minimalist. I found my beliefs there. The sham being perpetrated on Trump followers does not change what is real.
1) Trump is a racist. He is advocating returning to a time when whites dominated people of color. His attitude toward Hispanic people and Muslim people is appalling. The courts are curtailing voting rights, letting gerrymandering fall where it may and making it impossible for fair representation. He is reflective of the thieves who came to this country and wrested it from Native Americans. The white people who came here committed genocide and stole land. The survivors of that devastation were robbed of their culture and forced to be trained as knockoffs of their conquerors. Read a book. I think of the weary Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce and share a few of his thoughts below.
“We did not know there were other people besides the Indian until about one hundred winters ago, when some men with white faces came to our country.”