It’s only maybe a couple of times inside of a decade that I decide to take an issue with someone to the point where I will cut them off from the fellowship of the internet. Given my temper, my approach is usually to print their name out on actual paper so I can light it on fire and hold it over an ashtray, and burn it down to my thick fingers before blowing and cursing them out.
I’m talking about people I know personally (or I guess you could include digitally). I'm not talking about public figures, like for example, Matt Gaetz, whose done such horrible things he had to ask for a presidential pardon. Public figures are just our shared points of reference to express our opinions without directing our anger at our cousins and coworkers. Family are those you tolerate spending time with. Friends are people to break up with because you were offended that they signed on to a viewpoint you've made very clear on your newsfeed that you disagree with.
I don’t know about you (unless you’re the one who made your position very clear on Facebook this week), but I’m very forgiving when it comes to people who don’t have the same beliefs as me. You’re welcome to believe whatever you want. At least I know that I know the truth. But more than anything, I value a contrarian. It’s the contrarians in my life who’ve helped make me into one myself (that and an ingrained sense of believing I am always right. Is it nature or is it nurture? We’ll let my mom decide). On the nurture side, it’s the conversations I’ve had over the years that have shaped me into who I am today. Some, by having heard them say something so incredulous, I had to find a way to have the opposite view of them. Others because they’ve been persuasive enough to bring me closer to their perspective.
I'll never be one to cut someone off because we don't share views. Even if you think your view is settled science when I believe it's not that simple. Even if you think your religion knows better when most of you don't know much about your own religion. I'll even embrace those of you who ignore the data that demonstrates the traumatic impacts of your views on women, especially the most vulnerable. But for the record, you should take a look at that data.
But people aren’t persuaded by data. People connect with stories. Here are some of those stories.
It was only 1920 that women were given a Constitutional right to vote. It was Margaret Newburgh of South St. Paul, MN, who cast the first vote under the 19th amendment. She was the first woman to help shape her government and the first to have influence over the shape of the Supreme Court with her vote. Margaret would be 124 years old today. Bessie Hendricks, America's oldest woman, is older than the Constitutional right to vote. Carrie Underwood is older than the day it was ratified in Mississippi, the home of Dobbs v Jackson.
Starting only fifty years ago, Noel Bairey and Laura Silvieus were the first two women to receive academic sports scholarships. Under Title IX, women were able to access the same sort of opportunities to further their education and careers, just as men always have.
It was 1981, the year the Millennial Generation was being conceived, when Sandra Day O'Connor became the very first woman sworn in to serve on the Supreme Court.
Janet Reno, the first female Attorney General, was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, the year Ariana Grande was born. Clinton then signed the Violence Against Women Act the following year, to address domestic and sexual violence.
The same President nominated the first female secretary of state, Madeleine Albright. A daughter born that year may just now be graduating from law school.
The first female Speaker of the House was Nancy Pelosi, only 15 years ago. Our first female Presidential nomination was Hillary Clinton in 2016, and in 2021 Kamala Harris became the first woman to become Vice President in History, all within the lifetime of a high school freshman.
All of these achievements for women have been hard-fought, and full participation in the American Dream has not come easy. At times it hasn't come with the support of her Government. These specific women may have had more access at their fingertips than some, not the least of which is the right to vote and other freedoms that have always been afforded to men, but also income and family connections. The point is that they needed those unfair advantages just to make it as far as they did.
The person most happy about the Dobbs ruling might be Donald Trump, so he can redirect the headlines. Oh, and also all the evangelicals who believe that guns are a constitutional right but healthcare access and privacy are not.
I get it. You're standing up for the rights of those who are not yet born. Or perhaps I should say until they are born.
We’re all entitled to our opinions on Roe, especially us men, but one thing is clear. This topic has divided America for fifty years. It’s divided us into people who can achieve the American dream and people for whom life is a gamble that they won’t get knocked up. We're divided into men that have the power to abandon a child and women who may be faced with one of life's toughest choices, and the only option is poverty and struggle. We're divided into free Americans and those who wish freedom would lean their way for more than a moment.
All life is precious. Unless you're black, gay, or on the other side of someone else's constitutional right to own a gun.
Yes, I know. All life is precious unless you're a woman.
For those who hold a different view, the onus is on you to solve the problems you've assured us. That will take very aggressive policies that help the vulnerable, out-helping the way you have hurt them. Perhaps you should focus on fighting for policies that protect the rights of women, minorities, and the poor instead of simply reducing those rights. Because the impact on these people can not be separated from the impact of repealing Roe.