I was there for the massive pro-choice march on DC in 1992 before the Planned Parenthood v Casey decision. What a beautiful day. What a utopia of strong women.
But it didn’t last, of course.
Returning from that awesome display of sisterhood to a college campus full of conservative evangelicals in a southern state full of same—that was reality.
Arguing with would-be patriarchs in my college philosophy classes (I was often the only woman in the room) and getting anonymous bible tracts in my mailbox—that was reality.
Walking through protest lines with friends to access healthcare at clinics in town—that was reality.
Because after all, a woman’s right to full healthcare without question has never been a settled issue, especially here in the South.
I know how good they are at playing the long game. After all, they believe they have everything to gain and everything to lose.
As Dylan said, “…you never ask questions when God’s on your side.” Everyone knows you can’t argue with a zealot.
I’ve known for a long time that they’ve been encouraging fundamentalist families to be fruitful and multiply.
I’ve known for a long time that homeschool curricula steeped in fundamentalist Christian theology have increased in popularity, even outside of the home.
I’ve known for a long time that they are teaching their kids to deny science and Enlightenment values.
I’ve known for a long time that they’ve been educating ideologues in their universities and law schools so they can stack the courts.
I’ve known for a long time that they’ve been educating ideologues in these same universities so they can fill the legislatures.
I’ve known for a long time that they have been accumulating capital and investing wisely in lobbyists and PACs.
I’ve known for a long time that they’ve been pushing anti-abortion candidates from pulpits.
I’ve known for a long time that they represent a block of committed single-issue Republican voters, and that all a candidate need do to win their votes is to list “pro-life” credentials.
I know that sometimes they experiment with power in third-world countries by supporting and helping draft draconian legislation that punishes and even kills women and LGBTQ+ persons.
I know that they’ve been setting anchors in the U.S. by passing “religious freedom” laws.
Laws that favor their right to not be morally offended when providing public services like basic healthcare and medication.
They’ve spent at least the past decade lying about and tearing down the services of Planned Parenthood and chipping away at its status as a trusted neighborhood healthcare source for poor (often minority) women.
And I’ve known for a long time that restricting abortion and “saving babies” isn’t the true goal of their long game.
Their actual goal is nothing short of a “supernatural transformation of America” and an utter transformation of American culture.
They want to stuff the revolutions of the last century (as well as contraception, mouthy women, and uppity people of color) back into the bottle.
They want to shove LGBTQ+ people back into the closet.
They want to ship all the non-white and non-Christian people elsewhere.
And in the past week, they’ve rolled back domestic violence protections and redefined sexual assault to cover only the most visible of crimes against women and abused partners.
They want to return the United States to that wonderful time that never was—a time that exists only in their fantasies . In other words, they want to “make American great again.”
Even knowing these things and living through these times, I’m still amazed at the rapidity of the onslaught and coordination of this attack on women, LGBTQ folks, and persons of color. It’s beyond terrifying.
I am so angry. And this time resistance is starting to seem futile. I despair.