In 1777, less than six months after the Declaration of Independence was written, Abigail Smith Adams stridently voiced her disapproval that women did not have the right to vote. As the wife of the 2nd president, John Adams and the mother of the 6th, John Quincy Adams, she wrote that women “will not hold ourselves bound by any laws which we have no voice.”
In 1920, women suffrage prevailed and the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed. It gave women the right to vote if only 134 years after America’s independence was proclaimed. Apathetic congressmen, in an attempt to delay the inevitable would say, “Just be patient, your time will come”. With perseverance and an enlightened political/social movement behind it, women became a force that couldn’t be ignored.
Four years earlier in 1916, the first birth control clinic was opened in the United States. It was spearheaded by Margaret Sanger, one of the 20th century’s greatest champions for women’s reproductive rights, a nurse, a sex educator and birth control activist. Sanger’s outspoken book, Family Limitation was so incendiary in 1914 that she was prosecuted under the Comstock Act which called for “Suppression of Trade in, the Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use.” It criminalized usage of the US Postal Service to send abortifacients, contraceptives and even personal letters alluding to any sexual content or information. She (temporarily) fled to Britain until parts of the law were slowly repealed. It wasn’t until “1919 in a law journal that a judge, after reviewing the various laws, called the set of them haphazard and capricious and lacking any clear, broad, well-defined principle or purpose.” Sanger had a dream of an America that didn’t just speak of equality but practiced it. She was a visionary who changed the landscape not just for women but for society. She brought freedom to people who didn’t even know they were lacking.
It has been a long, uphill slog for women to secure their own rights, especially reproductive rights. The 1960’s sexual revolution introduced greater freedom, which helped cement Sanger’s ultimate triumph. Her modest clinic became fixture, an essential part of women’s health now known as Planned Parenthood. But in less than 11 tumultuous months of dichotomies, the misogynist President is grabbing…power, while his Puritan Vice-President, His Holiness Mike Pence, is trying to shut down Planned Parenthood, eliminate contraceptives, criminalize abortion and vilify the 4%+ of Americans who are openly part of the LGBT community. His Congressional conservative accomplices, many science and climate deniers, also want to return women to their pre-World War I social status—powerless and voteless. It is curious that Pence has only 3 children and Trump has 5 (among 3 wives). Someone is using protection! These are the hypocrites whose mantra is do as I say not do as I do. If they were really reading the Bible, I suspect there would be more begatting going on! These men are directing the forces that are derailing women’s progress toward equality and independence. Ironic that these mostly white men who insist that they want less government and fewer regulations want to control every aspect of women and their bodies through government directives and restrictions. Sexism flourishes in every corner of that august Congressional body. It is time to dust off your pink pussy hats and march again! Do not let up. Mobilize, speak out, band together, spread the word that it is time to elect enlightened people, especially women who can grasp equality and deliver. No more talk. No more complaints. Time to act. Throw the bums out.
We’ve come a long way in recognizing that humans are mere stewards, not owners, of the Earth. The formation of the Environmental Protection Agency codified some very basic tenets—that if we clean up after prior polluters, and ourselves, we will leave a better world for our children. And though the setbacks enacted by Trump reverse some of these gains, his tenure will be short-lived. We have made progress. All people, regardless of party, understand what it is to breathe free and drink clean water but previous public “eco” campaigns have not be hard-hitting. They have not spoken of poisons in the water and air causing brain damage, physical abnormalities and cancer. It is time for hard-hitting facts; to reveal that the faucets in their homes will deliver the toxins directly to them if they don’t act. Is it unthinkable to drink the undrinkable? Not when all the scientists have been fired from the EPA’s testing labs. Our patience is over and we must act now. Start a movement to Dump Scxott Pruitt. This EPA chief himself is the next superfund site that should be cleaned up!
To be anything but white and Christian is a challenge in the age of The Moron. We have not seen such overt racism and anti-Semitism since the 1950’s and 60’s in the segregated South. Trump has tacitly encouraged the myriad dark forces to come out of hiding. This is the deal this devil has made in exchange of his minion’s support. Trump’s calculated unleashing of the fringe, society’s misanthropes, has fanned the flames of a wide-range of domestic terrorists. Racially , ethnically and religiously motivated attacks are spiraling upwards. Meanwhile, the priorities of the Justice Department are to make sure that a 17-year old immigrant girl who was raped cannot get an abortion. Or to round up undocumented immigrant parents who have been productive members of our society for 30 years and deport them back to their country of origin thus separating them from their three American-born children.
Make no mistake, tyrants and despots, once in power use official government tools to enact their own twisted philosophy and vision. After all, how many law-abiding citizens would typically defy official government law enforcement agents whether police, FBI or CIA? In Trump’s case, it is a dystopian world that he sees and that he is determined to remake. It is a world in which a few powerful, rich white men do as they please while their overlord, The Moron, corrupts our laws, our courts, our law enforcement agencies to ensure that we become The Banana Republic of America.
Yes, this is backsliding but it will not last if all those who are complaining speak up and ACT. Nothing can erase the Civil Rights Act so hard-fought during Lyndon Johnson’s tenure. Nothing can change the hearts and souls of thoughtful citizens who want and need to continue the climb toward a fair, just and decent society. Again, when we are told to be patient, we should respond as if these are fighting words because they are! As a society, we must get back on track. Too many before us have made sacrifices that we cannot fail their efforts and subvert our own needs. More than ever, we too must play our own role and mere talk will not do. A critical vote is only 10 months away. We can change the landscape of the nation. We can end this experiment in authoritarianism and elect a House of Representatives that is courageous and determined and empowered to impeach The Moron. It is the way our founding fathers envisioned the system. Let us together become an activist force, a not-so-silent majority, to enact change. The time is now!