The pandemic is still happening. One charge against Derek Chauvin has been dropped. The presidential election is 9 days away. The Senate will vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court tomorrow, and unless something truly unexpected happens, she will be confirmed. Also, on October 20th, the Twin Cities had its first blizzard of the year. All this to explain why I have purchased 7 Bath & Bodyworks scented candles in the past week, each of them promising to smell of leaves, of flannel, of fall. Even of the perfect Christmas, though I won’t let that one burn till December.
It’s helping me cope, so I’m choosing not to care about the phthalates.
With everything going on, the vote on Barrett hasn’t been front page news for days. During her confirmation hearing last week, there were doom and gloom headlines: Amy Coney Barrett is Coming for [INSERT THING YOU CARE ABOUT HERE], but then: crickets. We, as Americans, have other problems.
We all know Barrett will fill the seat of the beloved and admired RBG, and that as both a person and a judge she appears to be basically the polar opposite. I won’t speak to this too much, because I’m far from an expert, but I’ll say this: I do not feel the same despair at Barrett’s confirmation that I have felt other times during this administration. I do not feel the same way I felt as we approached the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh in 2018, and I certainly don’t feel the way I felt on November 8, 2016. This is different. Because I disagree with Barrett. I really do. But I don’t think she’s unqualified, and I don’t think she’s amoral. I disagree.
I hear echoes online: Vote like your rights depend on it, because they do. Your rights as a woman are in jeopardy. We have to fight.
Yes, we do. We absolutely do. That can feel overwhelming. That can feel powerless. That can lead me to burn a 3-wick that smells like sweater weather, but one thing I’ve become keenly attuned to the past few weeks— particularly as I learned about RBG’s life— is how far we’ve come. One-hundred years ago— less, even— women did not have the rights that we have now. We’ve got them. We have the right to make medical decisions for ourselves and our bodies. We have the right to work in a workplace free of discrimination. There are protections against harassment and assault. Hell, we can open our own bank accounts, now. That’s an easy one to take for granted.
Yes, with Barrett’s confirmation, a conservative Supreme Court will likely mean that some of those rights are threatened. Yes, we will have to defend those rights. But what a shift. There is an enormous difference between fighting to gain rights and fighting to defend those rights.
We aren’t pushing a boulder up a hill.
We’re on the hill.