As a woman, it is an unsettling time to be alive.
By Sandra Cruz
With the Civil Rights Movement in our rear view mirrors, many do not remember what it took to get us to where we are. For the past fifty years we have enjoyed freedoms and rights that older generations did not and unfortunately we grew complacent.
It took decades of activism and long court battles to ensure people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations were more or less on equal footing. As the Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Maybe as a nation, we need a reminder of how life was like before people started fighting the system.
Now, with the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade, Americans are getting a rude awakening on how fragile democracy and equality can be. As a woman, it is an unsettling time to be alive.
Not only am I a woman, I am also a minority and an immigrant. Talk about a triple whammy. Since the headlines started to reveal cracks in the system, I found myself going through a series of “I’m glad I didn’t…..” moments.
When police brutality became an issue, I thought: “I’m glad I didn’t become a police officer.” When it became obvious that teachers were underpaid, under-appreciated, and overworked, I thought: “I’m glad I didn’t become a teacher.”
When the COVID pandemic hit and nurses were on the front line and dealing with staffing and equipment issues, I thought: “I’m glad I didn’t become a nurse.” With one mass shooting after another, especially in schools, I thought “I’m glad I didn’t have children.”
Now that women are losing rights that we thought were guaranteed by the highest court in the land, the final domino has dropped and I cannot say “I’m glad I’m not a woman.” I am past child bearing age so this ruling might not affect me as much, but I still wonder what other rights women will lose, if any. I hope my great nieces do not face a future where they will have to fight for the all the rights we took for granted.
The Fourth of July is right around the corner and to be honest, I do not feel like celebrating. As Americans, we are more divided than ever. This young nation, at only 246 years old, is experiencing an identity crisis.
As a fan of science fiction, I can imagine that this country’s future lies between the post-apocalyptic movies that take place in a desolate planet where people have to kill each other to survive and the bright Star Trek future where hunger, poverty, and war have been eradicated and money is irrelevant.
We are at a fork in the road and this is where we determine our future, but it will take decisive action from everyone. Unfortunately, not everyone is on board. Will future generations blame us and say “you could have done something to prevent this” or will they thank us for putting or differences aside and work together. I want to believe that we can make a difference but the feeling of dread can get overwhelming and just leads to more anxiety.