I had some time to reflect on our country and our history while watching a fairly gluttonous fireworks display on the 4th of July. I listened to songs about people who fought and died for our freedom, knowing that freedom is still unequally applied. I thought about how distanced we have grown from the WWII generation. I thought about my grandfather, who was an Air Force pilot. I like to think I knew what he thought about people based on the way he treated them, though to be fair we never really talked about politics and most of my hometown was made up of white people. But still, I’d like to think that he would have done his best to treat all people with respect, because that’s what I saw.
I thought about people who judge other groups of people harshly, but relax that judgement when it applied to someone they knew. And I started to wonder—not for the first time—how much more empathy we would have in this country if we stopped throwing people in big groups to discriminate against, and started really looking at each other, person to person.
And that made me think of the Supreme Court, and the anger and fear I feel when I think about the power they wield over this country. They surely know how many of us are hurt, angry, and disappointed at their recent actions. And many of us can see what other havoc they could wreak just as soon as they are provided the opportunity. As a large group, we citizens can be discriminated against. Pushed aside. Ignored. But as individuals, perhaps we could make an impact.
I made the decision, right in the middle of the fireworks show, to write letters to each member of the Supreme Court. I don’t know what I’m going to say, not yet. But they need to understand how I feel. How their recent actions have impacted me, even as a white woman too old to have any more children. How dehumanized I feel, knowing that if I lived in a different state, the government could exert an unwelcome amount of control over my physical body. How horrible that truly is.
I won’t say the same thing to each person. And I don’t even know if my letters will get through. But I feel the need to try. Person to person, I have to try.