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  • Writer's picturestephanieraffelock

One Nation Under Guns, With Liberty and Justice For A Few? Well I AM, PISSED!

In early June, in the little town of Uvalde, a horrendous massacre of children took place. An eighteen year old boy, not old enough to buy a beer or rent a car was legally able to purchase a weapon built for the singular intent of war and killing. It was a weapon that assured that once fired, no victim could possibly walk away. It didn’t just shoot a bullet into the body, it was a weapon that blew up the body to a point where the body was no longer recognizable.

What ensued after the tragedy in Uvalde was the predictable mantra of “thoughts and prayers,” followed by an outcry of 2nd amendment rights – the right to bear arms. The right to carry a weapon anywhere, and the right to use that weapon, because after all that’s what freedom is, right? In another time, in another state of consciousness we might have banned that weapon, gotten it off the streets and made a law that an AR-15 could only be sold to the military and not civilians. But greed and profit margins from gun manufacturers assured that the children massacred in that small Texas town had to be identified by DNA because their little bodies were so blown apart. Welcome to our “right to life” America. It’s important to note that the boy who murdered those children and his AR-15 have more rights than those children did.

This morning, almost a month later, I woke up to an even different world, a world in which a class of people, women, have had a constitutional right stripped away from them. This is the first time in our nation’s history that a constitutional right has been taken away – and taken away after a half of a century being considered settled law. As of this morning few woman in these United States has body autonomy. Women’s bodies are the property of the states and will be governed as such. The right to terminate a pregnancy for any reason is now, or will soon be, illegal in most states. And in many of those states anyone seeking abortion can be charged and convicted of a felony that most certainly means prison. Let’s send every fifteen year old girl who got pregnant because she was raped and then tried to terminate the pregnancy to prison. Let’s lock up her up. Isn’t that the famous rallying cry of the GOP? “Lock her up." You will never convince me that this political party doesn't HATE women.

These draconian laws will not stop women from seeking abortion, but that form of health care will now only be available to those women with money and privilege who can afford to travel to the few states where abortion is still legal. The denial of reproductive health care will disproportionately affect poor and minority women. Women can be forced by their state to carry to term, whether it’s incest or rape that got her pregnant; a kind of indentured pregnancy. You can be so proud Supreme Court. So proud, Federalist Society. So proud Evangelists, that this draconian law you support truly demonstrates a loving Christ. And GOP, won't you be proud when you get to see these women marched off to prison? Home of the brave and land of the free.

This is my country now. This is what it has become. It’s not off in some dystopian future. It’s right here, right now. Guns and their owners have more rights than any woman, or child for that matter. And now that women’s bodies are the property of the state, other classes of citizens are already being threatened that they are next. If the court can strip away one constitutional right because of its rabid theocratic leanings, and oh-so-morally correct views, then it can do the same to other groups. Women's rights being stripped away and replaced by government rule serves as a blank permission slip to exercise cruelty in the form of unspeakable dominance.

In Texas yesterday, the Lieutenant Governor declared the day an annual holiday. Let us celebrate women once again being chattel, being second class citizens who do not have the same bodily autonomy as does a man.

If these events don’t scare the shit out of you, then you are not paying attention. We are no longer a democracy of the people, for the people and by the people. We are now living in an authoritarian society that is choking the life out of what's left of our one-time great republic.

The Supreme Court, a once grand and respected institution, is made up of a majority of justices who are little more than political puppets. Justices who were groomed to show deference and obedience to the Federalist Society, an organization paramount to creating the new order of authoritarian rule, under which we now suffer. The idea of America being a self-governing majority is all but gone.

Among the television images of women protesting yesterday, was a young woman crying at the news of Roe. I didn’t want to rush to her and hold her, to tell her that everything was going to be okay. Instead, I wanted to get in her face and tell her to buck up. Despair will paralyze us. Anger, outrage, indignation, focus, truth-in-action is what is called for right now. We must grieve yes, but only at the end of the day, behind closed doors when we are weary from the work of activism and fighting for equal rights.

We must be on alert as to where and how we can create change. And most of all, we must stand together as women supporting and caring for other women. We must stand with our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community who are the next target of the politically infected Supreme Court.

Speak up to anyone who will listen. Write to your representatives. Boycott any business that does not support equal rights for all citizens. Show your outrage. Vote for those who support women’s rights and LGBTQ rights. And if you don’t fall into one of those groups, don’t rest and think that you are safe. The end of rule by the people and for the people will effect every single one of us. As strange as it may sound, this is a time to create art, art that reflects the shock and horror of what’s happening to our country; a time to create art that reminds us of love and inclusiveness. Activism can take many forms. Find your form of expression and exercise it.

It’s going to be a long war, and we must rise to the occasion of being warriors, motivated by truth and the strength of conviction. Keep your eyes open for opportunities, no matter how small, to act and advocate for equality. We do not want to be one nation under guns. And we want liberty and justice for all to really mean "ALL."



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