The Fourth of July. I have fond memories of picnicking with my family and friends in one park and then heading over to another park for the fireworks. We oohed and aahed at each colorful display of pyrotechnics across the late evening sky.
By Lauren Pressman
Given the dire circumstances we face in our world these days, I concede that we should take advantage of any opportunity for celebration. July 4th fits that bill. However, we also must keep in mind that the freedom this holiday commemorates has not and does not apply to all; as we know, it was white men who wrote of and benefited from the freedoms at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Anyone who was not a white Christian man was considered property and thus was excluded from these newly created freedoms. It has taken a couple of centuries to guarantee civil and human rights to women and African Americans. Lives were lost in the battles to attain these rights.
Now, with the June 24, 2022 Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, women’s rights for self determination regarding their own bodies and healthcare are being taken away.
This Supreme Court decision and the anti-choice legislation in many states are not about the rights of the unborn. If that were true, there would be resources allocated to women and their families for pre and post natal care, for healthcare for mother and baby. But those resources are non-existent. This decision is about keeping women subservient. Keeping women out of the workforce. Keeping women out of the world of policy making. Keeping women at home taking care of their babies, regardless of whether or not they were wanted or sadly, healthy enough to lead long, loving lives. I could list more reasons for women and girls to choose abortion but the list is exhaustive and very personal.
Frighteningly, Clarence Thomas, in his concurrent opinion, is more than ready to roll back more rights, such as the use of contraception and same-sex intimacy and marriage that have been fought for and enjoyed, because they are not “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” I imagine he would have included in this list of erroneous decisions inter-racial marriage but that would not have been convenient for him and Ginni.
The Fourth of July is a national holiday that not only celebrates our country’s history but presents an opportunity to coalesce around a shared appreciation of living in a democratically run country in which, at least in theory, everyone has equal rights. We may unite on July 4th, but from July 5th onward, the struggle to save our democracy and ensure civil and human rights for ALL will continue. PLEASE vote November 8, 2022!
Lauren Pressman, a resident of Sierra Madre, is a retired high school counselor and long time activist.
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