Editor's Note, June 2022

Written by Marian Starkey | Published: June 21, 2022

I’m not normally someone who procrastinates, but I really dragged my feet writing this column, waiting for inspiration to strike (it still hasn’t, so please forgive the stream of consciousness that follows). From a Supreme Court on the brink of a decision that will take away a fundamental right to bodily autonomy for Americans in half the states in this country to the despicable failure of Susan Collins (one of my senators in Maine) to vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act despite her pro-choice claims to the state abortion bans that are getting passed faster than you can say mifepristone, I just cannot.

My husband was very accommodating of my using our breakfast bar and dining table for poster-making for the protests on May 3 (the day after the Supreme Court’s draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked) and May 14 (the day Bans Off Our Bodies rallies were held across the country). And as cathartic as it was to march and shout and commune with like-minded folks, it’s hard to feel hopeful when so many self-serving politicians are out there trying to take us back 50 years, to a time when getting an abortion meant taking your life in your hands.

The madness of it all is heightened by “pro-life” (give me a break) members of Congress failing to extend the expanded child tax credit that reduced child poverty by 50 percent in 2021 and refusing to vote for a bill to address the critical shortage of baby formula in the United States. So make sure every fertilized egg becomes a baby, but then once those babies are born, let them starve. Got it.

You could cut the hypocrisy with a coat-hanger.

Of course, there’s joy and satisfaction to be found amongst the angst and exhaustion: It’s baby goat season at Sunflower Farm (look up “goats in pajamas” on YouTube if you want to shed happy tears), which I haunt from April through October. My favorite band (Lucius) is currently on tour, and I’ve seen them blow the roof off four different venues in Maine, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. My perennials survived the winter and unusually cold spring. And we still have 40,000 members of Population Connection who care about reproductive health and rights and the future of this put-upon planet.

As tired as we all are, we can’t let the cynicism and misogyny of a few hundred right-wing politicians bring us down and snuff out our spirits—we can’t afford to let them win the long game. They might be creating chaos and catastrophe right now, but the midterms are coming up this fall, and before we know it, there will be more Supreme Court seats to fill. (We’re thrilled about the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will replace Justice Stephen Breyer at the end of the current term.)

So my advice to myself and to you is to snuggle some cute animals, go see some live entertainment (it’s outdoor concert and theater season!), and get outside and far away from phones and computers and TVs. And once you’ve taken care of your battered psyche, put your elected officials on speed dial and get back to work. We’re going to need everyone’s help to keep this crazy train from going completely off the rails!

Marian Starkey