Submitted by Mara Minwegen, Rio Rancho resident

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This story also appeared in Commentary

The signs of the war on women in these our United States of America have been gathering throughout our history; from the vote to Roe v. Wade, there has always been pushback against the rights and full citizenship of half our population. But today, as surely as Putin is trying to shell the life out of Ukraine, the far right forces in our country, as embodied by five members of the Supreme Court, have fired the first salvo in the hot war against women by overturning the right to abortion and thus denying women in this country the right to bodily autonomy.

This is a war against us, against our daughters, our granddaughters, our nieces, our students, our friends, our lovers, and it is a travesty against our mothers and grandmothers who fought so hard for equality before us.

President Biden called this ruling cruel. Truer words were never spoken. How many young women will die? How many young lives will be broken? This ruling is the gateway to the revocation of the right to contraception, the right to marry the person of your choice, the right to the privacy of medical decisions regarding your own body. Read the decision, follow it to its logical conclusion, and be afraid for the future of your country. Do you really think they’re going to stop here?

Get angry! Angry enough to vote, angry enough to work for candidates who believe in democracy, angry enough to mobilize others to do the same. Protest! Raise your voice until you’re hoarse, hold a sign, make a phone call, write an editorial. Don’t mind your manners or your language, protest as if your life depends upon it, because someone’s life does. And she is a woman you know.

Get angry! Angry enough to join arm in arm with everyone harmed by that other faulty and foul act of the Supreme Court, the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act. Get angry! Angry enough to also join arm in arm with all those affected by the unspeakable epidemic of gun violence in this country, who have just been violated again by both the inaction of Republicans in Congress and the Supreme court, which set precedent by ruling against gun regulations in New York.

If our country, our flawed but ever striving democracy becomes a theocratic, fascist state, it will be our fault. Our fault because we didn’t get angry enough, we didn’t take action enough, we sat back and let others vote while we had too many other things to do. It will be because we thought, “It will be fine.” That is the road down which democracy perishes.

And for those of you who, like me, are of a certain age; we’re tired, we’ve fought this fight before, we deserve to rest and let others carry the torch. For you I have another message. It is especially our duty to do as much as we can, precisely because we’ve seen this before and we know what to do. If you can’t get to the polls, ask someone to take you.

If you can’t stand at a protest, bring a chair! And especially, talk to your kids and grandkids. Explain to them that the rights and freedoms they take for granted were bought and paid for by the blood of their forebears, by the women who went to jail and worse, for the right to be fully enfranchised citizens of these United States of America.

For decades I told my students that democracy is a use it or lose it proposition. Use it. Today.