So, what now?

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Emily Girard

I woke up today in a condo in Florida, excited and ready to go to the beach with my mother. A few hours later, I was sobbing in my bed, scared for my life.

Sure, the news coming out of the Supreme Court today made me sad and angry, but I do not believe those words accurately describe my state of mind. Confused, maybe. Distraught.

A few months ago, I wrote an opinion stating that no one, especially members of marginalized groups, should be forced to choose between mental health and political involvement. Now, though, I am having trouble choosing either. I am having a crisis over this decision, and so little of my world makes sense to me now.

What should we do now? I, honestly, have no idea. In my last opinion, I called upon people to recognize how much politics takes out of people. I was reacting, though, to an individual act of violence committed against a clearly political background.

Now, there are no politics involved. Not really, in the grand scheme of things. The main topic is human rights, and the future of them has never looked cloudier.

I’ve lived through multiple events that felt like this, and I remember how they felt like the end of the world at the time. I was in high school and learning about one school shooting after another. I lived through the longest government shutdown in American history. I lived through all four years of the Trump presidency. And yet, I still don’t know how to react today. I don’t know how to react when the human rights of a majority of the population are being so brazenly violated. I don’t know if anyone knows how to react.

I know human beings are empathetic creatures. I have worked with children for multiple years and seen the empathy they are born with, which is why the court’s decision today confuses me so much. You don’t have to be pregnant, planning to get pregnant or able to get pregnant to realize that no one should have to be forced to be pregnant if they don’t want to be.

I don’t even understand the religious arguments behind this decision. Sure, your faith can affect the way you think about things. I’m a Christian myself, and though I’m not the most devout, I can see how it affects the way I see the world and my life. But I have never tried to use that to infringe on anyone else’s right to live their lives the way they want. I’m not bragging, either. I don’t expect juice and a cookie for saying all this. No one should.

I have moved into survival mode. After I graduate, I plan to move north. Minnesota, maybe, or some other, more blue state. If that’s not enough, if I still don’t feel safe, the next step will be Canada.

I don’t see any other option. As I stated in my other opinion, I’m queer and neurodivergent. I cannot get the thought out of my head that my ability to freely be these things will be revoked next.

And the kicker is, I hate that I feel I have to do this. I’ve lived in Kentucky my whole life, and most of my family and friends live there too. I wish I could stay there and be with them, feeling happy and safe with the people I love for the rest of my life.

Now, though, I don’t know if I can.