Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation
When Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday, the first thoughts I had were ones of anger and sadness (If you are not up to date about who Justice Kavanaugh is and his beliefs, you should check out Alex Bunting’s article here). I had followed the testimonies of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh himself for the past three weeks and was feeling really physically and mentally drained from the back and forth. After putting herself under scrutiny in front of the entire nation in order to come forward about sexual assault allegations, I believe her.
I was tired of hearing how men in America are no longer safe to interact with women. I no longer wanted to listen to adults around me talk about why she did not come forward earlier, why she did not remember certain aspects of the party, or how Dr. Ford had brought the assault on herself. I wanted America to take her, and by extension the women in this country who go about their days in fear of assault, seriously.
This did not happen. Instead, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States by a vote of 50-48. I was so disheartened to watch the vote as my own two Senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, turned their backs on the women in their constituency. I wondered if Dr. Ford’s allegations would ever have come to light if she lived in a state with conservative senators. If Dr. Ford lived in Texas, I cannot say with certainty that those elected to represent and do what is right for their constituents would have taken the steps Senator Dianne Feinstein did to ensure Dr. Ford’s story was heard. This is discouraging, to say the least. We are all taught as children that our government strives to protect us and make decisions that are in our best interest. However, I honestly no longer think that is true, especially for women in this country.
How Can We Create Change?
We can no longer tell our daughters in good faith that the government will always do what is best for them. In this day and age, the rights of women are in danger. The President himself has made promises and taken actions that restrict women’s rights. From birth control access to Roe v. Wade, the rights of women need to be actively protected now more than ever. Even more frightening than that, the culture of our politics today does not see women as equal to men. Not only is this evident in how Dr. Ford was not credible enough to the Republican majority, but also in how our own president boasts of grabbing women inappropriately by their genitalia. This is not the America we should want for our daughters. We should no longer teach our daughters that the government wants what is best for them. Instead, we should teach them how to stand up for themselves.
We need to make it clear to our daughters that they matter, that their voice matters. We need not necessarily tell our daughters that America hates them, or wants to harm them in a mean spirit. We simply must ensure that they know they are not always protected. Our daughters need to know how to build themselves a better world. Tell young girls that their bodies are their own and that no one has the right to do with it what they please, that men should not have the right to govern what they can and cannot do for their own health. We need to tell our daughters that they can speak up for what they believe in. Tell them that protesting what hurts them in their hearts is good and patriotic. Teach them that when they grow up, they can help elect who gets to write their laws. Encourage them to grow up to become that person who gets to write the laws and make the United States of America a better place for girls like them.
Young Women Matter
With the eyes of the country on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, and the heartbreak it caused many women in the country, we need to remind ourselves that without women like Dr. Ford, we would not have accountability in our government officials. We need to remind ourselves that the United States is not always friendly towards the rights of women. In order to make a change, we need to teach our daughters that they should stand up for what they believe in. Cultural shifts take a long time. Yet, we can be the change the country needs by standing up for our youngest girls. If we can teach them to be strong and to question that which harms them, our country will be a much better and more equal place.