By Kit-Bacon Gressitt
Thank goodness we cremated Mother and Father—I don’t have to worry about them, turning over in their graves every time that man in the White House tweets.
This is the thought I awoke to this morning, despite a weekend filled with the exuberant hope of Women’s Marches around the globe, repeating the passions we performed the day after that man’s inauguration in 2017.
It’s a grumpy way to greet the sun, although grump fodder has been plentiful the last twelve months.
I kick off the tussled comforter, gird my loins, swing my legs to the chill tile floor, and dash to the bathroom, determined not to dribble a trail. Eh, the dog’ll lick it up if I do.
I make it to the throne, sit and sigh, and contemplate the day.
It’s January 22, noteworthy for political and personal reasons. It’s the Roe v. Wade anniversary, the decision legalizing abortion, and its significance to women’s lives has driven me to write about it so many times, each of them laden with dismay that the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision hasn’t protected our reproductive choices. Battles over abortion—and contraception—continue in state legislatures, on clinic sidewalks, in mutually exclusive oratories, and back at the Supreme Court.
Maybe they always will, but now that man and his nincompoop appointees are doing everything they can to return women to the days when all of us, regardless of race or ethnicity, were denied our choices, when we were persecuted and prosecuted for our decisions not to give birth.
And I wonder.
How many abortions might that man have funded?
How many women might he have coerced into abortions they didn’t want?
How many might he have coerced into sex?
The answers could be none, but I suspect not. That man has the integrity of cheap toilet paper.
And everyone’s a hypocrite, many out of necessity. In 2014, some 37 percent of women who had abortions self-identified as evangelical Protestant or Roman Catholic.
What’s Planned Parenthood to do? Should they follow the lead of that man’s new “conscience and religious freedom division”; should they, for reasons of conscience, refuse to serve people of faiths that deny women’s rights to abortion and contraception?
Of course not. Planned Parenthood doesn’t allocate care based on ideology; the organization simply provides care to those who need it.
That man and his sycophants take care only of those who can aggrandize him. And the Republican leadership appears to care only to take advantage of the chaos he creates.
“Harrumph,” I say.
I get up. I don’t flush. It looks as though California’s heading for another drought, and damn it if that man hasn’t had climate change content removed from federal websites.
Can it get any worse?
I look in the mirror and consider that I’m now a year older than I was last January 22. A little more achy and little more leaky and a little wiser. On the personal front, I can celebrate being above ground, the pending nuptials of my kiddo to a partner I embrace, family and friends who are dear to me.
But on the political front, what’s to celebrate? My nation is in a whole lot of trouble.
“Damn that man.”
I stomp my foot. Really, I stomp it. Then I brush my teeth and head for the pile of unfolded clean clothes. The dog is licking the floor, but something breaks through my grumpiness anyway. It’s a moment from the Women’s March in San Diego, a moment that drew a resounding roar from the tens of thousands of marchers, a chorus that reminded me, I still hope.
“We have the power,” the speaker said and cheered the Black women of Alabama, who made sure we didn’t put an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. “Women and our allies, we have the power.”
She’s right. We do. And that is celebration-worthy. I imagine using our power to overcome that man and the damage his regime is doing to all of us—even those who won’t admit it—and to our planet. I see us, marching onward with love and leaving his ill-used power behind, trampled like the horse pooties at the end of a parade.
It’s a pretty satisfying vision, one I’ll carry with me.
But now, I’m going to hunt down my birthday cake.
Kit-Bacon Gressitt was spawned by a Southern Baptist creationist and a liberal social worker. Consequently, she inherited the requisite sense of humor to survive family dinner-table debates and the imagination to avoid them. She has an MFA in Creative Writing, with an emphasis in narrative nonfiction, and has taught Women’s Studies in the Cal State University system. K-B’s writing has been published in Publishers Weekly, Not My President: The Anthology of Dissent (Thoughtcrime Press, December 2017), Ducts magazine, The Missing Slate, Trivia: Feminist Voices, Ms. Magazine blog, San Diego Poetry Annual, The North County Times, San Diego Uptown News, Gay San Diego, Chiron Review (the ancient one, before the internet), American University’s iVory Towerz, and others. K-B was the grateful recipient of two Poets & Writers grants in 2016-17, and she was one of 12 national finalists for the 2016 Kentucky Writers Fellowship. She’s a founding editor of Writers Resist.
Women’s March San Diego 2018 photos by K-B Gressitt.
 From Guttmacher Institute, percentage distribution of U.S. women aged 15-14 obtaining abortions in nonhospital settings: https://www.guttmacher.org/report/characteristics-us-abortion-patients-2014