Judge Brett Kavanaugh became Associate Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court this weekend, but we cannot give up the fight.
We screamed. We protested. We invaded elevators. We fought.
And right now, it feels like we lost. But this is a fight that cannot be abandoned or forsaken; it is one that we have to see through to the end, even if that means just seeing through to the end of our own battle and not the war.
After Kavanuagh’s confirmation, a photo by NPR photographer Mary Mathis went viral on Facebook.
The photo shows an older woman sitting on a park bench, wearing a black raincoat with her legs crossed, and her face in her hand. While you cannot tell if she is crying, she does appear visibly upset.
In her caption of the photo, Mathis writes the following:
“I shot the Kavanaugh protests this morning for NPR, and this is the photo that will always stick with me. I walked up to her after, needing her name for the photo but knowing it was a terrible time to ask. When I asked, she ignored me and said, “How are we going to find the strength to keep fighting?” I was speechless. She said, “Are we going to be out here for another 30 years? I don’t have 30 years left.””
As we all know only too well, this fight has been going on virtually as long as the divide between genders has existed, and there are countless women who have striven their entire lives for a better future that they themselves were never able to witness or enjoy.
There is little comfort in knowing that others will have to bear the torch after you, and even less in knowing that you yourself will not be able to see the future that you have fought so hard for; and yet it is absolutely imperative that we don’t allow ourselves to give up just because we ourselves may not see the day when we finally win.
And that day will come.
It will come because we cannot afford to let down women like the one Mathis photographed, women who have fought for decades to make the progress we’re clinging to today.
Yes, we may be fighting for another 30 years. But we may also take back the House and the Senate and manage to get two more justices added to the court to mitigate the damage conservatives have done.
And who knows, we may even manage to impeach Kavanaugh if more information comes to light.
Sure, these may be pie-in-the-sky scenarios, but it cannot be denied that this decision and the actions women have taken leading up to it created a powerful surge of energy and passion that will not dissipate anytime soon.
If we can hold on to that momentum and continue to channel it into constructive, grassroots change, then there is nothing we cannot change — even if it takes time.
The fight continues.