I just got home from the rally at Planned Parenthood in Montclair, and it left me feeling even more defeated than I did heading into it.

With the exception of one or two speakers, it became quickly and abundantly clear that the people running this show are in no way prepared for what is at our doorstep. The right has been chipping away at our civil rights and bodily autonomy for decades, and we are now at the point that the systems and structures our ancestors poured their blood, sweat, tears and lives into are crumbling before us. The proposed solution? According to the speakers — New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, Rep. Donald Payne Jr., Rep. Mikie Sherrill, Planned Parenthood workers, and other elected officials — vote. Give us money.

Democrats have had 50 years to codify Roe v. Wade into law — something President Joe Biden promised to do as recently as 2020. They had a supermajority in the Senate under President Barack Obama and they squandered it. They refused to fight back against Mitch McConnell when he stole a Supreme Court seat in 2016. They have refused to expand the Supreme Court or impeach justices who lied under oath or aided and abetted a literal attempted coup, to nuke the filibuster, to pass the Equal Rights Amendment or Women’s Health Protection Act or do literally anything that would meaningfully help the people who voted for them. Yet somehow, they have managed to punt this back to us, the people who have already donated and voted and phone banked and canvassed and marched and advocated, time and time again. They are telling us to bring hugs (and donations!) to a war — because that’s what this is, make no mistake. The right has made it painfully clear that we — women, BIPOC, LGBTQ folks, Muslims, anyone who isn’t a conservative Christian white man — not only do not deserve rights, they'd rather see us dead.

It is infuriating and quite frankly insulting to be told that all I need to do to ensure my bodily autonomy is … vote and donate. Democrats are Lucy Van Pelt pulling the football away, and we the voters are Charlie Brown, falling on our asses over and over. Our lives are at stake — every last one of us. Stop playing at activism and do something real.

Lauren Brennan

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