This scene, the last one in the film “Terminator,” can be watched here. It has always drawn me in, for Sarah Connor is a woman alone and pregnant traveling on a road she knows will take her into a storm she cannot avoid, one that threatens her survival. It is powerful.
Courage is not always a grand gesture. It exists often, maybe most often, in the smallest acts, whenever we dare to do something despite knowing its consequences could be held against us. Yet we act because in our heart we know it comes out of the truth of our inner being. We choose to act out of compassion, and if necessary, defy the status quo.
The failure of the Republicans in the Senate by virtue of the confirmation of Brett Cavanaugh to the highest court in the land is a testament to the poverty of consciousness in the party. It is a far cry from courage. But it also reveals a distinct inclination by the Republican party toward a “felt” entitlement and the willful oppression of the voices of women and minorities, and for human rights everywhere.
Women especially are at a crossroads, given recent actions by the Senate and the resulting implications of political repression by the Republican Party. Women have four primary routes available to us — four directions to choose from. Only one of them will prevent the growing inroads on our democracy by any burgeoning Republican behavior, a behavior not unlike the neofascism emerging in other parts of the world:
- Let things stay are they are and live with the consequences.
- Object to what is going on but stay silent, and live with the consequences.
- Object to what is going on and feel despair, and live with the consequences.
- Object to what is going on, and either take direct action against it or vigorously support those who do, both of which are acts of courage that bring change.
Once and for all, women have clear evidence that if there is to be change, they must create it. With the debacle of the confirmation vote, we now have a playing field we can build from, one without illusions that we have supporters who exist somewhere “out there” and we just have to wait for them to show up.
What were Mitch O’Connell’s words to reporters about the weeks of controversy and for many, deep emotional pain, after Kavanaugh was confirmed? “It’ll blow over, these things always do” he said. He believes it was a storm in a teacup, that the views of the women were irrelevant. He is wrong.
Women can let go of silence and travel a different road. They can address the erosion of human values and stop it from happening. It takes courage, but that is something women have — far more than they know. When a woman speaks in her own voice, her power is immense.
Our work is to find ways from now on to stop any effort that intends to cause us harm in any way, at any level. The smallest acts of courage help build and create a not-so-distant tidal shift in how the world treats all women.
Women are natural communicators, and most often seek out ways to cooperate and offer a positive outlook to solve problems. This is their nature — and their power. When women adopt the methods of many men — the pushing and shoving at any cost , the using of other people for selfish ends, the denigration of other human beings to gain power— the women usually do not succeed as well, because they are not wired to be belligerent, in-your-face, or demeaning. They may adopt these methods, but their strength is entirely different. The strength of women lies in their unique ability, when they use it, to foster common ground and heal instead of destroy — to challenge, but not to mock or devalue — those are abilities the world desperately needs.
We are free now to discard the points of view some men offer that incite others to harm us, dismiss us, or ignore us. Leave them to it. They are on a dying vine. (And thankfully, they do not represent all men.) Women are far better off spending their massive collective energy supporting the outcomes they care about, nearly all of which enlist those traits of cooperation, kindness, understanding, compassion, and a will to help this planet and all the creatures on it.
Catering to men who feel and act “entitled” only leads us into an emotional abyss, and our behavior ceases to be our own. We end up letting go of our own inner voice to adopt a way of being that does not belong to us, and never did.
Our intended path is far different.
We are traveling on a new road, if we choose it, moving into a storm we cannot avoid if we want beneficial change without violence for women not only in this country, but worldwide.
All of us as women are keepers of the earth. We are meant act with integrity and purpose on our own terms, our way. We figure out how at the heart level. That is what we are here for, now.