I have recently felt like a small boat buffeted by increasingly rough and high waves. War on Women? Check. Attacks by the Christian Right on basic freedoms? Check. War against Science and Logic? Check. Every Child and Educator Left Behind? Check. This list goes on. I have even started making a list of states we cannot move to due to their heinous reproductive rights laws (Arizona, Texas, most of the South, Michigan).
But today, today I felt a small glimmer of hope when North Dakotans struck down the so-called Religious Liberty Amendment, the latest attempt to chip away at Women’s Rights, reported here by the Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/06/14/1100085/-North-Dakotans-decide-they-already-have-all-the-religious-liberty-they-need?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailykos%2Findex+%28Daily+Kos%29.
Perhaps the tide will turn. Malcolm Gladwell, in The Tipping Point, notes that trends start with one event. One seemingly small, innocuous moment which tips public opinion one way or the other. Charles Duhigg expounds upon this idea in The Power of Habit, noting that Rosa Parks’ famous refussal to move to the back of the bus sparked the Civil Rights Movement because it was buoyed by her loose-knit ties to a larger, cross-sectional community within Montgomery, a community which pushed her one act of rebellion into a movement. (I should note here that December 1, 1955, was not the first time Rosa Parks had defied segratation laws; it was the first time her defiance became larger than her as an individual.)
North Dakota’s refusal to pass this amendment is not the only challenge the GOP has faced in this continuing War on Women. Mississippi’s persondhood law did not pass. The fallout after Komen’s executives cut Planned Parenthood funding is still being felt as executives resign and Walk for the Cure participation is down.
Knowing for sure if North Dakota’s refusal to give in to the circular logic of the far right is the tipping point is impossible at this juncture. Even so, news like this gives me a faint glimmer of hope.