Mother’s Day is May 8. It can be a difficult holiday for those who have lost a loved one or who are estranged from family, but most of us are blessed with at least one mother figure who has helped us on our way in life. This is a day to say thank you not only to biological mothers, but to daughters, aunts, grandmothers, godmothers, and mother figures of all kinds—teachers, leaders, mentors and friends—Happy Mother’s Day!
This year, this holiday usually associated with cards and flowers has political overtones. That’s because a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v Wade was leaked just days before Mother’s Day. The majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose motherhood, but not the five-member right wing majority on the Nation’s highest court. If that five-justice majority succeeds in overturning Roe, abortion rights could be erased for women in fully half of the country.
The willingness of the court’s majority, led by Judge Samuel Alito, who authored the draft opinion, has already generated a seismic response that continues to generate shockwaves, but it is almost equally astonishing that the opinion was leaked in the first place.
The Supreme Court is historically leak-proof. The leaker appears to have risked much to get that opinion to the media. Will the backlash from the leak be enough to change minds on the court? If Roe is appealed, will it galvanize voters during the midterm elections? One thing that is clear is that elections have consequences, and that this opinion signals a willingness to dismantle rights and protections that Americans have taken for granted.
I spoke with TNT Historian Jimmy Morgan before writing this editorial. I wanted to make sure I understood. His take on the news was bleak. “With this court, it is just the beginning,” he told me. “There are going to be a number of court challenges to 2022 election issues related to all the voting rights changes… on this one, battle lines have been drawn. The only thing left to determine is the battlefield: the makeup of the court itself,through legislation, or the streets…”
That conversation was a reminder that change begins at the grassroots level, with people committed to justice, people who are willing to take a stand. This is the beginning of a new chapter in US history, not the end.
Two favorite canyon events are back this year: Topanga Days and the Topanga Canyon Gallery Studio Tour. It’s a hopeful sign that things in the Santa Monica Mountains are finally returning to normal, but it is increasingly clear that this is a new normal. Life unshadowed by COVID-19 remains elusive, still out of reach, at least for now. The weather is perfect, the last of the spring wildflowers are in bloom, and many of us already have summer on our minds—dreaming of beach days and maybe even a real vacation somewhere beyond our backyard for the first time in more than two years, but COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to creep higher, raising concerns that the slow upwards trend could gather speed and become another wave of the disease.
Mask requirements have been lifted for most venues in Los Angeles County, but the County Health Department is still recommending that people wear an N95 or equivalent face covering.
“During this period of high transmission and the potential for more infectious variants, one of the best and easiest safety measures is to wear a well-fitting, high filtration mask or respirator when indoors around others,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement that cautioned of the increasing risk.
That may be a vindication for those who have continued to wear a mask in public out of concern for their own health or the health of others, but it’s dismaying news. The act of putting on that mask can feel discouraging, especially when one is the only person wearing a face covering, but as long as COVID-19 is still a threat an N95 mask remains essential in public venues. The pandemic isn’t over yet, and all those summer events and plans hinge on the number of new cases. Wearing a mask can help, no matter how tired of it we all are. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
Stay safe, be well.