I've been watching the Handmaid's Tale on Hulu and during each episode, I tell myself that I'm not going to watch any more of it. Each time I watch an episode, a ball of anxiety starts growing in the pit of my belly. It is all too plausible. Sure there are many out there who would say that the plausibility of the show is an overly dramatic statement. I will admit that Margaret Atwood's dystopian (near) future is dramatic and easy to look at and say "There's no way our society would come to that." But it is not the depiction of things to come that causes the anxiety. It is the depiction of how this dystopian future came to be that jolts me the most.
It starts out small and quiet, women's rights slowely and quietly stolen in the night. You start to see an attitude shift in how some view independent women. There is a vileness and anger in their attitude. A woman walking down a sidewalk on her own elicits slurs. Whores. Sluts. It is an anger I recognize and have witnessed very recently, in the year leading up to the election. My memory flashes to that man in the German deli that Michael and I had run in with. I can still see his face, his cheeks flushed pink with his anger. He is part of a group of men who support this current administration because they believe their religion and white skin entitles them to something more than to those different from them.
The women show up to work one morning only to be told to go home. A law banning women from working, owning property or money was passed in the night. You'd like to think that things would never come this far here, but right now there are twelve senators deciding the fate for our health care and not a one of them is a woman. The latest health care reform includes rape and pregnancy on the pre-existing condition list that Insurance companies do not have to cover or can charge you more to cover. It takes away free birth control, which does more than prevent pregnancy. For many women who use it, birth control lessens the sometimes debilitating symptoms of menstruation. There is a large portion of Americans who voted for Trump for one specific reason. They believe he will make abortions illegal. They care about nothing else like environment, education, health care. The most important issue to them is to take away a woman's right to choose what she does with her body.
It is not just the misogyny that bothers me. This fictitious society hangs people for being homosexual. They hang people of religions other than their own. Catholic priests. Jews. Muslims. You see them hanging from ropes. Hang any one different. This administration threatens to appeal gay marriage laws and some states have started passing legislature that would make it impossible for a gay couple to adopt and care for a child. Trump campaigned on a promise to ban Muslims and to refuse refugees. He campaigned on promises of hate and discrimination toward people who are different and a large portion of this country agreed with this and said "yes! He is the best choice for our country!" So it's not so hard for me to see how it easy would be for our society to turn into something similar as to the one represented in the Handmaid's Tale.
The Handmaid's Tale is a cautionary story of how dangerous it is not vote, to not pay attention. It is a reminder that we can be better and it is a reminder to have hope for better. It is a reminder to call your senators, to flood their office with letters and phone calls, urging them not accept a health care reform bill that makes insurance impossible for those with pre-existing conditions. It is cautionary tale that reminds us to NEVER stop fighting against misogyny, racism, homophobia and discrimination.