Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP/Shutterstock

Opinion

Get Arrested, Everyone's Doing It

This is a call to action from an unlikely source. I am an attorney by trade, so it’s instinctual for me to avoid the idea of arrest for any reason, at all times. Even with arrests stemming from peaceful protesting, I never saw a need for it. I did for a while, during the Bush years, but then I thought about possibly needing a security clearance one day, and I like options, so I decided against it. I also feel that words and the power of persuasion are the strongest tools at my disposal, so I put my focus into that. I was always the one ducking out of “actions” during the NOW National Conference, or avoiding scenarios where violence or arrest could occur.

But now, things are changing, and my reasons for sitting out are, too. Don’t get me wrong—I have gone to rallies, held up signs, led the “hey hey, ho ho” chants. I even stood in front of a Planned Parenthood in Okla. City holding a “Keep Abortion Legal” sign, so I’m committed. But the idea of crossing over into Civil Disobedience and getting arrested for it was where I always drew the line. Until today.
Yesterday, the Senate received that notorious FBI report that was subsequently rushed to the super-secret basement where only the privileged elite could read it. How fitting. Given that we already knew what was in it, mostly, all that was left was to just read how the GOP was responding. Suddenly, they came out of that dark basement room like it was Beach Week with P.J. and Squi, and the only thing more discernible than their self-importance was their confidence.

But we were prepared. Protest plans had already been made, and activists kept flooding phone lines like before, until something happened that lit an extra fire under the people (mostly women) who marched into the Hart Senate Building to protest yesterday. Maybe it was the aftermath of a two-week collective PTSD episode, experienced by the entire country. Maybe it was that nice, Jeff Flake-sponsored cooling-off moment for half a week that recharged everyone. Or maybe it was Amy Schumer.
I’m not someone who jumps on a bandwagon of celebrity, especially if illegality is involved, but when reports came in that over 1,000 people (again, mostly women) had taken over the Hart Building, and that Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski were with them, it was inspiring. Watching people go to Congress to exercise their civic duty and let their voices be heard is always powerful, but this was next-level. And it suddenly matched that next level forced on us by the elite male voices of the Republican party, telling victims we don’t matter.

The last two weeks of this Kavanaugh confirmation fiasco have taken a toll on survivors and those who support them. We have all been reliving that fear of speaking out and no one believing us or even caring, except it’s been playing out in real time in our own government, and they are no longer afraid to openly tell us they don’t care. A man’s reputation, regardless of his actions, is more important than a woman’s dignity and safety, and we hear it everywhere. It is the new GOP rally cry against the united power of the female collective that they don’t understand and fear like nothing else. With every Kavanaugh-determined step forward the GOP takes to get their way, our humanity gets stripped away, again and again.
Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski reminded everyone that women in America are not safe, and no amount of money or power can insulate us. They also showed us the importance of inspiring others to action.
But I’ve decided that we have reached a boiling point where the actions of civil disobedience that could lead to arrest are justified and warranted now. We have been told to our faces that we don’t matter and that we are not important—it’s not even a secret or underlying latent tendency anymore. The Republican Party has now openly declared war on women, and we have to be prepared to fight in every way we can. Seeing celebrities we know and love stand beside us makes it all the more real and pressing.

Schumer and Ratajkowski reminded everyone that women in America are not safe, and no amount of money or power can insulate us. They also showed us the importance of inspiring others to action. It’s not the arrest itself—it’s the meaning behind it, and the ability to take back a small amount of power that is taken from us every day by the assailants in our own government. In war, you have to be able to utilize every strength and every strategy, and I am now understanding the importance of this one. When things get this bad, when money or power will not even save you from the attacks of your own leaders, you have to step up. So, I’m not backing down, and I will fight with everything I have. I’m ready to get arrested.