It's a war that's already started.
People keep talking about it like it is theoretical, but watching a friend get a dog because white nationalists are stalking them for their abortion rights efforts? Citizens dead at the hands of radicalized gunmen? A global pandemic where people in power favored the economy over the health of its constituents - leading to thousands of preventable deaths? How about - something more close to home for the trans community I'm a part of here in the Northeast - a NH man who said he'd shoot the "next drag queen" who "got near his daughter"? This commentary closed the local school system for a couple of days.
This is the blueprint to a no-longer-so-Cold war.
I've struggled to write on this topic - and struggle more in the wake of the latest massacre that's left 19 children dead - but since the draft of the Roe v. Wade reversal leaked, I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Problem is, there seem to be many shoes dropping - so many in the last couple of decades since I've been alive to observe them that it feels like it's its own weather pattern.
Cloudy with a chance of penny loafers.
But which one is going to be The Shoe?
It wasn't Beto standing up to Abbott about gun control.
It wasn't the political stunts across the country where the pigs started looking like "the good guys" by arresting extremists at Pride events.
(We all know that if these officers weren't on duty, there would be a non-zero number of them walking around with those stupid white stockings over their faces too.)
Surprisingly, it wasn't the aforementioned leaked draft reversal either, which would have implications for so many fundamental reproductive rights down the road. (Though perhaps it's because those who suffer the most are going to be (a) those who have a uterus, (b) low-income communities, and (c) people of color. All of whom have basically been written off as an inconvenience for cis-het men bent on keeping up their power trip.)
It gives me chills to think what kind of shoe is going to have to plop into the already turbulent ocean of events. What is it going to take to trigger the glacier of inaction to calve a terrifying iceberg? What's going to be the Titanic to crash into that iceberg?
As it is, I feel like I'm catastrophizing a situation that has yet to pass - and maybe won't ever pass in my lifetime. But I find myself sitting in front of my computer now with a tab opened for Planned Parenthood wondering what the safest course is for my body given the tenuous rights it has, tabs about transphobic events happening across the country, and yet another that's the news talking about the several more mass shootings that have happened since Uvalde.
I won't even count the tabs I have open for safety measures my peers and I are taking ahead of our own region's Pride event, where a number of vile stickers have been appearing on the bike path of what we thought was a liberal enough city for us to safely exist.
(And this is not counting the disgustingly racist ones we've scratched off with keys in utter horror at what it could mean for our trans siblings of color.)
So, yes, this war has already begun. It's just not hitting everyone equally right now - and honestly, there was never a time when the repercussions of war have been doled out so everyone suffers the same amount.
War, no matter the reason for its incitement, disproportionately affects those struggling to keep any semblance of societal standing. (I do not think I need to repeat points (a)-(c) when considering why the draft leak didn't cause as much of an uproar as it could have.)
This war, though, despite its historical depictions of two sides coming up against each other to "duke it out", looks less like its predecessors.
It's more insidious - quasi-silently snuffing out lives in a wave of ephemeral media updates that shock the ones in relative safety and devastate the ones who aren't. Then, these lives disappear from the public eye as the fallout is swept under the rug. The afterlife of these traumatic events are unconsidered and so they continue as if they're commonplace as natural disasters during climate change.
A shooting of a predominantly Black church or the violent death of a trans woman become no more than a hurricane flooding a Louisiana suburb.
Nothing yet, apart perhaps from the death of George Floyd, has been given the same amount of press coverage as the wildfires crawling over the West coast and rendering towns to ash.
Even now, only a handful of weeks since Uvalde, there's an eerie silence that follows the story's burial.
Upon reflection, maybe I'm not catastrophizing. Maybe all of us frantically trying to patch holes in this Titanic-that's-already-hit-the-iceberg are just being gaslit into thinking we are overblowing just how serious this is.
And that hypothesis is even more terrifying to consider.