THE harsh winds blew last February. Anger at my ineptness overwhelmed me and propelled me into an abyss of depression.
So little control I have over others, over myself! How angry I can become, and there is nothing to do with the anger but consume it. I turn my head away from problems, wishing them gone forever. How hard to right the wrongs in society! Our labors are usually in vain, for only a concerted effort will do. Then a turning comes in the midst of illness, a glimmer of hope.
I was recuperating from surgery, lying in bed, listlessly turning the pages of the newspaper, when a miracle happened! I saw an article about John S. Arnick's appointment to a Baltimore County judgeship. He was also being accused of using sexual slurs, such as "blond bimbos" and "lying bitches," when referring to spousal-abuse victims. The article clearly spelled out a familiar but forgotten scenario: the good-old-boy network in action.
The senators, according to the newspaper, were going to push through the approval of Mr. Arnick, despite the damaging testimony of a reputable female witness. I got out of bed and began storming about my room.
"What makes them think they can get away with this?" I muttered. "I thought all of this stuff was behind us!"
At last I was alive.
I got the home and office telephone numbers of 15 senators and called each one of them. These were not friendly calls. I knew I could not get the job done by myself; I needed help.
I called my neighbors to rally their support. I was delighted and relieved by their eagerness, especially the husbands. They, too, had followed the story and were outraged. Soon neighbors and friends were calling their senators; switchboards were jammed with calls.
When the storm ended, John Arnick was forced to withdraw. He would not sit in judgment over women abused by their husbands or raped by strangers.
I didn't feel sorry for costing Mr. Arnick his job. I believe we all make choices, and he made his. Mr. Arnick did me a favor, in fact: He reminded me that sexism still exists, that freedom is something we all have to fight for and that anger can be used appropriately and powerfully to the good of all.
My step was more lively. I felt good about myself and society. I felt hopeful, and a little more in control.
Now Mr. Arnick is back. While we were preoccupied with back-to-school and our jobs, our politicians and Mr. Arnick's friends slipped him back into his old job and back into our lives.
Why was it that I didn't notice the dry rust creeping into the leaves and the return of the night's cold chill?
My winter's depression returns.
Joy Rupertus writes from Baltimore.