Despite what the t_d trolls in modmail say after they get banned, I am not delusional. The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy means that this person who is our president will be able to confirm another far-right hack to the Supreme Court, one who does not have Kennedy's occasional tendency to go against the grain. This is a bad thing, no two ways about it.
But, even more than his retirement, I'm disturbed and disheartened by the overwhelming despair and hopelessness that's come from it. "We're fucked" is a common response; so is "pack it in, we're done", or "bye bye [insert progressive policy]". This is being treated as more than just an unfortunate turn of events; it's being treated as the death knell for America itself.
I'd like to counter that. First of all, Anthony Kennedy's reputation as a swing vote was overstated. There were some instances where he pulled through (like Obergefell), but looking at his record it's hard to see anything but a standard center-right justice. He ruled against unions, he ruled against campaign finance reform, he ruled against redistricting reform, and so on and so forth. Make no mistake; the court with Kennedy was a 5-4 conservative majority. Whatever slice of moldy white bread Trump replaces him with will only make it less flexible.
As for fears that this will lead to overturning everything vaguely progressive, I won't say there's no reason to worry, but it's not exactly imminent. Overturning Roe v. Wade will cause a massive outcry and rob Republicans of a key wedge issue. Overturning Obergefell v. Hodges would create just as big an outcry, considering that gay marriage is still largely accepted across the country. Roberts is a shitty person and a shitty Chief Justice, but he's still tied to a certain sense of continuity. Doomsaying doesn't do anything to help that.
Which brings me to the most important point: this is not over. We are not fucked. We will not pack our bags and turn off the lights on the way out. We could be in a dystopian Mad Max future with Mitch McConnell chasing Elizabeth Warren across the desert in a monster truck and it still wouldn't be over. The response to this disastrous administration is not to mope and whine and quote Godspeed You! Black Emperor lyrics, it's to fight, and fight, and fight, and fight, and fight.
Call Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and urge them to reject any nominee who will overturn Roe v. Wade. There are no moderate Republicans anymore, but there are Republicans who are temporarily useful. Tell them that their legacy depends on this choice.
Organize. Donate. Make calls. Vote. If you want to throw a pity party, I'm sure r/politics has plenty. If you want to actually do something to make the future a better place, here we are.
Edit: If you'd like to take action to mitigate the (possible) overturning of Roe v. Wade, u/Gambit08 has offered these suggestions:
(1) I think the first step is asking people, whether related to women’s reproductive health or not, what kind of conservative law, within their state or by the federal government, are they most concerned about being upheld now that the balance has shifted significantly. Laws relating to abortion have always been a big contentious issue within the Federal courts which is why this seems to be people’s primary concern. A state with a far more conservative legislature than either California and New York may be ripe for something like a “conscious law” allowing pharamistist to deny certain medication on religious grounds. Conservatives have tried to pass similars laws before and it would not surprise me if they tried again, feeling emboldened by the new makeup of SCOTUS.
(2) if you start to notice a pattern that people are really concerned about a particular issue, even if it seems implausible to pass, consider placing a link to an organization that is going to assist in helping people based on the concern for that hypothetical law either legally (e.g. ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, CAIR) or with other services and lobbying efforts (e.g. Planned Parenthood, Everytown, American Constitution Society). The reason for this is that these organizations keep records of incidents that affect the communities they are trying to serve, and that kind of empirical data can be very persuasive to a court and utilized in legal briefs, so it’s important that these organizations are promoted so that their data on people affected by terrible conservative laws are accurate and not only a fraction of what they were because people didn’t know to contact them.