Swimming To The Surface

2102_47438731251_2845_nI told you I’d be gone and then back. The “back” part has given me a little trouble. I just spent a long weekend with my honey. I don’t remember the last time we went out of town just the two of us. And this trip was to a magical place with no cellphone reception or internet. It was incredible. And I mean that in the true sense of the word. I actually didn’t believe we were there. It was so amazing, I only complained about bugs like ten times.

We did quite a bit of fishing. By that I mean we sacrificed many yummy worms to tiny baby fish. We only hauled up about three, only one of which was worth heating up the grease for. It was a 22 inch catfish. Yes, I know. I’m supposed to tell you its weight, not its length. We didn’t have anything to weigh it it and I am notoriously bad at estimating anything that requires a number value. “Oh, it’s about a hundred yards from here.” That means nothing to me. A yard, a mile, a hectare? All the same. Oh, and don’t get me started on stones. One stone equals fourteen pounds? You know what else equals fourteen pounds? Fourteen pounds.

But that’s not the point. The point is that I’ve been in a self-imposed news exile for several months. Lookit, I know. I KNOW. You don’t need to give me all the crap about caring what goes on in the world and how we’re all connected and being a clueless American. Suck it. I’ve got enough drama here in the Greater Metropolitan Standard Shed Area. I don’t need yours too. So I’m just going to get it out all in one fell swoop.

Let’s begin, shall we? In no particular order…

  1. SCOTUS knocks down a key piece of Voting Rights Act saying that because it’s worked, we no longer need it. Okay, I see where they’re going with this. Following this logic, The Supremes will ban birth control by ruling, “Hey, you didn’t get knocked up last year, did you? No. It worked. You don’t need it anymore. NEXT!”
  2. Paula Deen’s sons say she’s not a racist! She let us watch Hank Aaron! Y’all, stick some butter in your pie holes and be quiet. But even more? Gentle readers, stop assuming that because she’s a Southern woman of a certain age she doesn’t know any better or doesn’t mean anything by it.
  3. In Texas, according to State Representative Jodie Laubenberg, if you’re raped and report it, you get a complimentary abortion! Apparently, “in the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out.”  To quote my extremely profound husband, “Wow.”
  4. Twenty-three Seven years ago, I was denied admission to Bennington College. Why they chose not to accept my application is beyond me. Who WOULDN’T want me at their school? Who could possibly deny themselves the pleasure of my company? I shall now sue. Some kid gets denied admission to University of Texas and, I can only imagine, is then hounded by some lawyer wanting to make a (literal) federal case that she was denied admission because she was white. So, all I want to say about this is that she WAS admitted to Texas, just not the Austin campus. She then chose to go to LSU. I don’t know the ins and outs of all this, but I do know this: If she’d really wanted to end up on that Austin campus, she could have worked at it. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and whatnot.
  5. This really isn’t bad news, but I thought I’d include it anyway. Rick Santorum is going to head a “faith-based” movie studio in Dallas. First, moving away from politics is an excellent decision. But. I’m always skeptical of companies who make a big deal that they’re “faith-based” or “Christian”. To me if you’re walking the walk, you don’t need to advertise your talk. I find it in poor taste to use faith and religion in marketing. And by “in poor taste” I mean “desperate”.

Sweet Fancy Moses Award

Y’all, I feel like I’m beating my head against a hard brick wall of stupid. Today I’m introducing an award. It’s called The Sweet Fancy Moses. The winner or winners are people or issues that make me want to barricade myself inside my house and eat lots of fudge.  Let’s chat a moment, shall we?

Newt. We need to talk about Newt. Despite the fact that I totally yelled “BUUUUUURN!” at the television the other night when he told Romney he was not a career politician only because he lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994, Newt has today earned a Sweet Fancy Moses from me by pledging “to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse.” Um? Newt? I don’t want to pick nits here, but didn’t you pretty much do that when you got married? All three times? Now, I understand your love of country got you all hawt and bothered. Okay, I don’t understand that. I understand that’s what you said after you’d cheated. “There’s no question at times in my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.” You said that. So what, exactly, is going to happen if the fine people of The US of A elect you as our supreme overlord president? If you thought you were workin’ hard trying to crucify Clinton for knockin’ boots with an intern, what is it you think’s going to happen as president? Or do you just not feel as passionately about your country as you did then? There’s a pill for that. But if you stand for the Pledge Of Allegiance for more than four hours, call a doctor. 

A no adultery pledge means about as much as renewing wedding vows. THAT’S WHAT MARRIAGE MEANS. That part where you said you’d forsake all others until death? That means it’s not like your driver’s license. You don’t have to renew every four years.

Interestingly enough, in this pledge, Newt also promised to respect the marital bonds of others. AWESOME! So now I guess that means he believes the gays can get married and take part in such subversive acts as joint tax returns just like the rest…oh. I’m getting word that is not actually what that means. Newt also promised to do away with big government by using the federal government to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, enacting and promoting legislation to allow healthcare workers not to treat people if it conflicts with their religious beliefs, and enact legislation to promote a pro-fetus agenda. Newt, I think you and I have a different idea of what big government means.

Congratulations, Newt. You’re in good company with your SFM Award. A company such as Lowe’s.

Apparently there’s a show called “All-American Muslim” which is, obviously, about a Catholic family in Tokyo. I kid. I’d never hear of it until today because I don’t have cable and I don’t get out much. You can watch the show on the same network that brings you such thought-provoking programs as “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” and “Extreme Couponing”. It’s about Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan. Point is, Lowe’s pulled out as an advertiser after pressure from a group called the Florida Family Association. I’m not linking to their site. You’ll have to go on your own if you want to get in on their particular brand of hate.

According to a story on mlive.com, a Michigan news site, a Lowe’s spokesperson said, “We understand the program raised concerns, complaints, or issues from multiple sides of the viewer spectrum, which we found after doing research of news articles and blogs covering the show. We based our decision to pull the advertising on this research and after hearing the concerns we received through emails, calls, through social media and in news reports.”

In case you’re interested in the sort of anti-American, jihadist propaganda the show espouses, let me show you something from the show. A new mother,  Nawal Aoude, wrote a letter to her newborn son. It will give you a good idea of their radical agenda up there in Michigan:

My dearest Naseem,

Before you were born, your father bought a journal. We agreed to write in it and document your first year in this world. When you’re old enough, you’ll read all about the adventures and emotions we had welcoming you into this world. He writes in it almost every day. However, you might notice that it takes many weeks (6 to be exact) before I write my first entry. There is a reason for this. Hopefully this letter will help you understand why it took me a while to find the strength and courage to write.  

Looking at you, now 4 months old, it is so hard for me to express or describe what these past months have been like. No amount of words can describe the worries, the joy, and most importantly the love that have consumed my heart all starting with your first breath of air at 11:28 am on August 5, 2011.

Becoming a mom, most importantly –YOUR mom, has been a wonderful experience and nothing will ever take the place of the emotions I felt the first time I held you in my arms. 

My lovely boy, bringing you home was the beginning of a rollercoaster ride of emotions that weren’t easy. In my mind, you had become my ultimate responsibility—it was just you and I, there were no more physicians, and no more nurses to help usher me into motherhood. This terrified me. I was so afraid that I wasn’t good enough.  Your beauty and innocence was intimidating. How could I care for such perfection? I am not perfect; I make mistakes, and what if I made a mistake? These were my thoughts…I couldn’t afford to make a mistake; the repercussions were too great to take any chances. So, what was I to do?  

Overwhelmed with all of these scary feelings was isolating. I felt helpless; I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I wasn’t able to control the situation…(something you’ll come to learn is very unusual for me).

As I began to recover (physically) from delivering you into this world, I was desperately trying to recover emotionally and mentally as well. I lost all sense of my identity — who was I? Was I the respiratory therapist who nursed newborns back to health? The 25 year old, devoted wife of Nader Aoude, or now the loving and nurturing mother of Naseem Aoude? And if I’m a combination of all of these things, how do I begin to create this new and improved identity. It wasn’t easy to conceptualize.

In prayer, during Qunoot (supplication during prayer) I begged for answers. At Sujood (prostration during prayer) I cried and cried. I had no way of releasing my emotions but through my constant, uncontrollable cries and prayer.

But, my point Naseem, and this is the one most important thing I need you to always know: although my recovery was a hard time for me, in no way did this affect my love for you and happiness that was buried deep down inside.

The truth is, it was YOUR beautiful face that got me through these rough moments. It was the sound of YOUR voice that comforted me. It was YOU…..And your dad of course —lets not forget about him. He is the backbone to our family; and without him there is no us.

And now, as I find my way back to our new normal, one thing has become increasingly clear: Motherhood is one of God’s greatest rewards in life. And, Alhamdulillah (thank God), I have been blessed with this opportunity.  

Every new dawn is a new day, a new breath, a new Naseem. And it is you who brings me to life everyday. My little one, it is you who has taught me about the greatest rewards in this world.  It was you who brought me back to life. I have become a woman beyond capable measures—totally exceeding any expectations I ever had for myself.  Thank You  my angel.

I love you.  

Yours always,

Mama

Here’s a tissue. I kind of needed one after reading that. I think if you substituted “Margaret” for “Nawal” and “Brad” for “Naseem”, no one would give this show a second look. After perusing the website of the show, I recommend they change the name to “Muslims Doing Boring Stuff” or “Normal Americans Who Love Their Families”. These are fairly conservative Americans, guys.

Lowe’s has acted irresponsibly, and I don’t necessarily mean by pulling the ads. Lowe’s apparently didn’t do its homework on the front end to find out about where it was putting its advertising dollars. If they don’t want to advertise on a certain show, that’s fine. But there is doing what you want and doing what’s right. Lowe’s had a chance to do right and blew it. The company could have said, you know what? We don’t discriminate based on religion. Period, end of discussion. But it didn’t and now it’s getting tons of free publicity which, honestly, I believe to be the reason the company pulled the ads. Why pay for something you can get free? There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right? As Oscar Wilde said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

Congratulations to today’s Sweet Fancy Moses winners!

The Battle, Not The War

I’m trying to do a big girl grown up piece for Like The Dew. I’m having trouble stringing everything together. Fortunately, you dear people are used to my semi-coherent ramblings, so I don’t feel bad for just posting a bunch of stuff and letting you sort out the meaning. Like reading tea leaves. Or entrails.

Here are some thoughts about yesterday’s personhood vote:

  • I’ve been asked a couple of times today if I was surprised about the outcome of the election. No, I wasn’t. Understand, however, I’d be saying the same thing had personhood passed.
  • Normally I’m not a political wonk. I don’t study the numbers like baseball fans study statistics. I did wonder how the poorest counties, the Mississippians who could least afford for this amendment to pass, voted. I looked at AP results by county. Turns out, of the twenty counties (of 82) in Mississippi with the lowest per capita incomes, only two (Marion and Greene) voted to ratify. One showed a tie (Benton) and two were not reporting results (Tunica and Wilkinson).
  • Was there an income gap? Of the five counties with highest per capita income, only Lee County voted yes. Tupelo is in Lee County and is the home of Donald Wildmon, former leader of American Family Association and a vocal anti-choice leader.
  • Here’s what I think. I’ve got nothing to back me up on this, just my gut. I think there were many Mississippians who felt they had to publicly support personhood, then got in the voting booth and voted what their consciences and good sense told them. I think there were women with husbands supporting the measure who, in the privacy of the voting booth, decided to stand up for all the women this would impact.
  • I think Mississippians saw beyond the slick websites and highly-paid lobbyists to see this was a purposely vague amendment with dangerous ramifications well beyond banning abortion.
  • Remember, the overwhelming majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose. That little fact gets lost in the fray.
  • Like MacArthur and herpes, this issue will be back. Personhood proponents are well-funded zealots who will not go away.
  • I think this amendment scared people into paying attention. I think voters will remember this and make an effort to educate themselves better on ballot issues.
  • Tennessee, you’re next. There’s an amendment out there saying that women do not have a constitutional right to an abortion.