Tag Archives: pro-choice

Swimming To The Surface

25 Jun

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

12 Dec

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

9 Nov

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.

Some Thoughts Before The Vote

7 Nov

I’m not the brightest knife in the six-pack. Shut up. (I used to have this friend who always got her clichés wrong. It was hard to beat a dead horse when he was down. Things were slow as vinegar in April) I just have my own way of learning. It must work because last week I was watching this super-neat NOVA program called “The Fabric of the Cosmos” and they were talking about something and I was all Higgs particles! He’s talking about Higgs particles, y’all! And then I went on to discuss the Large Hadron Collider, AS I DO, and Chuck got all glassy-eyed like I do when he’s talking about hunting rifles, and I was all point well taken.

I’m not saying he’s not interested in the Hadron Collider or doesn’t get it, I’m saying he knows having it explained by someone whose only physics classroom time came from half a semester of high school physics taught by the soccer coach makes him assume I’m leaving some important stuff out. And admittedly, describing the Large Hadron Collider as, “This particle accelerator thing where they want to smash atoms together to see what they throw off and do a bunch of science, ” is not the most comprehensive explanation out there.

The other night I was reading something having to do with all of the above and I started thinking about eyes. The human eye is much used by creationists and proponents of intelligent design to discredit evolution. How, they say, could such an intricate thing come about by evolution? Does it not show the force of something greater? Well, no, I don’t think so. If the eye were to have been created as-is by some God-force, why is it so intricate? Why not create something that’s easy for its owner to understand and therefore easy to fix when broken?

The thing about using God as a means to explain science is that there’s a whole lot of And Then A Miracle Happens in the explanation. It’s no different from my boneheaded attempt to explain the workings of the world’s largest particle accelerator. Science and religion can absolutely coexist, but they do not need to be confused with one another.

Mississippi’s personhood vote tomorrow has been making me think a lot about the intersection of science and religion. I haven’t heard anyone make an argument FOR pershonhood that does not have a basis in religious belief. I don’t believe religious people need to leave their beliefs at the door, but I do think that faith must guide secular decisions, not overwhelm them. Personhood is a secular issue.

Personhood says that your rights are no different from the rights of a clump of cells. Personhood says that you, with all your thoughts, your conscience, your consciousness, don’t deserve any more special consideration than the products of conception.

Mississippi, you think you’re sucking from the government teat now? Wait until Personhood is the law of the land. How many more people will it add to your welfare rolls? How many doctors will stop practicing because they can’t get malpractice insurance and because they fear criminal prosecution? How many more police, public defenders, district attorneys, and prisons will you have to add? How many businesses will leave? How many businesses will never open? How much money are you willing to spend? Because if this amendment passes tomorrow, the cash registers of lawyers start heating up. Personhood will immediately go to court and it will stay there for years. And Mississippi, you will pay for it.

It seems that the people behind the personhood initiative have done a good job at making voters think this issue is easy. That it’s black and white. If you’re against abortion, you vote yes. If you’re a godless communist, you vote no. This vote is not about religion. It is about rights. It is about defining man-made law. No one wants to amend religious text with this vote. You are not defying God by opposing this measure.

I know that I’m sort of preaching to the choir with this piece. If you’re reading my blog, chances are it’s because you tend to agree with me. Either that or you just have too much time on your hands. And are a masochist. I guess what I’m asking is that you not go ignorantly to the polls. Read the amendment. Think about what it really means for you and your family. Think about how it’s going to impact your business. If you pray, pray about it. Voting no does not mean you sanction abortion. It means you care about your family and your community. It means you respect the law. It means you understand issues are never just black and white. It means that you are not so gullible as to let a bunch of well-paid lobbyists create a big government theocracy in your backyard.

Click to visit Mississippi Secretary of State website

An Open Letter to Congress

14 Oct

Where to begin?

I understand you don’t care about me. I understand that because I am not a corporation, because I have a uterus, because I don’t make $250,000 a year or more that I am not now, nor will I ever be, important to you. I get it. All I have is my vote. So I understand that even if you were to read this, you would ignore it. I understand that even if I were standing in front of you reading this, you’d act as if you were listening, pat me on my head, and send me on my way. But I’m going to keep going. Because I foolishly believe that my vote counts. That my voice counts. And that if I keep yelling, maybe one day you will pay attention.

So here’s what I want to tell you.

  1. This is not a theocracy. Your religious views do not get to dictate policy. If you are religious, I expect your faith to guide you. I do not expect it to overrule science and common sense. If it is doing so, I assume that you really have NO faith, only religion. And, yes, there is a difference. I understand that some of you believe the Bible to be the same as a scientific journal. It is not. It is not science. Creation is a story, no different than the ancient Egyptian tale of Khephri rolling the sun like a huge dung ball through the sky to account for the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. I can believe that story. I can teach my children that story. I can learn that story in school as a tale of history, but is not science, and because you don’t agree with science based on your religion, does not mean you get to ban it.
  2. Like abortion. Your religion may teach you that abortion is wrong no matter the circumstances, but you do not get to tell me what I can do with my body and my family based on your religion. Oppose abortion. Come up with ways to make it obsolete, but until you do that, stay out of my body. House members, you just gave the thumbs-up to one of the most disgusting pieces of legislation I have ever read. Those of you supporting this bill, purporting to be pro-life are not. You are pro-fetus. Please be specific. This bill, much like a personhood amendment, does not respect life. When you want to talk about when life begins, you want to use science, but ignore it all other times. Your definition of life does nothing to respect the soul or consciousness–the very things that make us human. The division of cells as life is something we share with a guinea pig and a carrot. The division of cells is not what makes us human. I understand the anti-choice movement has truckloads of money they’re willing to throw at anti-choice legislation. I get it. Maybe you won’t take an outright bribe, but you’ll sure take those campaign contributions since you’ve got to run for office every few years.
  3. I hope that you at least have the decency to be ashamed that you brought this bill up at a time when we’re still looking at an almost double-digit unemployment rate, but I understand that’s a wasted hope. I get how much you like to use women’s health and the dark specter of abortion to divert our attention from that 9.1% unemployment rate. In fact, it’s the only time you seem to acknowledge women exist– which is weird since there are about 100 women in Congress.
  4. You spend time pandering to corporations while ignoring people protesting your treatment of those corporations. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe we wouldn’t have so many bright young people occupying Wall Street if you did something to help them occupy Main Street? If competition is part of a free market, give these people incentives for jumping into that market. Start understanding that job training leads to job creation. Not everyone needs to go to college. We have got to stop educating all children to be college professors (as Sir Ken Robinson says, “educating from the waist up.”) and then ignoring them when they fail at the task. Personally, I’d love to see some incentives for people to open up groceries so I could choose from more than Kroger or Kroger to do my shopping. I’d like you to give incentives to cities that add bike lanes so more people have more access to those groceries. I don’t want you to employ me. I want you to make it worth it to my neighbor to employ me.
  5. Insurance companies are not the champion of the little man. They are businesses wanting to make money, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But please understand that I don’t want you in the business of getting me good health insurance. I want you to create a climate that gets me good health care.
  6. As a member of Congress, your personal best interest and the best interest of the district you represent may not always be aligned. You work for us. You do what’s best for the district. If you want only to serve your personal best interest, leave Congress and go be a job creator in the private sector. I hear there are fabulous benefits in that.
I shouldn’t feel like this was wasted effort, but I am a middle class woman and my government does not care about me. And that is all I will be thinking about next time I vote.
Sincerely,
Susan

Sarah Palin: The Anti-Woman Woman

17 Nov

My friends like to kid me (Well, sort of kid. I think they’re actually serious most of the time.) that I do my best writing when I’m pissed off/on my high horse/ full of righteous indignation. If that’s the case, hold tight because I’m good and pissed off right now.

I just read an excerpt from Sarah Palin’s new book. If you haven’t just eaten, you can go over to Gawker and read a little of it. If you’ve just eaten, I recommend waiting a while to read it. I want to zone in on one area in particular.

Ms. Palin discusses her pro-life position.  About young women in the pro-life movement she says, “They are young, their ranks are growing, and the girls and women among them are not buying yesterday’s orthodoxy about the inextricable link between abortion and women’s liberation. No matter how many times the feminist establishment tells them to sit down and shut up, they show no signs of doing so. Let the debate over the true meaning of feminism begin.”  She says that feminists, “seem to want to tell these young women that they’re not capable, that you can’t give your child life and still pursue your dreams. Their message is: ‘Women, you are not strong enough or smart enough to do both. You are not capable.’”

She talks about her son who has Down’s syndrome. She says, “I want to help other women who are in the same situation. Women who may be thinking that these are less-than-ideal circumstances to have a child, and maybe I can just make this go away and we’ll pretend it never happened. I want to tell them that if you give this life a chance, your life truly will change for the better.”

Of her daughter who became pregnant at seventeen, she says, “I’m proud that she chose life.” She says that what she and her daughter went through with their pregnancies changed her own perspective. “I understand much better why a woman might be tempted to take what seems like the easy way out and change the circumstances. I understand what goes through her mind, even if for a brief moment, a split second, because I’ve been there.”

You know, I couldn’t be here—sitting here at my computer, speaking my mind—if it weren’t for the women who came before me and cleared the road. What “women’s liberation” did for me was allow me to have a voice. To be part of the process. No one has ever told me to “sit down and shut up” although I’m sure there are many who have wanted to.  I’ve not silenced another woman’s voice. And I never will. You know why? It is in diversity that we find commonality. It has been my experience that when we take the time to listen to each other’s very different stories, our desire is to find a shared one.  And I believe that when people with very differing views communicate—really talk and listen to each other—the joy we have in our shared experiences increases exponentially.

The problem I have with Ms. Palin’s assertion that the “feminist establishment” is so dogmatic is that her position is so anti-woman. It’s like writers trashing other writers. It’s like a high school version of the real world. And it’s just not true. NEVER has any woman told me I couldn’t or shouldn’t pursue my dreams. And you know what? Because of that, I’ve NEVER said that to another woman. I wouldn’t. Because it doesn’t matter if I agree with her position or think her dream is ridiculous. There is room enough for both of us.  That, for her, what the women’s movement boils down to is abortion rights rips away the accomplishments of all those other women before us who fought (and still fight) for equal pay, affordable child care, or holding a public office.

But what really hurts me is that Ms. Palin wants to take away what she is so proud of: Choice. Choice. Chance. Decision.  She and her daughter chose to have children. Why is it not okay for me to choose not to have children? Why does it always come down to abortion? I chose not to have children. That’s totally different from choosing to abort.  So maybe my family doesn’t look like hers, but mine is the family I chose.

I know no woman who sees abortion as birth control. I can’t think of a single woman I know who faced an unplanned pregnancy who was willing to “pretend it never happened.” It makes me so incredibly sad that Ms. Palin thinks the decision to abort is an easy one. Because if we’re still talking about family planning in those terms, we’re screwed, guys.

What I can give to other women is the benefit of my experience, and Ms. Palin can as well. Ms. Palin should absolutely share her story if she chooses. We need to hear all sides. More importantly, we need to listen to all sides.  And it should be absolutely none of her business what my story is unless I choose to share it with her.

Because it’s not about the fact that someone is pro-life. That’s a ridiculous label, “pro-life”.  I’m not “anti-life” because I believe a woman has a right to a safe abortion. It is about the fact that people like Ms. Palin want to take my choice away. Ms. Palin doesn’t think I’m smart enough to choose for myself. So all that stuff about the feminist agenda and the “feminist establishment” is just projection.  All that blunder, all that smoke isn’t a call to women for us not to buy The Establishment line. It’s simply one woman saying to another: I know what’s better for you than you do. And that is about the most anti-woman position I can think of.

So Ms. Palin can call herself a part of the new breed of feminists if she wants. I don’t really care. It’s not the label that’s important. It’s what’s in the bottle that matters. And I don’t really see much in that particular bottle other than a bunch of nothing.