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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Blog for Choice 2011, Here we are again.

I’m sick of writing about Choice in a country that guarantees it’s citizens the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You’d think that by this point in the 21st century, people would understand what that means, but they don’t because we are becoming the most ignorant developed nation in the world.

A little education would go a long, long way in this culture. There is ZERO scriptural basis to oppose abortion. In the Old Testament, the death of a baby over one month old was worth 5 shekels for a boy, 3 for a girl. Abortion and infanticide were common. And then we have passages in the bible like Psalm 137 where people wax rhapsodic about dashing the babies of their enemies against the stones. That “god” was never concerned with the disposition of fetuses, except when encouraging genocide.

Moving forward, Jesus, if he ever lived, never said a word about abortion. He talked about slavery and war and giving your wealth to the poor and caring for the sick, but not one word attributed to him was about abortion. Such glaring omission leads me to believe he wasn’t overly concerned with it.

The Christian hierarchy changed their minds about abortion every hundred years or so, and their lurid imaginations varied from group to group,  but when you get right down to it, the opposition to abortion on religious grounds is a fiction perpetuated by priests who know full well that there’s power and profit in numbers. Zero. religious. grounds.

Until it has a fully functioning brain, in about the 5th month of gestation, a fetus is only potential life. It may theoretically become a living being, but it isn’t one yet. That’s why you get a birth certificate when you are born – that’s when you become an actual person.

Now, a young, fertile, sexually active woman is ACTUAL life. She’s a person. She has dreams and memories, feelings and ideas, and a kind of value that is not limited to the function of her genitalia. She lives, she breathes, she probably works and owns things, she might even practice a religion, or none, as she so chooses.

Now here’s where we run into that disconnect created by the sorry state of sex education in this country. ACTUAL life trumps theoretical life. An adult woman with a functioning brain and uterus has 100% discretion as to what she does and does not do with her own fucking uterus. She may choose to lend it to the cause of creating life, or she may not. That’s her choice because that’s her uterus. We call that “autonomy” and adult humans everywhere are assumed to have a right to it.

Now, sometimes, things around a birth go wrong. That’s Nature, and destiny and it’s sad and tragic, but should terminating a pregnancy be required to sustain that woman’s ACTUAL life, that is NOT a choice, because as human beings, we have a social contract to keep each other alive if we can. Survival is not a choice. It’s a given.

I know I’m being exceptionally nasty in my tone, because I have this image in my mind that won’t go away. It’s a photograph of a nude woman who bled to death after a botched abortion in unsafe conditions, and you know what? I want us to raise generation after generation of free, autonomous daughters who never have to see that horrific image again, and it is completely possible for us to do it.

You can believe ANYTHING you want and I’ll defend your right to do it. You have NO RIGHT, however, to make law based on anything but reason, compassion and common sense because that’s the way the United States of America is deliberately, thoughtfully, designed.  You believe what you want, I’ll believe what I want, and we’ll make sound medical decisions and personal life choices privately and according to our own consciences, just as free, autonomous adults in an industrialized nation do.

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Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

January 8th, 2011 did something change?

I can’t think of a clever title for this post, except to say that I feel as if everything stopped for a while on January 8th when a 22 year old mass murderer in Tucson, Arizona killed 6 and injured 13. I feel as if things have been happening in slow motion since then, everyone holding their breath and praying that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will retain some part of her former abilities and personality. After nursing my mom through two subdural hematomas in her brain, I can tell you that she has a long way to go in her recovery, though her progress so far is miraculous. The brain heals very slowly.
Here’s what bothers me. This was the first attempted assassination of an American woman politician. Why did I feel as if I had to say “politician?”  It becomes an assassination because she’s in Congress, right? The narrative seems to be that we’re supposed to see Loughner as vaguely anti-government and Gabby was just his local representative, as if it wouldn’t matter if she were male or female. I don’t think that’s a correct reading of the situation. This doesn’t look to me like a strike against a government official. It looks more like a stalking. If it’s politically driven, is it an entirely different creature than if he imagined a relationship with the congresswoman? I think what set Loughner off was the idea of woman in power, with a position of real authority.
I was looking for statistics on how often women are killed by violence, but I can’t find anything that doesn’t refer to domestic violence. Women killed in this country are usually harmed by someone with whom they have a personal relationship. Violence against women is so common, we don’t think of its source as gender bias. I haven’t heard anyone on TV talk about this as the first attempted assassination of an American woman. Shouldn’t that be a big deal?

A few women bloggers who called attention to Loughner’s misogyny had to deal with the predictable knee-jerk reactions from guys who want to pretend their day-to-day misogyny isn’t, really, it’s just guys being guys and the women bloggers are being inflexible again. Misogyny is the elephant in the room that the liberal guys want us to overlook because they don’t think it has anything to do with politics. In this case, it seems to have everything to do with politics.
Loughner had paranoid delusions which tend to manifest in patterns with recurring themes. His were currency, language, lucid dreams, and he spoke of rape as the necessary result of solitude. Loughner told a female bank teller that she had no right to be in a position of authority. He scared one of his female professors to the point that she reported she feared he’d become violent because she told him he was getting a B in her class.  The subject of abortion came up in one of his classes and he asked “why don’t we just strap bombs to babies?”

A Slate article asks

Maybe the accumulated evidence is contradictory if you’re trying to classify Loughner as an orthodox left-wing nut or an orthodox right-wing nut. But his membership in the anti-woman wing seems clear. Or is misogyny—even homicidal misogyny—too unremarkable for anyone to dwell on it?

Homicidal misogyny is not a term we see every day. We don’t keep records of it. We aren’t talking about it. We’ll talk about animosity against one political view or another but we aren’t concerned with violent hatred against 54% of the population? Are we supposed to assume this is a normal, and therefore unremarkable, attitude? Does pointing out Loughner’s misogyny make the incident “less” in some way? You know, like if he was just stalking “a woman” it’s not as important as if he was attacking “the government?”

One of the last things Loughner did was make pictures of himself wearing a red g-string posing with his Glock. That kind of fetishization of guns is a basic element of the patriarchal/militaristic mindset that sees women as a problem to be controlled. It’s no accident that the darling of the Right, the half-term governor whose name I refuse to use anymore, practices this same fetishization of weapons and violence. Real women love guns, hate abortion, and do what their men tell them, right? And money should be backed by gold or silver, you can control people with neurolinguistics… who does that sound like?

The misogyny element is important here because it’s an integral element of a larger problem that I’ll describe in my next post.

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Monday, January 17th, 2011

Hello world!

A new blog, new design, a fresh start. Ahhhhh!

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Hey, Remember me? I’m back.

Meet the new blog, same as the old blog…

A couple of things happened in 2008 that stopped me from writing. First, my mom passed away after an extended illness. Then, we managed to elect Barack Obama. And I was tired, so I stopped. Everything.

Now that we’re half-way through Barack’s first term, I’m starting to feel like I’ve got some more things to say. Sister, have I got things to say…


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