Category Archives: Social Issues

Gorilla shot to save child, internet loses it’s mind

It’s a tragedy that the gorilla was shot and killed when zoo employees had to rescue the boy who fell in. I’ve seen the media rush to judge this mom and even the four year old child. But every eye witness account says she was RIGHT there and that it happened so fast no one could stop him though several people tried. One day I was walking through a parking lot with a baby carrier holding two small childrens hands. Specifically terrified of the traffic in this busy parking lot. The wind blew the blanket off the baby. His brother YANKED his hand free and darted back to get it before I had time to react. Had a car been coming, he would have been dead and I would have been labeled a bad parent. It made me realize that most people don’t realize what can happen in a single instant even when you’re right there and paying attention! I hate that this happened too but maybe we should be asking why a child was able to get through these “barriers” so quickly that a crowd of people standing right there couldn’t stop him. It was a terrible, awful tragedy but stop attacking this mother, just stop.

Bye Felipe!

So I ran across this article by Annalee Newitz that poists the terrifying possibility that the current level of equality enjoyed by, or at least theoretically afforded to, women today, is an anomaly. Why? Well, as she states in her article,

“I grew up in a pretty conservative area, and yet as a teenager I was taught that abortion was every woman’s right, and that “blaming the victim” in rape cases was something that only those terrible people back in the 1950s had done. Now that I’m an adult, the 1950s don’t seem so very long ago to me — especially when women who say they’ve been raped are pilloried and psychologically brutalized on the internet. And abortion rights are eroding in many U.S. states.”

You can read it here

She’s absolutely right! Ourfuture.org just posted this list of five ways the U.S. is failing to protect women’s rights in the workplace. And that’s just in the workplace.

The problem, as I see it, is a lack of respect for women. It’s no secret that regimes and cultures that cruelly oppress women have no respect for them. It’s more troubling to realize how little respect many American men have for them. I mean, we think we are more evolved than that.  American men are more enlightened, right?  Apparently, wrong.

Alexandra Tweten set up an instagram account where women can upload screen shots of verbal abuse flung at them by random men on the internet. The responses men give to even a polite rejection are frightening. Sometimes all it seems to take is not receiving a quick enough response to prompt threats of violence or name calling. You can check out all the horrifying responses here.

I also stumbled across this article about a woman’s response to man on OK Cupid who messaged her out of the blue to call her a liar about her typing speed, which she disproved. The guy was being a jerk, but not on the level of the bye felipe guys. What bothered me most about this article were the comments posted by people who thought the guys behavior was absolutely fine and the woman was just being “too uptight”.

Is this really where we, as a society, are at? Both the men whose responses to women are on display on the Bye Felipe instagram account and the commenter’s on the typing article seem to see women as totally unworthy of respect and self determination. If a man wants her attention, she is somehow obligated to give it to him and to be grateful he wants it. Simply not being interested pegs her as a “stuck up bitch” or generates threats of violence and rape.

Is this a result of “conservative values”?  After all, Phyllis Schlafly, conservative poster girl, recently opined that sexual assault on college campuses is caused by letting in too many women (see more about that here). Typical conservative dribble that men’s desire and bad behavior is someone the woman’s fault, for being, you know, a woman.

Frightening, is what it is.

All Lives Matter

Can we all agree that BOTH black lives and blue lives matter?  How about ALL lives matter? Whatever happened to that?  I condemn police brutality by individual officers while still supporting police officers as a whole. I am grateful for the service of those who choose to put themselves in harms way to serve and protect while also finding it deplorable that anyone would abuse their power. I can  acknowledge that it is a dangerous job fraught with dangerous situations and sometimes you have to make split second life and death decisions. I also acknowledge that being human, mistakes can be made especially in split second life and death situations. I can understand all this and still think every person is accountable for their actions and that there will always be some who step over the line. This is not either/or in my book. The people calling for justice in the Eric Garner  case did not cause that psycho to shoot two police officers, he was a disturbed individual who had shot his girlfriend prior to shooting the officers and then killed himself. What he did was deplorable and when I see people posting that it was caused by those who question what happen in the Eric garner case it makes me ill. You can question whether justice was served or not without wishing more innocent people to be murdered. It’s not either/or. Both things are tragedies.

Abortion Protesters are Bullies

There may not be a more divisive issue today in American than abortion. And look, I’m not advising anyone to have one. I realize I’m about to offend a lot of people but here’s the thing. When I see the protesters outside our local Planned Parenthood clinic in instills in me a rage I can barely explain. I want nothing more than to pull my car over, get out, grab one of them by their smug faces and start punching. I say this as a pacifist for the love of God! It’s an emotion I don’t feel often or readily. It’s an emotion reserved for the greatest of injustices, the most heinous of offenses. So why do these peaceful protesters inspire such feelings in me? Because they are not, in fact, peaceful.

Bear with me a second. There are many ways to hurt another person. You don’t have to lift a finger to wound someone deeply. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that physical pain heals faster and easier than emotional. These protesters who claim to be out there in the name of God are doing horrible things to other people. Yes, they are. They are inflicting deep and vicious psychological wounds on their victims. Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” was wrong. While there may be woman who take abortion lightly (and I’ve never met one), most are at the lowest point in their lives right then, having been through emotional hell already. Making a decision to end a life growing inside you is not easy, not by a long shot. Imagine for a moment what reasons she must have. I get a feeling that those protesters assume her reasons are that she’s a selfish immoral slut. Those are the kinds of things they say to these women.

First of all, the majority of women going into Planned Parenthood aren’t there for an abortion. They are there for low cost gynecological care and/or birth control. No young woman should end up with cervical cancer due to lack of testing because she was afraid of the bullies in the parking lot. That’s right, I said it. Bullies.

They are attacking vulnerable young women, slinging callous barbs that will take a lifetime to heal, if they ever do. Calling them baby killers and telling them they will burn in Hell. Even if you are an ardent pro-lifer and believe this is murder and a sin, ask yourself this simple question. Is this helping? Has one woman ever responded positively to this? Are they saving anyone? Are they helping anyone?

No one is going to listen to the stranger who is calling them names and bullying them. No one is going to listen to a stranger they have never met after days or weeks of soul searching and sleepless nights filled with tears. The only thing they are going to take away with them from this encounter are the psychic wounds inflicted at the hands of the bullies.

If someone truly cares about those unborn children and those mothers then sitting on comfy lawn chairs in the parking lot on nice, sunny days yelling hateful taunts at vulnerable women needs to stop. Activism and volunteerism needs to start. And yes, I said those unborn children and their mothers. Babies do not exist in a vacuum. You cannot help an infant if you do not help it’s mother.

Teenage girls need mentors and safe places to go after school, adults that they trust and programs that build self esteem in order to decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place. Expectant mothers in poverty need access to health care, inexperienced mothers need parenting mentors, poor families need help supporting their families. Women in crisis need access to qualify mental health services. Remove the barriers to having a baby and the abortion rate will drop.

It’s time to stop pretending that the issues of abortion, access to healthcare, quality education and  poverty aren’t linked. Stop insisting women produce babies that society has no intention of providing healthcare for. So many people demonize abortion on one hand and then demonize any programs designed to help these very people on the other. We don’t get to have it both ways. If we want to see abortion decrease, then the underlying social issues must be addressed. The hypocrisy of denying birth control to women then demonizing them for abortion has to stop.

I would encourage any abortion clinic protester to spend some time working with at risk women. Or women who have been abused. Or women who have already lost one child to a genetic disorder. Or women who have had an abortion and regret it. Understand the very complicated issues at play and then perhaps volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. Do some good in the world, put some positive vibes into it. Be the kind of person that a woman in crisis might listen to.

 

 

Please Press 1

I’ve noticed a very popular sentiment lately, the frustration and the righteous indignation of those downtrodden and oppressed Americans who are forced to press “1” for English. The internet is rife with the exhausted and fed up masses lamenting the unfairness of the unnecessary burden that has been thrust upon them. Truly. The pain and suffering caused by this trend has got to be immense judging from the public outrage I’ve seen and heard. Why should they be forced to push “1” for English when this is America? Indeed.

I can only imagine the number of emergency room visits resulting from sprained index fingers and the immense cost in the sheer volume of time lost. After all, it must take fractions of a second to complete this onerous chore! Of all the injustices in the world, what could be worse than this? Far better that those who have the inconsideration of being born to Spanish speaking parents should figure out how to navigate a fully English speaking automated menu. I mean, those things are so simple as it is! It’s not like any other countries use more than one language, you certainly won’t find French being spoken in Canada or English being spoken in France! I mean, imagine, the horror!

I realize this would mean wait times for those calls would likely skyrocket due to the poor souls valiantly trying to navigate the self service menus in a language they don’t understand. But surely you would rather spend an extra hour on the phone than to be forced to push 1?

Racial Profiling in the Death of Trayvon Martin

Trayvon (1)

Yes, I realize I’m not black. I know I’m white. Over twenty years ago I struggled with how to explain racism to my then only child because I didn’t want to introduce such a horrible thing to him. Then my best friend, who just happens to be black, gently explained to me that being white is the only reason I had the privilege of shielding him from racism. She had to explain it to her children early,because they were already victims of it. No, I may not be black, but I love people who are. My best friend, her children who call me “Aunt”, my own nephews who are biracial. Yes, I love people who are black and so I probably have a much closer seat than most of you. Yes, I’m talking to you white people. I’m talking about the things I’ve seen up close and personal, standing there beside the people I love. It’s the little things, a million tiny cuts over the course of a lifetime. A million insults and hurts. You get offended when black people point out your racism, many of you truly don’t see it in yourself, but I do. It’s there. I invite you to just imagine, for a moment, what it’s like. I understand that it may be hard for you to understand what it’s like to live with discrimination every day of your life when you haven’t had to. To be ignored by a waiter or thrown out of club because someone was selling drugs and it must be the black girl. To be the only kid in class, or in school, who is black and to get your fake baby in home ec and told that yours was born addicted to crack. To have people call you names for no reason. To have some stranger glare at your sweet, precious young child and declare they are getting out of the pool because it’s too dark in here for them. To have a cashier not want to touch your hand. To have women in grocery stores run from you. If these were facts of your daily life, you would see why it’s easy to think that Trayvon was judged for being black, because that was just a fact of his life, a normal everyday occurrence. Imagine someone looking at your newborn baby then exclaiming that “At least I have pure Aryan kids” then not understanding why you can’t take a joke. Imagine having to teach your child at age four why some people hate him. Just try to imagine.