Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Choice

In this year of political choices let's have a little discussion of the meaning of the word. A lot of words are going to be thrown about this year on both sides of the political fence. "Freedom" is the one I like to focus on. The Bill of Rights is one of my favorite documents. I occasionally read it just to remind myself of what I have lost under the almost eight years of the George W.Bush Presidency. The first to go seems to be our right to privacy--now we have the telecom companies wanting immunity from future prosecution for past law breaking--they cooperated with the Bush administration for warrentless eavesdropping on all of us. Amazing how quickly we can be convinced to surrender our constitutionally given legal rights, and not fight like hell to get them back.

"Sacred" will be thrown around by those on the right of the political spectrum to justify preventing other citizens of our country from the equal rights all of us are guaranteed under the Constitution. This word "sacred" has alway been used to justify oppression and is one of my least favorite words. It is used in church and that is where I think it should stay. According to a lot of “good Christian people” anyone whose sexual preference is for someone of the same gender should not be allowed to marry, adopt and raise a child, since marriage is a "sacred cow" of the Right. Tell me, what is “Christian” about that? These same people are likely to call themselves “Pro-life.” But when asked if this pro-life stance applies to the issue of the death penalty, they say, “well…No.” They are usually quite sanguine about killing in the name of law and order, but they would prevent you from making the “choice” to have a legal abortion in the first trimester of a pregnancy that you did not plan, do not want, can’t afford, and which would, in your mind, in your heart, ruin your life. The decision to have an abortion is never easy for a woman. Any medical procedure is difficult, but this one is, in every way, emotionally wrenching for most women. There are almost always aftershocks made all the more difficult by this climate of hatred and vitriol aimed at women in a very vulnerable emotional condition. Does this seem “Christian” to you? I have a friend, long past child baring days, who lived with her aged Mormon mother in her mother's last year. This old woman, my friends mother, said to me once that she could forgive her daughter or grand-daughter anything accept an abortion. Daughter and grand-daughter have both had abortions. This grandmother, this aged mother went to her grave never really knowing her daughter or her grand-daughter because she has made it clear that her “Christianity” would prevent her from forgiving them if she knew. Odd to me that “Christianity” is lived nowadays minus the real practice of forgiveness. It deprives us of the comfort we need in times of terrible trouble and in the end leaves isolated with our unforgivin "sin."

There is a great deal of misinformation about the cozy relationship between government and religion during these depressing Bush years. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher and Governor from Arkansas, claims that it would be easier to make the Constitution over, to have it reflect his (and he seems to imply all of our) religious convictions, and he says "God’s laws", than to make over the Biblical teachings his religion is based on, to reflect the freedoms guaranteed in our constitution. I don’t care what his religious belief is, but it’s pretty presumptuous of him to think it is also mine. Why is my religious belief, or lack of it, less valid or important in the eyes of the laws of our land than his? He needs to take a few graduate level courses at a good State University in Constitutional Law. He and I are equal in the eyes of the law. That’s the really great thing about our Constitution. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney were two of the men in the first or second Republican Debate who, when asked, "If you don't believe in evolution raise your hands", raised their hands. My mouth fell open as I watched. I was astounded. Did these guys miss biology class completely, or does religious belief rule out rational, logical, thought. Should we throw science out the window with our brains? Evolution is not a theory. If you believe it is, please do some reading, take a few brush-up courses in biology. Your ignorance should embarrass you.

John McCain has said that he has no problem with keeping the United States engaged in the war in Iraq for a hundred years. And he keeps saying, "I will follow Osamma Bin Laden to the gates of hell!" If he wins the election and gets his way, get ready for the return of the draft. Everyone who comes of age (that would be every eighteen year old, male and female)will have to register for selective service. If you have children under the age of eighteen or children under the age of thirty get ready to wave goodbye as they board the bus for basic training. If you plan to have children, and John McCain gets his way, when they reach the age of eighteen, they too will be shipped off to Iraq. Is this the future you want for your children?

On the left the word I hear most often is "change." I could not agree more. We do need change. Big change. We need to find a different way of doing the Nation’s business. And in looking at the two candidates still in the Democratic race for the nomination it is apparent we will have change--they are not old white men, and that in itself is big change. But before you cast your vote, think about what it means to say you’re for change when most of your candidates campaign contributions are from big corporate donors and lobbyists for big corporate interests. Follow the money and you will be able to tell who is really talking about change. Who benefits, who loses? If the rich benefit again and the poor lose again, we will have lost our decency. We will, as a nation, have no sense of shame. Greed will rule the day. And choice won’t really matter anymore.

20 comments:

enigma4ever said...

really amazing post, you are an excellent writer...keep at it..you have gathered a new circle here.....Linquisitically this will be an amazing year..and you are right there will be "Words" that we hear thrown at us like a monkey on meth flinging POO.....there will be much " Patriotic"...."Loyal American " ( gag me).."Values"..."Noble"....etc etc ...

luckily I think "Compassionate Conservative" that term is now POO across the board and Not to be Flung at all...thank heavens...

Utah Savage said...

I'm so happy every time I see you there, always talking truth with humor--and not the nasty humor I employ to mock the great political machine managed so poorly by Hillary's campaign, as I mock her supporters in the South. I will be mocking John McCain's "Straight Talk Express" bullshit flying from it's windows and exhaust. He will be campaigning for the worst in all of us--I have no compassion for the old, broken, POW with PTSD and a rich rich rich wife to push him forward. Many posts to come, not as measured and gentle as this one.

Please keep coming back. I visit you and get tears of joy. But what do you get but words with a cutting edge, like switchblade wielded by a pissed off kid?

Randal Graves said...

The deluge of carefully screened and packaged buzzwordia that you talked about here is coming.

I've thought about trying an experiment this time around. Instead of following each and every word of the mind-numbing bullshit from talking hairpieces and automatic politicians, I'll follow with the mute button on. I figure I can make up my own dialogue. Sure, it might not be as entertaining, for gentlemen such as Sean and Bill and Lou take the acting cake, but it might be interesting nonetheless. That'll be my choice and it's extra sacred.

Then I'll choose to have a stiff drink the morning of November 5. Hopefully I won't need a second.

The word verification was 'uelcer.'
Perfect anagram.

enigma4ever said...

thanks there..Ahhhh McSame ? McInsane? ( liking that more and more) and his Beer Baroness....lordy...and if he picks Willard ( Mitt) or Huckabee ( ignorant redneck that he is)....the Dramedy that will ensue....

I will fight McInsane tooth and nail...I have a teenage son..

I was raised by Kentucky women...( old women...daughters of Civil war vets etc...) Not delicate dainty flowery women either, the kind that curse and drank bourbon...

About Humor- hey ANY and ALL is NEEDED..and appreciated...Razor sharp...caustic- ALL bring it on....I am a HUGE Lewis Black fan...Kathi Griffin...Monty Python....Bill Maher...Colbert...Jon Stewart....George Carlin.....

Because frankly If we don't laugh and point out the sublime where would we all be....??? I wrote a post about Indians and Native Americans and their use of Humor/ a Clown to teach and Bring Change..I will have to find that for you...I think you would like it...

I blog serious stuff....but I do also have humor- esp . If I go visiting other blogs...and to be honest...you have been battling it out over here ( I saw the posts last week...) that ain't right...this is all about dialogue and all of us being able to talk to each other....through some very dark times...

Keep Blogging it ...there is still much to do....to keep the bastards from continuing this Charade...

and yes, I am glad that you started the MEME thing- good primary distraction...excellent..( and yes DK finally talked me into doing it..)

DivaJood said...

There is a book, unSpun, which clarifies the mixed messages, half-truths, misleading statements, and out-and-out fabrications masquerading as facts that deluge us on a daily basis.

In the mid-1990's, there was a movement and book called The Politics of Meaning:
Restoring Hope and Possibility in an Age of Cynicism
. The movement addressed how the Far Right had co-opted the language of compassion, ethics and spirituality, misusing that language to instill fear and a sense of apartness.

Case in point: "Sacred" means worthy of veneration or respect; yet, as Utah points out, it most often is used as a tool to frighten people. Speaking for myself, I do require some mystery in my life - a Higher Power that to me, is sacred - something greater than myself. I don't expect others to believe as I believe, and I keep my sense of the spiritual away from the workplace. I don't even like to hear this discussion in an AA meeting, which is a spiritual program because I have my own g-d. Yet I had a sponsor many years ago who told me that if I did not accept Jesus as my personal savior, I would surely drink. Well. I'm Jewish. She's dead. I'm sober.

The Founding Fathers of The United States had a clear vision when they decided that separation of Church and State was needed. People came to North America to escape religious persecution; and now, we've got the Neo-Conservatives wielding their brand of Religion as a weapon.

I will stop now, lest I go on longer than Utah's original post. But we do have choices today, and if we don't make them, if we sit on our hands and do nothing, we have made a choice as well.

an average patriot said...

Utah you're right! We need big change. Change that is not going to be driven by a Politician. Change is going to come from us and friends of influential Politicians who have influential friends who care about our America and average Americans and will listen to them and work for them. That is Barack Obama!

Beach Bum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beach Bum said...

I do find it puzzling (I'm being mega-facetious here) that many of the religious right say they hate abortion but will spend a ton of money for a fertility clinic to have a child with their genetic heritage even though many of the in vitro embryos they fertizilized during the procedure get flushed down the drain. Also, throw in how they will never even consider adopting a child, unless its a white baby, and you have a very bizarre people.
Yeah, both Huckabee and Romney freaked me out with each of their religious declarations and joyful ignorance of basic science. Romney more so in that he ties his business experience to his leadership skills and would more than likely layoff a thousand workers from some business sending their jobs to near slave labor jobs in China and then expound of how globalization benefits the American people.
Sometime ago McCain was giving a speech to some neocon group about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In closing he said something to the affect that there would be more wars not describing who we would be fighting, but he was implying Iran. If he does get elected you can plan on more wars and yes, at some point the draft will have to be brought back. I’m sure after some horrendous terrorist attack that will conveniently occur to get the masses wanting blood.

Unconventional Conventionist said...

Let me add a word here Dear Utah, that seems to me to be where you'd really like to go: "Frame."

The framing of language determines ownership and flow of the ensuing dialogue, if there is to be a dialogue, OR determines a a bedrock from which there can be no deviation.

Republicans use both methods for framing rather masterfully. That's why "liberal" still has some taint to it, where it clearly and rationally should not.

Likewise "conservative" should have some taint to it, as the nation clearly desires change.

It's all in the framing baby. I think that's why they also called the founding fathers "framers." They were radicals with legitimacy, and it was mostly due to the fabulous use of language.

Can we haz sum mor dem, pleze?

Utah Savage said...

Unconventional, You have made me laugh for the first time today. I have been all weepy today about the news of Teddy's brain tumor.

the WIZARD, fkap said...

....just wanted you to know I stop by and keep up to date on this very large community.....

I, too, am deeply saddened about Ted Kennedy, my very favorite Senator.

I've written and called Senator Kennedy's office many times over the years and ALWAYS gotten support and positive feedback. He is a Senator for all America.

Utah Savage said...

Beach, man, you're almost as cynical as I am. But watch out or the bitterness will get you and then Madmike will start sending you hate mail about what a terrible person you are and how can you live with yourself, sighhhh.

Utah Savage said...

enigma, my mother's family is descended from the Choctaw. And not that far back. But the BIA education made them ashamed of who they were, and their self loathing turned to swearing and Baptist guilt and flight and passing for white. I call myself white because that's how I'm seen. My grandmother barely passed, my mother looked like pale blue eyed Eskimo. She married a handsome second generation Scotsman with a German in the woodpile somewhere back there. So yes, I would be interested in reading about native americans and their humor. I wonder if my dark streak comes from experience or genes.

Utah Savage said...

Oh, and I left out alcoholism.

Utah Savage said...

Vig, I thought you were on vacation. Can't live without us? Took your laptop? Your wife must be very tolerant.

Naj said...

I am an atheist scientist; and I must warn you that science nowadays (and perhaps always) is an "institutional" entity ... I do not believe everything that science says; and frankly, I hold evolutionary biology and Darwinism responsible for a great deal of ATROCITY carried in the name of "race" and ubermanism ...

I am totally against making a religion called science! Especially these days, a lot of pseudo-sciences are sneaking into the realm of truth, when they are little but statistical manipulations!

But I agree with you that the state should not be meddling in people's business of biological self-control; if we are to legislate against abortions, then we might have to legislate against cheese whizz too, because it may lead to coronary artery disease! I had an abortion many years ago; and I suffered psychologically for one year, I would cry every time I passed by the hospital, and I am sure not one hurt as much as I did; but I had no choice, I was poor; and ambitious in a foreign country. I had no friends, I had no support, and I was not ready to share my body with anyone growing in me ... and I didn't abort an accidental being from a night of drunkenness, but a product of love to a man I still dearly love after 15 years

... sorry I don't mean to be autobiographical ... but I think in the debate about abortion we do not hear a lot from women who have had one; many like me are ashamed about their choice, not because of the judgment of the priest or the police; but because of the very "evolutionary" CHOICE they made: to preserve their self, at the expense of a weaker being, growing in them! A scientifically sound decision; if you ask me.

Naj said...

clarification:

I am not a creationist; but I am not an evolutionarist either; the only thing that we know is that we don't know a hell of a lot!

Utah Savage said...

Naj, I am childless because I chose to terminate my only pregnancy, I was in my mid to late twenties, and not in love with the man who impregnated me. i got an abortion at ACLU Medical Center. I came out of the procedure sobbing, the man who I had left and knew of my pregnancy was sitting by my bedside. He assumed I was sobbing in sorrow or guilt, but I was sobbing with relief. I was in no condition to give birth, had never wanted children, but especially not his children. I did not want to be tied to a man I did not love, who frankly scared me, for the next twenty years or so, fighting over every little detail of out child's life. Had I been refused the right to terminate that pregnancy, I would have terminated mine. I think we should make our stories known. Honestly, truthfully, starkly real. This is how I experience life. State it, do not apologize for your experience or faith, or lack of faith. Your feelings have value no matter what they are. Your right to speak your mind is what freedom is all about. it is the essence of choice. If it's taken from you, it will be time to immigrate again.

an average patriot said...

Utah
I knew there was a reason we were like minded. I too have Indian heritage my maternal Grandmother.

Kulkuri said...

I had an uncle who used to say that for someone to be a true believer in any religion they had to suspend all reason and knowledge. I think no truer words were ever spoken!