Not what i was going to say….

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I was working on another post today.

It was going well.

I was going to work on it some more this evening, but then a dear friend sent me this, and the words that needed to go out into cyberspace changed dramatically.

My problems became petty, and my musings about life, unimportant.

This became important instead.

The MOST important

This is written by a friend of mine. An amazing woman. A source of light and love, and inspiration to those who are blessed to know her, or to read her words.

I beg you to read them now.

And if you are a parent,  pretend that she is describing YOUR child.

If you are not a parent, pretend that she is describing anyone you love.

And then,

PLEASE,

HELP her.

Prayers, love, light, good thoughts,,, those are all nice.

Do those things.

But do them as you donate some cash, and share this with everyone you know and tell THEM to give her cash,  so she can get her kid some real help.

Please.

Pay it forward if you want to feel good.  Pay it backward if you’ve ever been given help when you needed it.  Pay it because your child is healthy, or because your child isn’t or because she moves you with her words.

She will be blessed, and so will you,

and isn’t THAT what living is all about?

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/Treatment-Expenses-for-Asia-Canaday/38797

(her words below.  Click the links to donate.)

 

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you today about my daughter, Asia. Some of you are very intimately acquainted with Asia’s situation, and some of you know nothing about it at this point. Here’s the thing, Asia needs help of the lifesaving variety, and if you are included in this group it is either because I know that you know her and love her, or that your faith and good energy/prayers/thoughts are powerful, or that maybe, just maybe you have some connection to someone or something that may help her.

Asia has anorexia, and is in the fight for her life. We first noticed some issues with her when she was in 8th grade and took her to a therapist, which led to a psychiatrist, and so on. She was misdiagnosed, first with depression and anxiety disorder, then with bipolar disorder. Her father, sisters, and I all brought up concerns time and again about her weight and eating habits. Each doctor, nurse, and therapist we spoke with dismissed these concerns. They told us that when the meds kicked in and her mood stabilized, she would eat. Only she didn’t eat.

What she did do was get thinner and thinner, more entrenched in body dysmorphia, more anxious, more depressed, more sick. Finally, after nearly two years, a couple of months ago her psychiatrist diagnosed her as having an eating disorder.

Asia is not just thin and in emotional pain, her health is in serious peril. She has a subtype of anorexia in which she not only starves herself, if she does eat, she purges. She has anxiety attacks, insomnia, her hair is thin and brittle, her nails pitted and peeling, lanugo grows on her cheeks, she has the classic “chipmunk cheeks” caused by thyroid malfunction due to the disorder, her arms and legs swell due to fluid retention, her pulse regularly registers between 40-50, and her blood pressure has been as low as 60/40. She suffers from hypothermia, her teeth are eroding from vomiting, and regularly has bouts of crushing chest pain and an irregular heartbeat.

Due to the severity of her illness, she requires around the clock supervision and her dad and I have worked together to make that happen. I lost my job after calling in so many times to take her to the doctor, therapist, grab her from school after she blacked out (she doesn’t go at all now), etc… Neither of us can remember our last full night of sleep, because we are up so often checking on her, taking vitals, making her drinking electrolytes, etc… and because we are very afraid she will go into cardiac arrest in her sleep and we will find her dead.

She is fifteen years old. Right now, she is in a short term inpatient facility, her third such stay since April. They will release her tomorrow, even though she is in no shape to be home. The psychatrist there is wringing her hands. She told us last night that although she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Asia needs intensive residential treatment, our state insurance will not cover it until she has taken and “Failed” an intensive outpatient eating disorder program. She said, “I am afraid that if you ever want her to get better, you will just have to figure out how to pay out of pocket. If she were my daughter, I would skip the outpatient, fire her current psychiatrist and therapist, and get her somewhere that knows this disease.”

Today I am going to be calling every single reputable eating disorder program in the country to beg them to take her on a payment plan until I find one that will work with us. In all likelihood, proper help will cost between $30,0000-75,000. I could care less about that, though it may influence whether or not they will allow us to make payments for many years.

If you wonder why we are not utlizing a facility in AZ, it is because they are sub-par, have terrible long term recovery rates, and anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. My daughter has stated that she would rather die than eat. There are NO current treatment options that have great recovery rates after 3 of disease onset and we are on year two. The Maudsley Method, also known as FBT, has the highest adolescent recovery rate of all therapies for anorexia, at 60-80%. This is almost double the other modalities, which are not backed by strong clinical studies. So, Maudsley it is.

If you pray for her, think of her, know anyone who works in eating disorders who may have some ideas for our family, etc… I would be so grateful. She is a wonderful daughter, and I want her back. I want her to live.

Love,

Mani

I see you.

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It’s hard to look at these beautiful kids. I can’t do it without crying. But looking at them, reading about them. celebrating them is important. So much more important than looking at the face of the person who took their innocent lives. My daughter is 7. She is a remarkable miracle, and the light of my life. If her tiny face was among these photos, I would want the world to see her. I would want people to know how amazing she was, and how kind and smart, and happy, and fun, and utterly perfect she was. Join me in honoring these lives, and honoring those that love them. Read about them, and find one that seems like your child, or seems like you and vow to remember, forever, their name and their face. Tonight, I get to hug my daughter, who shares her name, and her blonde hair and blue eyes with Grace. My daughter, who, like Emilie, loves to make cards for people. My daughter, who would’ve been great friend with Jessica, and had big ears, like Jack. I get to hug her, but their parents don’t get to hug their babies, so although it hurts, I will really LOOK at these faces and  I will remember these kids. I will remember, always, because it’s the only thing I can do.  Won’t you join me?

Home.

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Dear Jesus,

I’d like to go home now please.

I appreciate the life you’ve given me here on earth. Really I do. And I don’t want to seem ungrateful  But today, especially today, my heart is heavy, and tired, and my eyes cant blink enough to keep the tears from falling.

Today I am aware of just how hard it is to move when the laws of gravity are in effect. I want to be weightless. I want to rise up with the trumpet blast, and become pure spirit. I want to shed the shackles of grief that have encased my soul today.

Today, my heart hurts so.  I weep, and weep, and just when it seems I can dry my eyes, I new thought rushes in, and the tears continue to fall.  I see a UPS truck delivering a package to my neighbor, and all I can think of is a UPS truck in Connecticut that will deliver something that was ordered a week ago, but will never end up in the little hands it was intended for. And how that brown truck will cause fresh hell for a family.

I think of gifts under the tree that will never be opened. I think of the helplessness the adults must have felt, and the fear in the hearts of the little ones that you now hold. I think of the crushing grief of waiting for your child in a sea of other terrified parents, only to have your child never come.

Oh, Lord, I think these things, and it makes me weep.

I want to go home, Lord.  I want it to stop. I don’t want to be subject to the laws of nature, and physics, and to the will of evil that runs rampant on this earth. I don’t want to try to explain the actions of a madman to my children.  I want to go to a place of peace, and rest.  I want to go to a place where an explanation for evil isn’t needed, because it doesn’t exist there.

I want to go HOME.

But, if you don’t come today, then I will stay here, and do the best I can to be a light in the dark places. To LOVE from my wide open heart. (Thanks J) To be LOVE in this world especially on days like this when evil is in the spotlight, and  love seems to hide. If you don’t come today, then I will hold my children tight tonight, and tell them how they are cherished and adored, by me and by You.  To use the resources that I have.to try to make a positive difference to someone. I will do this as I wait here. As I wait for you to come. As I wait to go home.

And it doesn’t matter if I wait a day, and am caught up in a trumpet blast, or if I wait my lifetime, and breathe my last breath as a very old lady. I will spend my days loving You, and loving people.

But, if it’s possible, come now

Today would be a good day to go home.

Can you choose love?

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Can you choose love?

One of these guys is an idiot, and i’m pretty sure another is a felon. One is a horrible speaker and was trying to make a point, but really screwed it up. (So maybe two idiots…)

But the others? Well, maybe they’re not so bad.

Yes, you can be happy that they didn’t get elected. No, you don’t have to agree with their views. But can you find it within you to believe the best about their intentions? Can you believe that Paul Ryan believes deeply that life begins at conception, and that the tiny life conceived from rape has no guilt for his fathers crime, and punishing that life with death is heartbreaking? You don’t have to agree with him. I’m just asking if you can find your way to believe that he comes from a place of compassion. Can you believe that John Coster has true compassion for rape victims, and honestly feels that abortion would be another act of violence against a woman who has been violated enough? That his intention is to protect the victim? I’m NOT saying you have to agree with their positions. That’s not the challenge. The challenge is to CHOOSE TO ASSUME, no matter how wrong  you think their views are, that they are coming from a place of love. Maybe you don’t believe they are, but that’s OK.  That’s not the point.  The point is that we always have a choice to believe the best, or the worst.  These men could say that pro-choice people don’t value life.  They would be wrong. They could say that pro-choice people don’t value God, or can’t call themselves Christians. They would be wrong.  So maybe, just maybe, you are too?

You see, if both “sides” did that, then  maybe we could stop tearing each other down, and work together to find ways to lower the rate of unintended pregnancies and violence against women that lead to abortions in the first place. Maybe we could DO SOMETHING .

Let’s assume for a moment.

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You’ve heard the saying. The one about assuming.

At least, I’m assuming you’ve heard it…

But if not, let me fill you in.

“When we ASSUME, it just makes an ASS out of U and ME”.

Cute little saying. And kind of true. Because a lot of the times when we make assumptions about people, we do just that. But not because we make an assumption about the person. Instead we make big ole’ asses of ourselves when we choose to assume the worst about a person or group of people, instead of the best.

Confused? Here, let me help. I’ve put together a few issues and then made negative and positive assumptions about the people who may have opinions about those issues. I’ll bet you can get the point.

Negative assumption: That person who says that the’re pro-life wants to devalue women and limit their choices. They are coming from a place of power and control.

Positive assumption : That person who says that they’re pro-life cares deeply about children, and honestly believes abortion causes harm to a helpless baby. They are coming from a place of love.

Negative assumption:  The person who claims to be pro-choice don’t value life. They believe abortion is the easy answer to every unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. They are coming from a place of selfishness.

Positive assumption: The person who claims to be pro-choice cares deeply about women and personal freedom. They want to keep women safe, and want every child born to be cherished. They are coming from a place of Love.

Negative Assumption. The person who believes in a strong military is arrogant and believes the USA should tell others how to live. They are power-hungry and egocentric and coming from a place of dominance.

Positive Assumption:  The person who believes in a strong military is deeply concerned about our country’s freedom. They want the US to be strong, so that the possibility of military action will be a deterant  to those who would oppress and harm their citizens. And so that we can offer aid when needed. They are coming from a place of Love

Negative Assumption:  The person who believes in smaller government is selfish and greedy. They don’t want to help the less fortunate and think that those who get help from the government are lazy. They want to keep their tax dollars for themselves. They are coming from a place of condemnation.

Positive Assumption: The person who believes in smaller government believes that the system is broken.  They don’t have faith in the government to manage their tax dollars responsibly, They want to help real people, directly, and think that individuals and communities can do a better job of that than the government. They are coming from a place of love.

Negative Assumption: The person who believes in bigger government doesn’t believe in personal responsibility. They think that they deserve to have things handed to them and that the government exists to make sure that everyone gets what they deserve. They are coming from a place of entitlement.

Positive Assumption: The person who believes in bigger government cares deeply about the less fortunate   They recognize that people need help and believe that our countries priority should always be the welfare of its citizens. They want all people to  have an equal opportunity to succeed. They are coming from a place of Love.

Negative Assumption: The people who support same-sex marriage want to destroy traditional values. They want to force people to accept and believe things that are contrary to their faith. They want to push some sort of hidden agenda. They are coming from a place of rebellion.

Positive Assumption: The people who support same-sex marriage care deeply about family and about equality. They want all people to be secure in their relationships and know that nothing will keep them from being there for their family and children. They are coming from a place of Love.

Those that oppose same-sex marriage think that LGBT people are lesser somehow. They believe that they don not deserve the same rights as straight people. They think that gay marriage will destroy our culture and harm our children/  They are coming from a place of superiority.

Those that oppose same-sex marriage have deep convictions. They believe deeply in the tenants of their faith and are trying to live by them as best they can. They truly care about the eternal soul of  humanity, and want all to be saved. They are coming from a place of Love.

Those are just a few examples. I’m sure that we can find many, MANY more. But do you see what I mean? My point is not the issues, or what you think about them. There will always be two or 42, different ways of looking at an issue.

My point is that, no matter the issue,

We can always choose to assume the best about another human being.

Always.

Of coarse, not everyone is coming from a place of love. Sometimes they are just jerks.

But that doesn’t matter. Really.

This isn’t about them. It’s about you. And you?

You always get to choose.

So, like the really old knight said to Indiana Jones, choose wisely.

Choose Love.

I’m pretty sure it’s a choice you won’t regret.

Romans 12:19 “When possible, as much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Looking through a different lens.

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It’s been a tough election season, and to say that I’m  glad it’s over is a huge understatement. I don’t fit into a political box. My fiscal views are Republican, My personal view are Democratic, and all the quizzes I take tell me I’m a Libertarian. I’m a political hot mess, and because of that fact, and because I try to surround myself with strong people who differ from me, It seems like for the past few months I’ve just been pissing everybody off.  Don’t get me wrong,  I’m Ok with that.  I’m OK with pissing someone off.  But what I can not stand is the thought of hurting someone’s soul. So when my friend, whom I  adore, asked me how I could possibly vote for Romney and claim to support her rights, I answered her. The Response, and The Response, part 2 were my letters to her.  This is her letter back to me, reprinted in it’s entirety with permission.

After reading it, I cried. I called her to apologize.  I took a good hard look into my soul and asked myself if I could still support Mitt Romney. I discovered that I can’t.  But I can’t support the current President either, although he will get my state’s Electoral votes. That means that my presidential vote won’t change a thing.

Maybe in four years, I will have a chance to vote for a candidate that I can support. Maybe sometime in the next four years we can end the two-party system, the electoral college, or at least not have candidates on such extreme ends of the spectrum. In the meantime, I will work harder to educate myself and to look through as many different lenses as I can so that I can become a better human being.  In the meantime, I share these powerful words with you, Dear Reader. My only intention is to show you the world through someone elses eyes. No matter the outcome, that can only make you better. (What follows is her response. Text from MY original letters are in italics Test from her response is not.)

 

 

My original question was about how you can vote for a party that seeks to marginalize me (and my community) and still call me your friend.  In the process you brought up a lot of other issues, and so I’ll address those too.

Healthcare.  The economy.  Jobs.  Military.  All important.  OF course.  A million ways we could agree or disagree.  And so many valid positions all along the spectrum.  But I asked about one issue.  And my question stands.  I think to vote this way represents a tremendous disconnect, and I do feel strongly that it makes you complicit in discrimination and prejudice.

Let me ask you this: What if Romney was vocally prejudiced against the African-American community. Even if you agreed with everything else he said.   If (now or in 1950) your candidate of choice spoke out against job protection, marriage, immigration rights for African American’s.  If he and his party stated that ‘it’s not right on paper or in fact’ for interracial couples to have children or any of things he has said…could you vote for him and still have the right to call yourself Maisha’s friend? Really – ask yourself that?  And then ask yourself how this is different?  Because my otherness is invisible?  Because it’s not as big a deal?  Because you think it’s just marriage?  I’m seriously asking you – and I don’t need an answer, I want you to answer yourself, in the deepest part of your heart – and see if you can’t see the disconnect between what you are saying and what you are doing.

I’ll address your points as you raised them.  I’m not editing or filtering or trying to be gentle.  This does not feel gentle to me.  This is personal.  So deeply, deeply personal.

“The general policy of the Republican party is that LESS government involvement is better than MORE government involvement. I firmly believe that sentiment. The more that the government interferes with our personal lives, the worse it is for everyone. 
 “

See, here in your argument you’ve lost me already.  Looking even at the surface of the republican talking points, rhetoric and platform  – it is deeply entrenched and deeply committed to interfere with personal lives.  How on earth is the legislation of marriage, sexuality, contraception, women’s health and the like an example of staying out of personal lives?

“I believe that the number one priority for the President of The United States is to ensure that America continues to be a free country. I do not think that the fiscal policies of President Obama support this priority. I do not think that increasing the deficit the way that he has is responsible.”

I believe that Obama inherited a deep mess created by Republican economic policies.  I think he’s done a fucking brilliant job with what he was given.  The same year Obama was elected I left Sam.  I had to borrow and borrow and borrow to survive because I had nothing.   I am only beginning to dig myself out of the mess and start chunking down the debt.  It will take me the next ten to fifteen years of hard work and sacrifice if nothing changes.   I’ll have to do a lot of juggling and switching in the meantime to make it afloat.  My finances are going to look rough for a while.  If I can’t move forward – as one person – and get myself out of a financial mess in four years, how on earth do we expect our government to do the same to a country and economy that was left decimated under George Bush?

“But I don’t think that he has made our country stronger, or put us in a position that guarantees that we will remain the force for freedom that we are today. If our country is not strong, we are vulnerable.” 

I’m going to say this, not with any intention of being condescending – but I think that very few American’s have a sense of how America is really viewed internationally. It’s very arrogance is it’s most vulnerable point. America is not a force for freedom, not by it’s deepest measures.  None of us is free if even one of us is chained.

“I see myself first as an American citizen”

And there is where I differ.  And differ on a core level.

I see myself first as a human being.  As a citizen of no country.  With responsibility to all humanity.  My votes will always come from this deepest question – what is the most HUMAN choice? Which is the way that will respect humanity at its deepest level?  And so equality, universal healthcare, and true personal liberty (not the personal liberty of the republican party but true freedom to be and look and love exactly as you are) are what drives me in writing, in love, in parenting and in living.  What is the most human choice?

One of my greatest teachers, Patti Digh, asks us to ask ourselves, “What would love do”.  In any situation.  If love was an entity that could make a choice – what would it do?  What would drive it to make a choice or action or impact.

What would love do?
What would love do?
What would love do?

What would love do in this election?

“Because the freedoms that I enjoy,(or don’t) in this country should NOT be based on my gender any more than they should be based on my sexuality. I should have rights as a citizen first, and have a country that recognizes and protects those rights. For the most part, it does.” 

I’m going to ask you to take a step back here, and not to get defensive.  But I’m going to ask you to take a deep, deep, deep look at the privilege from which you make that statement.  I’m going to ask you because five years ago I lived and breathed that privilege and knew nothing but.  I was a white, heterosexual, upper middle class woman.  I had no understanding of what it means to be other.  What it means to be hated for who I am.  I still don’t, not for the most part.  Because I still look like what I once was. But in the past five years I have absorbed hatred and violence into the deepest reaches of my soul.  Outward violence – inheriting the history of Matthew Sheppard and Stonewall and Harvey Milk.  Of hearing of stories of bashing and job loss and hatred experienced by people I know and love.  Of suicides and devastation.  And the smaller, even perhaps more insidious violence of words and policy and the knowledge that there are people who devote their lives to fighting against me, against my family.  Against my humanity.

I have been other.  I am other.  It means I can deeper enter conversations of race, and feminism and ethnic violence all over the world.  I have more to bring to this now. Five years ago it was intellectual, academic.  I still believed the things I believed, but I knew them as an outsider.  And that is a deeply, deeply different experience to have.   I still don’t know what it is to be a racial minority.  To have that history in my DNA.  I don’t know what it is to be truly, really poor in America.  I don’t know what it is to suffer real religious persecution.  But I do know what other feels like – and that changed me, deeply.

Now – every gay bashing is mine.  Every bullying suicide is mine.  Every partner not permitted by her dying wife’s bedside is me.  Every child who is taunted and teased because she has two moms is my child.  Every woman who is deported because she loves an American woman who cannot sponsor her to remain in this country is me. Every time my daughter looks at me in pain and confusion after catching Republican talking point commentary on why gay people should not be allowed to adopt and asks ‘why mom?  Why do they think our family is bad?’ I get to hold it and own it and carry it inside me.

You can only say ‘for the most part it does’ because for you, for the most part it does.  Your privilege is as deeply entrenched in you as this hatred has been absorbed in me.  I believe we have to start every single conversation with the most exquisite knowledge of every ounce of privilege we carry.  Only then can we enter a conversation aware of our shared humanity and aware of everything that joins us, and all the forces at work that try to keep us separate.

When compared to the rest of the world, we do a pretty good job when it comes to women’s rights.

I disagree.  As a woman.  As a mother of little girls – pretty good will never be good enough.   This is not the world I want for my daughters.  The policies and deep personal beliefs of the Republican policy makers reflect a misogyny that I find not only morally reprehensible but also personally frightening.  And this is so much bigger than abortion.

Unfortunately though, If I claim to champion the idea of “women’s rights” I seems that I also have to agree with abortion.

No.  You don’t.  Joe Biden does not, and I would consider him more of a feminist than the vast majority of the Republican party.  He personally agrees with his church. And he personally feels that it is not his place to create policy that decrees with others should believe.  I respect that from the deepest part of my being.   I also believe the discussion of Abortion is also one of privilege, perhaps even more than the one concerning sexuality

(note; 48 percent of women who have abortions fall below the poverty line.  It is easy to say what one would or would not do from the pedestal of economic and personal security).  

I believe you can fundamentally believe exactly what you believe, and also fight with all of your heart and soul for women who do not have the life and experience and opportunities that you do.  For those who are raped.  For those who are drug addicted.  For those for whom mental or physical illness would make pregnancy dangerous or childhood a clusterfuck of pain for the child who might result.  For those who have been born into such extreme poverty beyond your ability to fathom.  For women for whom violence is the only home they have ever known.  For the 13 year old who has such low self-esteem that she let that boy do what he did.  For the loving mother of four who just cannot, for reasons you will never understand and will never need to know.  She will carry the pain of this forever and she does not need you to tell her that you know better than she does.   You do not.  You can not.

I believe it is the point of ultimate humility to say that I can know for myself that something is deeply, deeply true, but to say that you have no idea, not even the slightest, what takes a woman to that point, and to trust and know and love her enough to she is doing what needs to be done.  And to have that be enough.   That’s what it comes down to.  I trust the women making this choice.  That they know what is best, for them, for the world they would choose not to bring that child into.  I trust my fellow women not to need me to make that decision for them.

Not only that, I love her enough to want her access to abortion to be safe and legal.  And loving and protected and guaranteed.  Because she is my sister and my daughter and my lover and my friend.  And she deserves this.  Because if she needs an abortion she will find a way to get one – women always have.  And I don’t want my sister, or my daughter or my lover or my friend to seek this out in danger or secrecy or shame.  I want far more for her, for her heart, for her womb, for her strong, pulsing, electric soul.  She will get what she needs.  It is my sacred responsibility as her fellow woman to make that as safe as possible.

“Can you, you who stand up to defend the personal rights of women, say that her right, as a woman, to live, didn’t matter?”
Can you say, with 100% certainty that in every case, of every abortion performed in this country, that her life is of greater importance than that of her mother, who may have once been the fetus someone fought to protect from abortion?

Lets leave this aside.  I never intended to debate abortion.  I don’t need to.  I know that I will fiercely, with everything in me, fight for a woman’s right to choose – even if I think I would never personally.  And even saying that, knowing that I can never know what I would or wouldn’t do.  And if I can’t know it for me, because I do not know the totality of life or experiences that come my way, how can I ever know it for another woman?  How can I know this for my daughters? Or my granddaughters?  How could I possibly know it for a girl from the projects who wakes up to gun fire and falls asleep to the weight of the only comfort she knows – the warm body who makes her feel alive and makes her forget the emptiness of her cupboards and her wallet and her children’s bellies?  How could I know it for the popular girl from the fancy suburb in Dallas who looks perfect from the outside but who lives in fear of her stepfather and the things he does to her when no one is home?

But the republican war on woman goes so much deeper than this issue.  It’s contraception.  It’s healthcare.  It’s sex education.  It’s equal pay.  It’s STD testing.  It’s cancer screenings.  It’s the culture of misogyny that can lead to Sandra Fluke being called a slut on national air.  It’s the asprin between the knees, legitimate rape, forcible rape…. This is the men behind the republican party.  I have had something taken from me that should only ever have been freely given.  I have watched from the ceiling and felt myself bleed into my best pair of pink lace panties.   I have daughters.  I will NEVER vote for a party that would elect representatives who would say those things. FUCK that.  Never.

It’s a platform that focuses so heavily on the fetus but then tells mothers and families that after birth they are on their own.  A party that wants to remove healthcare access that is enjoyed universally in almost every other developed nation.  A party that wants to decimate social programs.  A pull yourself up by your bootstraps party that refuses to see the fallacy at the center of that argument, and the deep-seated privilege it even takes to make it in the first place.  A party that will fight to remove the option of safe, legal abortion and then in the next breath argue also against contraceptive coverage or comprehensive sex education that would prevent those unwanted pregnancies in the first place.  NO.  It goes against the very core of me.  Of who I am.  No.

“Can you be pro-life and vote to cut funding that supports the life of a child? Paul Ryan’s cut-at-all-costs budget and philosophy, which 100 percent of the pro-life Republicans voted for, would gut the funding that supports at-risk babies and children: food stamps, temporary assistance to needy families, day care, Head Start, early childhood education, children’s health care.  At the state level GOP governors are cutting the child protection workers who handle child abuse and neglect cases — you know, those awful public employees who must have caused the financial crisis. Programs that would benefit at-risk children outside the womb are all on the chopping block.”

 
“I can disagree with his views on the definition of marriage. I can say that he’s wrong, and I wish that he had a different opinion. I can say that I think it sucks that his personal views on marriage are even considered relevant, because I don’t think they should be. I don’t think that who anyone wants to marry should be the government’s business.”

You can say you think it merely ‘sucks’ because it won’t impact your life at all.  You can vote for a party that is deeply committed to making sure that who someone wants to marry is ALWAYS the business of the federal government.  A party that will fight to maintain DOMA.  A party that wants to codify the ‘one man, one woman’ argument into the constitution forever and ever.  A man who has stated very specifically his intention to do so.  FEDERALLY.

And though it would be GREAT if the president alone had the power to change that, he doesn’t. If he did, I am sure that President Obama would have already done so

Do you have any idea how much Obama has done for my community in four years?  Do you have any idea what merely not defending DOMA means?  Do you have any idea what he will do in the next if given a chance?  Do you know what it meant to me the day he went on TV to say that life had changed his opinion, and that he believed in same-sex marriage?  Do you know how that made me cry?  Made me feel seen and known and maybe a little less other?  Do you know how it mattered to my daughters?  Do you have any idea how much he has done for us?  Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  Visitation rights.  Coverage for partners of federal employees.

http://go.wsupnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Obama-Infographic-Gay-Rights-Timeline.png

This is what one man, and his party – despite the opposition of Republicans and right-wing Christian Conservatives – has managed to do in four years.  Don’t you dare try to convince me that this does not matter.  Don’t convince yourself that your vote for his opposition is not an incredibly big deal.  You don’t get a pass on this.  Some of these things will go away under a Republican presidency.  Some will never advance.  Some will be repealed and we will go backwards in time.   It ‘sucks’ for you.  It changes life for me.   You need to know that.

“The President alone doesn’t have the power to change the laws of the country.” 

No – he needs people, like you, who stand up with him and fight for what is right for humanity.  And then laws do get changed.  You ask gay service members if Obama had the power to utterly and completely change their lives in ways you and I can’t even comprehend.  Just find one and ask them?

“And that’s OK, because I don’t think that defining marriage should be in the job description of the Commander In Chief of this country. 
”

No it shouldn’t.  No group should have their personal life subjected to vote or legislation.  But you are voting for a man who has said again and again, and who represents a party that has said again and again – that they will fight to do exactly that.  Mitt Romney supports a federal marriage amendment, Jennifer.  And your vote will be cast against a man who has stated his intention to do the exact opposite.

That cuts me to my fucking core.  Because it’s not just marriage.  It has never just been marriage.  It’s not even the thousands of other benefits that marriage occurs.  It’s my humanity.  It’s my equality.  It’s my family.  This is my LIFE.

“Yes, that is the President’s job as well, but it has to start with local, and state laws. And to do that we need to work from the bottom up, not the top down.” 


Slavery. Interracial marriage.  Segregation.  Women and minorities voting.  Are these things that all needed to be fought from the bottom up?  Did we need to slog away in the trenches and change things on state and local level.  And then slog away for longer to bring the changes upwards federally.  Did we need to risk the violence or the oppression or the hatred along the way?  Or are these things that our shared humanity should have made us know, from the very beginning, were wrong, deeply – profoundly, clearly wrong.  And that they needed to be changed.  Needed to be stopped. In one broad, sweeping stroke.  From the very top of the highest power.  Should we have fought for these things with everything we had in us?

We don’t need to work for change from the bottom up or the top down.  We need to work from the center out and the edges in.  With our blood and guts and heart and soul.  We need to work with all of everything we have.

“It has always been the responsibility of the people of this country to fight discrimination and injustice.” 
Perhaps.  But how many have?  How many do?  How have you?  Can i even truly say that I have? That’s a small statement that gives us personal comfort.  How many of us take the second step and get uncomfortable in order to make change happen?

“You have said that I can’t care about you because of my political beliefs, but you base that statement on ONE of the many choices I will make come election day.”

Yes, because I believe strongly that it is the most important one.  Your vote for president is the one that sets your intention for what matters.  The one that sets the tone and temperature for the entire country.  And I don’t mean for the LGBT community on this one issue, I mean for humanity.  You are voting for a party that has shown again and again that their version of humanity is limited to a select few.  I want no part of that.  None.

“A vote cast on the State Level, because if ALL the states recognize same-sex marriage, then it won’t
matter what the President thinks or doesn’t think.” 


You are wrong.  It does matter.  Read up on immigration equality.  Remember I am Canadian.  Don’t tell me that states rights are going to fix this.  It won’t change a damn thing for me or anyone in my position.  Only a federal change will.  It’s a complete cop-out to say otherwise.  It’s a way for you not to own the ways this vote does make you complicit in discrimination.

“A battle won on this level can’t waver with the beliefs of one man, and that’s how it SHOULD BE.” 

This should not depend on the beliefs of any man or woman. Not one.  Not many.  But it does.  Because my humanity is subject to your vote.  Because I am minority and other.  Because the republican party is committed to keeping it so.

Do you know what that feels like?  Do you know what it felt like in 2008 in Arizona?  To walk around the day after the election and know that over half the people I saw that day - In the line at the grocery store.  At my kid’s school.  At the post office.  Over half of them felt strongly enough about my otherness, by moral lack, that they would cast a vote against my right to marry.  Which is a vote against over a thousand other rights.  A vote AGAINST our shared humanity.  Do you know what that feels like?  To even know it is subject to vote.  That my humanity is subject to popular opinion? That I have to ask you for equal rights?  Pretty please.

What if it were your children, Jen? What if it were Grace?  What if she grew up, and she fell in love with a woman?  And she was brave and strong and beautiful and she cut her hair and wore men’s clothing and was judged everywhere she went because of who she loved and how she looked.  Even when she went to a public restroom she risked judgement and scorn and personal danger.  And she knew that whenever she wanted to hold her lovers had in public or give her a kiss she had to look around and gauge the people around her to be sure it was safe.   And her children were picked on and teased and scorned.

And what if her partner was from France. And she was the one who carried and birthed the children.  And then they broke up and it was nasty and hard.  And Grace was broken, because the children were going to be living in France with their real mother – because she had no choice but to leave, because of a federal marriage amendment that prevented her partner from ever becoming a citizen.   And your daughter had no legal right to those children because it was decided that gay people were not suitable parents.  And your grandchildren one day asked you how this happened?  How this world was created where their moms could not get married?  Why Grace could not keep them with her?  Why they hardly got to see you now when they used to see you every weekend?

Or what if the love of her life was sick.  And grace was not allowed to be with her in the hospital.  Not allowed to hold her hand as she died.  And your grandchildren were taken away, her children were taken away –  because Grace had never been legally allowed to adopt them even though they had been together when they were conceived and together when they were born and Grace had stayed home with them for ten years.  Because children needed a man and a woman and your daughter was not good enough.  Because her partners parents were conservative Christians who believed that same-sex attractions were the work of the devil.  Because when it didn’t matter personally, people like you didn’t fight as hard as they could have.

What would you say then?  Would this vote be okay then? Answer me that.  And then tell me if the economy is just as important to you.  If it is, well then – we agree to disagree.  I don’t need to un-friend you.  I respect your right to believe differently than I do.  But I give myself fully in friendship, and I want friends who not only accept and tolerate me, but who will do battle with me, just as I would go to battle for them.  That’s what it comes down to, for me.

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”

― Audre Lorde

The Response, part two

Standard

First of all, I want to clarify.

I think that this guy is an idiot and that this law is horrific and violates women. 

I do not, for a second, think that banning abortion will end abortion.

I do not even think that we SHOULD  flatly ban all abortion.

I stated I was pro-life. Un-ashamed and 100%. And I am.

But that does not make me anti-choice any more than it makes some one who claims that they are pro-choice, anti-life. I am also a compassionate and loving human being. I don’t care more about unborn babies than I do the women carrying them. I call myself pro-life because It is my core belief that abortion causes harm. And NOT just to the baby. Having an abortion can be a traumatic event for a woman as well. Not ALL women. But enough that sites like  this and this exist,along with many others,and they show that having an abortion is not the simple solution to an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy that many would like to believe it is.

The issue is complicated. And messy. And stirs up an emotional stew of ingredients that can combust into anger and accusations on BOTH sides. And when that happens, nothing good comes from it.

And the only way to move forward, and work together towards a common goal like fewer unwanted and unplanned pregnancies in the first place, can only come from putting down the weapons of hate we use to destroy each other and being willing to maybe, just maybe, for a minute, humble ourselves enough to say, “Gee, I can see your point of view. I can see (or at the very least, I choose to assume) that you are coming from a place of love and compassion for women/children/both and although i don’t agree with you, i bet we can find something we DO agree on. Let’s spend our energy working together on that and see if we can’t do some good.”

Can you imagine how freaking much we could accomplish?

It would be AMAZING.

Yesterday, in my post, I tried really, really, REALLY hard to only sate my point of view when it came to the issues i addressed.  If I, in any way, caused anyone to feel that they were being attacked, or being anything less than respected, then I apologize from the depths of my being.

The thought of that breaks my heart. (And if you know me, you know that those aren’t just words)

As far as politics go, I will admit that I also think that this guy can be an idiot too, especially when he says  and does stuff like thisI disagree wholeheartedly with many of his sentiments and personal views. I think he’s wrong. Dead wrong. Completely wrong. AND I still want to hire him to do the job that I believe the president should do.

I am not the only one, although sometimes i feel like it.  The Log Cabin Republicans are a political group of LGBT Republicans. I found them when searching the net to see if there was anyone else on the planet who agreed with the republican views of smaller government and a strong military while disagreeing with the party on same-sex marriage. They do a great job of articulating the reasons I choose vote for someone who I disagree with. 

But that choice hurts my friend, and for that I’m sorry. when Governor Romney says and does stuff like the crap i linked to above, I can see very clearly why my friend is hurt and angered by my decision to vote for him. She says it causes an ache in her heart, and that causes one in mine. I need to say that I am truly, deeply sorry for that hurt. And, as I said, if it is a deal-breaker, and she can not in good conscience call me her friend, then I will support that and love her from afar.  I will respect her and wish her nothing but the very best, and I know she will do the same. It would make me incredibly sad, but i expect that she would be too.

Sometimes, being true to yourself means making choices that make you ache.

One of the bravest people i know taught me that.

And I hope she knows how much I love her.