I'm a 27 year-old crazy cat lady (Phantom and Goliath are my babies) who lives in Wisconsin (past homes included San Antonio and Japan). I spend too much time playing video games on my DS or PS3, watching TV and making my loved ones laugh until they hurt. Most of the time, I'm listening to music as I do these things. Freelance writer by day, reviewer, blogger and sex fiend by night. I like to think I'm well rounded, and I'm working on becoming the best me I can possibly be. I am terrible at writing these things.
It’s not often that something affects me so deeply that I cry angry tears. It’s not often that I have to blog about things for fear that I might strangle people with their rosaries, but here were are.
While I was preparing for and spending 4 glorious but hot days in Minnesota, the politicians back in my own home were passing a bill that would mandate ultrasounds for women who want abortions. Not only that, but a provision that abortion providers must be located within certain distance from a hospital to which the clinic can admit patients.
Most of my home state is pretty rural. In fact, we have very few Planned Parenthood clinics, and these are some of the only places where you can get an abortion in Wisconsin. There are only three cities that even have clinics that perform abortions, among other family planning services. I have access to another family planning clinic in my home town, but I’d have to drive over an hour for an abortion.
Thanks to SB 206, I’ll be required to drive three or more hours for an abortion. There are no more clinic north of Madison. That’s 70% of the state. At this point, I would likely be subjected to a vaginal ultrasound and, thanks to this bill, my doctor would be required to describe the features of the fetus.
While I was away having fun, the GOP and Governor Walker were working together to tear apart my state. I cannot imagine what the thought process is like. Did something so horrible occur to these people that they hate women? Are they simply too ignorant to realize how misogynistic these laws are? Are members of the GOP so sheltered that they truly do not understand the consequences of their actions?
I have no idea. I also had no idea it was happening. In ten short days, this bullshit all passed through senate. As soon as I found out, I found a couple petitions against SB 206.
I follow one person on Twitter who is outspokenly conservative. I’ve never met her or really talked to her, but it seemed like we had some other things in common. So many of my friends are young and liberal that I wouldn’t have suspected her of being anything else, but I decided that politics alone weren’t enough reason for me to not try to make her acquaintance/friendship. However, the recent political climate means she’s quite vocal. The interesting thing is that everything she says makes sense out of context, but we agree because we disagree in the grand scheme of things.
Let me give an example. Last night, she talked about how pride builds community but not jobs or money, which is true. It’s part of the same “hope does nothing” rhetoric that the right constantly spouts. It’s been especially loud since Obama’s 2008 campaign, and while his campaign doesn’t center around hope this time around, Obama certainly intends to make America hopeful.
Thus, the peanut gallery chimes in how hope and faith and belief doesn’t buy groceries or fill your car with gas or pay your bills. This is all technically true, I concede. However, it’s not the entire story. The left isn’t the only side asking us to have hope, they’re just asking us to have hope for the sake of hope. They just want us to have faith in the system.
The right, though? The right wants us to have hope that when we work hard everything else will fall into place. Hope that our work ethic is bigger and better than that of the same person gunning for the job, and that potential employers will see this and hire us. Faith that our work ethic will get us a promotion and keep us working when everyone around us in laid off. Belief that working hard will matter more than sudden illnesses, injuries or an economic recessions.
Because that pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps rhetoric is tired, and everyone who lives in the real world knows what it is to work hard. I know plenty of people who work hard, who work harder than I think they should have to, and they’re just getting by. Plenty of people work 40+ hours per week and they’re not getting by. They still need assistance. A plethora of people spend that much time alone trying to find work that isn’t out there, being turned down because they’re “overqualified” or some other silly reason.
The bottom line is: hard work alone sometimes isn’t enough, and policies that ask us to believe, to hope, to have faith that it is are policies I cannot stand behind. They’re not realistic, and I can’t believe anyone who doesn’t see these platforms for what they are. Yes, Obama and the liberals are asking me to have hope, but they’re not asking me to have blind faith. The platform asks me to have hope for a brighter future based on my hard work and the support of my government. To me, that just makes sense. It’s the only realistic path I can take as a voter.
I hope that 47% and then some agree with me when the polls open.
When asked what I was passionate about, I found it hard to answer and what I did come up with didn’t seem significant enough. The truth is, however, I am passionate about people and things that affect them: freedom and opportunity, tragedies–both natural and man-made, the every day things and the once in a lifetime chances. I think it would be appropriate to be compassionate and I could not tell you that I try because, the truth is, I try not to be sometimes. It’s all to easy for me to get swept up in despair because I cannot possibly help everyone or even know where to start.
To help alleviate this despair, I decided that I would stick to what I’m good at. Every day, I would make my loved ones smile and laugh and feel good about themselves and, in my head, these ripples of goodness slowly spread outward and perhaps, just maybe, touch every corner of the world. Nevermind that it’s a sphere.
And maybe along the way I will discover some way that I can contribute in more “significant” ways because I know that saying “I make people laugh” doesn’t exactly sound like ground breaking life’s worth. But don’t let me undercut what I do because I am damned good at it and if I died today, the people I loved would be sad because there life was better for having me in it, for having me to make them laugh.
And that is awesome.
Yet, sometimes, the reality for those who I can’t make laugh hits me like a ton of bricks. And I get angry. Or sad. Or a hysterical combination of both. Because I care. Because I am passionate about people in general, despite my sarcastic and biting sense of humor that may indicate otherwise. That is how I felt when I stumbled across the following:
There is a country where the leading cause of death of pregnant women is murder by a partner. In this same country, more than a million women were raped in 2008 and women are much more likely to live in poverty than men. Local laws don’t protect their right to bodily freedom and integrity; some rape laws even state that once a woman initially consents to sex, she doesn’t have the right to change her mind.
You may have caught on by now — yes, I’m talking about the United States.
average life span of a transgendered person is twenty-three years. The statistic is shocking, until it begins to make sense. Gender non-conformists face routine exclusion and violence. Transgendered people are disproportionately poor, homeless, and incarcerated. Many of the systems and facilities intended to help low-income people are sex-segregated and thereby alienate those who don’t comply with state-imposed categories. A trans woman may not be able to secure a bed in a homeless shelter, for example. Spade writes that just as the feminist movement tended to “focus on gender-universalized white women’s experience as ‘women’s experience,’” the lesbian- and gay-rights movement has focused primarily on a white, middle-class politic, centered on marriage and mainstream social mores.
Google has stepped up and created a Person Finder page for those who may be missing in Japan. I personally clicked over and stumbled across an entry for someone looking for information about someone in Misawa. I left a little blurb to inform the poster than Misawa AB has reported no deaths or serious injuries. It’s really hard for me to read about what is going on over there right now. It just hits.. a little too close to home but I hope that I have helped.
And despite the political turn that has occurred, people like you and me are stepping up to help others. Like this Tumblr user who want to give rides to women in Virginia who require an abortion but must now travel out of state for the service. Or this user who says (and I paraphrase) “You know what? Abortion isn’t for me but I respect the life of the living as well as the yet-to-live.”
Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. Pro-choice is often far more pro-life than “pro-life” is. I can’t say I’ve ever met anyone who thinks abortion is just fantastic or the new perfect birth control, that’s not how it goes. If you really want a lower abortion rate, put your time and effort into education and health care (you know, programs like Planned Parenthood). No one has any right to tell a woman what to do with her body or anything that’s growing inside of it. No one has any right to put women in danger for a group of cells, especially a group of cells they will later ignore and expect to fend for itself.