The Importance Of Protest

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Today I was amazed at the number of women who were upset and “appalled” at the women who gathered together to march and show solidarity for women and the issues that touch their lives.

One of the proudest moments of my life was marching with the Mothers Of The Plaza de Mayo. Marching can do incredible and meaningful things, correct wrongs, and bring important issues to the forefront…this is an example of why.

Between 1976 and 1983 thousands of young people went missing under the military dictatorship in Buenos Aires. Nothing was able to stop this until a group of very brave women began to march every Thursday seeking answers to the fate of their loved ones. They marched in defiance of their government’s state terrorism meant to silence all opposition and those asking questions/demanding answers. It was their unceasing presence that finally helped lead to the downfall of a government that murdered approximately 30,000 people.

Today these same mothers can still be found, in wheelchairs and on crutches refusing to let their voices be silenced. They may not have made a difference to their lost children but they saved the lives of thousands more. That was one of my proudest days…marching with these brave and determined women.

I hope that today was one of your proudest days as you marched in unity all over the world. (Now that was a surprise!) Be proud of yourselves. Pat yourselves on the back. You have joined woman all over the world whose protests have made a difference…sometimes it just takes a while to know exactly what that difference is.

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A Miracle

Yesterday I spent the morning in a courtroom. No, I wasn’t on trial for murdering the guy next door who blares his music at 1 a.m. though the impulse is sometimes there. It wasn’t for a parking ticket or a jaywalking offense. It was for something much better…an adoption!!!

My dear friend (I’ll call her M) started down this path many years ago. While she and her husband (K) have two of the nicest boys you will ever meet; M felt like their family was incomplete. Her desire for a girl pulled at her heart for so long that she was unable to ignore it no longer. But first she had to get K on board. It took a while but once K made up his mind there was no turning back. They have worked hard to become a loving family of five.

Adoption is not for the faint of heart. There is the fingerprinting, the intense and intrusive background checks, the numerous day-long adoption classes you are required to take, and social worker visits that happen so often that often it feels you are adopting them. And then there is the paperwork. Mountains of it. Enough paper to clear acres of pristine forest. But perhaps the worst part about adoption is the waiting and uncertainty. The amount of faith you have to have to love a child with all your heart, even though you know there is a chance that their birth parent may try to reunite with them, often to the detriment of the child, can be crushing to your soul. Yet, you just keep loving despite of your own fears that a social worker could arrive at your door at any time and leave your arms empty once more.

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Adoption is fraught with challenges. It is often conceived in fear. In addition, there is immense loss felt on the part of the child even if their birth parents were less than stellar.But when it is done right it is the most miraculous thing in the world. Somehow  families are created despite all the chaos and the gift you receive with the first hug that your child spontaneously gives you and the first time they call you Mom…well… there is nothing like it in the world. It’s like stumbling out of the forest into a sunny field full of wildflowers.

And so I was honored to be able to sit and witness the legal creation of this family especially since my three adoptions had been such a blur. As I sat there watching the sunshine unfold and M trying not to cry; it gave me time to appreciate all that I have been given through adoption and how much richer my life is because of it. And while I distain the word “lucky” in the same sentence as the word adoption I do have to say that the Smith family has been lucky all the way around. Miss S now has the best set of brothers who willingly share all they have and teach her in such loving and touching ways. She is lucky to have found the best set of parents EVER.  People who are there for you no matter what, who provide unconditional love and lots of laughs. They provide patience and support, and spend time well spent reading and playing with their children, and exposure to new and wonderful experiences outside of their home. Together M and K make every day the best that it can possibly be for their family. They are the kind of parents every child deserves.

The Smith family is also lucky to have Miss S enter their lives. She brings her own fiery brand of temperament into a household that lacked her kind of undeniable and exuberant spark. She also brings that girlishness  that was so wanted into a testosterone ladened home. Miss S also brings a fresh look at life and an exuberance for it that makes everyone around her smile; her constant joy reflected back to them on her beautiful and radiant face. I do not know of any family made for each other more than this one. Lucky. Yes. Blessed. Yes. Content. Yes. Complete. Finally.

And so my friends, may you always remember the gift that each of you received today and when life’s little irritations arise may you always look back upon this day to put a smile on your face and give you some perspective. You are the family you dreamed of and what you have created all together is, indeed, a miracle. YEAH!!!!!

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This Is NOT A Truly Democratic Election

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Today I FINALLY get to go vote in my state’s primary. Frankly, I think it is a crock. Unfortunately, in the United States we have a staggered primary system that eventually determines which candidates will be each party’s nominee to run for president. This means that I am often denied the same opportunity to vote for who I really believe is the BEST choice for the job. By the time my primary comes around so many candidates have already been eliminated, not because they were not worthy contenders, but because they were not given the same amount of network air time, did not yet have the money to fight a decent campaign or have folded their tents for a multitude of other reasons.

I have to admit that I am discouraged and I am tired of not having the same opportunities as the folks in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, etc. to elect our leaders. We need to have a national primary so that people living in late voting states like mine get the SAME opportunity to vote for who they really believe is the BEST choice for president.This is NOT a fair and free election when I cannot help determine who will be the nominee. It is a boatload of crap.

While I recognize that there are millions of people on this earth who are truly denied a basic right to elect their own leaders and my complaint might seem feeble in comparison, the fact is that on some much smaller level, I too, am experiencing a type of voter suppression. In the land of the FREE it is ludicrous that my freedom to choose has been taken away by a system designed to reward the “chosen” few. And thats not even wading into the issue regarding the quagmire of super delegates who further restrict my vote rendering it null and void.

So today I will go and vote. It often feels like I do so in vain. But I still believe that it is my responsibility to do so… and so I will. But I will be voting, as usual, for real change. And even though the kind of change I would like to see happen probably never will, I will not give up in the belief that my vote really does count…even if it doesn’t.

 

 

 

 

Our Bodies Ourselves

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As women it seems like we have spent a lifetime trying to keep men away from our bodies uninvited. From the little girl who subconsciously realizes that having a man’s hands down her pants is somehow wrong, to teens who fight the pressure to go to “second base”  if you “really love me;” females are always having to fight men who are constantly deciding what “is right for them.”

Many years ago when I was in grad school I interviewed and surveyed over 100 teenage girls in regards to how they viewed feminism. Many didn’t know what feminism was. Even more commented that it was not relevant to them and that there was no need for feminist thinking in this day and age. I was shocked and dismayed.

As a child who grew up in the last 60’s and 70’s, I remember the feminist revolution very well. I remember Phyllis Schaffly condemning women who wanted something more for themselves than a frying pan in their hand. I remember women working hard to try to achieve equal work for equal pay. I remember women waking up to their own sexuality and unique health care/reproductive needs, and realizing that they could and should take those matters into their own hands especially when “those matters” concerned their own bodies.

Lately, the political right wing is getting louder in their demands to further control women’s bodies. In this day and age where access to abortion is harder to obtain than purchasing an assault weapon, and Planned Parenthood, where so many millions of poor women receive their gynecologic health care, is under attack and  being defunded; it amazes me how few women are doing anything about it. Once again men have their hands “all over our bodies” and once again women’s needs and wants are subjugated to men in power-conservative men in power who really want to put women “back in their place” where “they belong.” Yet, what I find really disturbing is that if God did indeed give us each free will that conservatives fail to honor this principle of self governance given by God when it comes to women’s minds and bodies.

When, I wonder, will women finally realize it is ALWAYS in their best interest to control their own reproductive health, their bodies and their souls? And when will these ideas that others should control a woman’s  body for their own political and religious gain ever stop? It’s time we end these outdated practices and let women live in peace without having men’s unwanted hands all over us.

Cameras on Traffic Lights

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The other day I noticed that a recently installed stop light had a camera nestled on top of the cross beam. This got me concerned so I decided to pay more attention to my surroundings. As I drove around town, I was amazed at the number of mounted “spy cameras” I noticed throughout the city. When did this happen I wondered? When did I, as both a citizen of this city and as a citizen of the United States give up my right to travel freely throughout my city without “Big Brother” watching me. I didn’t vote to allow this. I didn’t sign some sort of waiver. I didn’t agree to a bond measure that would pay for these mounted cameras…so how did this happen? When did it happen? And more importantly, how are these shots being used by my police department?

Today it is cameras on lights. What will it be tomorrow? Who controls this information that is obtained and what do they do with it? How long is it stored?

I am sad. I am disturbed and disillusioned. And I wonder who forgot to ask us if this type of intrusion on our personal lives is okay. No one asked me but if they had I would say NO it is not okay to monitor me, my friends and my loved ones. This is the United States of America. Home of the free…at least it is suppose to be.

Cameras on Stop Lights

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The other day I noticed that a recently installed stop light had a camera nestled on top of the cross beam. This got me concerned so I decided to pay more attention to my surroundings. As I drove around town, I was amazed at the number of mounted “spy cameras” I noticed throughout the city. When did this happen I wondered? When did I, as a citizen of this city and as a citizen of the United States, give up my right to travel freely throughout my city without “Big Brother” watching me. I didn’t vote to allow this. I didn’t sign some sort of waiver. I didn’t agree to a bond measure that would pay for these mounted cameras…so how did this happen? When did it happen?  And more importantly, how are these shots being used by my police department?

Today it is cameras on lights. What will it be tomorrow? Who controls this information that is obtained and what do they do with it? How long is it stored?

I am sad. I am disturbed and disillusioned. And I wonder who forgot to ask us if this type of intrusion on our personal lives is okay. No one asked me but if they had I would say NO it is not okay to monitor me, my friends and my loved ones. This is the United States of America. Home of the free…at least it is suppose to be.