Tag Archives: America

Murky Certitudes

Abortion is no different than clipping fingernails. At least that was what my mother and I believed in the early 1970s.

At the time, the debate raged on as to whether to legalize abortion or not. Pro-choice and pro-life were not, as of yet, the labels for opposing movements on this issue.

In 1969, NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) organized. I think NARAL sponsored the pro-abortion booth that I volunteered at the State Fairgrounds one year. Among the prized livestock and blue-ribbon winning homemade jams, I passed out this radical literature to the fair-going public. The anti-abortion people had their own booth and ventured near us with their bloody photos of aborted fetuses. We just shrugged and kept on distributing our NARAL pamphlets.

Years later I thought about my carefree stance on abortion. I should have known not to align myself with my mother’s point of view. At times my mother would tell her friends and relatives that she had a right to kill me since she gave birth to me. I was eleven at the time and I protested this proclamation. She told me to shut up since she can say what she wants to say.

If a fetus/baby can be aborted at 8 months, is it murder when the mother kills the baby shortly after its birth? Maybe you can push the issue and kill the kid well after a decade of her life. I had to live with a whole lot of crazy so my brain works in weird ways.

But if a woman’s life is in danger during pregnancy, even a late-term one, the American medical community can and will save the mother’s life before the baby. A reversal of this position would be unwelcomed. If a radical pro-life agenda is capable of eliminating all abortions, I’d be working in a booth at the fairgrounds again.

The very liberal and very conservative in this country are disingenuous. They can’t talk to each other and only want to divide and humiliate each other. You can be against abortion, but don’t chase women back into dangerous back-alley abortions. You can be for abortion, but don’t be so flippant about the gut-wrenching feelings others have on the issue.

Today the medical community keeps formerly unviable fetuses alive. But desperate women will seek out abortions legal or not for a number of personal reasons. Compassion must encircle this difficult topic. A safe abortion is far more than a clipped nail, but sadly it is necessary and I hope as rare as possible.

Snow in the Summer

DAILY PROMPT
That Stings!
Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/that-stings/

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That last book was “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk. His books give me a glimpse into a land and culture that I am blind to and gives me inklings of understanding.

“Snow” explores the author’s country of Turkey. His land has been and is at the crossroads of the east and west where a complex pull of secular and religious ideologies struggle for power.

The whole book had a scorpion effect on me, but I remember a particular bite and sting in Chapter 32, “I Have Two Souls Inside My Body.”

In this chapter Ka,the main character, writes a poem that speaks of a “. . . sadness of a city forgotten by the outside world and banished from history.” He imagines that he is in a Hollywood movie, the image of the earth spinning pans in, the camera moves closer until you see only one country — Turkey — with its surrounding seas, Istanbul, trees. and laundry, until the film stops at Ka’s own bedroom window.

I received a bit of a jolt when the camera settled in on a location several thousand of miles away from my personal view of the same Hollywood movie. My earth stops spinning on the Great Lakes, Detroit, a Ford motor plant, a birdbath. This may be my American egocentrism at work here, but it is probably a natural vision most people go to in their minds.

I love to read books that take me out of my skin and for a second puts me in another’s place. To me this is better than physical travel. Travel may take you to tourist spots and remove you from controversial images or people. Your mind can take you more places. I prefer Dickinson’s room to Melville’s open seas.

Woman Evolves

Baby-making tool,

Before Equality’s Crown—

Turn — stem-cell machine.

To Deny Is Science: Climate Change

I love science. Even though I studied literature in college, I’ve always love to read about and watch shows about science. Some of my favorite writers wrote in the 19th century, a time when people found a greater freedom to explore science with a lesser chance of getting burnt at the stake or beheaded. A lot of the literature of this time period discussed and criticized the scientific sphere.

I believe in the theory of evolution. I believe in the big bang theory. And I am open to modifications or invalidations of scientific theories. That’s the way science works, so I thought. Science is always up to be challenged.

Issac Newton presented theories that were proven wrong at a later date. So did Einstein. Scientific theories get torn apart to see if they can stand.

So I am disheartened to hear President Obama and his administration assert that “climate change is real” and all discussion is closed. That ceases to be science and starts to become a weird sort of dogma.

Why won’t the believers in man-made climate change debate people that do not buy into this theory wholeheartedly? Scientist vs. scientist. Let there be a free-flowing discussion and experimentation.

The man-made climate change believers are veering onto a pathway to anti-science. Something smells rotten in government. Build upon knowledge, do not create a 21st century Western version of the Islamic Four Great Doctors from the 13th century. I’ve developed a taste for freedom. Let’s be free to think.

Shades of Grey

My good friend has thick, curly, salt and pepper hair that reaches past her shoulders. I’ve known her about 35 years. Or I should say I met her 35 years ago. Some years I never spoke or wrote to her. Her birthday just passed by last month and I just remembered. Not even a greeting card from me. So maybe she is not my good friend after all. But I hate to think that way.

We met at work and I saw her every day, five days a week, until she decided to pursue a master’s degree in literature. She left and lived in Indiana, Puerto Rico, Iowa, and Indiana again. She taught in China. She traveled multiple times to Europe. I stayed home and never wandered too far. I like to think she is Melville to my Dickinson. But that is only when my ego and sanity run amuck.

We lost touch and found it again a few times over the years. Out of all my friends, and there aren’t that many, I want to consider her my dearest. It’s not what it is, but what I desire. I feel we could have known each other better than anyone else could have. I’m not easy to get close to and I’ve pushed away a fair share of people.

I remember a girl I met in my freshman year at college. She went out of her way to talk to me and one day said she hoped to hang out with me. I said I was busy with a boyfriend, school, and work. I saw some pain and bitterness in her face as if she had been on the receiving end of rejection before. I didn’t see the worth of what she was offering me. I relive that moment with regret at the friendship unexplored.

My good friend had thick, curly, dark brown hair that reached past her shoulders. She wished it were straight. I wished I could trade her hair for my straight, thin, limp, dishwater blond hair. But what percentage of women love their hair? The curly, chemically straighten. The straight haired, curl. The brown dye blond, the blond dye brown, an endless cycle. Critical women slammed the undone black hair of the fit and pretty Gabrielle Douglas at this past Olympics. I do not know the complex world of black women’s hair. But I do know that women want the hair that they do not have.

I dyed my hair just before I last saw my good friend in March. I bought a box color and as usual, was not happy with the results. Even an expensive salon dye job never made me content. The stylist would show me a color sample and tell me it was perfect for me. But the color never matched the sample. Even if the color came out just OK, it quickly faded or turned brassy.

I haven’t dyed since. The grey, white, and mousy light brown hair is becoming prominent on my head. My good friend was part of my inspiration. Each day, I notice more women that let the grey out. I like it.

The dye often irritated my scalp. I’m not wasting money on that box of dye or on salon treatments I don’t love. No more brassy gold, red blond, quick-to-fade brown.

Don’t get me wrong, grey is not the new blond. The forever young baby boomers can’t claim gray hair is youthful. I’m just letting my inner hagness out.  I don’t regret looking old. My regrets have more to do with friendships that failed to flower. So instead, I type to an anonymous few.