Monday, October 27, 2008

Them Bootstraps Aren't Really For Pulling On Your Boots

I confess. I am on a BB in which a majority of the people are conservative Christians. Recently many people on this BB have made repeated attacks on those who are down in their luck,those who are poor, etc and stating their belief that Obama wants to take care of all these "losers" at the expense of all these good God Fearing tax payers. Of course the word Socialism has recently been introduced to instill more fear and justify their irrational hatred of Obama. In fact one person went so far as to write:

The poor keep getting poorer because they keep doing whatever it was that made them poor in the first place. Ditto for the rich. There is nothing at all unexpected or unforseen about the behavior that's responsible for most of the poverty in this country. If you ignore your education, fail to develop a work ethic, do drugs, get pregnant before you're out of high school or before you can afford to raise a child, become a petty criminal, join a gang, hang with what you obviously know to be the wrong crowd, become a drinker, or generally comport yourself like a self-loathing slob, guess what? You're probably not going to make a lot of money!

So let's take a minute and examine this statement and while doing so lets look at it from the opposite end of the spectrum.

Let's examine those persons in the military/captains of business and industry who have used their parents positions/connections and money to circumvent the system to get opportunites that others deserved. They use the system for personal gain not based on merit but on these types of connections. And they use them in order to increase their wealth, grab power, or prestigue . Even worse is their sense of entitlement to those positions. It is truly mind boggling. We don't have to look very far to find examples of these types of people. Do the names Bush and McCain ring a bell? Frankly, these are the people that are far more dangerous to me than any two-bit hooker. Face it, plenty of rich people hang with the wrong crowd, become drinkers, fail to develop a work ethic, etc. Yet, they have the luxury of money, connections and family to sustain them and even promote them to places they do not deserve to be. A lot of people with higher grades/SATS etc do not get into the Ivy league where these connections are further developed and strengthened because someone's Daddy knows someone, has donated to the school, or their parents have attended. During the Vietnam war many kids were able to avoid serving or served in positions that kept them in the states due to the positions their parents held. People can become officers in the military because they can get into the academys that "normal" people cannot or someone who is truly deserving to be there is denied due to those connections. So to try to make the case that the poor stay poor because of their "laziness" while the rich get richer due to their "implied" hard work is not often true.

But even more troubling to me is this. So many of these conservative Christians tout the "Pick Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps" mentality and ,yet, we now have a candidate who stands before them having done just that. And instead of giving him the kudos for doing what they insist all people should do, they turn around and renounce him. So what exactly is it that is a black man is suppose to do? Stay at the bottom rung of society where you are chastised and beaten down? Or rise to the top and then you are labeled an elitist and a terrorist to boot. And if the truth be told many of these people don't want people of color to succeed because it goes against their idea of 'what things SHOULD look like' if all is right with their world. So the next time you hear the speel about bootstraps and the like acknowledge it for what it really is. Racism cloaked in everything but what it is. Hate.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When is an embryo a child?

I saw one of my potential children when she was 8 cells. I say potential because that is all she was...a potential. She was a potential at conception. Without a woman's uterus she had no potential to be born (at least in this day and age) Had the temperature changed significantly in the petri dish that potential would have evaporated. Without oxygen flowing to the embryonic sac she would not be here. Had they placed the cells in the wrong place or at the wrong time in my cycle she would not have been able to grow and develop. So many variables any one of which had gone wrong and she would not be here today just like the other seven that did not develop. I am honored to be her mother and am extremely fortunate to be so. And as her mother I would not want her to be forced into being a breeder for a couple just because they wanted to experience parenthood. I want my child to have the right to be a mother when she is ready not when someone else is ready for her to be one. I was lucky I was able to choose when I was ready to be a mother and I am sure glad that no one forced me to be a mother, at say, age 13. We are lucky that we get to... for the most part... choose when we become mothers. We are lucky to live in a country that we are not sold off at age 8 or 10 destined to became a mother soon after because we have no choices/options available to us. That we can choose our mates, where we live, what we eat and who/what we worship.

What is a hero?

I am sure I will get slayed for this but I have been thinking about this for a while. Since before the election. In fact, I did just look up the definition for hero and will admit it is not in line with my own idea of what a hero is. It seems to me that today what with Higgleytime Heros and the like where everyone is a hero we throw the word hero around so that it no longer has the special connotation that it once did. Seems to me it was once reserved for people of exemplorary character who risked their life without concern for themselves and they performed their act of heroism without intent of getting any rewards, leniency, special treatment for themselves.
Three weeks ago Uncle Mark arrived home from Iraq and my kids asked if he was a hero. Frankly, we do not think he or the other members of our family who have served are heros though they are most likely brave. No doubt about it they did perform a very difficult and hazardous job that many of us would not like to be charged with. Yet, they were doing a job they were paid and trained to do and they knew the risks when they signed up. Now, if one of them had laid on a granade in order to protect their fellow soliders then to us they would be a hero. The firemen and policemen in the Twin Towers who knew they were going down but were determined to get others out despite the cost to themselves; they were heros. The woman or man who witnesses and accident and jumps in a river to save people in a car, they are a hero. Using my own ideas of a hero I am not sure McCain is although I do believe he was a brave man who surely suffered while in the hands of the North.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Seashells By The Seashore

For me it is the end to the perfect day. The wind is blowing softly, the sandpipers are scuttling along the shore while the suns golden glow shimmers as it sinks below the waves. My six year old son skips along the sea, jet black hair flying behind him. He delights in the unfamiliar of the shore songs that greet us and offer up the oceans bounties. Shells of many colors: brown, tan, black, white and an occasional tinge of pink. He runs collecting both big and small. He scoops them up,washes them off, and dumps them in the bag as we make our way down the beach. I help pointing out the errent ones that he has missed along the way. But of course, I leave the chipped, broken and those shells whose imperfections make them less than a desireable collectors item.

"Mom, LOOK at all my shells," his voice booms. "There are hundreds of them."

I peek my head into the bag. Bits and pieces with jagged edges greet me.

"But Kullen, these shells are all broken," I say, trying to be helpful. "Why don't you collect ones like this?" handing him a perfect specimun that has just washed ashore.

"But Mom, they don't have to be whole to be perfect. They are beautiful just the way they are."

And with that, he looks into my eyes and holds my gaze with those deep brown eyes of his and gives me a dirty black shell, the majority of whose pieces are scattered over the bottom of the Atlantic. But when I turn the shell over I see he is right. The center makes a perfect circle which circles back upon itself. The color is uniform and is as dark as ebony. And as I stare at that shell I suddenly see my son within it. They both have a few cracks, even some missing pieces, I suddenly come to the realization that they are indeed both perfect. Sometimes it just takes a six year old boy with autism to remind you.