Pro-life is not.

In an exchange with Senator Thom Tillis about Planned Parenthood, the reality of the pro-life lobby struck me as never before. Particularly in light of yet. another. mass. shooting, it is painfully obvious.
Planned Parenthood Action sent a letter around to which many of us applied our names. Tillis was one of the lawmakers who responded. Here is my final response to him. There is just no reasoning with people who think the way “pro-lifers” do.
Mr. Tillis,
You responded to a recent letter I sent you about Planned Parenthood with what is obviously a form letter. Normally I would let it pass, but I feel the need to reply.
The fact that you and other so-called pro-life legislators focus your ire on Planned Parenthood’s supposed profit around abortion is appalling and disgusting. They do not “profit” by this funding, and their federal funding does not pay for abortions. Full stop. They barely stay afloat, serving otherwise deeply underserved communities, and they do so much more than merely abortions.
You’re not pro-life at all; you’re pro-birth, and the babies whose lives you’re so adamant about saving are forced to be born into families that cannot afford to feed them, or become the living reminder of a rape, because you refuse help to them once the little precious things arrive in the world. Your self-righteous posturing around religious freedom is exactly antithetical to the intent of religious freedom as codified in the Constitution. You are making a statement in favor of a specific religious dogma that is irrelevant to many of this country’s people and has no place in government; it is absolutely not your place to legislate Christian morality. Especially when that moralism isn’t especially Christian, but merely controlling.
Put your Bible away, or if you must cling to it, remember that Jesus said to feed and care for the poor, and placed no conditions around such charity.
Gutting Planned Parenthood’s funding does irredeemable harm to the health and well being of families who cannot afford healthcare. Cancer screenings, basic health checks, emergency care — these are only a few of the things you’re eradicating by cutting their funding.
Add to that your continued support of the NRA, and your hypocrisy is complete: you’re not pro-life at all.
Face it.
You’re pro-death.


Emma is the face and the voice of determination and courage.
Emma is the face and the voice of a generation that





Go Emma go.

Day Zero

Oh, where do I begin?

Other, better minds than mine will do the job of analyzing the inaugural speech of Donald Trump. I read an annotated transcript and saw so many red flags I hardly knew where to start. Like the world-shattering demagogues in whose footsteps he follows, he resorts to nationalistic speech, broad strokes of bleakness that conveniently forget the fact that he is one of those who has enriched himself ruthlessly at the expense of pretty much everyone with whom he’s come in contact. He talks of unifying the country, completely omitting the fact that he has just appointed some of the most divisive, hateful, and self-serving nightmare creatures imaginable to his new cabinet.

I suspect that his (and his cabinet’s) vision of “unity” has less to do with coming together across social divides and more to do with silencing dissent and difference. That’s not unity; that’s oppression. He wants a country peopled with compliant women and brutal men — a nation of Stepford Wives and their owners.

This, then, is where I will begin. Continue reading

An army of safety pins

This week has been staggering. A presidential campaign season that was divisive, ugly, contentious, and wrong for so many reasons resulted in the election of a brilliant marketeer, canny carnival huckster, a reality TV star with no experience in politics who really just wanted to add another notch to his gun belt. Or, perhaps more appropriately in this case, to his bedpost. Continue reading

The Aftermath

There have been a great many analyses — and rather more accusations — floating around the ‘net about what happened, exactly, this election year. Some are deeper and more complete than others.

Root cause analysis is a must in the aftermath of one of the most divisive campaigns in American history. Pointing fingers at this group or that will not accomplish the task. There are highly complex forces at play here. Yes, on the surface it’s easy to say that “racists won”, or “I couldn’t vote for either one”, or “Dems didn’t turn out to vote”. But it’s much deeper than these factors, or even a combination of these factors.
Continue reading

The Day the World Changed

Today is Election Day in the United States.

It’s my plan to avoid most of social media today. My timeline on Facebook this morning is full of vitriol from all sides, desperate messages imploring people to vote, screaming memes that grab viewers by the throat and threaten Armageddon if they don’t vote the way the poster does. All sides are doing this, not just the Big Two. Continue reading

Thinking out loud

One can admire things about a public figure without liking them, and without descending into fandom. So it is with my feelings about Hillary Rodham Clinton. Continue reading

We are complicit.

It’s infuriating, truly maddening, that white people who are watching the terrible events unfold in this country try to excuse themselves (“All lives matter!” “Well, I’ve always…” “I don’t see color…” “…but I’m not…”) from the actions of our fellow white people. I’ve done it myself, I confess, before I recognized the wrongness of it. The racism in this country is not about YOU, it’s about US.

So, nope. Sorry. We’re ALL guilty because we move in a bubble of privilege. We can drive our cars, or carry skittles, or wear hoodies, or play in a park, generally without fear of being shot for merely existing.

I’m achingly aware that I live in such a privileged bubble. Despite being marginalized in some ways because I am not a middle aged white guy, I do not fear for my life merely because I’m breathing. I’m a middle aged, fat white woman, which in fact renders me invisible in this youth- and thin-obsessed culture. Frankly, I’m lucky to be invisible rather than all too visible, as black people are.

I am, despite my very best efforts, complicit in this mess, simply because I’m white. I live in a country that was taken systematically and violently from its original inhabitants. I grew up in a part of the country whose economy was built on the backs of people who were ripped from their own homes, beaten, raped, and forced to carry out back-breaking, heart-breaking, spirit-breaking work for their “masters” (I hate that word) because those masters believed they were ordained by God to be placed over other people.

I married a brown man, married into a family whose members I love dearly — they run the gamut from deepest black to fairest white and everything in between, and even though he and I are no longer married, I still adore my rainbow family and always will.

And I’m aware that I had the privilege of choice in that regard, too.

We live in a culture whose law enforcement is very deliberately being infiltrated by white supremacists so that the racism built into this country can be further institutionalized. We are surrounded by people who believe — truly believe — that their Creator made them superior, despite volumes and volumes and volumes of scientific refutation.

As a species, we are inclined toward violence, conflict, and chaos. But that doesn’t mean it is inevitable, because we are also self-aware. We must do the work to avoid this inevitability.

So, for ALL of us white folks: when we try to whitesplain a person of color, we are part of the problem. Saying “black lives matter” does not imply that no other lives matter. Yes, all lives matter, but because they’re in critical, immediate danger, #blacklivesmatter right now. Instead of trying to exonerate ourselves, we must listen. Learn. Educate ourselves. Read articles. Check Snopes. Read the 2006 FBI report that called out the white supremacy movement’s infiltration of law enforcement. Read as many supporting articles as you can (here and here and here are good starts). CALL OUT RACISM WHEN WE SEE OR HEAR IT! Defend our brothers and sisters against violence and oppression. Reach out across the divide that WE MADE, and learn to love. Look our fellow human being in the eye and recognize their humanity.

And finally, it’s simple: love one another.

The institutionalization of angst


“What has America become?” by Ken Huber, as reproduced from the Iosco County News Herald. (Click on the image to view the full size version)

An article reproduced from a 2010 small town newspaper, the Iosco County News Herald, has been making the rounds for a while, and inspiring various responses across the political spectrum, from applause to derision, and everything in between. I feel this is important enough to write a response that’s something other than a kneejerk reaction (one way or the other), because people really do feel this way, and while I believe this is an honest cry for understanding, I also believe that it’s misguided. Continue reading

Lady Justice’s Blindfold

The opening graphics for Marvel’s TV series Daredevil are fascinating, offering an unusual and even gruesome conceptual view of how the world “appears” to our hero.

Included in the sequence is a rendition of Lady Justice, blindfolded as she usually is. It’s a visual joke on the idea that our hero is blind and dispenses vigilante justice on the streets of New York City — Hell’s Kitchen in particular. Marvel is unafraid of moral ambiguity in recent shows and has presented some troubling grey areas expertly. I think they make a mistake in presenting violence as the solution, but that they’re offering moral questions as a significant part of several story arcs is a step in the right direction. The Daredevil adamantly refuses to kill, and just as adamantly refuses to let go of the possibility that even the most hardened criminals are beyond redemption.

It got me to thinking beyond the visual joke to the general condition of Lady Justice in modern times. Continue reading

Too easy to walk away

After two days of reading about Ferguson, and fighting strange online battles based on assumptions and prejudices (many of my own, I’m sure), I wanted to just throw my hands up and say “Okay, I’ve had enough!”

And then I thought about that.

It’s so easy for observers to say something dismissive like “I’m sick of hearing about racism. I’m going to do [insert your distraction of choice here] now.”

That’s privilege. If we can say that, it means that we have the choice to walk away.

But you know what? Michael Brown didn’t get the choice. Trayvon Martin didn’t get the choice. Millions of people of color every day are stripped of the choice to walk away and choose something nice, because there are still people in the world who live and behave as though they’re better than everyone else, and screw anyone who doesn’t agree with them and behave the same way.

There’s not a whole lot I can do from here, except boost the signal of sanity where I see it. I’m in the middle of nowhere, there are no protests, and all the other desert rats are just going about their lives.

But this matters. Black lives matter. People of color matter.

And whether or not Michael Brown was stealing, he did not deserve to die for it. Darren Wilson, who claims that he felt threatened, defaulted to “kill” when his training should support “protect and serve”. There was no protecting or serving Michael Brown that day. There was no protecting anything except Darren Wilson’s right to perpetuate a systematic and institutionalized power imbalance that lets him take a life with impunity.

So although I WANT to walk away from this situation, I WON’T. I will continue making noise, and pissing people off, because the best thing I can do as an ally is… be an ally.

‪#‎Ferguson‬ ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬ ‪#‎alllivesmatter‬ ‪#‎lifeissacred‬ ‪#‎Iamanally‬