Don’t ask me to “play nice”

A Facebook friend posted this graphic, said he thought the statements were true, but asked if anyone could verify.

The people who responded in opposition to Ryan’s policies were mostly women (I responded too), and provided links to legislation, historic perspectives, and personal experiences to back up their positions.

The poor man, Jim, (no last names here because I am feeling generous and don’t want to expose the guy’s knuckledragger politics) “dared” someone to prove that a “common form of birth control” would be banned got a firestorm of answers from both women and men which included links to the legislation Ryan sponsored, Supreme Court decisions, historic references and stories of  personal experience.

Poor Jim responded at times by primarily personally criticizing strangers who offered strong arguments in opposition to Ryan’s policies. At one point, perhaps because no one was coming to Jim’s aid, the mutual friend, a man, asked everyone to “play nice.”  And frankly, when the topic is women’s health and reproductive choices, it really pissed me off for a man to say we should “play nice.”

I am not going to “play nice” when it comes to protecting the hard won health care rights for me, my friends, my daughters, my granddaughter, and my nieces. “Playing nice” also puts the ability for families to plan when and if they have children (childless couples are families too) at risk.

Any person, be they  male, female, gay, lesbian, transgendered, pangendered, questioning, celibate, or heterosexual, who has a vested interest in the health of women, children, and families in our country, needs to do their homework. We must know the legislation Ryan and likeminded Conservatives support, and speak up with facts and information, not hot-tongued rhetoric that is no better than the factless refutations proffered by poor Jim.

I am willing to discuss and talk when someone disagrees with me. But being told to “play nice” when the conversation is vigorous, don’t even go there with me.

(You can get a jump start on the legislation and some keen analysis here with a link to the Sanctity of Life Act, analysis of Ryan’s positions and policies at The Daily Beast and Jezebel. If that doesn’t scare you senseless about the attack on women by Republicans, read Rep. Todd Akin’s stupefying comments on whatever “legitimate rape” is.)



Now this? Enough already!

There are lots of good people in North Carolina on both sides of the voting booth and the aisles in their churches. As if North Carolina didn’t get enough national media attention with passage of Amendment One by voters earlier this month, now Pastor Charles L. Worley and his followers at Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden have shifted the spotlight back to rural North Carolina.

Pastor Worley preached that the “solution” for lesbians, queers, AND homosexuals (reduntant? Worley doesn’t care or even know) is to build huge fenced-in areas, put the women in one and the men in the other, air drop food to them, and just wait from them to die off because they can’t reproduce.

If it sounds unbelievable, see and hear it yourself:

When Anderson Cooper asked church member Stacey Pritchard about Worley’s sermon and the intent of Worley’s message, Prichard couldn’t explain her way through it. In fact, if she had had a shovel in her hands, she couldn’t have dug the hole she put herself in any faster or deeper (and she also seems to have a problem with understanding the facts of the Holocaust and current events).

Citizens in the area are organized and have planned a peaceful demonstration against the hate speech spewed by Worley and supported by his followers. This Sunday beginning at 11:00 people from across the country will be in Maiden to peacefully demonstrate opposition to the hate-filled message preached at Providence Road Baptist Church.

Want to go? Follow the Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate on Facebook for details. Would you like to support their grassroots work to stop hate speech in their community? You can donate to Catawba Valley Pride to help pay for flyers, office supplies, and all the other things that must be bought to make grassroots outreach successful.

You’ll be in good company if you get to Maiden because I know several of my friends (including one who is a minister) will be there. You should join them.

I can’t get to Maiden because I have to help aging parents this weekend. Unfortunately I am afraid there will be other opportunities to demonstrate against hate speech. What a shame.



The rights of a minority decided by a few of the majority

Senator Bill Bradley has been making the rounds promoting a new book, and much of what he is talking about has to do with Super PACS and the obscene amounts of money required to run a successful campaign. Bradley said “Democracy is not a vicarious experience. They (American voters) have to pay attention to public policy and to politics. It takes all of us acting together to make America better.” (emphasis added)

Last week, a small percentage (34.38) of  eligible voters in North Carolina (my home state) turned out and voted in support of an amendment to the state constitution which states that marriage is between a man and a woman. Period. Voters had already been to the polls to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Of the 6.2M+ voters who are eligible to vote, 1.3M showed up to say Yes to an amendment that now changes the North Carolina Constitution to not only deny marriage rights to same-sex couples, but also puts into jeopardy domestic partnerships between heterosexual couples. Just over 833K voted No, which would have left the Constitution unchanged but still kept same-sex marriage off the books. A fraction of North Carolina citizens, less than a quarter of registered voters, reduced the rights of their fellow citizens.

In 2008 voters turned out at rates of 70 percent to elect President Obama, making it one of the highest states for turn out. Then and now, we take much of what we have in our country for granted. Yet it is a privilege to live in a country where men and women, every day of the year, are willing to risk their lives in combat to protect our right to vote and be engaged in the course our nation sets. But this time less than 35 percent of registered voters bothered to show up. To be engaged. To exercise the right that fellow citizens fight to protect every day.

Who were the 61.06 percent of voters who decided on the rights of the majority and why did they choose to vote as they did?

The majority of voters were rural or from smaller cities, and did not have college degrees.   Voters don’t need a college degree to make an informed decision at the polls. Where they live shapes their opinions, but rural voters don’t live in silos, and they didn’t walk barefoot down a dirt road to vote.

But some people in the majority, a stunning 26 percent, were uninformed. According to Public Policy Polling, among voters who admitted they didn’t understand what the amendment would do, 26 percent supported it. That’s scary.

Which brings me full circle to my mini-rant about turning out to vote in this country; how many of those 26 percent have a friend, son or daughter, husband or wife, parent, or cousin serving in harm’s way every day,  and yet turned out with no clue on what they were voting for or against? And even worse, cast an uninformed vote to deny the right to marry for same-sex couples, as well as putting domestic partnerships and civil unions between heterosexuals at risk. Yes, they got there, but they didn’t do their homework. A third of the voters supporting Amendment One really had no idea what they were supporting.

So who can get married in North Carolina?

In North Carolina you don’t have to marry a stranger. Cousins can marry each other. That’s the case in over 25 states. But you can’t marry your cousin if you are the same sex, at least in North Carolina. last Tuesday’s vote cleared that up.

Married to someone who is physically impotent in North Carolina? Not really. The law says those are void. Which raises an interesting question; if an impotent spouse is remedied by something like Viagra, but otherwise impotent, is the marriage void? And why does the North Carolina think it needs a statute about anyone’s ability to “perform” in the bedroom?

In 1971 the state adopted a new constitution which removed the barriers to inter-racial marriages, but the champion of Amendment One, State Senator Peter Brunsetter, seems to have had race at the heart of his proposed amendment.

According to comments made by Jodie Brunstetter, the wife of state Senator Peter  Brunstetter, the REAL reason Amendment One was necessary is because the “Caucasian race” needs to be protected.

That’s right. Apparently Senator and Mrs. Brunsetter think that Caucasians making up 68.5 percent of the state’s citizens isn’t enough.

Where’s the logic in that? Do they think that with only one type of legal marriage in the state that white heterosexual couples will start reproducing like rabbits?

Unfortunately we all learned a lot and lost a lot last Tuesday. It was a hard lesson in hate and intolerance, made clear in the voting booth.


Dark days for Georgia’s women

The chase to Crossover Day in the Georgia General Assembly (when bills must be voted out of one side of the legislature or die) allows our elected officials to be seen at their worst and their best. Women and men across the state who value the ability of women, and their doctors, to make responsible decisions about their health care, have opposed HB 954 and SB 438.

SB 438, which passed yesterday, is stunning in its interference in the decision-making process for women’s health. The bill removes any state employee insurance coverage for a legal abortion unless the mother’s health is at serious risk. The AJC reports that the lead sponsor of SB 438, Sen Mike Crane, R-Newnan, drew gasps when refusing to add exceptions for rape and incest victims.

The 33-18 vote so angered Democratic women in the Senate that they linked arms and left the floor. Valenica Seay, D-Riverdale, said,  “This is not a good day for women in Georgia. “Come on, guys. We are not your property.”


The House has also been hard at work reducing health care options for women. HB 954 shortened the window of time for a legal abortion from 26 weeks to 20. Again, the question bears asking: Do state legislators in Georgia think their wives, daughters, aunts, nieces, granddaughters, friends, and doctors, are really incapable of making good decisions about abortions (which are still legal despite Conservative efforts).

Well, Rep Terry England, R-Auburn, seems to think that the women in our state can fairly be compared to cows, pigs, and chickens. England thinks that stillborn pigs and calves make for good comparisons when talking about the difficult decisions involving abortion. I don’t think I can give his comments from the House floor their due, but fortunately Bryan Long at Better Georgia posted video footage of England explaining his thoughts before voting on HB 945.

What is next Rep. England? Giving farm animals the right to vote? Or stripping away a woman’s right to do that too?