Friday, June 30, 2006


My Friend Trée offered an interesting post about ownership, that lead me to wonder:

Do we own the things we buy, or do they own us?

Life is such a spending spree of stuff gathering. (Or as George Carlin says: "Mine is My Stuff, yours is Your Sh*t!"

Everything we own requires care. Cleaning, maintainance, a place to put it.

Own a farm? Ya gotta till it.
Own a dog? Ya gotta walk it, feed it, love it.
Own a collection? Ya gotta build shelves, pay rent or mortgage for the space, dust em, and whatever.

The things we own control what we do with our time, and thus dictate our very lives.

Own a computer?
Gotta Blog?

Some things enhance our lives, while others load us down. Like the Janis Joplin tune says: "Freedom's just another word for nothin left to lose."

What stuff do you have that enhances your life?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Only Four

Yesterday I had a house full of kids. The entire neighborhood seemed attracted by some sonar beacon or dog whistle, undetectable to adults. They Ran in and out from front door to back, up to the X-Box powered bedrooms, and down to the toy laden motherlode of a basement, that I refer to as "that place I dare not go."

I did my best to stay on top of things, but I felt like a cross between a cowboy on a cattle drive, and a San Francisco waiter, working during an earthquake.

At one point, I relinquished my post, for a brief and much welcomed moment of personal privacy on the porcelain throne. Before you could say "Hey mom, spell I-Cup," my moment of liquid zen ended with an abrupt "crgrunchh."

Little Jaylin was in the kitchen attempting to get a glass of water. Our refrigerator has water and ice service in the door. To use it, you slide the lever to WATER, CRUSHED ICE, or CUBED ICE, then push your cup against the button and fill er up.

"Zac's MOMMMM...I wannaglassawater!" CRGRUNCHHH.
"Slide the lever to where it says WATER, honey." CRGRUNCHHH
"Zac's Mom, Ice is commin out. I wannaglassawater!"
"Just a minute Jaylin, I'll be right there." CRGRUNCHHH

"Just a minute" is a phrase indecipherable to little ears, likely because of the interfering sound of the afore mentioned sonar beacon.


As I heard the sound of ice spilling all over my kitchen floor, I launched myself from the toilet like a sprinter pushing off the starting blocks at the beginning of the twenty yard dash. My mind shifted for a tenth of a nano second, to admire the brief remnant of my old athletic prowess as I managed to hurdle the couch, while simultainiously pulling up my undies and shorts. (An event sadly over looked by the Olympic Commitee.)

I rounded the corner to find the little boy looking like a guilty penguin on an ice flow. The blue "Barny" cup in his left hand, overflowed like a sno cone on steroids, while he cocked his head, put his right hand on his hip, and emphatically exclaimed in the cutest little southern drawl;

"Zac's Mom, I'm only four! I Can't Read!"

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Enigmas by Pablo Neruda

You ask me what the lobster is weaving down there with its golden feet,
I tell you, the ocean knows this
You say who is the acedia waiting for in its transparent bell,
I tell you its waiting for time, like you
You say who does the macrocystis algae hug in its arms?
Study it. Study it at a certain hour and in a certain sea I know
You question me about the wicked tusk of the narwhale
and I respond by describing to you how the sea unicorn
with a harpoon in it, dies
Inquire about the kingfisher's feathers
which tremble in the purest springs of the southern shores
I want to tell you that the ocean knows this,
That life, in its jewel boxes, is endless as the sand,
impossible to count, pure
And the time among the blood colored grapes
has made the petal hard and shiny,
Filled the jellyfish with light, untied its knot, letting its musical threads fall
From a horn of plenty made of infinite mother of pearl
I'm nothing but the empty net which has gone on ahead of human eyes,
Dead in the darkness', of fingers accustomed to the triangle,
Longitudes in the timid globe of an orange
I walked around like you investigating the endless star
And in my net during the night I woke up naked
The only thing caught, a fish, trapped inside the wind

Monday, June 26, 2006

Summer Star Dreams

Ice Cream, Picnics, and playtime. Imagination Rules. Cricket choruses for lightning bug fireworks, and long endless days of freedom and fun.

Here's one for the kiddies. A classic by Eugene Field.
(Nighty-night bumpkins.) ;)

Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod

Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe;
Sailed off on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going and what do you wish?" the old moon asked the three.
"We've come to fish for the herring fish that live in this beautiful sea.
Nets of silver and gold have we," said Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song as they rocked in the wooden shoe.
And the wind that sped them all night long ruffled the waves of dew.
Now the little stars are the herring fish that live in that beautiful sea;
"Cast your nets wherever you wish never afraid are we!"
So cried the stars to the fishermen three - Winkin', and Blinkin', and Nod.

So all night long their nets they threw to the stars in the twinkling foam.
'Til down from the skies came the wooden shoe bringing the fisherman home.
'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed as if it could not be.
Some folks say 'twas a dream they dreamed of sailing that misty sea.
But I shall name you the fisherman three - Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

Now Winkin' and Blinkin' are two little eyes and Nod is a little head.
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies is a wee one's trundle bed.
So close your eyes while mother sings of the wonderful sights that be.
And you shall see those beautiful things as you sail on the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three - Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

*Allison Slikker illustration available at:

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Things Republicans Believe

-Author Unknown
Copied from a link courtesy of Bitch PhD

Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:

* Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

* Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

* The United States should get out of the United Nations, but our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

* A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all humankind without regulation.

* The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

* If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

* A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

* Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

* HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart, as do oil companies.

* Global warming is junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

* A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

* Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

* The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

* Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

* What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Powerful Voices

Chrisse France is executive director of the Preterm Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
She attended the abortion hearing on HB228, and wrote a hard hitting comentary for The Women's Media Center. In addition, she has prepared a theater piece, that I hope will be put on film and widely distributed.

Rock on Chrisse!

You Are Here: The Blogger Remembers Being Idealistic, Once...

While browsing The latest Carnival of Feminists I came across an essay by an attorney named Jean, who makes a "Kick-Ass Case" regarding our constitutional freedoms and responsibilities.

You Are Here: The Blogger Remembers Being Idealistic, Once...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Abortion Speech Summary

I thought I would post the low down from the hoe down, for anyone who is interested.

As most of you know, I recently prepared for an appearance before The Ohio House of Representatives regarding House Bill 228, a proposal to ban all abortion in Ohio.

It was a crazy day at the Statehouse. Because of the large number of people, Chairman White decided to form two panels, giving each side a chance to make their best case. Planned Parenthood/NARAL formed one side, and a Pro Life group headed by Janet Folger represented the other.

Sadly, the people of Ohio were left out of the debate.

Below is the series of correspondence that evolved. Its will take a few min. To read, but it proves that democracy CAN work:

Mr. Chairman and members of The House Health Committee,

I am an Ohio citizen, who attended yesterdays hearing on HB 228. Like
many of your constituents, I spent weeks preparing my written testimony.
This was a deeply personal and emotional exercise for many of us, as we
struggled to find the words we needed, and the courage to express them

I prepared a powerful 8 minute speech, but was advised to "keep it under 6
minutes." After the edits, I was then told a 3 minute cap would be enforced
because of the large number of people who planned to testify.

When I reduced my testimony to fit the time limit, it lost all of the
supporting arguments necessary for an effective persuasion speech.

I can not begin to express my frustration over this feeling of being
stifled by my elected leaders. I felt muzzled, and desperate to be heard,
not for my own sake, but for the next generation of Ohio women who will be
affected by this type of legislation.

I noted with dismay the fact that the people were not heard. The "panels"
chosen consisted of PAC organizations that both have big dollars at stake.
Planned Parenthood relies on federal funding, and the "life groups" use the
issue to generate millions of dollars in fund raising, not to save children,
but to control elections.

Janet Folger is not even an Ohio resident. Ms. Folger moved to Fort
Lauderdale, Fla., in 1998 to become national director of the Center for
Reclaiming America, an advocacy group of Coral Ridge Ministries, a
multimedia evangelical organization.

According to Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian
Coalition, "Janet is an example of what I like to think of as an issue
entrepreneur. Some entrepreneurs try to figure out what the new hot stocks
are. Janet is an ideological entrepreneur, someone who tries to pick the hot
new issues."

This woman is a ringer, supported by religious extremists; a paid
professional who makes her living by exploiting hot button issues. She even
used the time of this committee to promote her book!

Why is it that this Florida woman got to dominate the entire morning
session with no time limit on her Christian evangelizing, while Ohio
residents were locked out of the debate and sent to the atrium overflow

Shame on you for giving her unlimited time on the floor while ignoring the
voices of real Ohio voters.


Kelley Bell, a constituent from Powell, Ohio

P.S. I commend representatives Redfern, Smith, Brown, DeBose, and
Reidelbach for their insightful questions and commentary.

Thank you for your study of this issue, and for supporting the rights of
Ohio women.

A Pro Choice Democrats response:

Dear Ms. Bell:

I thank you for expressing your disappointment with the HB 228 proceedings on Tuesday, June 13, 2006. Your view on representative democracy is insightful and well received within this caucus. If you approve, I would like to forward your e-mail to the media. I think its time the media learn about the general publics disgust with the proceedings and its lack of a true public forum. Please reply promptly because I believe we need to strike while the issue is still hot. I look forward to your response. Thank you.


Stephen Caminati

Legislative Aide, to

State Representative Michael DeBose, District 12


A Pro Life Republican response:

----- Original Message -----
From: Peterson, Jon

Sent: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 9:53 AM
Subject: [SPAM] District 02 Auto Reply

Thank you for your recent email. Due to the high volume of emails this
office receives, we will give priority to constituents of the 2nd Ohio House
District (Delaware County). For this reason, it is important that you
include your full name and mailing address in your correspondence. If it is
an emergency, please contact this office at 614-644-6711. Thanks again for
your email.

Warmest regards,

Jon Peterson
Ohio House of Representatives
2nd House District


Dear Rep. Peterson,

My message was signed:
"Kelley Bell, a constituent from Powell, Ohio"

For your information: Powell, Ohio IS in the 2nd Ohio House District
(Delaware County)

As an experienced representative, I am shocked that you do not know your own
"Powell is located at 40°N, 83°W . The city sits between the
Scioto and Olentangy Rivers, about fourteen miles north of the state capital
of Columbus, centered on the intersection of state highway routes 315 and

Considering the sensitive nature of the debate regarding HB228, I am
offended by your response. My e-mail provided you with enough information
to know what voting district I represent, what my stand is on the issue, and
how to contact me.

Your rude brush off has been duly noted.

Kelley Bell, a constituent from Powell, Ohio



We receive thousands of emails and you are the first to complain
about the auto-response. Most compliment our office on wanting to focus on
serving our constituents and using this technology to assist us in that

Our office is among the busiest in the House (next to the Speaker) and we
pride ourselves on constituent relations. We are sorry your first
experience with our office was a negative one.

Jon Peterson
State Representative
Delaware County

(Former Powell resident)


-----Original Message-----
From: Kelley Bell

To: Peterson, Jon
Subject: Re: [SPAM] District 02 Auto Reply

Thank you Sir.
I truly appreciate your reply. It seems that even a generic auto response
can be seen as dismissive in regard to this issue.
What this reveals is a history of small indignities suffered by women
and minorities. It is an infectious wound, slow to heal, and hyper
sensitive to even the slightest touch.
It is imperativeitive that we use our legislature to move forward, as a nation
that values diversity, and shows respect for all Americans, regardless of
gender, race, or religious belief, and work together to heal these old

I thank you for extending the olive branch in that regard.

Below is an essay on the matter that might be of interest.

Abortion: Over Easy, Please

By Kelley Bell

Copyright 2006

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The answer depends on your perspective, of course.

If you look to the dictionary, chicken precedes egg. The chicken came

Unless of course you define a chicken as a hen, then the egg came first.

If we ask the question from a creationist point of view, the answer is
unknowable, as the creator could have made either one first.

The evolutionary perspective, tells us the first hen must have been a
mutation of some other avian life form, which laid the egg that hatched the
first chicken. Scientifically speaking, the egg undoubtedly came first.

So when does the egg become a chicken? Is it a chicken when it hatches, or
is it a chicken while it is still an egg? I don't know about you, but I have
never been offered a barbecued egg, or a hard boiled chicken. An egg is not a
chicken. If you don't believe me, ask your grocer.

On the issue of abortion, the three minute question boils down to this; when
does an embryo become a human being?

The pro-life advocates say that life begins at conception. When the sperm
and egg connect, the result is a human life that will eventually grow into a
baby, a child, and an adult. It is living tissue, with a complete set of
DNA, and is therefore a living human being worthy of protection under the

During an Ohio House of Representatives hearing on the issue, I heard a
Jewish Rabbi explain the Talmud teaching of a man who hit his wife in the
stomach, causing a miscarriage. "This was not murder," explained The Rabbi,
"because the fetus within her did not yet have a soul." He said that the
soul enters the body when the child is born. The fetus was indeed living
tissue, with the potential to become a human being, but according to Jewish
law, it is not a human being until it has a soul.

Buddhists, Taoists and other Asian philosophies teach us that "breath is
life." When a baby comes into the world and takes that first breath,
something miraculous happens, something indefinable. It is no longer an
egg in the process of cell division, absorbing nutrients from the host. At
the moment of birth, it crosses over into our world as a viable life form of
its own. It breathes life.

Clearly, when we explore the soul, and the processes of life and creation,
we have crossed over from the realm of science, into the realm of religion.
This is key, for here in The United States, we are a pluralistic democracy.
The very foundation of our government is based on the premise of freedom of
religion. To enforce one religious viewpoint over others is against the
principles for which we stand.

I empathize with the religious perspective that life begins at conception,
and I understand the pain these people feel due to their beliefs
about the beginning of human life. From their theological perspective,
abortion is murder. I understand that. But we do not all share the same theology, and our constitution demands we confine our laws to show respect for all
religious beliefs.

It is also of great social concern that we recognize the subjugation of
women in relationship to this one religious belief. When women are shamed
for abortion, when they feel guilt or remorse, or feelings of depression and
suicide, these feelings stem from religious teachings regarding abortion. Such complications only occur as a medical side effect of religiously based guilt, promoted through graphic protests, pulpit pounding, and social pressure within the
congregational community.

What the religiously motivated Pro-Criminalization advocates need to understand, is the vital importance of our right to freedom of religion is in this country. They need to comprehend the slippery slope they are asking us to tread when they lobby to enforce their beliefs as law. If we allow one interpretation of faith to become the rule of law, we are no longer a democracy, but a theocracy; A theocracy that
subjugates women.

We sent our children to Afghanistan to die in the name of democracy and
freedom. Yet we are so blinded by our own beliefs, that we do not see our
nation is walking the exact same road. The leaders of The Taliban do not
see themselves as evil. They see themselves as moral men, devoted to
enforcement of theocratic law, as handed down from Abram, to his sons Isaac
and Ishmael, who then spread those teachings, to Mohammed, and the twelve
tribes of Israel. Muslims, Christians and Jews are all practicing
variations of the same religion. The only thing that sets us apart from one
another is our interpretation of those teachings. As Americans, our
constitution decrees that no one interpretation can take precedence over
another in matters of law. This ideal is what we stand for, what we fight
for, and what we must sacrifice for, even in the case of abortion.

Do we support our constitution, and the freedom of religion on which this
great nation was founded, or would we be better off as a theocratic nation
like Afghanistan?

The chicken or the egg question may seem like a silly children's riddle, but
no matter how you scramble it, in reality, it asks us to explore and all the
secular, scientific and religious philosophies of creation and lawmaking.
Would you like a side of Taliban with your eggs? Not me thanks. That's too
hard to digest. I'll take mine over easy, please.


Response from Rep. Peterson:

Kelley, thank you for sharing the essay - very insightful. As a seminary student, I was particularly interested in the perspectives of other faith traditions on this issue. Shame on me, but I had not taken the time to do research in this area on my own.

Thank you again,

Jon Peterson


I dont know if he will change his vote, but at least he's thinkin.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Consiousness Connection

Modern science is struggling to define consciousness. Does it live in the brain? Is it part of the mind? Is consciousness part of and dependant on the existence of the physical body?

These questions have lead the greatest minds of our time down a path that is cracking the very mortar of modern science.

Evidence from recent scientific experiments suggests the strange notion that awareness is not confined to the brain, but rather, that it is independent of any physical location within the body. There also seems to be mounting evidence that thoughts can have a measurable effect on physical reality. This line of research is an unexpected curve ball to the reductionist philosophies of modern medicine.

Research of these mind – body connections are leading medical science into the realms of psychology and spirituality. Physiologist Claude Bernard may have been right when he predicted that in the future “the poet, the philosopher, and the physiologist will all understand each other.”

This may be a big hurdle for science, but it’s just common sense to the rest of us. There are thousands of stories that illustrate that our state of mind does have an effect on our physical body.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Beat but not beaten


I just got back from a LOOOONG day at the Statehouse.

It began with a crowd of choicers and only three lifers.
We gathered in committee, each prepared with 30 copies of our 3 minute speeches.

Since there were only three lifers, and a whole days worth of choicers, the Chairman decided to have each side form a panel. Each panel would have all the time they needed to make their best case. Afterwards, there would be Q & A, and then all the rest of us would give our prepared testimonies.

Well...right after he says this, the lifers pour into the room, and produce a panel of high profile professional advocates. An OBGYN, an evangelist, two emotionally fragile women with the saddest testimony imaginable, and a woman named Folger, who was one heavy hitter for life.

They dominated the entire day, and with the exception of some great speeches by our designated panel members, none of the sixty pro choice women were permitted to testify.

We were there all day, waiting for naught.

At lunch, I stepped outside to get a bite to eat, and left my speech on my chair to hold my seat, as did many others. An infusion of fresh lifers arrived out of nowhere as we adjourned. When we got back, all of our seats were taken, and security told us we had to go sit in the overflow room and listen via radio.

At 5pm, the chairman abruptly adjourned with no apologies or mention of continuation.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Here's one for Metalchick and her friend

Excerpt from my book, Reach for the Stars:

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."-Michelangelo

All people share a basic sense of insecurity. We second guess our thoughts, our actions and our ideals. We are a species that lives in a constant state of awe and wonderment of the universe that we behold. Psychologists say that one of the most powerful emotional needs of human beings is the desire to be accepted by others. This explains a lot of the crazy behaviors that we see in others. It explains both introverts, who hide from the spotlight because of their fear of being rejected, as it explains the extroverts to act out publicly in order to gain the attention, if not the approval of their peers.

The secret to navigating through this quagmire of emotion is simple.

Ya gotta know when to play it Cool, and when to play the Fool.

When you are dealing with the ego, or the Id, as Freud defined it, play it cool. This applies to issues of your own ego, or that of others. Just be cool, baby. Don’t make a big deal of small issues. Don’t stress out and make things worse. Don’t blow your stack. Just be cool.

When dealing with the divine, well, that’s when you gotta play the fool. The wisdom of the fool is summed up in the famous quote: “All I know is that I know nothing at all.” This attitude opens your mind to all possibilities. It relieves you of the responsibility of controlling everything in your world. It summarizes the intent that there is a higher power of divinity that you surrender to.

We all know what it is like to listen to someone boast knowledge abut a subject that it is obvious they know nothing about. They are talking out of their backside. They are making the mistake of trying to play it cool when wisdom would direct them to play the fool. Their ego is getting in the way of their ability to be open and honest, and willing to accept new ideas. They are so afraid of what others think that they go to great lengths to put on a big act. They feel that if they can force others to believe that they know more than everyone else, or if they can get others to agree with their opinions that they will win the battle over their own insecurities. They focus all of their energy on this false bravado or hoax, when it would be so much easier, and so much more honorable to simply let go and be the fool.

Let go of all that unneeded stress by realizing that you do not need to cultivate the desire to be accepted by others. You only need to be accepting of yourself. When you let go of this anxiety, people will see it in you. They will be attracted to it, and everything you ever desired will come to pass.

Accept that no matter what you do, some people will like you and some people wont. And that’s O.K. Don’t try to please everyone. Don’t try to be everyone’s best friend. Just be yourself, and let the rest take care of it self.

Another famous quote, by Churchill, I think, was “a man without enemies is not worth knowing.”

Why is that? Let’s look at it a bit closer. A man without enemies must be someone who tries very hard to please everyone. This means that he must be engaging in a lot of falsehood. It means that he is a person who never takes a stand on any issue, because every issue has at least two sides, and therefore, when you express an opinion, you are bound to have others disagree. It means that he is a man without opinion, or one who hides his opinions, which either way means that he is really of no intellectual use to you. He will either lie to you, tell you what you want to her, or refuse to say anything at all. None of which is helpful.

So we see from this example that in order to be productive members of society, we must be willing to use our intellect, to develop opinions, and to express them openly. This means that we will have enemies, and we must accept that, and know that the more formidable that our enemies are, the more formidable our ideas are. And formidable ideas are worth suffering for.

Let us also remember the rule of the Cool and the Fool. The fool knows that opinions are just ideas from different points of view, and that these ideas are always subject to change. The fool knows that we must laugh at our own sense of seriousness, and that we must always be open to change.

The cool knows not to get overheated or to over react. Often the most powerful expression of opinion is wrapped in a quiet understated approach. The cool person will step outside of an issue, and watch from the sidelines while others hash it out. He will wait, and listen, and learn. He won’t get emotionally involved or wear his heart on his sleeve. He thinks before he acts, and he acts with a deliberate goal.

Be cool, and play the fool. It will take you far.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Pass the Blame

Here's a creative little stress buster for ya:

A new web site called Pass The Blame is positioning itself as the Hallmark of hellraisers.
Sing with me now (to the tune of "if you're happy and you know it")

If you're B*tchy and you know it
Pass The Blame (Clap-Clap)
If you're b*tchy and you know it, Pass The Blame (Clap-Clap)
If you're B*tchy and you know it,
Then this gift will surely show it,
If you're B*tchy and you know it
Pass The Blame (Clap-Clap)

Here's how they say it works:

"Tell us who you find fault with and would like to Pass The Blame on to.

On your behalf, we shall send that person

(or organisation) your special present with

a hint –a plush toy creature called

The Blame.

The recipient will get a parcel containing

The Blame (safely tucked in a metal cage) and the sender's complimentary card.

You also can type your short personal message, which will be inserted in the mouth of The Blame creature.

If you wish, you can remain anonymous.

The service charge of 25 € covers The Blame creature, handling and shipping fees.

Alternatively, you can Pass The Blame as

an e-card. It is free."

No, I am not giving out my address.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Revised Speech

Address to The Ohio House of Representatives Re: House Bill 228
By Kelley Bell

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, as our elected leaders, the task falls to you to make a choice on the issue put forth here today. Life is filled with difficult choices, issues that defy simplification, blanket solutions, or sound-byte absolutes. Your struggle to weigh these issues is not unlike the struggle that each woman faces when she evaluates a pregnancy. Keep that in mind, as you make your choice. No matter what you decide, some people will despise you for it. Some will hate you, judge you, and condemn you for the rest of your life. For that, you have my deepest compassion. We women know how that feels. Every woman I speak for knows.
For we have lived it.

In a free country we celebrate diversity, and respect those whose values are different than our own. Without Freedom, we are lost. Look to the flag. It stands for Freedom. It represents a nation of diversity. Will you sacrifice Liberty in the name of life? Or do you honor the cry of our forefathers, “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!”

In this case we must choose one or the other, because the compromises available have proven themselves a travesty for both sides. Parental notification laws are flawed. State by State abortion laws or Abortion rights without federal funding both exclude the poor. And we must remember that this battle is not merely over abortion. It is really a matter of Civil Rights.

The history of reproductive freedom in this country began with our black sisters. Slave owners commonly forced these women to bear large numbers of children as a means to their increase wealth. These women were raped, subjected to forced marriage, and treated as breeding stock. Many slave women bore between 10 and 20 children against their will. They knew their babies would bear the lash, and be torn from their arms and sold. They knew their children would be beaten, abused, raped, and often killed. These women found ways to induce their own abortions. They did not do it to defy their “massa’s” or assert their rights, they did it to protect their children. The decision to bring a child into the world is one that every woman takes seriously. To assume that we an incompetent class of irresponsible harlots who use abortion to avoid responsibility is both prejudicial and discriminatory.

As if this history is not burden enough, minority women then faced forced sterilization. Racial prejudice prompted our government to ratify compulsory sterilization laws in 26 states by 1932. Law books site the 1973 case of The Relf sisters, Mary Alice was 14, and her baby sister Minnie Lee was only 12 when they were both involuntarily sterilized. The story tells us that a federally funded agency approached the girl’s mother and encouraged her to sign up for various community assistance programs. The social workers convinced her to give her daughters reversible birth-control shots. She was illiterate, and consented unknowingly by placing an X on a form that called for surgical
sterilization. ( 1)

Native American women were also targeted. “Various studies revealed that the Indian Health Service [a federally funded clinic] sterilized between 25 and 50 percent of Native American women between 1970 and 1976.” (2)

A study by Choctaw-Cherokee physician Dr. Connie Pinkerton-Uri “discovered that Indian women generally agreed to sterilization when they were threatened with the loss of their children and/or their welfare benefits, that most of them gave their consent when they were heavily sedated during a Cesarean section or when they were in a great deal of pain during labor, and that the women could not understand consent forms because they were written in English at the twelfth-grade level.”
“By the late 1970s at least ten states had proposed compulsory sterilization of women on welfare. Similar proposals in the 1990s aim to limit welfare benefits of women who have more than the approved number of children.”
These cases of involuntary sterilization and reproductive blackmail are no different than laws prohibiting abortion. What we are talking about is the authority of government to further its own agenda by controlling women’s fertility. The record of the State as an authority over women’s reproductive rights is appalling. Putting the States in charge of this matter is like putting a pedophile in charge of a pre-school!
The State simply can not be trusted to control a woman’s body for any reason, ever, period. Government policies against women have been used to stop over population, to reduce welfare, to promote ethnic cleansing, to ensure the “unfit” can not reproduce, and to increase personal wealth. The religious morality argument to ban abortion is just one small piece of the puzzle. Sometimes the State forces us to have babies; sometimes it forces us to abort them. Forgive me if this sounds rude, but my womb was not designed for the incubation of political agendas! There is nothing “moral” about any of this.

Religious activists appeal to our hearts with a puritan ethic. They use false stereotypes to compel voters into a frenzy that exalts homogeneous moral order, over liberty. They use half truths and censorship to confuse the issue. They relentlessly apply pseudo-psychology on emotionally unstable women, and use them as pawns for political power. For every distraught, conflicted woman, who testifies to her pain and regret over an abortion, there are literally thousands of others who stand behind their right to Reproductive Freedom with steadfast conviction.

As Governor Mario Cuomo said:
“To assure our freedom we must allow others the same freedom, even if occasionally it produces conduct by them which we would hold to be sinful.”

In order for women to function as fully emancipated Americans, they must be in control of their fertility. The duty of a government in a free society is to make services available to the people without coercion; to inform the public in a truthful, unbiased manner, to empower even the meekest among us with the ability to make informed responsible choices. Anything less is an affront to the Flag, under which we stand.

Like the Great Doctor Martin Luther King, I too have a dream,
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people, men and women, rich and poor, black, white, and every shade in between, are ALL created equal.
I have a dream that my daughter will one day live in a nation where she will not be marginalized by her gender, ridiculed about her religion, or condemned for her sexuality, but free to define her own role as a contributing, thinking, responsible, member of a vibrant and diverse society.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we exalt liberty for every person of every ethnicity, Our Country will then become a shining beacon of light to the world. Proving that a free nation can succeed, without the use of strong arm tactics, force, or fear based propaganda, but through education, empowerment, and a vision of Liberty for all.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Abortion Speech

After reading all the comments, I went back and reviewed the arguments put before The Supreme Court, and I agree with you all, the debate is between Life and Liberty. I am rewriting the speech with the title: Give me Liberty or Give me Death, and running it with a patriotic twist.

I have shelved the whole eco-responsibility argument and will post a new draft in a couple of days.

However, this morning I woke up to a lovely pro-life editorial in The Columbus Dispatch from a Ms. Lizzie Cline, State Leader of Operation Outcry Ohio, in which she states:

"We would not be aborting ourselves into extinction, if the funds being given for abstinence education were actually being used for that purpose."

Please excuse me for just one moment. (Kelbell gets up from the computer, runs outside and screams.)

O.K. I'm back... All better now.

I realize that I must craft this speech with great care and decorum, but that doesn't mean I can't do a little informal venting here in blogland.

What I REALLY want to tell the Morality Nazi's is:

For all of recorded history, (whether you think that was 3000 years or 3 million years), human population never exceeded ten million people. We are now at 6.2 billion and multiplying exponentially. Scientists project that we will reach 14 billion in the next two centuries.

If you are one of the card carrying Pro-Life members of Jesus Inc. who think that this is God's plan, then you should assume The Good Lord wants us to grow like fungus on the great Petri dish of Earth, until we reach critical mass and kill each other off in the Big Super-Bowl Battle of Armageddon.

If this is the plan of the All Loving Creator, then my advice is to pop out as many munchkins as you possibly can, arm them with high powered military assault weapons, while drilling them in prayer, and recon tactics.

If you are making Miss Lizzie's argument of "Aborting ourselves into Extinction" Then take a moment and get real about what you are saying.

Here in the States, we seem to have a situation where Hispanics are on the road to become the Majority. We have plenty of brown babies available for adoption right now, and lots of special needs kids are in the bargain bin too; but apparently most White folks won't settle for that.

If abortion becomes illegal, all those adorable little white fetuses will be adopted into upper class families, while all of the colored children remain in poverty, along with their mothers.

So when you talk about extinction, you are really talking about Power; Keeping White People in power, and using Pro Life legislation to take power away from women, so that you can force them to incubate your power base, and perpetuate the class divisions of our society.

You make passionate plea's for the life of the fetus, while voting down social services for children. You do all this in the name of God, while sitting comfortably on the feather tufted church pews of indignant hypocritical morality.

Pish-haw to that.

The Pro Life movement is not about saving babies, it's about preserving the aristocracy by forcing women to sit in the back of the bus.

Someday Comes

Yesterday we took a trip to The Ohio Historical Society. It's a trip we have been meaning to take for quite some time, but it was always one of those "someday" things.

Grandpa wanted to teach the kids a little bit about our family history.

The helmet my daughter is wearing belonged to her Great Uncle Inky. He was a doughboy in WWI. When he returned from the war, his helmet was used as the model for The Doughboy Statue pictured above.

Grandpa told the kids, there is a painting of the old family home in the lobby of State Savings Bank, and that it is also printed in the book, "Columbus Viniettes" by Bill Arter.

He told them their Grandmother was born in the Old Governors Mansion, and how she became a nurse, and founded The Columbus Baby Camp for underprivileged children during The Great Depression.

He told the story of James Thurber's "Funny Flood," and how our family grocery store was destroyed on that fateful day in 1914. He went on to say that Great Grandpa took the customer records from the flooded store, and used them to found the first credit bureau in Ohio, The Ohio Bureau of Credits, and how the depression was the catalyst for the modern concept of buying on credit.

Kids don't usually have much interest in history, but yesterday it came alive for them. They connected, and found their roots.

I'm glad we took the time to make "someday" happen. Last week, Grandpa was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and I'm not sure how many "somedays" we have left.