Sunday, April 22, 2012

You want to protect me? REALLY?

A young man I don't know (but know of) is running for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.  I perused his campaign web site to see how he stands on the issues facing this  state.  

Maybe this candidate is running as a Libertarian; I don't know because I couldn't find a party affiliation. I see lots of libertarian views on his "issues" page and, several times, found myself nodding in agreement. 

But this is where my agreement came to a screeching halt.  Mr. Candidate says he is pro-life and believes "in laws that protect women, children, and families."  This one-liner comes under the heading of Protect Life.

So, Mr. Candidate ... just how am I being protected when you want to prevent me from making very personal, life-altering choices?  Is it because you assume I'm too stupid to make decisions on my own?  Am I so incompetent that YOU feel YOU have to make those decisions for me? That is incredible arrogance on your part and it's not very pretty.

I am certainly not a fan of abortion, but I also believe women can decide what's best for themselves - and their families.  I am not qualified to make that decision for other women ... and neither is any state lawmaker.  It's really very simple:  if you have a moral or religious objection to abortion, then don't get one!

The Arizona Legislature that Mr. Candidate wants to be a part of has passed some outright vicious anti-abortion laws.  One even declares a woman pregnant two weeks before she has the sex that could make her pregnant!  So now, this young man wants to be a part of the body that believes it is qualified to enter the health care arena - and play doctor.  And it appears he will vote right along with the rest of the whackos.

Mr. Candidate ... at least be honest.  You don't want to protect women - living, breathing, thinking, loving human beings.  You want to protect a fetus - at the expense of a woman.

I guess I really do need to be protected.  From you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sex Education and contraception?

I used to think that sex education belonged at home.  I believed that parents should be teaching their children about sexual matters, not schools.  But as my own sons were growing up, I heard some of the stuff their friends were saying about sex and realized not all parents feel comfortable with these discussions and there was a lot of misinformation floating around.

Today, we see sex education being used as a political football.  Republican controlled state legislatures (at the behest of church leaders) have quietly been changing the sex ed programs in public schools.  Those programs no longer include a discussion about contraception!  Those programs now say abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

Well ... duh ... yeah ... if we super glue pants zippers and issue chastity belts and make sure our young people know that "abstinence" means ANY sexually-oriented activity involving ANY body part, then they might be protected against pregnancy and STDs.

But here's the problem:  these religion-backed programs are not giving our young people the whole picture.  At some point, teenagers grow up and don't we want them armed with the information they'll need as young adults?  Information they should have before making the choices and decisions that are sure to come?

Or ... maybe even the information they need right now?  Here are some statements I've actually heard students make ... statements they believed were facts:

"I thought you couldn't get pregnant the first time you have sex."
"You can't get an STD just by kissing."
"But he pulled out in time and you can't get pregnant - right?"
"Oral sex really isn't sex."
"If you stand up and walk around after sex, you can't get pregnant."
"We're doing the rhythm thing so I'm safe."
"What are those things called?  Condoms?  Sure, he'll put one on - I think."

Three of the above statements were made by pregnant girls.  One statement was made by a girl that did end up pregnant.  I don't know where those teenagers got their information, but you can bet it wasn't from a good, comprehensive sex ed program!

A discussion about contraception most definitely should be included in a sex ed curriculum.  If you don't want your child to hear about it, then opt out of the sex ed program!  If your religious beliefs will be offended by a contraception discussion, then pull your child out of the program - have him sent to the library during the class time!  It's as simple as that!  But do not think, for one minute, that your beliefs should be applied to all students.

There is nothing wrong with including contraception in a comprehensive sex ed program because - sooner or later - these students need the information.  While that's going on, YOU teach your religious beliefs and your morals ... that way, your child gets everything he/she will need when the time comes to make some very important decisions.

Would you rather our young people get the actual facts  .... or are you going to be satisfied with what they "learned" from the kid down the street?  If you need a reminder, go back up and look at the student statements again.  

Interesting ... the word "abstinence" doesn't appear in any of those statements ... 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Socialism - what's the big deal?

I keep hearing people call President Obama a "Socialist."  That comment always comes with a sneer, accompanied by blood vessels that appear ready to burst.  It's as if the speakers equate a "socialist" with "wife beater" or "sex offender."  The word "socialist" has become an extremely ugly label.

So ... let's take a look, shall we?  One standard definition is hard to find because it means a lot of things to different people.  Here's one definition I like:

Socialism refers to a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community for the purposes of increasing social and economic freedom, equality and cooperation.

So what does that mean?  Maybe some examples would be good.

Public schools
Publicly-owned airports
Public parks
Public libraries
City roads
Public beaches
City fire departments
City police departments
Benefits for members of Congress
Public health clinics
Social Security
Public universities
City garbage pickup

Really ... don't these fit in the definition?  The property and wealth are controlled by the community - and public taxes go to pay for them.  The purpose is for the common good.

Let's face it:  Socialism is an integral part of what sustains this country - and it's always been that way.  In fact, socialism played a part in the colonies becoming a new country:  taxes paid for part of the American Revolution!

So the next time, someone yells "Obama is a Socialist!" ... ask what road he drove on to get to where he is.  Ask her if she has a child in a public school.  Ask if Medicare paid for his last surgery.  Ask if his garbage was picked up by the city this week.  Ask if he's glad we had a military to defend us in World War II.  

And then sit back and smile when you get a blank stare.  Those folks won't get it.  They never do.