Tell me…

Why do you assume that because we don’t hold the same values I must be a bad/evil/stupid/ignorant person? Is it because you truly believe that YOUR belief system is the ONLY one?
Why can’t you accept the world does not revolve around only what you believe to be true? I have, you should try it, it only hurts this much.
Why is it necessary for you to hate people who are different than you? Is it because you are afraid of “different?”
What makes your way of thinking the only way?

127 thoughts on “Tell me…

  1. Drunken Samurai

    I feel there is a certain irony that the people who have preached tolerance and understanding seem to be so willing to attack people they do not agree with. I have seen several blogs the last couple of days by Liberals/Progressives that are just spewing the most incredible hatred. It is truely sad that the understanding that these people want us to show to people outside the US is not being shown to our fellow Americans.

  2. Stacey

    Different values is one thing, being intolerant is another (this isn’t directed at you Y, just some people I’ve noticed recently)

  3. Hed

    People just get so fired up when it comes to politics and religion, that they end up saying things they don’t mean, because it just evokes so many emotions and passions that wouldn’t otherwise be triggered.
    I certainly do express my views on my site, and I know that opens me up to ridicule from the other side, but oh well. I’m not worried about it, and I don’t take it personally. Obviously, people find different things important, and will do whatever they can to express their views, usually in a passionate manner.
    My dad always told me that unless you expect to be called things you wouldn’t normally call your friends, you should never bring up politics or religion in mixed company.
    Most of my friends who are on the other side of the coin from where I stand have agreed with me to disagree, and we just don’t talk about it.
    …and, we are all getting along just fine.
    -H

  4. y

    That was my point, Stacey. People being intolerent of people with different values. And I’m talking about people on BOTH sides.

  5. Tracy

    I agree completely with what you posted, Y…but the thing is, I’ve NEVER seen the blogs of my republican friends spewing some of the hate I’ve seen on some of the liberal blogs. I’m actually somewhat disappointed in SEVERAL people for how they’ve reacted to this election.
    Had Kerry won, I’d have probably been skeptical about what it would mean for our country, but I would not lambast the intelligence of the MILLIONS of people who thought the other candidate was the better choice.
    Last time they at least had the whole polling fiasco to blame for Bush being in office. Apparently when they don’t have that to fall back on, they just rely on insults.

  6. girl

    indeed, Tracy. I can’t tell you how many times in the last day that I’ve been called, stupid, an idiot, a pea brain, and what was the other one? ah yes, a buffoon. I think that was my favorite. all, of course, b/c I voted for George W. Bush.

  7. Stacey

    Ahh but Tracy, the same can be said for the right. I’ve stumbled upon some pretty disgusting right wing blogs. Alot of them spouted shit like “faggots” “baby killers” and “rag-heads”
    Is it ok for me to dislike those people?

  8. Darleen

    Stacey
    No question, nastiness knows no single side. I would gently point out, though, that this political season it was not equal, nor in the post-election recriminations the left is engaging in. If Kerry had won, do you think The Wall Street Journal would have run a frontpage like this?

  9. Lessa

    I totally agree with you Y.
    And Stacey – yes, the same can be said for both sides. I totally blew up this morning when I found a blog that blamed the entire lost election on “trailer park, redneck, ignorant Christians” and concluded that going back to the Roman times and feeding “all christians to the lions” would solve all our problems.
    Please not that I said “our” and not “my”.
    You can dislike me. You can dislike what I stand for. You can even dislike me because of the color of my hair or my skin. You have that right. This is America, after all. What you cannot dislike me for is having the balls to educate myself and make my own decision without relying on the force feeding of issues through the media – just as I hope you did. You cannot decide I am worthless simply because I disagree with you. Hell, if people would take time to actually listen to what the others are saying, they might realize that we really aren’t so different after all.
    Except that I’d never try to feed you to the lions for your beliefs.

  10. Stacey

    It wasn’t equal Darleen? Are you kidding? The American news media has such a bias it’s unbelievable. I can’t even watch CNN without feeling nauseous. It’s unfortunate, because some people make their choices based solely what they hear and see in the media. They are spoon fed this crap, and they eat it right up.
    THOSE are the people I hate.

  11. Stacey

    But to answer your question Darleen, the wall street journal wouldn’t have come up with a headline like that because they have no sense of humour. ;)

  12. Mieke

    The Wall Street Journal would also never have read it because they wanted Bush to win. Hello???!!! – they are a right-leaning newspaper.
    I feel the same way about CNN but probably for different reasons. I hate CNN inane blathering.
    As I was waiting to hear Kerry’s speech yesterday the female pundit was going on and on about how we don’t have to feel sorry for Kerry because he’s got a job and a rich wife with great hair, blah blah blah. She was actually going on and on about how Kerry’s going to be just fine. As if that were the issue. As if that’s what we are feeling sorry for. No. For those of us on the left, all we could think about was how sorry and devastated we are for the country and for what our children will now inherit- NOT FOR KERRY.

  13. y

    it’s ok even if it IS directed at me, stacey.
    It’s not ok to HATE people because of who they are. But I also do NOT believe that a reasonable person who holds certain values to be true is automatically EVIL. Let me use John Kerry as an example. He believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, does that mean he’s a gay basher? Should we hate him for that? Or do we accept that he has certain morals and values based on his faith, even if we do NOT agree with his position?
    Is it ok that people hate my father because of his religious convictions? Is it ok that people say I should shoot myself in the head because I voted for Bush? Isn’t that intolerent?

  14. Stacey

    Me too Yvonne, my ass is sick of those bastards. ;)
    And he has convictions based on FAITH – which is the problem right there.
    Government + religion = not supposed to be together.
    And it wasn’t directed at you because I’ve never seen you say some of the horrid stuff I’ve seen around the net. :)

  15. Darleen

    Stacey
    Did I misread your post? I thought you were trying to find some equivalency between left and right “haters” of this election.
    Last I looked, no Republican invaded a Dem. campaign HQ to vandalize the place and physically assault the volunteers.
    Meike, you missed my point. The WSJ is conservative on it’s editorial pages, no doubt about it. But if Kerry had won, they would not have run a picture of Kerry and ask why the 50 mil plus Kerry voters were “dumb.”
    The Dems are spinning like a top, they blame “dumb, stupid sheeple”, they blame that Kerry was “warm” enough … blah blah blah. They have yet to stop and question their message.
    On the editorial page of the LATimes today, every one of the Times written editorials was a call to Republicans to “reach out.” There was a warning to GW not to do anything to further alienate California and New York.
    On the facing page was a full blown rant against GW with what I can only describe as anti-faith bigotry.
    So what I’m seeing is the Left, fanatical as always, that not only doesn’t accept the loss at the polls and the rejection of much of its profferred tenets, but demands that their political opponents who won placate them even as they continue to belittle and demean Bush and his supporters.
    It’s the morality of the wife-beater at work here.

  16. Stacey

    Can I ask you Bush supporters something?
    How do you feel about 11 states voting to change their state’s constitutions to ban gay marriage?
    Is that not bigotry? Not that long ago, whites and african americans were not allowed to wed either. Was that ok?
    How about the abortion issue? (which I could’ve swore your country figured out 30 years ago) Senator Jim DeMint wants abortion illegal in ALL cases.
    these are things your President stands for. Is it ok?

  17. Darleen

    Stacey?

    And he has convictions based on FAITH – which is the problem right there.
    Government + religion = not supposed to be together.

    Where did you get that?
    Do you think words like this are wrong?

    … fellow citizens, we observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom—symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning—signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.
    The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. …
    We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
    Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
    This much we pledge—and more. …
    In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. …
    With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

    Sounds a lot like GW, doesn’t it? Call to faith, duty and the demands of liberty?
    Now you know why Zell Miller was so passionate and so utterly disappointed in his party. This is how far the Democratic party has fallen with their rejection of those words… from the 1961 inaugural address of John F. Kennedy.

  18. Darleen

    Stacey
    No, it is not bigotry.
    Do you think it is bigotry that we “ban” polygamy?
    Marriage law is contract law. Even GW has no problem with some sort of civil union statutes to cover same-sex couples. But if marriage statutes are to be changed, they are to be changed by the people, not judges.
    You want to blame someone for the passage of those amendments by huge margins? Blame the judges in MA and Frisco Mayor Newsom, who thumbed their noses at the covenent we citizens have with our government.

  19. Mieke

    You know who I love.
    Jim DeMint, the new Senate winner (Republican) from South Carolina. DeMint is on the record stating that neither gays nor single mothers should be allowed to teach in public schools, and that abortion should be banned even in instances of grave danger to the life of the mother. Way to build a bridge to FASCISM.

  20. Darleen

    Mieke
    You’re aware that for umpteen years a former KKK Kleagle has been serving in the Senate, right?
    How come the Dems have never been worried about Sen. Byrd?

  21. Mieke

    Of course the Dems worried about Byrd.
    Byrd is a former Kleagle (he cut ties with the org. in 1946) though he maintained some of the biogoted and hateful views of his youth, as you know he is 85, as the years progressed he became more and more centered with regard to those beliefs. There is no excuse for them, not even his age or where he grew up. But, like your man, Strom, he is a changed man with some old habits of another era, what matters most to me are his policies on social justice NOW.

  22. Mieke

    Did you get the ointment I told you about for your hemmies? Sorry it took so long to join in :) been busy with the move to the new house and work.

  23. lex

    I just posted about this namecalling thing today in my blog. I think you know that my vote and yours were different. But lady, you are no dummy! We just don’t agree. And what better place to have opposing view than this beautiful country.
    On that note, I really do hope GWB proves me wrong.
    Yvonne, you rock! I’d vote for you! :)

  24. Mieke

    I have tried EVERYTHING during my pregnancies – even the prescription meds for hemmies. The only thing that worked to give relief from the pain was Avenoc by Boiron. It’s homeopathic and usually found in health food stores or homeopathic pharmacies. Between that and HUGE cotton balls soaked in cold witch hazel, I was a new woman.

  25. Darleen

    Geez, Mieke.. Strom is “my man?”
    How do you figure?
    Did I ever say Byrd, or Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or Cynthia McKinney or Michael Moore or Maxine Waters or Susan Estrich or Naomi Wolfe were “yours?”
    Now that we’re past that, will you please list a past statement by a known fascist..Hitler, Mussolini .. take your pick.. that would allow you to conclude by comparison that Republicans are “on the path” to fascism?
    I mean, as insensitive as DeMint’s statement dealing with teachers as role models was (and later was apologized for), don’t you think you are diluting what fascism really is by attempting such a comparison?

  26. etherian

    Thank you, Yvonne, for also voicing this. I cannot believe some of what I’ve read on other folks blogs that are disappointed in the way the election turned out.

  27. Stacey

    I can give you a quote from Hitler Darleen:
    “The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.”
    And was that quote from Zell Miller himself? It wouldn’t surprise me as he’s just as looney tunes as the President.
    Anyone who says god talks to him does not deserve to be a leader of any country. Normal people get put away for talking like that, y’know.
    But then we get into a whole different debate: religion. And I don’t even have the energy to explain how the States is going backwards in regards to that.

  28. sara

    My way of thinking obviously ISNT the only way, and I’ve never claimed that it was.
    Sometimes I lambast the President, sometimes I say things that are silly and outlandish and extremist, or attack the other party in a moment of immaturity.
    I’m just very very tired of going to sleep every night, and waking up 3 hours later, unable to sleep. Of having escalating anxiety every day since 9/11, because I know this President isn’t keeping me safe. Because I know that having a fundamentalist Christian President isn’t in my own best interest.
    It’s not about you, Yvonne, it’s not about the Bush voters, I’m sad to say. I’m selfish. It’s about my own ass, and the asses of the other Americans nearby me. It’s about the kids I don’t want to see grow up in a world where safety data on vehicles that manufacturers KNOW are dangerous, doesn’t have to be released because this President wants to balance the competitivity of car companies with the “interests” of consumers. It’s because my parents are paying hundreds of dollars more in taxes on a meagre income this year because they had a house fire on Jan 1, and had to re-build part of the house.
    It’s because I DONT believe that MY way is the only true way. It’s because I spent HUNDREDS of HOURS this past four years researching and studying this President, and trying fervently to support him. It’s because most Bush supporters that I’ve met haven’t spent hundreds of hours, and if I happen to so much as MENTION that I don’t like this President’s policies, or that he scares me, then I’m immediately a traitor.
    I don’t know why I’m saying “It’s”, that implies that I feel your statement applies to me. I don’t. I’ve never thought my way was the only way. NEVER. I guess I’m saying it because when I merely disagree, or offer up an alternative viewpoint, I’m jumped on, lambasted, and ripped apart. When I ask a question, I’m treated like a stupid three year old. I’m still 49% of the country, yet I’m treated like I’m a niggling .002% of the country, and insane to boot. FOR HAVING DOUBTS.
    Your guy just scares me, Yvonne. And I’m gonna keep saying so, and I’m gonna keep working to try to get someone into office sometime in the future that doesn’t scare the crap out of me.
    And I’m gonna continue to get angry and scared sometimes.

  29. Faith

    You know, someone expressed their fear for our safety on my blog the other day, and it’s interesting to me. I hadn’t realized that so very many people in this country apparently now have this whole, “We’re all going to DIE!” mentality, and feel it’s even more prevalent now that Bush has been voted back into office again.
    I know it might be a pretty crappy comparison, but when I make a mistake in my life, especially in my place of business, I learn from it, and do everything in my power to ensure I never make a mistake like that again. (Usually my mistakes effect peoples’ pay…which can be pretty sucky.) Why does everyone think that since Bin Laden, or whomever was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, was able to get us that one time, that they’ll automatically succeed at it again in the future? Admittedly, I don’t search the web for shit on this sort of topic, nor do I glue myself to CNN or any other news channel hoping to hear any little piece of info I can with regards to terror attacks and what we’re doing to keep them from happening in the future. But why is it that so many people think that the administration didn’t learn a single thing from what happened to us on 9/11, and that they’re going to do everything in their power to keep it from happening again?
    I understand human frailty, and how some people might have been effected by the attacks on 9/11. I feel sorry for the families that were effected directly by it, and I know there must be a lot of anger involved with that association. I live a life tucked safely away in the midwest, and feel comfortable knowing that I’m probably in a safe spot should something else ever occur. My family is not, as most live less than 20 miles from a major nuclear power plant in Southern Cali. But I can’t go on day to day wondering and worrying and not fucking sleeping because of what happened, and what could possibly, *maybe* happen again on American soil.
    Give the admin a bit of faith in their ability to have possibly learned from their past mistakes, Sara. Yes, they might not have owned up to everything they knew before hand (pre-9/11, I mean), and to be honest, it doesn’t matter much to me what they did in the past. As long as they learn from it, and we can move forward together to try to become a strong nation that works together on these issues.

  30. y

    Anyone who says god talks to him does not deserve to be a leader of any country. Normal people get put away for talking like that, y’know.
    Is THAT intolerent, S? My dad believe God speaks to him. Should he be ‘put away’? My Grandmother and my sister believe God speaks to them. Are they looney too? Do you even understand what it means when they say God speaks to them? If not, isn’t THAT intolerence to not TRY to understand instead of simply calling them names?
    Sounds like intolerence to me. Oh, but it’s OKAY to be intolerent of those stupid Christians, right? Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

  31. reese

    I think one of the biggest things that strikes me is this:
    In lieu of spewing lines like “how can half our country be so dumb, etc” why are there not more democrats sincerely examining their party and seeing why they could not win the heartland and south, areas that were once huge strongholds of the party?
    The angry dems will tell you there’s no way their party is going to ‘stoop to the level of those who voted on religion, etc” just to get votes. That’s not what this is about. Roughly half of the country did not heed the calls of the democratic message. Rather than call them stupid or bigoted, why is there not an internal examination of why this is the case? Where did the democrats message fall flat? Despite my dislike of liberalism, I think I can objectively say that for many people, the democrats message was far too left and appealed to one of two people: the aristocratic or people on welfare. That left a lot of middle class America in the dust. The democratic party can hold onto many of its ideals but still become more centrist. Doing so doesn’t mean embracing the Christian far-right, b ut recognizing that many people do fit somewhere in the middle, and for them, the far-left tendencies of the Democratic party appeared much more extreme than any far-right tendencies of the republican party. it is not that we are all on the far-right. it’s that for many of us, we’d rather have Bush’s right-wing influence than the extremism of the democratic party. yes, I said extremism. you can think the republican party is extreme all you want, but the fact is many of us do NOT embrance the right-leaning social tenants of that party, yet felt it was far more in line with our thinking than a party who seems to be courting the french vote rather than the american vote. these are issues democrats need to explore rather than resort to name calling and bitterness.

  32. skits

    Oh yeah, Y. Haven’t you heard? Like, it’s totally in vogue now to make fun of Christians! ;) But, please, don’t rag on Islam. It’s seriously not cool to hate people because of their beliefs.
    I talk to God all the time myself. Everyday. While he’s never actually answered me in a great big booming Monty Pythonesque voice, I do believe he answers me in other ways. I’m pretty sure I’m not insane. Of course, the crazies always think they’re the sanest ones of all, don’t they?
    …the fact is many of us do NOT embrance the right-leaning social tenants of that party, yet felt it was far more in line with our thinking than a party who seems to be courting the french vote rather than the american vote. these are issues democrats need to explore rather than resort to name calling and bitterness.
    Reese, WORD.

  33. jenn

    See, the thing that is so sad to me, is seeing our nation split in 1/2. I have seen, FROM BOTH Bush supporters and Bush despisers alike – a lot of intolerance, ignorance, and F-E-A-R. Fear makes people do funny things. It certainly played a part in my feelings about the last election. But I didn’t let my Fear stop me from educating myself, and I certainly don’t make that assumption about all of you either.
    Regardless of the outcome, I am choosing to put forth my best attitude, and quit with this vehement arguing. For the love of God, people – enough! It’s apparent that we DONT ALL AGREE. Well, duh. The Freedom of speech gives us all the freedom to disagree.
    I don’t agree with lots of people on the Election outcome, but it’s not my place to say that someone who voted for Bush is stupid. That makes me just as uneducated and stupid – for making an assumption of that magnitude.
    So, I’d like to gently suggest that we all attempt to act like adults, quit with the name calling and the “hating” of one another, and attempt to accept and move forward. Nobody’s saying acceptance means liking it, or conforming to it.
    Oh, and props to Yvonne for sayin’ it in the first place…

  34. melly

    I voted for Kerry.
    And to all of you who voted for Bush, I just have to say …
    FUCK YOU FUCKING FUCKERS!!!! FUCK MAN!!! HOLY FUCKING FUCK!!! FUCKERS!! SHOVE IT UP YOUR ASSHOLES, FUCKERS!!!!FUCK FUCK FUCK!!! FUCK YOU!!!! FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    /is totally kidding.

  35. Xdm

    Y-
    The Mighty Jimbo asked anyone who voted for Bush to tell him WHY. He wanted an explanation. I just sent him a five page reply… It’s strange feeling like I have to justify it. I’m just hoping that it gives him a better understanding of where others are coming from.

  36. girl

    I think the hemorrhoids are due to the “pushing through your ass” that they tell you to do when you’re popping out the kid, but I could be wrong.

  37. Tracy

    Just to point something out, since apparently only “crazy Christians” believe god talks to them…
    I’m a “crazy pagan”. A Republican pagan, of all things. I talk to the Goddess all the time – and she talks back. NO, not physically talking to me, but her message is loud and clear regardless. Apparently I should be locked up as well?
    The debate on issues like gay marriage, world policies, abortion, etc…could rage on forever. Part of what makes this country so awesome is that we CAN engage in those debates. The problem is, far too many dems lately degrade those debates to name calling. And yes, you’re right – there are repubs who do the same – I’ve just not seen anywhere NEAR as many as I have dems. What it boils down to in the end is that somewhere around 60 Million Americans felt Bush was the better choice. They felt that at this point in time, Bush was the one who could take our country where it needs to go, protect our country when it needs to be protected, and lead our country as it needs to be lead. Sorry that didn’t agree with your agenda, but it is what it is.
    Now, let’s quit calling each other names, and move on. Even Kerry asked for that.

  38. Michelle

    Y, you are so right. I have nothing to add that hasn’t already been said more eloquently by you and some of the other posters. You’ve brightened my day, so thank you.

  39. kat

    I’m all for differing views and opinions. What bothers me is the anon comments that call me names, tell me to move to Canada etc etc etc. I haven’t gone around to any opposing bloggers and told them that they were wrong yet I say one little thing about getting fucked and the anons come out of the woodwork to ridicule me.
    Oh well.

  40. sara

    Faith: I don’t think “Oh my! I’m gonna die”, I realize that statistically my chances of dying in a terrorist attack are slim to nil. I’m more likely to die in a car accident. I’m more likely to be run over by a locomotive. I’m more likely to die from sudden heart failure. I also realize that I live in New York City, I ride the subways, I ride the busses, I walk in the neighborhoods around Ground Zero. It’s thrust in my face every day, so my tensions related to it are naturally elevated. Particularly when I see lots of government officials on television screaming “Doom! DOom! Terrorism! Nine Eleven!”, from both parties.
    Reese- The Republican party was going a bit overboard when they were telling people that the Democrats wanted to ban the Bible, burn the flag, and destroy the institution of Marriage. I suppose that the Democratic party went overboard on some occasions, too. But generally speaking, the thing that bothers me about the Republican campaigning is that a lot of the things that are harped are unsubstantiated or entirely based on religion–a religion that is not mine–yet I have to pay taxes in this country and submit to the laws. When the Democratic party is in office, no one is threatened with feelings that there is a state religion, although they may feel that there is a lack of religion. I’m not certain which is the greater evil. I just don’t think that legislated morality is the way to go.
    I know this isn’t the right place to discuss this, and I only bring it up when Yvonne brings it up–I’ll be totally quiet otherwise. But I think it’s valuable for each side to understand the other as best as they can. I want for this to be a unified country. I want that with all my heart. I pledged my allegience to Bush after 9/11, and only reneged on that when–to the best of my knowledge, and based on substantial research–his actions were damaging the country that I love.
    What I want to know is why is Morality something that should be legislated? Why is Religion something that should be in the government? How is it beneficial to religion to have it involved in the government? To bring religion into gov’t is to bring gov’t into religion. Look at the whole marriage debacle–if the government hadn’t adopted a religious ceremony, then there would be no “threat to marriage”. I don’t want the gov’t involved in my religion, and i don’t want my religion involved in my government. Is that so wrong?
    Ok, babbling here. Sorry. :)

  41. y

    No need to be sorry, sara. :-)
    I asked a question, I wanted to people to respond, so talk away… (and I am not assuming EVERYONE who reads my blog believes their was is the only way, but I had to ask it because of the liberals who DO hate ME because I don’t see things the way they do. The ones who are supposedly “open minded”, yet, hate my father simply because he’s a christian.)
    Hypocrisy amuses me.

  42. Mieke

    The hemmies are caused not only by the pressure of childbirth but the pressure put on your ass by the weight of the baby. It’s NOT a happy time. I felt like a weeble wobble.

  43. Whitters

    In lieu of spewing lines like “how can half our country be so dumb, etc” why are there not more democrats sincerely examining their party and seeing why they could not win the heartland and south, areas that were once huge strongholds of the party?
    Um…Reese….the South hasn’t been a Democrat stronghold in forever. The last time it was, it was because Democrats were the anti-integration party.
    And there’s no good explanation to why people in the heartland voted for GWB, because his policies live to screw them. In order to try and understand, I’ve been reading Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas?, which does a good job of exploring why people in the heartland support a party that is detrimental to them.
    And yes, I feel much less safe with W reelected. The man is incompetent. There’s no way in hell he can protect us. He can’t even ADMIT he’s made a mistake, much less learn from it!
    My problem is that I just don’t understand most Bush voters. I understand the wealthy people who support Bush, because they’re getting something back. And I guess if your biggest fear in the world is that two gay people are going to get married, or a woman just might have an abortion, then I can see that. But other than that, I just don’t get it. And that’s what frustrates the hell out me.

  44. Mieke

    Reese, there is a lot of thoughtful conversation going on within the Democratic Part. My friend Andrei Cherney wrote a great piece in the NY Times. A bit of it:
    “Throughout the campaign, voters told reporters and pollsters that they wanted a change, but didn’t “know what John Kerry stands for.” Our response was to churn out more speeches outlining the details of policies that Senator Kerry would then deliver in front of a backdrop that said something like “Rx to Stronger Health Care.” Of course, it turned out that Americans weren’t very interested in Mr. Kerry’s campaign promises – perhaps because they no longer believe politicians will follow through on their commitments. They wanted to know instead how he saw the world. And we never told them.
    Misguided as they may be, the Republicans have a clear vision of America’s future. Confronted with their ambitious agenda we have not chosen to match it. Instead, we have adopted Nancy Reagan’s old antidrug motto, “Just Say No.” As in “Stop George Bush’s Assault on the Environment,” “Repeal George Bush’s Tax Cuts for the Wealthy” and “End George Bush’s Policy of Unilateralism.” These are good stands. But they are not enough. And the Republicans ended up defining John Kerry because we did not.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/05/opinion/05cherny.html
    I am baffled by the notion that you think Kerry was only talking to the two extremes within our country. To me issues like protecting the environment (why does CA have 5x the rate of autism than any other state?), unlimited access to birth control, religious freedom for all, following and honoring the bill of rights, health care reform, working to keep jobs in the US, cutting huge unfair tax breaks for corporations so that we the people don’t have to pay higher taxes, a thoughtful national security plan (one that doesn’t cut funding to the Office of Homeland Security or our police/fire as Bush has done in the last THREE years), and on and on and on. Those are not rich or poor issues those are all of our issues. They affect mostly the middle-class.
    Reese- You write: Despite my dislike of liberalism…the far-left tendencies of the Democratic Party appeared much more extreme than any far-right tendencies of the Republican Party.
    I’m very curious about that. I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on that. Would you please expand these ideas for me? Because of course, to me, it is quite the opposite, but I am very interested to hear the things Kerry proposed that you view as extreme.
    Yvonne writes about hypocrisy and she’s right and it comes on all sides. I’ll never forget when it was revealed that Bob Barr (one of the most vicious anti-choice Congressmen there was) forced the wife he was divorcing to have an abortion (Mr. Family values has had three wives).
    Skits – First, we should define “Christian”. Usually when people say “I am a Christian” they mean they are born-again, evangelical, Pentecostal etc.. which is very different in my experience, from the people who identify as Catholic, Protestant, Episcopalian, etc… What you write about mocking the radical religious right is true. There is a lot of that going around. I am guilty of it – it’s not right.
    It’s just so mind-boggling that in this day and age there are people who interpret the bible literally (and cherry-pick from it too no-less). I don’t understand the people who say that Christ is the center of their life, wear bracelets that say “what would Jesus do”, but do not act with the love and caring that he did. I don’t understand people who believe that Christ is coming again so we don’t need to take care of the earth because it will be reborn again (and who bastardize the interpretation of Genesis 1:28 to support their point of view –James Watts and Gail Norton to name a few).
    Evangelical Pastor Jim Wallis writes “The religious right “fought to keep the focus on gay marriage and abortion… We insist that poverty is also a religious issue, pointing to thousands of verses in the Bible on the poor. The environment – protection of God’s creation – is also one of our religious concerns.”
    I do not understand the people who believe that the separation of church and state is not sacred. Not to mention Bush again saying that his faith-based initiative was open to all religions when (98% of the 150 million federal dollars allocated have gone to “Christian” organizations,, the other 2% to Catholic orgs. – none to Jewish, Muslim, Buddist, etc…) Cherry-picking cherry picking.
    I do not understand people who despite seeing the wide spread devastation of AIDS and the mothers with starving children, who keep having babies because they have no access to birth control, who have been busy attacking contraceptive use as well. I get it if you’re anti-abortion, but anti-contraceptive? It’s just immoral. I remember when I was in 7th grade and the pope went to Mexico and he told them not to use birth control to be fruitful, this as family after family living in poverty was paraded before him, when an entire village of families had basically set up on a dump outside of Mexico city and their children kept from school so they could scavenge all day. I just don’t get that kind of literal-minded thinking.
    I leave you with these thoughts.
    In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead.” (James 2:15,16 NIV)
    “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” (Prov. 29:7 NIV)
    He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” (Prov. 14:21 NIV)
    “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” (Prov. 21:13 NIV)

  45. Darleen

    Stacey
    Did you actually read my post? Or is any mention of faith make you go into anaphylactic shock?
    That long quote about duty, honor and liberty as a Gift from God was from John F. Kennedy
    You think the real JFK was “looney?” How about FDR? Abraham Lincoln? George Washington? All of these men were men of faith and used it as a bedrock foundation to give them the courage to do what is right, rather than what is popular.
    You might want to actually LEARN about American government… The Constitution forbids a religious test to hold office. Trying to hang a “religious people need not apply” sign outside of the government building is unconsititutional..and frankly, unAmerican.

  46. Darleen

    Mieke
    I don’t have the time right now to fisk your post..I have to get back to work.
    But I’ll leave you with this as you seem to have a hard time with Christians in the “red” states..
    They give much more in charity (percentage per capita) than the citizens in blue states.
    Prime example was finding out that Kerry only gives a nice amount to charity when he’s in an election year, while GW has consistently and with a larger percentage gives to charity.
    And…a drug addict may be poor, but it is an injustice to hand him/her money.

  47. Mieke

    They give much more in charity (percentage per capita) than the citizens in blue states.
    I’d love to get your source for that info.

  48. Chasmyn

    I certainly hope I don’t come across that way. I hope that people get that what I talk about are only my own opinions and that I respect other’s people’s as well. I don’t know if I do always, but I try to.
    It doesn’t matter to me which sides of the polotical spectrum each of us are on – I’ll still be here just as often reading about you and your beautiful children and rooting for you.
    This country is divided enoughm, I SO don’t want to be someone who contributes to that division.
    And still I will not accept the current incumbent as my President. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t accept ANY Republican as my friend. Hell, for all I know, they’re all a great bunch of guys to hang with, too. I just don’t agree with their version of leadership. (This is not meant as a political rant, I promise, its just my opinion.)
    I hope you don’t stop hanging with me just because we differ there. But I dont think you’re that kind of person, either.

  49. Stacey

    “Trying to hang a “religious people need not apply” sign outside of the government building is unconsititutional..and frankly, unAmerican.”
    And that’s the problem right there. :)
    If my leader tried to mention god in any of his speeches, he’d be laughed away and never voted for again. Same goes for other countries around the world. Why is it so different in America? Why haven’t they caught up?

  50. reese

    Hey Mieke,
    I understand what you are saying. I agree that part of the issue is that teh Republicans defined Kerry more than he did for himself. Newsweek had a good in-depth story about that. Part of it is that Democrats’ messages got lost. I am not diametrically opposed to all Democratic messages, but I do believe in this election, some people were just not GETTING what your guy had to say. (I’m getting to the other stuff in a sec :) That is definitely part of why some of the vote swung to the right–not necessarily because people were agreeing vervently with teh right, but the left was not as effective in its messaging.
    I’ll be blunt: when I talk about any extremes of liberalism, I am generally speaking of fiscal issues. In short, I’m not a big proponent at all of social welfare programs. I see a need for them at some levels, but the extent to which the democratic party wants to take them (i.e. nationalised health care) is beyond what I feel is the responsibility of the government. With that said, I recognize the party of bush hasn’t b een particularly fiscally responsible for four years, and that is apoint of contention with me. I have a problem with a lot of the spending in the current administration, and it is for that reason, as well as a couple others, that I did not vote, period. Although my comment painted me as a full=fledged bush supporter, I could not in good conscious vote for either candidate, so I abstained. Some have told me that this essentially makes me a bad person and takes away any rights I have to talk about politics, period. If the ballot had had a checkbox for “sorry guys, neither of you work for me” I would have happily cast my vote. Because I am not a bush supporter in the sense of actual voting, my comment represented what many who did vote (and voted for bush) have explained to me, and I understand their reasoning. You wanted specific examples of what I and others find ‘extreme’ (and yes, you will likely find these to be ‘moderate’ things in your ind). you mentioned unlimited access to birth control. if that means the state funding it for people, then I see that as a problem. It is up to individual private organizations, I b elieve, to provide free or low-cost birth control. It is a noble cost, and I applaud the organizations that do it. But only when it’s not done with federal taxpayer’s money. I believe it is up to individual communities to fund their police and firepeople. I have no issue paying taxes at a local level for those things. My problem is not with taxes in general, but with federal taxes. To me, anything that broadens the scope of the federal governments role is liberal. There are things the bush admin has done to broaden this scope, and I don’t agree with those things, either. (i.e. the federal marriage amendment). Much of what Kerry proposed relies on bigger government and more federal taxation. Many people who voted for Bush dislike bigger government. Some o fthese people also dislike the government’s hand in issues like gay marriage and religion. WHat it comes down to is Kerry supporters feel bigger government fiscally is good, but big brother socially is not. Bush supporters think the opposite, OR they feel that while big brother socially is not good, having a b ig fiscal government far outweighs the harm of having a big brother social government. Many had to figure out what value was ultimately more important when they knew neither candidate fit their ideal bill. I also suspect that for many, bigger fiscal government equals europeanism, and there is a strong dislike for that influence by some.
    I know I’ve rambled a ton here, and I also realize that 1. some of my statements are probably contradictory 2. i seem to be backpeddling and 3. I am not necessarily making myself clear ;) I apologize for that…honestly, I am a ‘grey’ thinker. No party or candidate is currently ideal for me, but personally the republican party is closer to what I value than the democratic, for some of the reasons I listed above. Within some of the above lie the various reasons why some people voted Bush when it wasn’t about religion or morality. ( I suppose, though, fiscal concerns constitute a sort of morality).
    I find some of the aims of the democratic party noble. I believe it’s important we be charitable neighbors and take care of our community members. I try to do this personally as much as I can. Unfortunately, I don’t believe we should legislate these things. The more you raise my taxes, the less likely I am to be charitable, and I know this tenant holds true for many. Somehow, that takes my personal responsibility out of things, and I resent that. That, to me, is the ultimate big brother. Someone else dictating where my wealth (or in my case, my lack thereof) should go. I want to be empowered to decide that for myself rather than have a government do it for me. Will some not act charitably at all, regardless of their tax bracket? Of course. But that’s their decision as individuals, and although it is not an honorable one, we need to respect that they alone should make that decision.
    Enough spew from me :) If my reasoning is still a bit foggy for you, feel free to send me an email. I appreciate that you asked intelligent questions and seem to honestly try to understand another person’s point of view. I would like to do the same for you, so please, your turn :)

  51. sara

    Darleen– I don’t think that the bulk of Democrats, or even liberals want there to be a sign hung that says “No religious person must apply”. John Kerry is Catholic, Bill Clinton was religious–I just don’t happen to know what variety of religion he was. And that’s the point.
    A large number of us actually would PREFER that our President have some religion, as it eases the pressures of the job. I don’t particularly care either way, but I don’t see an atheist getting elected anytime soon, even in a community of Liberals.
    The distaste that I have about Bush’s religion isn’t the fact that he’s religious. Most of the people I know are religious, and I love them. I love their faith, I love their hope, I love their essential goodness. I don’t see those things in Bush. He uses his religion to justify things, and he uses religion in ways that I don’t believe are acceptable–such as the attempt to deny a large portion of the population partnership, love, and commitment. It’s a subtlety, I guess.
    I think the best way I can explain it is this: When I was in 6th grade I had an interpreter because I’m deaf. The interpreter was responsible for conveying the things that the teacher said, and that the kids said. This was her job. Instead, she censored certain things, and spoke to me about her religion. She also introduced me to the whole concept of homosexuality in a disgusting horrible way by informing me that _all_ homosexual men committed atrocious acts with small rodents, and that _all_ homosexual men at sex at truck stops. Keep in mind that I was in sixth grade. Do the math, I was 10 years old. I barely had a grasp on the fact that human beings had something called “sex”. Funny thing is, even at that impressionable age, I totally didn’t buy it. My mom’s gay friends, who I hadn’t realized until that very moment were gay–were the only example of a long-term committed loving relationship that I had ever seen, my own parent’s relationship one of mutual agreement not to seek a divorce, and full of passive aggressive behavior and unhappiness–and the relationships of my friends families in shambles.
    There is a fine line betwen being Religious, and enforcing Religion. I do not believe that I pay my public officials my hard earned tax money to force a religion down my throat, or to tell me what is or is not moral. What is moral is between me and my God, between me and my pastor/reverand/preist, what is moral is between me and my family, my husband, my children, or even my community.
    When someone is being paid to do a job, I don’t like having concerns about what they believe their job to be. Evangelists, in my experience, see their primary job as the saving of souls.
    Bush is no different, he wants to save souls–I can’t fault him for that, but when I’m paying my taxes I don’t want to only be funding the Religious charities that are Christian or Catholic, heck- I don’t want to fund them at all. I’ll happily pay for lunches for poor children, or health care for people who work as hard as they can but can’t make ends meet, or to help out an old woman on social security.. But I don’t want to pay money into a charity that has a different world-view than I do.
    See things my way: as a Republican/conservative, you believe that Democrats want a semi-socialized government. You don’t see why you should pay for the health care of lazy loafers who can’t afford insurance.
    Me- I can’t see why I should pay for Christian charities with my tax dollars, and force poor people into prostituting their faith in exchange for food. That’s what happens when all programs are faith based–people prostitute their faith for food, shelter, and clothing.

  52. Mieke

    Stacey,
    It’s an interesting question and one I have just started thinking about in earnest. I am really curious about the religious life of Canadians and Europeans (my family still lives in Holland, I’ll ask them and get back to you on their point of view), are they like “Passover Jews” who “Santa Claus Christians” observe holidays mostly for cultural historical reasons, but basically secular or is it that they are people of faith, but really get it that religion is deeply personal and that it has no place in government, or are these European cultures basically secular now (with few exceptions like Ireland). It’s a really fascinating question.
    I have no way of explaining why so many people in this country are fundamentalist Christians or for that matter Orthodox/Conservative Jews. As a practicing Jew, I get why people have religion in their lives. I don’t understand all this magical thinking and the idea of divine intervention. But I find it they “why’s” of the discussion really interesting. One of my best friends (a former Catholic) is now an evangelical Christian (of the more moderate type) and I love my conversations with her. We call each other up all the time for quick answers to issues we are pondering. For example, why this?
    Deuteronomy 22
    11 Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together
    Anyone got an answer?

  53. reese

    sara,
    I have to say that I agree with you about funding christian charities. I don’t believe tax dollars should go for that, and I have a hard time with the people who argue for that but against other social welfares. It’s inconsistent. And it’s one of my issues with the current administration.

  54. Sara

    Reese-
    Just a quickie: There’s a difference between nationalized/socialized health care, and nationally subsidized health care.
    I have more problems with Bush’s crippling of Medicare as far as seeking bulk drug discounts that are available to private insurers. If we’ve gotta pay for the damned drugs, and pay we do, then isn’t it the government’s responsibility to secure them for the best price they can, and negotiate the discounts due to such a large purchasing entity?
    I want fiscal responsibility, and I don’t believe that Bush’s administration is the best administration to do this.
    My parents who make not much money at all for the area in which they live? They’re paying a few hundred bucks more a year in taxes now than they were during the Clinton years, during which they paid less than during the Reagan years. And they work hard for their money–my dad works at a box factory where he’s worked for 50 years–getting up at 5AM, having his fingers lost to the machines, his hearing eaten by the roar of the machines, and his brain eaten by the fumes. My mom? She works with people who are unable to take care of themselves–the elderly, etc. Exposing herself to staph bacteria, human excrement, Hepatitis, etc.
    Their social security has been spent by this administration, in the wars and in the tax cuts. I could forgive the wars. I could forgive the tax cuts. But never before has a war and a tax cut happend simultaneously. Nearly every economist say s it is fiscally irresponsible.
    Hmm.. that wasn’t so quick afterall.
    Hey, Yvonne–thank you for opening up this discussion. You have seriously bright friends on both sides of the spectrum, I’m enjoying this. It’s much less riled up than most of the political discussions I’m finding myself in these days. heh.

  55. Mieke

    My problem with the Christian fundamentalists supporting Mr. Bush is not their spiritual energy or the fact that I am of a different faith. It is the way in which he and they have used that religious energy to promote divisions and intolerance at home and abroad. I respect that moral energy, but wish that Democrats could find a way to tap it for different ends.- Thomas Friedman
    I think he sums up my thought in much more succinct manor.

  56. reese

    Hey Sara,
    (First, I’m not arguing that you are lying or anything about your parents, ok? I don’t doubt your story about them) I find your statements both interesting and surprising. I am not discounting them. But I have two aunts who are factory workers not making a whole lot of mula who saw fairly significant tax refunds under Bush compared to clinton. Some of that may be things we don’t know about, like tax brackets and such. But I have talked with people at the poverty line who saw bigger refund checks the past couple of years. My own tax situation was relieved as well, and I honestly don’t make much at all. (Long story, I can tell you more privately, and that doesn’t tell the whole story.)
    You’re right–it is irresponsible to cut in wartime. As I briefly mentioned, some of the fiscal decisions of the current admin raise my eyebrows up quite a bit. For me, it comes down to the entitlement programs, in very much a broad sense rather than everyday pragmatic sense. I think they are not good things to value, and while there are ceertainly people in our society who can use leg ups, I see the long-term consequences of new-deal initiatives as increasing people’s dependency and sense of ‘I am OWED.’ As community members, we have a responsibility as private individuals to help out others, just as your mom is doing. But no one should have the mentality that the government owes them something. It is this issue of ‘expectation’ I have great problems with.

  57. sara

    I had an interesting discussion with one of my friends the other day–Libertarian, we always get into fervent arguments about candidates, and the means-to-the-ends that we want.
    I told him what my desire for the future was, and he was shocked to find out that my ideas were far from his preconceived notions of liberalism and Kerry supporters.
    I think most people can find a lot of things that they agree on, if they discuss the issues, and not the candidates. This is one of the major problems I have with America’s political system–the issues get lost behind the “star power” of the candidates, with both “Liberals” and “Conservatives” rallying behind candidates that they don’t fully support because of a few issues that the other candidate supports that they cannot live with, or because of one token issue that the candidate of their party does support that is very important to them. ie: abortion, health care, school prayer, etc.
    Me: I want fiscal responsibility, I want individual accountability, I want simplification of forms–it’s ridiculous that Bush’s tax cuts for lower income families require an accountant half the time to figure out the tax forms. It’s ridiculous that government isn’t more transparent. It’s ridiculous that people can attach riders for land use or school grants to bills for a foreign war. Riders should be outlawed. Bills should be voted for on an item by item basis. I want the government out of people’s personal lives, out of people’s families–but I want the maximum gov’t protection for individuals. I want $500 hammers and no-bid contracts to be struck down. I want election fraud or extreme campaign lies to be punishable as treason. I want election reform. I want welfare reform, I want medicare reform. I want insurance reform. I want the government to go after the insurance companies that are price fixing. I want litigation to be minimized–but not through caps, as that effects too many innocents. Rather, I want the burden of proof to be greater, and for there to be some sort of three-strikes-and-you’re-disbarred system for lawyers who regularly try to bilk people.
    Some of that’s typical liberal, some of that I’d guess is not typical liberal.
    Labels seldom apply. That’s the problem. We’ve let “Conservative” become a perjorative for liberals, and “Liberal” become a perjorative for conservatives.

  58. reese

    Sara, I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. One of my problems with bigger government is a lot of the bureaucratic bullshit you mentioned, the forms, the riders, etc. all teh subsidies to farmers who are paid, yes PAID to destroy their crops. the list goes on. i like your idea on barring the lawyers from more litigous crap. but i disagree on not capping suit damages.
    you are right–many of us can find things to agree about, but that gets lost in candidates. as i recently put in your voting survey, it is damn near impossible to find a candidate who is really ‘ideal’ for a particular person. so people tend to fall back on a few issues and use that to raise ire, etc.
    I, too, have enjoyed this debate. FOr once my blood pressure hasn’t risen :) Thanks, y.

  59. Mieke

    As a total aside.
    Sara,
    I tried to email you privately, but couldn’t get the registration on your site to work.
    I didn’t know you were deaf. Were you raised with Total Comm? ASL? Orally? I spent a semester at Gaulladet (oh my God, it’s been so long I am unsure of the spelling anymore). Those were heady post-demonstration times. I used to be virtually fluent- now I am rusty from little use. IM has changed your world. I still have a really good friend from those days and IM and email have done wonders for the quality and frequency of our communication. They mock my signing now when I see them. So sad. But I love signing. Both of my boys sign. And if I may brag, my finger-spelling is still kick-ass.
    XOXOXO
    M

  60. sara

    Reese-
    The problem is, how do you put a price on a child whose life has been destroyed by a surgeon who wasn’t paying attention? Especially when the child will need constant medical care for the rest of its life, rehabilitative surgery, drugs, probably therapy both physical and emotional, etc. How do you cap that? I hate mandatory sentencing, too. Situations are unique, and should take things into consideration–the extent of the injury, the extent of the negligence, the life-long impact on the parties involved.
    How would you put a cap on situations that are so easily preventable–like that situation a year or so ago where a young girl waited for a long time to get donor lungs, and finally got to the top of the list–and they put the wrong bloodtype of lungs into her without double checking the most obvious of paperwork. The girl woke up screaming that she was dying, before they even realized the mistake that they had made.
    And what about the situations where they amputate the wrong leg or wrong arm? Or remove healthy organs “by mistake”? What price can you put on your ability to walk? On your child’s ability to walk? If you went through this, wouldn’t you want the individual consideration of the courts?

  61. reese

    well, I pretty much bring up the same question you do: “what price do you put on it?”
    simply awarding 2million in punitive damages does nothing to take away what was done. (and as we agree, part of the problem is the lawyers in these situations. they really profit the most). I see so many abuses of this. Everything from the McDonald’s woman with the hot coffee to someone else suing mcdonalds (no, I’m not on a mcdonald’s bandwagon here ;) for obesity. that stuff really irks me.
    I don’t think there should be caps on medical damages. in your first instance with the child needing lifelong medical care, money should be awarded to cover all of that care, and no burden should be placed on the parents to cover that. however, trying to assign a dollar amount to people’s emotional disturbance over issues is kind of ludicrous. i’d rather see criminal action, or the removal of licensing, taken against the offending individuals. if it is a corporation, i think they should be punished monetarily, HOWEVER

  62. reese

    I don’t know what happened, but after HOWEVER it should read, “the money that comes from punishing those corporations punitively should go into a general charitable fund rather than to the suing individuals.”
    I’m not against using suits to help keep companies, doctors, etc responsible. I am against people profiting from that. if lost wages need to be paid, fine. but no price can be put on emotional suffering, so it should not be an issue because it is too likely to be abused by lawyers and unscrupulous individuals.

  63. sara

    Mieke- site registration on my site is case sensitive. ;) I think I need to fix that. hehe :)
    Anyway, yeah. I’m deaf. I lost my hearing at 6 when I was given a vaccination too close to another vaccination, and had chickenpox at the same time, it all culminated to eat the nerves of my ears. To top it all off, the doctors wanted to give me steroids that were later linked to sudden and violent death in kids when combined with chickenpox. The only reason I’m here today is because my mom didn’t want to make decisions regarding possible sterility, etc. known nto be associated with the steroids.
    I was raised on total communication (combination of ASL, signed English, and oral communication with a heavy emphasis on speech therapy). Being a high performer later in school, I was denied an interpreter in high school because under law I’m only entitled to “equal access”, which means that if I can achieve 110% averages in classes with an interpreter, then D’s and F’s are perfectly acceptable without an interpreter. Ended up attending four years of high school, only getting as far as my sophomore year, suffering tremendous bouts of depression and migraines from trying to follow classwork, as most of the coursework was orally communicated and they refused to let me sit it out in the library (schools get federal funding for every disabled kid that is sitting in a normal classroom). My parents paid taxes, and I never got an education. Instead, I sat in a classroom unable to understand anything, even a fire drill. heh. A fire alarm went off, and I didn’t know–I thought everyone was just switching classes, so I walked out into the hall, and around the corner, and a teacher grabbed me and said “Where the hell are you going?” “To class” “It’s a fire drill, dummy”
    They tried to shuffle me off to a Deaf school, but all the Deaf schools that I went to provided inferior education.
    Anyway. I shared this story here because I believe it tells you why I don’t believe in mandatory minimums. I didn’t get any settlement out of my hearing loss, although I could have used that settlement to make up for certain things. Like I could have used it to hire my own private interpreter and complete high school, for example. Not that I would have wanted a settlement out of my particular case–since there was only “lack of knowledge” and not “responsibility” involved.
    It also goes to say why I’m against Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” act, because I’m seeing it severely hurt disabled kids all over the country as school districts force them into schools for the disabled rather than mainstreaming them, out of fear of losing federal funding.
    I’ve experienced the joys of being screwed over left and right. I could say “Abolish the system” completely–no public education, no this no that.. But I believe in reform, I believe that the concepts that these things were founded on are sound and good. I believe that America has the potential to do things right, and just be utterly amazing. I believe that it’s my responsibility as an American to encourage the weeding out of corruption and misguided intentions.

  64. Mieke

    Reese,
    Thank you for your thoughful response. My babe awakens so I must go.
    Just one thing. I get it if you don’t want the government to pay for birth control but, the administration (guided by its religious principles) has not been content with simply restricting access to abortion, it has also been busy attacking contraceptive use as well. Projects they have already been working on in the first term:
    Promoting legislation to withdraw contraceptive coverage for federal employees, including military personnel, or limit coverage to married couples.
    Continue to deny over-the-counter status to emergency contraception (Plan B), even for adult women, arguing that EC is an abortifacient
    Support passage of legislation similar to the Weldon Amendment that would restrict access to contraception
    By the way, did you know if you are a female American Soldier who is captured and becomes a POW who is raped (which happens- we know Jessica Lynch was) and impregnated the governent will cover all of your medical expenses, but it will not cover an abortion if that’s what you wanted.
    Do you also know that the Bush administration created and enforces the “global gag rule,” preventing foreign NGOs that receive USAID funds from using their own non-U.S (that’s right NON-US) funds to participate in abortion law reform in their own countries, to refer or counsel patients about abortion, or to provide abortion services- regardless of the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy?
    I really have to go now.

  65. sara

    Reese-
    Emotional suffering should only be taken into account if it has a qualifiable value- ie: therapy costs. You can’t buy back a normal life for a kid whose body has been destroyed, but you can give them all the therapy they need to come to terms with it, if possible. I’m not a big fan of “$4 million awarded for suffering” cases, either.
    Lost wages should be taken into account, therapy costs, rehabilitative care, etc. And it should contain enough padding to ensure that the individual who is unable to care for themselves will be able to be cared for for the rest of their lives–however long that life may be. Remaining funds should go to charity. But what charity? And what quality of medical care is the person entitled to? And what quality of life is the person entitled to? They’re hard questions, and can’t truly be taken into account with hard caps.

  66. Stacey

    Yes, thank you Yvonne. It’s always nice seeing different opinions. :)
    Sara, What you just said “He uses his religion to justify things, and he uses religion in ways that I don’t believe are acceptable–such as the attempt to deny a large portion of the population partnership, love, and commitment. It’s a subtlety, I guess.”
    Is how I feel, just better articulated. ;)
    And Mieke, “basically secular or is it that they are people of faith, but really get it that religion is deeply personal and that it has no place in government” I think this rings true. My Father and I have this discussion all the time when we watch American news. We just can’t wrap our heads around it. You’re right, it really is quite fascinating.

  67. sara

    I loved how Kerry said it in the debates:
    “Now, with respect to religion, you know, as I said, I grew up a Catholic. I was an altar boy. I know that throughout my life this has made a difference to me.
    And as President Kennedy said when he ran for president, he said, “I’m not running to be a Catholic president. I’m running to be a president who happens to be Catholic.”
    My faith affects everything that I do, in truth. There’s a great passage of the Bible that says, “What does it mean, my brother, to say you have faith if there are no deeds? Faith without works is dead.”
    And I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people.”
    In my experience, the Democrats have this down, and it’s an area in which Bush is lacking. Governing with faith–guided by faith, but not transferring it in an official way to other people. He’s taken on cases on things such as gay marriage, abortion, etc. that have some very religious points to them. I’m not talking elective abortion which can be debated as murder, I’m talking late term abortions which are NOT performed on healthy fetuses with healthy mothers.
    Those two areas, in particular are disturbing shows of Bush’s transferral of faith in an official capacity. As are the “Faith based initiatives” that only provide funding to Christian and Catholic charities although Muslim, Jewish, etc. charities have applied for funding.
    America is not and should not be a theocracy, that’s my stance.

  68. sara

    Note: I think that the last post pretty much sums up my own personal “intense feelings” about this Presidency, and probably quite a few other people’s as well. We can talk rationally about a lot of things, but Religion is a personal thing to us. It brings out the best, and it brings out the worst.
    From my standpoint, asking me to accept Bush as the President of this Country with the last four years of Faith-based acts, is asking me to swallow a pill of a religion that is not mine. I’d object to this even if the religion was mine.
    From the standpoint of a religious Bush supporter, I suppose that my logically debating Bush’s actions, particularly those related to his faith, is actually my debating their faith and therefore their God.
    From the standpoint of a non-religious Bush supporter, I suppose I’m attacking “Country”, which for some is right up there next to God. I’m a traitor, treasonous, horrid, vile.
    Basically–how could it not become heated? There’s a whole undercurrent of Religious tension that’s seething through this country right now.

  69. sporty

    Because sadly, the majority of the poopulation don’t want to believe that there is no right or wrong in situations like these. It’s always black or white.

  70. Darleen

    Stacey
    You write: If my leader tried to mention god in any of his speeches, he’d be laughed away and never voted for again. Same goes for other countries around the world. Why is it so different in America? Why haven’t they caught up?
    Girlfriend, you have it backwards. America still is the best country in the world, the most successful experiment in human endeavors and it is no small matter it is because we haven’t succumbed to the secular nihilism of the EU.
    No wonder Americans have pulled EU fat from the fire so many times.
    And we didn’t herd our Jews into the ovens, either.

  71. Darleen

    Sara
    You do understand, of course, that outsourcing deliverance of services through faith-based organizations is not new?
    For instance, the Salvation Army is accepted as a bonafide rehabilitation program for drug addicts in the California court system for two of our programs — Diversion (PC1000) and Proposition 36 (PC1210.1).
    It has also been demonstrated that most faith based charities are the most efficient in delivering tax dollars to end users because they both already have the infrastructure in place to do it and they have no huge bureaucracy to fund.. many of the workers are volunteers.
    Funny how no one has any real problems with the fact that abolition of slavery was almost the sole province of religious orders, ie Quakers, but what..feed the poor? Run medical free clinics?? Oh my..the horror!

  72. sara

    Sporty- you just hit on another problem that I have with the Bush administration, and another reason why I end up growling ferociously sometimes at people who disagree with me–not for the disagreement per se.. But because they’ve hit on a pet peeve of mine.
    One of Bush’s major successes was portraying Kerry as a flip-flopper, when if you analyzed his record and his comments, you’d see that he wasn’t–that it was just nuance–a grayscale response to a grayscale situation in a grayscale world. Bush pushed the flipflopwaffle idea, and it took hold. Because it’s easier to see things in black and white.
    An interesting thing about the whole anti-abortion movement is that a lot of anti-abortionists end up having abortions, themselves–because when the grayscale happens to them, then it’s suddenly allright. On the other hand, Utter Morons take a tragic situation like Cecily’s (http://zia.blogs.com/wastedbirthcontrol/2004/10/home.html) where she had to have an abortion of much-beloved and much-wanted children because she was in serious danger of dying.. And they use her situation to rant and rail about the horrors of “partial birth abortion”. This is a woman whose two children just died, and a horrible black-and-white troll is attacking what is obviously a gaping screaming painful wound.
    The world is full of nuance, and exceptions, and circumstances that warrant things.. But a large number of people can’t see the nuance until it’s effecting them first-hand.
    It bothers me if Bush doesn’t understand nuance. It bothers me if Bush just took the fact that a lot of people don’t understand nuance, and used it as a weapon against his opponent. It bugs me to no good end because it’s either deceptive, or dangerous.
    Note that I do not assume that people who support Bush are stupid–just like I don’t assume that people that supported Kerry were smart. I realize the above paragraph could be interpreted that way.

  73. Darleen

    Sara
    There is no nuance where partial birth abortion is concerned.
    Kerry hid behind his indecision. The man was an empty suit, still is.
    No wonder the vast majority of people that served with him in Vietnam was glad to see him go home early. His “nuance,” his indecision was a liability.

  74. Broad

    Faith: Wait, what!?!? French vote? What are you talking about?
    Also, you talk about what the administration has or hasn’t learned since 9/11, and you’re absolutely right that they’d have had to learn to *defend* the country against further attacks. I mean, for God’s sake, right? But I’ve covered many, many talks about U.S. vs. The Rest of the World (as well as talked to bloggers in other countries), and the observation I’ve made? Our country has *not* learned that we are not the only people on the planet; nor have we gotten it that maybe the rest of the world doesn’t want to have good ol’ American values. They resent us for our arrogance in that respect, and with a president who refuses to admit that he 1) he wanted to go after Iraq no matter what and 2) that mistakes have been made there on top of it, we’re going to lose what little credibility we still have. People don’t respect the United States because we have this giant arsenal of fancy missile and we can blow up shit to Kingdom Come; it thinks we’re assholes, and until we start employing diplomacy again, terrorism is still going to happen — in our backyard as well as everyone else’s. And if you think otherwise, you’re kidding yourself.

  75. sara

    See, Yvonne. When someone tells you “There is no nuance involved”, it’s hard not to get angry.
    The only way you can believe that there is no nuance involved in any given scenario is to not be fully familiar with the scenario, or not care about the outcome of the scenario.
    That’s a scenario that has no nuance, I believe.

  76. sara

    (btw, the “no nuance” thing is not aimed at something Yvonne said- just wanted to clarify that. :) the “See, Yvonne” is “see, previous posts sort of answer your question about how discussions can become so heated and angry both on the part of Darleen, and myself.”)

  77. Mieke

    Oh but you are wrong Darleen, there is nuance in late term abortions.
    This is an excerpt from a comment I made on another site about this issue.
    I have had two friends who have had late term abortions. Ten years ago, my friend Claudia was 8 months pregnant with her first pregnancy, the nursery was all set up, her baby shower had been the week before. This baby was very wanted. She woke up with a “feeling”. She rushed to her ob/gyn and was thankfully taken seriously. She had had an ultrasound at three months, but hadn’t had one since. Her doc wanted to calm her and sent her in for another. She got on the table, her husband by her side, the ultrasound tech became very quiet. Took some pictures and excused herself from the room. She returned with the doctor who looked pale and stunned. The doc and the tech looked at the monitor as the wand was rubbed all over Claudia’s belly. The baby’s skull hadn’t closed -half of the brains were on the outside of his skull and his eyes were where his ears should have been.
    There was no way this baby could be delivered vaginally and a c-section is MAJOR surgery, and any doctor will tell you the less traumatic physical experience, and best chance for preserving the mother’s reproductive chances is to deliver through the vagina (which was built for that) and not to do major surgery (which could potentially weaken or destroy the womb). Not to mention that the baby would have died the moment the cord was cut and would have been in tremendous pain. Claudia, her husband, and doctor all sobbed as they discussed the options. It became clear how serious this situation was when the doctor insisted that for Claudia’s reproductive health she terminate this pregnancy immediately, despite the fact that it was Yom Kippur and all involved were Jewish.
    Every year on the anniversary of their son’s death they mourn his loss. This is a horrific procedure. No one wants this Kris. No one wants their fetus to be injected with enough morphine to stop its heart so that it will gently be “put to sleep” or “killed” whatever you want to call it and then have their beloved child’s skull collapsed so that it can pass through the vagina without causing damage. NOBODY chooses this. Ritchie and Claudia held their son after he was delivered and said good bye. They got pregnant six times after and each time Claudia miscarried sometimes as late as six months. Finally the doctors told her to stop and to focus on another way of becoming a family. Three years later they adopted Oliver and four years after that they adopted Madison.
    My other friend, a former Roman Catholic pro-lifer, who had protested outside of abortion clinics, was told when her baby was six month old that there was no brain, just a brain stem, which is why she could feel kicking. Should she have been required to go to term, to carry that baby for four more months, feeling it kick and grow knowing that that moment that cord was cut it would be dead? You would demand that of her? You would say it is not her right to terminate a pregnancy that has no chance; she must be forced to go to term? She was the mother of a three year old child at the time – as it was, when she found out the bad news she became a zombie. What kind of mother would she have been to Grace for the four months she waited for her baby to be delivered?
    Again the doctor cried as she told Sam and her husband that there was no chance of life for this child. They went to three specialists praying for a different answer. They went to their priest and asked for help with their decision (by the way they were in Boston at the time), he gave her his blessing and told her God knew what was in her heart and that she could not make a wrong decision here. She was sent to the labor and delivery ward of a hospital and there at the end of the hall, as all the other mothers were pushing babies, alive and kicking out into the world, Sam’s labor was induced and her baby delivered. This baby was also wanted and obsessed over during the entire pregnancy. She and her husband also wanted to say goodbye. After she was delivered, the nurses whisked her away. Her little head was so malformed that the nurses stuffed her head with cotton to keep it from collapsing. They swaddled her up and brought her back for Sam to hold and kiss goodbye.
    Do you really think it is Congress’s place to legislate decisions between a doctor and her patient? This late term abortion ban has been struck down by EVERY court that has heard it for just this reason. It does not allow for the good judgement of the doctor and the patient, it doesn’t allow for the woman’s health.
    These parents were crushed by their experiences. They wanted these babies, they loved these babies. No one makes this decision lightly. Both of these women were so appalled that the Congress would dare to get involved in a decision so painful and personal and between a woman and her doctor (and God -if you believe that) that they both became activists. The former right-to-lifer, Sam, is even more active than Claudia is. She works for a group that helps girls who cannot afford it or must hide it from their family to get abortions. Last month, they helped a 12 year old girl in Arkansas get an abortion. She had been repeatedly raped by her step-father; when she told her mother, her mother threw her out of the house, and refused to pay for an abortion. The ONE clinic in Arkansas that provides abortions contacted Sam’s group who helped this little girl with the abortion, counseling, and to not get sucked into the horrific foster care system, but to get placed in a safe and stable home.
    In a perfect world we wouldn’t have a need for abortion but this world isn’t perfect.
    In a perfect world this President, the Pope, and all others who oppose wide-spread condom use and family planning would see world-wide starvation, disease, and devastation that their policies continue to wreak on the people who need it most.
    In a perfect world these men would see that standing on some archaic and manmade principle is sometimes the greater sin.

  78. Mieke

    Let start by saying again these procedures are gruesome – that is not in dispute.
    The partial birth abortion ban or HR4965 is opposed by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the doctors who actually have to deal with this on a day to day basis.
    Dr. William F. Harrison, a diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2 He wrote that “approximately 1 in 2000 fetuses develop hydrocephalus while in the womb.” About 5000 fetuses develop hydrocephalus each year in the U.S. This is not usually discovered until late in the second trimester. Some cases are not severe. After birth, shunts can be installed to relieve the excess fluid on the newborn’s brain. A pre-natal method of removing the excess fluid is being experimentally evaluated. However, some cases are much more serious. “It is not unusual for the fetal head to be as large as 50 centimeters (nearly 20 inches) in diameter and may contain…close to two gallons of cerebrospinal fluid.” In comparison, the average adult skull is about 7 to 8 inches in diameter. A fetus with severe hydrocephalus is alive, but as a newborn cannot live for long; it cannot achieve consciousness. The physician may elect to perform a D&X by draining off the fluid from the brain area, collapsing the fetal skull and withdrawing the dead fetus. Or, he might elect to perform a type of caesarian section. The former kills a fetus before birth; the latter allows the newborn to die after birth, on its own. A caesarian section is a major operation. It does expose the woman to a greatly increased chance of infection. It “poses its own dangers to a woman and any future pregnancies.” 2 Allowing a woman to continue in labor with a severely hydrocephalic fetus is not an option; an attempted vaginal delivery would kill her and the fetus.
    So you see there is nuance.

  79. Darleen

    Sara
    Where have I been heated or angry?
    As both a mom, a grandma, and someone who works with the District Attorney’s office, I understand the real danger in equivocation.
    And let me make this perfectly clear. Such things as the “Zero Tolerance” are actually an abdication of moral judgement, just as Kerry’s refusal to take any moral stand on any issue is an abdication.
    People who are serious about their values, who make decisions based on both evaluation of the situation and their values (morality) aspire to the highest intellect open to human beings, because such people are not animated by what makes them “popular”, but that the decision they make is right, regardless of popularity. And such decisions are not easy or usual. Look at how Righteous Gentiles in Hitler’s Germany were such a minority.
    Human beings are not basically good. Or evil. Our animal nature is such that we go with the flow, with the least difficult path and we have a great capacity for self-deception. As parents, we should be dedicated in inculcating our children with the values necessary that they are good adults rather than just merely “successful” adults.
    “Nuance” can be the perfect self-deception. Chamberlain used it. The UN engages in it all the time.
    And real people die during the exercise of such nuisance.
    Not too many things more black/white than live/die.

  80. sara

    Mieke,
    I just realized something that’s been eluding me for a long time. I think that the people we view as black-and-whiteists and zealots DO believe that the world is a perfect place, and that these women should go with God when their time has come.
    It’s a weird dichotomy, though, that at the same time they’ll protest to keep humans artifically alive on life support.. Or use antibiotics.. Or have surgeries or organ transplants.. Or use pain killers… Or have cesareans–obviously modern innovations..
    I guess it’s all just where the line’s drawn. And I guess that explains the whole slippery slope argument, as well. I can’t understand the slippery slope, because I understand nuance, and I understand that there’s a distinct difference between consenting adult homosexual relations and pedophilia.
    I think that also further explains why people get so passionately angry and attack. Because we see the “slippery slopes” in different places, and attribute them to different intentions and groups, and when we see a slippery slope we panic. Because “Woah! it’s scary to us, and why can’t everyone else see the chasm we’re jumping into?”, and we have to rationalize and normalize and black-and-white things to do away with the nuance, because we feel so strongly about the topic that our brain can’t deal with the idea that we might actually be wrong. The whole “Right” and “Wrong” thing is so ingrained in the human mind that it’s ridiculous.

  81. Mieke

    Darleen,
    You are being overly simplistic in your argument re: faith based orgs. Not to mention sarcastic, which never bodes well for thoughtful conversation.
    Yes, for many years, groups affiliated with religion have received government funds to perform social services. But they were required to keep the services separate from religious activities. Additionally, the services were delivered in accordance with widely accepted professional standards and free from religious proselytizing. Because the organization operated in a nonsectarian and nondiscriminatory manner – neither promoting nor opposing religion – government funding and regulation of its operations did not violate church-state separation. The separation was usually done by setting up a nonprofit corporation to provide the government-funded services. The nonprofit entity was distinct from the religious organization, had an independent board, and did not engage in religious discrimination in hiring employees or providing services.
    Although this system worked well for many years and provided substantial funding to religiously affiliated groups, it was not good enough for Bush. He viewed the refusal to fund pervasively religious organizations not as respect for church-state separation but as discrimination against religion.
    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 contains an exemption that allows churches, mosques and synagogues to hire only members of their faith. President Bush issued an executive order extending this exemption to faith-based organizations that receive government grants to provide a broad array of social services.
    Bush clearly appears more interested in the religious aspects of social service programs than in whether the counselors are licensed and the procedures have a proven record of effectiveness. He extols programs that make religious conversion the primary goal, and points to the drug treatment program at the Healing Place Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as an example of what he wants to support. According to its website, the program relies “solely on . . . the Word of God to break the bands of addiction” and believes “that recovery begins at the Cross.”
    After hearing Bush crow about the life-changing powers of faith, and seeing his proposals to fund religious groups, columnist Robyn Blumner warned: “Make no mistake, Bush’s plan is to have taxpayers underwrite conversion.”
    During the 2002 midterm-election campaign, Administration officials suddenly showed up at inner-city churches, seeking to entice African-American ministers with federal funding. A half-million-dollar grant was quickly slated for Pat Robertson’s quasi-charitable Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation, which the Christian Coalition founder has in the past used to advance his diamond-mining ventures in the Congo region.
    Head Start program directors received a harsh warning letter–and a federal financial inquiry–after they raised their voices against Administration plans to restructure the preschool program, changes that would open the door for church groups to administer local Head Starts. “We agree that they have the right to audit us, since we receive government funds,” says James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth. “But what does it mean when the audit mechanism can be used selectively and politically?”
    No direct funding from the faith-based office has gone to a single non-Christian religious organization, whether Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or Sikh.

  82. Darleen

    Mieke
    Fact remains, during all the Senate testimony, not once was any evidence ever presented that D&X had either saved a life of a woman or was necessary to save a life of a woman.
    The partial birth abortion ban deals with viable fetuses. Not still borns.
    Years ago I read about D&X in what was then the Los Angeles Times Sunday magazine. They interviewed the doctor who had developed the procedure. He was quite matter of fact on why he developed it. He was a specialist in on-demand 3rd trimester abortions, and saline abortions carried the risk of the inconvenience of delivering a live baby. (such survivors tried to testify before Congress and were thoroughly sneered at by very compassionate Democratic female representatives). When you stick a cannula into the skull of a living baby and suck out its brains, you can be assured it does not survive.
    No nuance there, Mieke. There is absolutely no medical necessity for D&X on a viable fetus. It is infanticide.

  83. sara

    Darlene,
    I didn’t say that you were heated and angry. I said that your comments about “Zero nuance” were an example of buttons being pushed, and one of the reasons that liberals can become frothing-at-the-mouth. I was referring to my own tendency to take such things and become angry at them. A tendency that I usually resist, but that I’m prone to at times. (This not being one of them)
    You said: “‘Nuance’ can be the perfect self-deception. Chamberlain used it. The UN engages in it all the time. And real people die during the exercise of such nuisance. Not too many things more black/white than live/die.”
    I know. And that’s my/Mieke’s complaint about the black/white of “there is no nuance related to abortion”. Real people die because of black/white. Lives are destroyed, hopes are destroyed, dreams are destroyed, and in the end? For what means? The life that one is attempting to save? Destroyed nonetheless.
    I obviously don’t shy from conflict. I say what I believe to be right. I mean, I’m here aren’t I? This isn’t exactly a lovefest. I say what I believe is right, dependent on the situation. Some situations have no right, just a lesser of two horrible wrongs. I’m doing two things at once: I’m going with the flow, which you say is horrid, and I’m exercising excruciating moral judgement.
    Taking the stance of “Black and White” is abstaining from moral judgement. It means you have to make the decision once and only once, and then stick to your guns. It means you dont have to taken in facts or situations.
    The way I see it, Bush is abstaining from moral judgement. He’s passed a judgement on each circumstance exactly once, and is sticking to those guns, not budging, and not excercising God’s greatest gift to us: a conscience and a brain.
    According to my moral belief structure, Bush’s absolute stance is immoral. According to your moral belief structure and his, my nuanced stance is immoral. (I apologize if I mis-understand your stance)

  84. Darleen

    Mieke
    You do realize, of course, that AA is a “religious” organization that claims the success of the 12 step begins with surrender to a higher power?
    Oh…and they are the most successful of addiction rehab programs.
    You want to argue detail in order to discredit a proven program. I’d rather screen the program and adjust where necessary rather then engage in the anti-religious bigotry that grips so many when it comes to social programs.
    Personally, my libertarian streak would have the government butt out completely from any other than what mandated “Provide the common defense, promote the general welfare” which would leave things like health, charity and education up to communities, not the feds. But as people through their representatives have decided to provide tax dollars for charitible purposes, I want them distributed as efficiently as possible. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

  85. sporty

    Sporty- you just hit on another problem that I have with the Bush administration, and another reason why I end up growling ferociously sometimes at people who disagree with me–not for the disagreement per se.. But because they’ve hit on a pet peeve of mine.
    I wasn’t pointing a finger at a particular party, administration, religion etc. That was just a blanket statement about people as a whole.

  86. sara

    Sporty–I don’t think I implied that you were pointing a finger at the Republicans. :) Sorry if I did, though. What you said just made me think of my own personal pet peeve. Sort of like an “ah-hah, you said something enlightening, and I just realized how I’d phrase something that has been lurking just under the put-to-words threshold” moment, and less of a “OH! YOU SEE THINGS /my/ WAY!” moment. =]

  87. Mieke

    As I was saying, nuance. There is a lot of variance depending on the fetus’s malformation and the mother’s health on how the doctor performs a late term abortion. There is a lot of grey.
    He was alive before the procedure dead after. Was he viable? I would say no, Bob Barr certainly thought so when she called Claudia a murderer when she testified before Congress. When he said she hadn’t given her son a chance. Uh. Hello, his brains were on the outside of his skull. The same with Chris’s daughter, she was alive before the procedure dead after. Those are just the painful facts of a brutal decision both women had to make.
    If you read the actual ban, HR4965, is vague in its description, the bill deliberately does not specify D&E versus D&X – because it is so vague it does basically make late term abortions and what you call Partial Birth Abortion does make them synonymous.
    In Claudia’s case the doctor did suck the fluid out of her son’s skull so that it would collapse as to not further damage her cervix – she had what you describe as a partial birth abortion. In Chris’s case she delivered a breech baby and before the head was pulled out they cut the cord ending its life. If you read HR4965 that would be illegal.
    The more you read about the actual procedures in question from non-partisan groups, the more you will learn that there are a lot of grey areas about them. Each doctor has a different way of doing it.
    Nuance.

  88. Mieke

    I want to argue detail in order to discredit a proven program? I do? I don’t remember even mentioning AA. Nor do I recall saying anything about being anti-religion.
    AA is a spiritual program not a religious one. What makes AA great is that my higher power can be the Spirit of the Plains, Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Zeus, or Isis. There is no proselytizing within it. There is no attempt to convert.
    There is a book that describes how AA works. That book says you can choose a ‘god’ of my understanding. You get to choose who or what to believe in. Or not believe in. It is your choice. The only requirement is the desire to stop drinking. That’s it.
    I know you understand exactly the differentiation Sara and I are both making with regard to the change in tone that the Bush Administration has taken and mandated with regard to faith based organizations.

  89. Region Broad

    Murder most foul

    Good stuff going on over at Y’s crib: The debate started as the Liberal/Conservative issue but has now turned into a discussion about partial birth abortion. Go there if you want some thought-provoking education.Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a 35-week…

  90. Rori

    AA is NOT a religious organization.
    I should know. I actually belong.
    So hush.
    There are too many comments to read.
    Meh.

  91. sara

    Just realized I missed where Darlene said that there have always been governmental alliances with Faith-based institutuions such as the Salvation Army. Yes. There has been. And the appropriate safeguards have been in place to avoid causing damage to religion, and to the receipients of the services.
    Bush’s Faith-based Initiatives program eliminates those safeguards, and risks damaging both the faith based institutions, and the receipients of the care. Bush’s plan also gives money exclusively to faith based institutions, and does not permit a non-faith based (or even non-Christian) entity to bid for the process. (note: no, I’m not saying that he doesn’t fund any non-faith based initiatives, I’m talking within this program) Bush has eliminated funding for certain major non-faith charitable organizations that have been doing good work for a long time, in favor of faith based organizations, some of which I remember hearing aren’t all that qualified.
    So, the things that make Bush’s policies “New and Frightening” are the fact that I have no absolute black/white stand on faith based organizations partaking in government-funded aid, however I do have a certain dark-gray point which has been passed, throwing the entire situation onto a genuine slippery slope. Notice how deftly I mark the exact point at which I become uncomfortable with something, rather than saying “AH! It’s not 100% White! SLIPPERY SLOPE” the second the subject is broached? It’s called nuance. Everything has it.

  92. Darleen

    Sara
    Morality does not judge a particular behavior. Morality judges the context.
    This is my touchstone question I use to evaluate if people understand the basis of morality.
    “Do you see a moral difference between Auschwitz and Hiroshima?”
    The same holds true for all behavior. Sexual intercourse is morally neutral. But the context of either lovemaking or rape moves that behavior into moral/immoral realms.
    Abortion is morally neutral. The majority of Americans understand this. They have no problem allowing abortion to remain legal for first trimester abortions, even if they consider abortion for convenience immoral. Once out of parameters of an adult female in the first trimester, then the morality of the act of abortion is further judged by the changing context. You use the phrase “anti-abortion” as if it were an zero-sum game. However, those that wish to criminalize abortion under all circumstances are a tinier minority than NOW, NARAL and others that are so pro-abortion they even oppose California’s law that considers defines deliberate murder of a fetus against the mother’s will. I remember hearing arguments that it was some sort of anti-female conspiracy that Scott Peterson was charged with two counts of murder.
    The law is an as aspect of, not a substitute for, morality. Not all morality is law, but all law is based on morality.
    And in a representative government, such as ours, the discussion is about whose morality will prevail. Will it be based on a Judeo-Christian ethos of individualism, or on a secular leftist ethos where the individual is secondary to groups?
    The moto of the USA is E Pluribus Unum. From Many, One.
    Liberals used to believe in that moto.

  93. Darleen

    Rori
    AA is a faith based organization. That is why there are atheist alternatives to it.
    Once one starts talking about “higher powers” one is NOT talking about stereo equipment.
    Because of my ex, I’m familiar with AA and have been to Alanon myself.
    AA is not denominational, but that doesn’t make it any less religious.

  94. Darleen

    Sara
    Promotion is not provision. Promotion means helping to create a climate of opportunity. The phrase creates the flexibility under which a representative government can react to a situation at hand.
    With our form of government, with a executive branch equal in power to the legislative branch (something lacking in parlimentary systems), it allows for much more rapid decision making, less moribund situations where reality on the ground cannot be dealt with by a body of three or more factions.
    Promotion does not convey right. The people may decide to try and promote wider education by agreeing to transfer tax monies into the educational system. That does not mean education is a “right.” And if the people wish to change the manner in which they provide education, that does not mean they are depriving others of a “right.”

  95. sara

    The moral difference between Auschwitz and Hiroshima is that Auschwitz was mass murder and torture on a broad scale against a group of races/religions (the Jewish people, gypsies, jehovas witnesses), sexual orientation (homosexuals), and groups of people that had a different set of abilities (the mentally, physically, or sense-disabled) that did nothing to bring it on themselves. They were chosen as a scapegoat, the leader of the country(ies) that they lived in decided that they were to blame for all of society’s evils and weaknesses, and wished to exterminate them to further his black and white view of the perfect world. In short, they were innocent victims of brutal torture, horror, and genocide. They shared not even a single percentage point of gray/blame in the horror of their existence at Auschwitz or other concentration camps.
    Hiroshima was an act of war between two nations, one of which was the aggressor and one of which was attempting to end the aggression. Hiroshima was a last-effort after the Japanese proved to be brutally impervious to traditional ground warfare, and after they proved to be vicious and were causing our soldiers to die horribly, even after the soldiers had been captured and were no longer a threat to them. Some percentage, most likely a large percentage, had some degree of blame, and a very real awareness of the risk that they stood by living in the country in which they lived during an aggressive war which had the opposition of the world at large.
    There’s nuance in Hiroshima. While some percentage (possibly a large percentage) of the population supported the Japanese leader, and participated in the brutal warfare, there were also innocents that died the same horrid death in Hiroshima. Children, people who didn’t know how or were afraid to resist.. Does this nuance say we shouldn’t have bombed Hiroshima? Damn no. The ends justified the horrible horrible means. The war ended at the penalty of the aggressors. The nuance in this situation merely means it’s distasteful and immoral to celebrate the bombing as something great and black and white, 100% right or 100% wrong. It means it’s tasteful and morally right to say a prayer, and feel sadness for the innocents that inevitably died. It means that I would find any leader who felt no doubt, to be morally reprehensible.
    Doubt, acknowledgement of nuance, and regret at civilian casualties is not a sign of weakness, and does not complell one to inaction. It merely tempers the joy of a crushing victory, demonstrates humanity, moral conviction, compassion.

  96. sara

    Darleen–
    If morality judges the context and not the behavior, is it moral to legislate based on behavior and not on context, with no allowance for the nuance that makes up an individual situation such as the ones that Mieke and myself have outlined, which make up the behavior that Bush is attempting to legislate against: “partial birth” or late term abortion?
    If morality judges the context and not the behavior, is it moral to legislate against an entire 10% (estimated) of the population that finds a loving, healthy, and productive relationship with the opposite sex?
    Also, another question for you- if morality judges the context and not the behavior, does it take into consideration misinterpretations or misinformation?

  97. Darleen

    Sara
    The law does legislate context. As I said before, law is not really an end in and of itself, but a vehicle for morality.
    Take how the law treats the killing of a human being. That section of law alone has numerous contexts that it addresses. If a person is killed as an act of self-defense, the perpetrator is never charged. Indeed, the perpetrator may even be rewarded by society. Kill someone through gross negligence..say driving knowing you have bad breaks and get into an accident: voluntary manslaughter. Kill in the heat of passion… perp is in a argument with victim, picks up a frypan and clobbers victim — Second degree murder. Perp decides the neighbor has filched the morning paper one too many times, goes over and kills neighbor — first degree murder.
    ALL involve the killing of a human being. ALL is judged via context.
    If you want to talk same-sex marriage, why talk in euphemisms? No one has legislated against gays. Same-sex marriage has never been government sanctioned. This doesn’t prevent same-sex couples from falling in love, having a religious ceremony, setting up a home together, making up wills/power of attorney/etc.
    Government family statutes are contract law, in which society sees a benefit on the whole to society in setting the parameters of what they will support and encourage.
    Historically, marriage was something government was just plain neutral about. It was the province of the church/temple. But just as we have landlord/tenant laws to spell out the legal responsibilities and obligations of the contracting parties and to give binding ajudication to disputes of that contract before the court; so society saw that family statutes should serve the same purpose.
    Government sanctioned marriage is not a “right”. It is an institution that is by definition, restrictive. We restrict it by age, numberof partners, gender, and consanguity.
    IMHO some day same-sex couples may, indeed, fall under marriage statutes. But when they do it will be because the people have willed it, not judges. And if anything has set the “cause” back by several years, the gay community must look in the mirror, because you don’t piss on the people like the judges of MA or Frisco mayor Newson did and expect people not to take exception.
    Any moral judgement is subject to error. That is why morality is a matter of thinking and consideration, not dogma or demogoguery. Morality is an ongoing process of re-examination and re-dedication.
    BTW re Auschwitz and Hiroshima. The answer was yes. The difference between murder and self-defense. Between intentional evil and tragic necessity. People were killed in both places. Context determines the morality.

  98. girl

    But I have talked with people at the poverty line who saw bigger refund checks the past couple of years.
    just one leetle comment and then I shall run as far away as possible b/c I’m completely tired of all of the clusterfucks in the comments in the past several days…
    I don’t know what the exact line of poverty is, but I would say that I was pretty damn close last year. I only worked the last 6 months of the year and wasn’t exactly rolling in the dough. but my point is, I received all but maybe $20 of my total federal withheld tax dollars back in my refund. it was the biggest damn refund I’ve ever seen. my fiancé worked the entire year and grossed a hell of a lot more than I did and also received nearly everything back. I can only hope I’ll do as well next year.

  99. Purple Goddess in Frog Pyjamas

    girl, divided

    This post at Yvonne’s got me to thinking. And thinking, and thinking. She writes: “Tell me… Why do you assume that because we don’t hold the same values I must be a bad/evil/stupid/ignorant person? Is it because you truly believe that YOUR…

  100. Purple Goddess in Frog Pyjamas

    country, divided

    This post at Yvonne’s got me to thinking. And thinking, and thinking. She writes: “Tell me… Why do you assume that because we don’t hold the same values I must be a bad/evil/stupid/ignorant person? Is it because you truly believe that YOUR…

  101. sara

    Oh- minimum wage is $5.15 (Federal) although some states have a lower minimum wage, I believe they are required to pay the federal minimum wage. so $5.15/hour at 40 hours a week = $206/week * 4 weeks * 12 months. That’s $9,888/year assuming constant employment and constant hours. But most minimum wage jobs don’t offer a full 40 hours a week, or job stability. Most minimum wage jobs don’t offer health insurance, so the number of hours and jobs that an individual must hold merely to survive is increased.
    Average household income in the United States is something like $20,000/year. I believe this is with two adults working. I’m unfamiliar with the cost of living in states that have the Federal minimum wage. Anyone happen to have those figures handy? :)
    By the way, girl- just out of curiousity, what do you pay for health insurance? Just curious. I can’t seem to find it for any less than $300/month for a healthy single 24 year old woman.

  102. girl

    ok, well, my fiancé and I definitely aren’t at the poverty line then. I guess we would be considered slightly below the middle of “middle class.”
    Sara – I get paid weekly and they take roughly $40 out of each of my paychecks ($34.50 for health, and $3-something [I think] each for dental and vision). so about $160 a month. it’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield out of Rhode Island b/c that’s where my company’s headquarters are. I certainly can’t complain.

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