Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why we can blame Christopher Columbus for the Pledge of Allegiance



Anyone who really knows anything about me will know that I take my allegiance to this country very seriously. That I label myself a patriot. I support the troops- not just because I have multiple family members and friends that serve or have served but because they provide a service I know I could never do. I like living here and while I think it might be fun to learn how to live in a different country
I would never give up my US Citizenship, my love for America, the 4th of July, Apple Pie, Baseball, or my freedom of speech. However, I would quickly give up our public education system as it continues to be ground into the dirt by the uneducated and the aging.

A history lesson that I was never taught in school is the story of the creation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy. The original simply stated:

                     I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands,
                     one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

That’s it. Overtime people wanted it adjusted to note that the flag was the American flag, and that people weren't pledging allegiance to the country they immigrated from. Fine. Let’s pledge to this country, the one we live in which so graciously allows us to do so and in contrast allows us to not.
Saying the pledge is in no way required. There is a Flag Code but it is unenforceable. You can’t be sent to jail for not saying the pledge, for not removing your cap, for not placing your hand on your heart. There is a rhyme and a reason for the way the flag is flown, how it is folded, and for the very pledge we recite in its presence.
Currently the pledge of allegiance is this:

                     I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
                     and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God,
                     indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

And therein lies the rub. The lie, the misdirection and the history lesson that wasn't. Under God was added to the pledge in 1954. That is 62 years after it was written. That is 60 years ago meaning under God has been a part of the pledge for less time than we've have the pledge! The statement was added in as a way to combat communism. Not because this country has freedom of religion, and not because the founding fathers said so, not because the minister that wrote the pledge added it in because of his love for his ‘creator’ but because Congress in the 50’s wanted a way to tell other countries during the Cold War that this country isn't godless.

Unfortunately, people now take it to mean that this country was founded on a belief in God, and not just any belief but a conservative Christian belief. Bellamy (the minister who wrote that pledge) did so during his post at the Youth’s Companion a magazine where he was tasked with creating a patriotic program for school children to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Columbus ‘finding’ America. He lobbied Congress to adopt the holiday and the president issued a proclamation declaring Columbus Day a holiday. Oddly enough, most places around the US no longer celebrate Columbus Day as it is seen as a denigration of the native and indigenous people of this country. Yet we still recite the pledge written to celebrate it and on top of that have edited the program to fill an anti-Cold War agenda that no longer serves the public interest.

The pledge has been tied up in controversy almost since the beginning. At the 50th Anniversary of the pledge in 1942 it was adopted as part of the national flag code and legislators around the country began requiring school children to recite it daily. In 1943 Jehovah’s Witnesses (one of the many religions covered under the First Amendment’s declaration to the freedom of religion) maintained that reciting the pledge violated their prohibition of worshipping icons and images. In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled in the Witnesses' favor, supporting the idea that no schoolchild, or anyone else, should be compelled to recite the pledge. Because of their love of God and their belief in their religion to not idolize symbols or icons, they didn't feel they could pledge to this item, a flag, and the Supreme Court agreed. That is the correct protection afforded them through the Constitution.

It was 10 years later that under God was added after lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization and signed into law by Eisenhower. Proponents claim that the pledge’s reference to God is a nod to historical tradition not religious doctrine. But then – tradition means it would have already been happening for several of the past generations and in this case it was not. Instead it was added later to combat something else, to rub our country in another’s face. To be assholes.

I do not agree with people sitting during the pledge, creating a raucous to disrupt it, and I hate when people refuse to take off their caps. I remember a time some youths at the high school were sitting and gabbing during the National Anthem. When asked why, they said it was because they didn't have to because this was not their country. They were from Mexico, their parents had brought them here over the Rio Grande with coyotes to a country where they had a better chance of success, a better opportunity for education yet to them this wasn't their country and they didn't respect it. That was not okay with me. That type of attitude and behavior is despicable, disrespectful, and ugly. But for religious reasons, for non-religious reasons, for whatever reason you may have feel free to not say the pledge. But by George or God or Bob or Buddha respect it and what it stands for. Respect this country – one of the only where you can have a voice that disagree with the politicians and leaders. And then use that to your advantage, the advantage of your children and friends and neighbors and educate yourself before you make a fool of yourself. 




Thursday, May 22, 2014

Net Neutrality - The end of the internet as we know it

I want to share my most recently published story with everyone. Net Neutrality threatens the internet in a way we have never know. How far FCC restrictions and ISP control will go is unknown and it is up to us- the users of the internet- to speak up and prevent the end of Net Neutrality. Send you comments and your voice now!

http://www.dailysparkstribune.com/news/article_6c68c460-e13f-11e3-a222-0019bb2963f4.html?TNNoMobile

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dear Militia, Don't Tread on Me. Love- The Constitution

The news since Saturday has been riddled with controversy concerning the trespass of several heads of cattle on federal lands by Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Southern Nevada. While I have been interested in grazing rights before, something about this case made me want to do additional research. Also, after reading several posts about militias, the trampling of constitutional rights, and the mistreatment of protestors I really couldn’t help myself. Therefore, I have researched grazing rights, land use acts, and federal precedent leading up to this Bundy fiasco (you know since you don’t want to or don’t actually care enough about the issue to find out what it is actually about). The more nonsense I read by people that don’t know what they’re talking about the more my blood boils.

1- I don’t care about the Desert Tortoise or minor fees or fines.

2- The First Amendment 
         
     Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

a) The people have the right to peaceably assemble. I saw the video from the Bundy’s place too and here’s what happened...contractors working for the BLM under a federal court order were moving trucks off of federal lands. While they attempted to get back onto a maintained roadway protestors stood in their way. Bundy’s son walked in front of a large haul truck and was nearly run over. The officer with a taser and a dog told him to back up and get out of the way. He continued to advance and was tased. When he and others in the group continued to do it after being repeatedly told to back up, to step down, and to move away he was tased again. 3 times. The guy isn’t bright.

b) The US Supreme Court has upheld that the government may regulate the time, place, and manner—but not content—of expression. That doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want whenever you want in regards to the words you choose to express yourself with. Think yelling fire in a crowded theatre. Free Speech Zones have been used for years to help promote safety at places like abortion clinics, during Westboro Baptist pickets, national political party conventions, etc. Why this case should be exempt is beyond me. It in no way tramples on the rights of the protestors, and if they had been in the designated zone no one would have been tased, thrown, hit, bit or whatever else because they would have been safely behind a barrier where they were supposed to be.

 3- The Fifth Amendment

      This one is important because most cases argued in front of the Supreme Court regarding property and grazing rights use the Fifth Amendment.
   
     No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

a) Due Process - In the case of Bundy the argument could be that he’s being unfairly deprived of property. However, the guy’s 21 years of court orders more than cover the federal government’s procedural due process of notification.

b) Just compensation- Many cases have argued that they didn’t receive just compensation for the land based on their grazing permits when the government revoked them. Unfortunately, permittees aren’t guaranteed the land, have no vested interest or ownership of it, and as you’ll see below, the courts have ruled just compensation does not mean fair market value.

4- Everyone hates the BLM until fire season comes along and they’re all you’ve got between your house and the flames. Or when they are playing volleyball at Zephyr but that’s a separate kinds of love.

5- The Supreme Court
     It baffles my mind how so many people, many self-described true-blooded, honest, god-fearing Americans can spout their love for this country and then in the next breath tear it’s very structure down.      Article III of the Constitution establishes the federal judiciary. Article III, Section I states that "The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." Although the Constitution establishes the Supreme Court, it permits Congress to decide how to organize it. Article III, Section II of the Constitution establishes the jurisdiction (legal ability to hear a case) of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court plays a very important role in our Constitutional system of government. First, as the highest court in the land, it is the court of last resort for those looking for justice. Second, due to its power of judicial review, it plays an essential role in ensuring that each branch of government recognizes the limits of its own power. Third, it protects civil rights and liberties by striking down laws that violate the Constitution. Finally, it sets appropriate limits on democratic government by ensuring that popular majorities cannot pass laws that harm and/or take undue advantage of unpopular minorities. In essence, it serves to ensure that the changing views of a majority do not undermine the fundamental values common to all Americans, i.e., freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and due process of law.

a) The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld that the government retains ownership of the lands under its jurisdiction - like the BLM, the Forest Service-- anything under the Department of the Interior. See- Grazing and Property rights of permitters on federal lands.

b) If you love this country so much and you find yourself to be a great American then do us all a favor and uphold and fight for the decisions made by the highest court, our Supreme Court, which was established to uphold the constitution which you seem to all be treading on.

5- Many rebuttals I have heard contain the ‘fact’ that this land is owned by the Bundy’s Is that the land that belongs to the US government as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848? Because that land doesn't belong to the Bundy's, their parcel that is fee-simple, is theirs however the land that they have a permit to graze on is property of the US Government and they have the ability to revoke the grazing permit at any time. As they did in 1993 when this crap started. He has had 21 years to comply and they have been more than patient in waiting for him to do so.

6-Where’s PETA?
    This may be my favorite argument right now. Rumors swirl on the internet faster then Sally is pregnant would in a junior high hallway. Please show me one CREDIBLE source that can attest to any slaughtering of cattle, burying of cattle on the federal lands where they don’t belong and I will be more sympathetic to the cry that the BLM is mistreating these animals. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that they have mishandled animals- i.e. roundups of wild mustangs and burros but those animals aren’t owned or cared for by anyone and Bundy has had ample opportunities to move his cattle before any of this needed to happen.

7- We must fight before/what it the BLM decides our homes are on protected lands
     If you own your home or the land it is on, or are in the process of making payments to someone for that purpose then this is EXTREMELY unlikely to happen (READ- NOT POSSIBLE). I see the spirals in your eyes, the mantra you have been repeating for days - Bundy owns that land. No he doesn’t. There is such a thing as pre-emptive rights: a contractual right to acquire certain property newly coming into existence before it can be offered to any other person or entity. Also called a "first option to buy.” Again I go back to the Treaty in 1848. Even according to Bundy’s daughter (Shiree Bundy Cox) their family ‘bought’ the land in 1887, 39 years after the land was granted to the US. The only cases I could find granting pre-emptive rights were ones involving Native Americans because they pre-date us all! If you can find a better legal case or definition please let me know.

This isn’t tyranny- the government isn’t being oppressive by upholding the constitution. The officers with tasers weren’t being violent or aggressive until they had to be. I, of course, don’t want to see a pregnant woman thrown on the ground but think about it this way: Bundy has stated he will do whatever it takes to protect his alleged land. There are calls for militas, for weapons, for mobilization. Wouldn’t you, if you knew that was coming your way, rather be safe than sorry? On one of the Facebook pages I saw someone wrote they hope the BLM fires first so they can use their second amendment to protect their first. That is asinine, childish, foolish....I could think of some more ishes but I think, or at least I hope, you see my point. This is adults playing cowboy and it isn’t cute. This is adults pretending they remember history class and they don’t. This is adults behaving in a manner that teaches kids bad habits and behaviors. This is sad. Below are several of the court cases ruled on by the Supreme Court regarding land use, grazing, property, and water rights. Please take a look and remember this Court was established to uphold the Constitution- Maybe you should read it.

1890 Buford v. Houtz
         Buford’s own land was interspersed with land owned by the government - public lands. A nomadic sheep herder was grazing on the public lands and Buford wanted to prevent him from doing so, he wanted to fence his lands but would have needed to include the public lands as well which would have been illegal. The court found in favor of the sheep herder, concluding that public lands are a type of open-access resource for all to use on an equal basis until otherwise announced by the government. The court anticipated and dismissed an argument for exclusive ownership or private ownership of public lands. The decision stated that, “We are of the opinion that there is an implied license that there is an implied license, growing out of the custom of nearly a hundred years, that the public lands of the United States. . .shall be free to the people who seek to use them where they are left open and unenclosed, and no act of government forbids this use. . .No doubt...this has been done with the consent of all branches of the government...and with its direct encouragement.”

 1911 Light v. United States
          The court found that the failure for the government to object to ranchers grazing on federal lands did not give ranchers vested rights to use the range nor did it eliminate the federal power to recall any implied license for private use at any time.

 1911 United States v. Grimaud 
          Ratified the authority of then the new US Forest Service to declare regulations on its reserve lands. 

1917 Omaechevarria v. State of Idaho
         The court ratified an Idaho statute excluding sheep from grazing public lands that were traditionally grazed by cattle. The statute was found to have been enacted to prevent ‘breaches of the peace’ between range uses rather than provide any rights in public lands to specific citizens.

 In 1934 the Taylor Grazing Act (TGA) was established.
           The TGA was the first formal attempt by the US Government to regulate grazing in the public domain. TGA set up grazing districts and a fee and permit system as well as the Division of Grazing to regulate and protect rangeland.

  •  Permits were first given to land owners with a history of use on that lands (use in the preceding 5 years) 
  •  Gave rights to renewal of grazing permits at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior and entitled them to payment or compensation from new permittees for range improvements if the permit changes hands. 
  • Protected pre-existing rights, under existing law, unless otherwise provided in the act itself. 
  • Explicitly protected existing water rights. 
  • Grazing privileges would be recognized and acknowledged to be safe-guarded, however, the creation of a grazing district of the issuance of a permit would not create any right, title, interest, or estate in or to the land 
  • Section 3 states that the Secretary is authorized to issue permits to “bona fide” settlers and ranchers under his rules and regulations are entitled to participate in the use of the range. 
  • Section 7 says the Secretary is authorized to examine and classify all grazing district lands and open them to other uses, such as homesteading, where they see fit. 
 The US Code referring to these issues states the Secretary is authorized to lease additional land for grazing districts in order to promote orderly use of the district and aid in conserving the forage resource of the public lands therein (43 U.S.C)

 1938 Red Canyon Sheep Co. v. Ickes
          The government planned to trade lands currently being grazed under a permit by Red Canyon Sheep Co. in order to consolidate their holdings. Red  Canyon sued to stop the trade arguing that their private holdings and improvements would be valueless without the permitted lands, leaving them unable to run their business. The court found, “Yet, whether they [the permits] be called rights, privileges, or bare licenses, or by whatever name, while they exist they are something of real value to the possessors and something which have their source in an enactment of the Congress” (Red Canyon, p. 315). They also found that ‘water rights’ are vested interest but something less than full ownership because they are the right ONLY to use the water (usufructuary rights). The court looked at grazing and hunting on public lands finding “...both are subject to restriction or withdrawal, yet both are of value to the persons possessing them.” The court said that ‘real value’ to the permittee merits legal protection and invalidated the trade of the land, however they indicated that the protection is only against the illegal acts of the government. They refrained from ruling on whether other transfers or trades would be illegal under any other circumstances such as those presented in section 7 of the TGA. Therefore, protection of the permit against legal government actions was not addressed by this case. 

1944 Osborne v. US
         This decisions stated that “it has always been the intention and policy of the government to regard the use of its public lands for stock grazing, either under the original tacit consent or...under regulation through the permit system, as a privilege which is withdrawable at any time for any use by the sovereign without the payment of compensation.”

1951 Chournos v. US 
         Chournos had grazing lands he owned interspersed with lands permitted with the federal government. He temporarily lost his permits to the federal lands and sued for damages when they were reinstated. The court found in favor of the government, that they were well within their rights to reject the rancher’s application.

1955 Shufflebarger v. Commissioner 
         The Shufflebargers argued that their preference right to grazing land has value only for the years of the grazing permit, therefore is depreciable for tax purposes. The court found otherwise, stating that most permits are renewed indefinitely even while the government retains the right to cancel at any time. Permits, they said, are given to applicants who have an established preference which give the holder special consideration over other applicants. These preferences, the court noted, convey no legal right to the use of the range. A preferences is “a thing of value” and therefore subject to taxation as property according to the IRS.
         The Shufflebareer decision may encourage private-rights advocates by using the word “property” in conjunction with a grazing preference, but it is clearly a very different kind of property than the vested, compensable property rights.

1960 McNeil v. Seaton 
         McNeil sued to prevent the loss of his grazing privileges due to changes in the rules of eligibility made by the secretary of the Interior for his grazing district. The decision only safeguarded against other potential competitors for the land not the government. The court noted that the government may withdraw the permit at any time. A rancher can rely on preference only against other potential graziers. 

1963 LaRue v. Udall
         A Nevada grazing permittee was threatened with the loss of his permit due to a government transfer of the permitted lands to a private defense contractor. LaRue argued that under the TGA the transfer of the land was not authorized when it would destroy a ranch business. He also argued that he had pledged his permits as collateral on a loan and therefore could not have them revoked per Section 3 of the TGA. The court found in favor of the transfer stating that it was within Secretary Udall’s rights to do so, that the renewal of a permit is not a vested interest in the land that would prevent government action. The legal government action of the transfer of the land to a defense contractor was permitted to occur without compensation to LaRue.

1972 US v. Fuller
         This case centered on a condemnation action by the government of 920 acres of a range permittee’s base property owned in fee-simple. The legal question was whether the access or right to the permitted lands should be included in calculating the value of the fee-simple lands condemned. Here the Supreme Court ruled that the government should not compensate landowners for value ‘given’ by virtue of ongoing government action.
          Fuller owned a ranch, leased some land from the State of Arizona, and had grazing permits for nearby Federal lands. The government took most of his lands under eminent domain, which they are allowed to do under the Fifth amendment which states they must also provide just compensation to the property owner. The US argued that Fuller didn’t own much land and therefore couldn’t graze much cattle meaning his land wasn’t worth much. Fuller argued that even though he didn’t own the land his permits on the adjacent federal lands meant he could support a large cattle operation giving him property interest and increasing the property value. The US argued that the TGA explicitly said that permits do not create property interest. The Supreme Court found in favor of the US under the TGA and therefore they did not have to factor in that value when deciding how much to pay Fuller for the land. The court acknowledged that had Fuller been able to sell his land on the open market the grazing permits would have substantially increased the selling price. However, the 5th Amendment doesn’t require the government to pay fair market value only just compensation.

1996 Hage v. US
         This case has been tied up in the courts for years, much like the Bundy case. However, in 2008 Judge Smith ruled that the impounding of the cattle was not considered a taking since the USFS were well within their rights to revoke grazing permits. However, he did rule that the Hages had vested water rights based on the Ditch Act of 1866 and the fencing of the water sources resulted in a taking of water rights. In June 2013- Supreme court refused to review the Hage case. The last procedural step for the Hages involves the case being remanded back to the US Circuit Court of Federal Claims for a hearing and final order consistent with the Federal Circuit ruling.
(This is a very interesting and complicated case so I plan to do a separate post looking into it more.)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

80's Style Encouragement


What should I write about today? If I am asking then maybe I’m not a writer, right? The again I have known that I wanted to write since I was 5. Yes 5 and I have Patrick Dempsey to thank. Sure, he’s good looking, he drives race cars, and he can juggle but did you know that in 1989 he was in a movie where he was a writer? Patrick Dempsey and Helen Slater (and Brad Pitt don’t forget Brad Pitt) are cemented as my eternal muses for convincing me that not only could I but I had to write and I should. Re-Watching these clips gives me a much greater appreciation for Marius Weyers. I may not always have an idea or a topic, I may not always be good, and sometimes I may just suck it up but every day I think about it and that is all the encouragement I need. (P.S. If anyone can get this movie on DVD I would LOVE a copy!)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Where do we begin?

So- I have realized as of late that music has been resonating with me in a way like it never has before. I have been listening to this song on repeat for weeks because the beat and the sound of it has been moving me to do so I suppose. I keep seeing an army of soldiers in loin-cloths, with chiseled muscles, and spears singing the chant. Today, I finally read the lyrics and I think that this song was speaking to me on another level completely without me even realizing it.



If you close your eyes,

Does it almost feel like

Nothing changed at all?

And if you close your eyes,

Does it almost feel like

You've been here before?








Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cover it Up

Nudity-I am not a fan. This applies to a lot of different things, sexes, all races, most ages. I just don’t like it. There is a difference of course about being comfortable around it. I don’t mind being naked myself -- at home around my significant other but that is it. See, I feel like my body is mine and his and we are the only ones that need to see it. You may be wondering (though I doubt it) why is she talking about nudity? What could possibly have gotten this idea in her strange weird little head? Well, a couple things.
  1. Lena Dunham
    So during an interview she was asked why there is so much nudity in her show. She answered- an acceptable answer- that sometimes in life we are naked. Great. Fine. True. But then Judd Apatow and whatever other producer that no one ever talks about were there and went off on the reporter that asked the question. They compared it to asking someone from Mad Men about advertising. That, I think, is taking it a little too far.  Nudity as a creative decision should be a part of the conversation about what we see on television regardless of the season the show is on, the channel, or the subject matter. If you are using nudity for a reason, and it isn’t just to be gratuitous then you should be more than willing to discuss that decision and how you came to it. I read the transcripts, I read several reviews, articles, reports, and tweets and I still after all that believe that the journalist was in no way acting in a manner that was sexist, offensive, or misogynistic as Judd Apatow would have everyone believe.


    I am very torn over Girls to begin with. I feel on one hand I can easily identify with the girls in the show being young and trying to figure things out. However, i also see the ridiculous nature, the over the top drama, the story lines that happen every week that could really only happen over someones 80 year lifetime. It is beyond real and maybe that is in part why I like it but also why I hate it. I understand that we are all nude at some point. In the shower, right before I put clothes on when I get out of the shower, during/after/right before sex but really that’s it. I’m not naked walking around my apartment eating cottage cheese and flaming hot cheetos. I’m not naked doing laundry; there is an outfit for that- its called laundry-day pants with dragons. So I’d rather she be honest about it. I’m glad she’s comfortable showing her body - I wouldn’t be. I’m not at my size now, I wouldn’t be at her size, and I wouldn’t be if I still had the body I had at 19. To me it just isn’t necessary and she’s is doing it to be salacious and that I think is why the Girls people were really offended it was because they were compared to the nudity in Game of Thrones and they aren’t comfortable (they being Lena and Judd -first names because I totally know them) being in the same realm of sexy nudity as a show like that. To many people Girls is still just a joke and so they have to support their ‘creative’ decisions by saying something hipster-ish like the nudity expresses every day openness and the beauty of being a woman. Instead of - I like to be naked and I want you all to see my body! See the difference?

    I don’t think the nudity is relevant or required for the script of Girls. It doesn’t add to the story or move the characters forward. Therefore- it could be toned down. But then it wouldn’t have to be on HBO.
     
  2. Yoga pantsSee the name itself is misleading, there is nothing pant-like about them other than the fact that the have a similar cut-out pattern. Pants are meant to cover your ass and your privates and most (i.e. all) yoga pants do no such thing. Normally, everyday, on a girl of small stature, you can see through the fabric to the skin. You might as well just wear nylons and a t-shirt because there would be no difference. What’s worse are the patterned ones. I heard this last week - “If your ass jiggles and you have a pattern like that on it I just feel like I am tripping.” That’s not okay, think of the recovering addicts that you are fucking with! Seriously, they aren’t pants. People I don’t care of what size or shape - should really keep that in mind. Wear them, every day if you want because for god’s sake they are comfortable but be mindful of the other people around you. Cover your ass and cover your cooter. It has nothing to do with how much you love your body and how other people should just learn to accept it. It is all about common decency and self respect. No one wants to see that and if they do that’s when there is a problem.

  3. Breast Feeding
    I would breast feed if I ever had a child. Of course, that is unlikely but the fact remains. I have
    read the data, the opinions, the articles, I have heard from mothers and doctors from teachers and scientists. There is just too much evidence to support the need to breast feed if one can do so. (Not everyone can.) However- again I say- COVER IT UP. Breast feed at McDonald’s or a children’s museum. Feel free to feed your kid at a football game professional or otherwise, an amusement park, a playground, or a PetSmart. Just don’t make me see your boobs while you do it. This isn’t a thing where I am okay with nudity except when its medical. Obviously I see no need to share your body unless you are doing it with your SO or newborn child. There is a billboard in Reno outside one of the men’s clubs that is all LED pictures of boobs and bodies and I hate it. Every time we drive-by I shudder thinking how angry I would  be if I had a kid and they had to see that nonsense. I feel the same way every time I see a woman breast feeding, boob hanging out in the wind, small child suckling. Why do I have to see it? I have no interest in seeing anyone’s boobs - not usually even my own.  More importantly if I had a child or when I have been with children, nieces and nephews, I REALLY don’t want them seeing it. It is a body it is for sex, it is in porn, if my kid can’t watch a Rated R movie because of nudity then they should have to see wrinkled cracked red dry boobs because your kid is hungry. Most places provide a private area if it is a large arena, or you could simply I don’t know - GET A BLANKET! I’m not saying don’t breast feed I’m just saying do it privately. I don’t think that nudity in any sense is family friendly so if I owned a business, a restaurant, and you came in whipping your boobs around I would ask you to leave. 


I could go on and on and on but I’ll stop there. The more I say the more I am certain I will continue to get in trouble. I hate editing while I write but I understand that these are all very controversial topics that people are very passionate about and get very upset about very easily. My main point is that there is not need to be gratuitous with your body.  I love myself, I love my body and I love only sharing it with my SO and occasionally my very neurotic and nosey dog. I don’t understand the average everyday persons need to expose themselves to everyone around them. It is no one else’s business so why are you making it that way? I don’t want to see it, I know I’m not the only one. 



Friday, January 10, 2014

Children Schmildren

I thought a lot today about what I was going to write. I have been feeling guilty that I didn’t get around to it last night but well I didn’t. This morning I came across an article titled, “No Kidding: Women Writers and Comedians on the Choice Not to Have Children.” While the title may seem obvious to some it is the sentiment around it that I found most intriguing.

See, I don’t want children, I’ve never really wanted children. My mother will tell you, if you should ask her, that I shouldn’t have children because I am too selfish. Several years ago I thought this was an unfair assessment. I always had dolls (okay Cabbage Patch Kids) growing up. I have had nephews and nieces since I was 6. I babysat when I was old enough to the point that even after the family moved and had other kids they named one after me because I am so awesome. I just have never had the itch to have one for myself. That was until 3 1/2 years ago. That was when I was diagnosed with endometriosis (June 2010). 

I had surgery and then at my follow-up appointment I heard the words. See my OBGYN at the time didn’t have great bedside manner, as in he never looked you in the eye. Maybe he was just more comfortable looking me in the cooter. Either way, I was in the examine room when he looked up at me and asked if I had ever thought I wanted children. I answered him honestly that I had never really wanted them but at the time it wasn’t only my decision and so I was open to the option. That’s when he told me, “Well you better get off the fence.” That is when I learned about my diagnosis and his prognosis for it. He told me that I had about a 6 month window to get pregnant if I wanted to do it and after that there would be a 99% chance it would never happen. 

It scared me. For the first time in my life I felt the pressure of being a ‘woman.’ Of doing the one ‘job’ I had put on this planet to perform - bring more life to it. After some thought and consideration, numerous panic attacks, and more than one screaming throwing things bruise inducing fights I remembered that I didn’t want children. There was no reason for me to suddenly change my mind about a decision I had made when I was 7 at that moment simply because I was told I couldn’t. I don’t being like told I can’t do anything. 

Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop anyone else from offering their unsolicited opinions about my choices. This books, it made me think about a recent trip I had to get a pedicure at a local salon. The ladies asked if I had kids and I told them that no I did not. Why, they asked. Because, I responded, I don’t want them. Like everyone else who hears this response their eyes got big and round, they sucked in a quick breath, then exhaled a stream of word vomit. You will change your mind. Kids are the best. You’ll see when you have one of your own. Everyone wants kids. It is different when they are yours. Your kids will be so cute. Why wouldn’t you want one? You can always decide later. You’ll see. You’ll have one and you will love it. 

I found this to not only be an extremely uncomfortable conversation to begin with but it got to the point where I was mildly offended. My choices are not anyone else’s and what I choose or choose not to do has no effect on you or your choices. For these women to righteously judge me for a decision I made 22 years ago seemed absurd and for them to continue to harp on a subject that I have already belittled myself about, and lost myself in for years really pissed me off. 

Not all women have children. Some because they don’t want to and some because they can’t. I happen to be one of the lucky ones - I don’t really want to and there is a good chance I can’t. It is really an uncomfortable situation to be in when everyone around you tells you that you will change your mind, that you’ll love having kids and you know you won’t or can’t. I have made peace, or pretty close to peace, with my decision but again I am the lucky one. There are so many women that suffer from this same disease that would give anything to get pregnant and deliver a happy healthy child but instead they are relegated to a being child-less. When those women are forced into similar situations, I find them to be the most brave women I know. I say that because if I wanted a child that badly and I knew I couldn’t have one and yet nosey righteous strangers told me I would change my mind I would likely punch them in the throat. 


My last surgery was a year ago today. I just realized that fact while I was writing this piece, maybe that is why it was on my mind. Subconsciously I am still not zen and accepting of the entire diagnosis but what other choice do I truly have? I don’t have many as I see option dwindling every doctors visit. However, you have a choice. If a woman tells you she doesn’t want kids don’t push her. Don’t pressure her. Don’t tell her she’ll change her mind. You don’t know what she’s going through or has gone through to get to that decision or to a place where she feels comfortable telling you her choice. Simply be respectful and leave it be. Anyway, if she’s anything like me, if you push too hard she’ll just push you back and you may not like where you fall.