Keep asking hard questions

As I wrote about earlier, Tuesday night was a huge night for the Democratic party and liberals.  Not only did Obama get reelected, but there was a huge repudiation against many GOPers who had spoken out about their pro-life positions in ways that were shocking (but consistent) with their extreme ideology.

Rachel had an epic takedown of some these politicians in her show on Wednesday night:

Here’s where the Republicans ran into trouble — they had to justify what their supposedly “pro-life” views looked like when applied to actual people. It didn’t go over so well. From Rachel:

Where they were in power between the 2010 elections and the 2012 elections, Republicans governed very, very, very aggressively on this issue [of restricting access to reproductive choices]. They governed so aggressively on this issue, it was unprecedented.

What happened then, though, which maybe the Republican were not counting on was that Democrats decided they were going to make the Republicans explain themselves. Democrats decided they were going to hold Republicans to account for what they had been doing in terms of their governance and their philosophy on this issue, and what they planned to
keep doing if Americans elected them again.

And when Republicans started having to answer specific appointed questions about their issue on abortion, some creepy stuff happened this year. We learned a great deal, very specific, very creepy detail of what Republicans really do believe about this issue they’ve been so energized about.

Yes, who would have guessed that the “gotcha” moments for these Republicans would simply be to have them explain themselves on this issue?

In all honesty, though, I’m not surprised. Asking hard questions is now my preferred way of talking to people about reproductive choice, as I’m no longer that concerned about persuading people to my side of the issue. What I want to hear is how pro-lifers justify their ideology being applied to someone else. It’s all fine and good to say that “life begins at conception!” — but what does that LOOK like in our society? What are the implications of that statement in terms of the law?

The other line of approach I’m taking when it comes to discussing abortion is to say this: There is no such thing as no abortions. There is only such a thing as no safe abortions. Think about that. Does the “life” portion of being pro-life apply to the lives of women who die from unsafe procedures? If the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement is to reduce the amount of abortions that are taking place every day, why isn’t there more support for women to have access to contraceptives?

The best article/essay I’ve read on that question is this one: How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement. So much of this essay has resonated with me, because I, too, once counted myself in the “pro-life” ranks.  PLEASE take the time to read this article, no matter where you fall on the issue — it’s going to be one that I read over and over again.

From her conclusion:

The reality is that so-called pro-life movement is not about saving babies. It’s about regulating sex. That’s why they oppose birth control. That’s why they want to ban abortion even though doing so will simply drive women to have dangerous back alley abortions. That’s why they want to penalize women who take public assistance and then dare to have sex, leaving an exemption for those who become pregnant from rape. It’s not about babies. If it were about babies, they would be making access to birth control widespread and free and creating a comprehensive social safety net so that no woman finds herself with a pregnancy she can’t afford. They would be raising money for research on why half of all zygotes fail to implant and working to prevent miscarriages. It’s not about babies. It’s about controlling women. It’s about making sure they have consequences for having unapproved sex.

But I am very sure that there are other dupes out there. If you’re sitting there reading this thinking “but I really am in it to save unborn babies,” I am sure you’re not alone. After all, I was one of you.

If you are one who has been a part of the pro-life movement because you really do believe in “saving unborn babies,” it’s time to cut your ties with the movement. You may be an honest and kind-hearted person, but you’ve been had. You’ve been taken in. It’s time to let go.

This is an important enough issue that these difficult conversations need to keep happening — on my part, I’ll keep asking the hard questions.

bonus post today!

As I was going through my archives looking for my response to the 2004 election, I came across this gem of a post where I responded to someone who said my blog worked as a “tool of Satan.”

I pretty much love how I ended the post:

So if you want to be critical of me — go ahead. But first make sure you’ve earned the right, in terms of our friendship, in order to say the things you’d like to say. If you’re only going to correct me because you’re feeling “burdened by God” or think I’m another soul to add to your “saved” list — you’re just wasting your time in your correspondence. Also make sure that you actually know about the claims you’re going to make about the condition of my soul and/or my relationship with God. Pet peeve #2.

Thank you and good night.

Post-election thoughts: Or, what a difference 8 years makes

Last night was a HUGE night for Democrats, and I would argue, a significant night for human rights.  Obama was reelected for another term, which means the infamous ‘Obamacare’ isn’t going away any time soon — so people who are in need of assistance with health care can still count on that (and now that I’m mostly-Canadian, I see access to health care as a human right).

Other big human rights wins from last night:

So, all in all, a good night! That said, I think there are many people back home who aren’t as giddy as I am after watching the President accept another term in office:

So this last half of my post is to whoever is out there in my life who reads my blog, and counts himself or herself as a Romney supporter: I know how you feel — why? Because I felt something similar only 8 years ago.

One thing about having this blog for as long as I have? In some ways, it’s a living record of who I am. Granted, in the last few years since becoming a mama, and working full-time, I haven’t been quite as active one here — but going back into the archives of this blog can be a pretty cool exercise in remembering who I was, years ago.

I dug back into the November archives and found this entry I wrote right after the 2004 presidential election was called for George W. Bush. Here are some excerpts from what I wrote:

Dejected. Deflated. Despondent.


I cannot believe Bush won. Cannot. believe.

I’m terrified.

Not only is he in charge of the Executive branch, but there’s majorities in the House and Senate now. With 3-4 justices retiring within the next term (possibly) — I’m picturing an even more police state than there is now.

[…] UPDATE: Well. Ohio could still be up in the air. Who knows?

Sound familiar?  Replace the odd word or two, and you’ll hear similar murmurings from GOP friends (eh-hem, well, those of them who haven’t unfriended you — I lost a friend last night who didn’t like what I was posting on Facebook, apparently).

Thing is, I know what you’re going through!  I was in just the same place as you are, only 8 years ago.

It’s kind of fascinating, in a way.

Anyway, dear GOP friend (or father) of mine, I hope that you’ll soon get over your feelings of dejectedness. And I mean it, sincerely. I know what it feels like, and it’s just no fun.  Hang in there, and hopefully, with time, we can progress to feeling more like this:

(found via Facebook)


Random bits for a Monday

My mind is kinda all over the place tonight, so for my NaBloPoMo post tonight, enjoy some random bullets (did you see how I said tonight there twice?):

  • Best thing that happened to me today? A colleague was really impressed with my work, and then told me so. Worst? Due to a crummy bagboy grocery packing job, my brand new $14 jar of almond butter committed suicide in the store parking lot. GRRRR
  • tonight I couldn’t find Emma anywhere — turns out she had snuck into my bed with a book, and was curled up reading. How did she grow up that fast?
  • I’m rewatching ‘The United States of Tara’ on Netflix while I do dishes and other domestic drudgery — I think I could use a spare personality or two, as long as one of them obsessively cleaned my house whenever she took over.
  • The most popular pins I have on Pinterest have to do with the ones I’ve put up about bunions.
  • We still have our Hallowe’en decorations up, and I’m tempted the leave them there until Christmas decoration time.
  • Emma and I are the proud owners of a 3-disc Yo Gabba Gabba set, and I love how she’ll still watch an episode with me. (not looking forward to the day when she no longer thinks they’re cool)
  • Tomorrow during the ‘brain break’ during my grad class, I’m going to show this video by Taylor Mali, What Teachers Make. I’m a little bummed that I’m too chicken to show the original, where the teachers actually flip off the camera. Ah well.
  • Tomorrow morning I have another appointment with my personal rainer, who I’m still mad at for making me get on the scale at my last visit. Boo.
  • Oh, and tomorrow is the election! Let’s just say I’m already prepared for Romney and Ryan to slip into the annals of history as failed candidates.
  • I do kinda want to call my dad tomorrow night if (WHEN?) Virginia goes for Obama, again.
  • If Romney wins tomorrow, I think I may have to cancel classes on Wednesday. But that won’t happen, right?
  • Bedtime.


Taxed out on Taxonomies

One quick NaBloPoMo post, before I crash into bed.

I’ve spent most of my Sunday drafting up a lesson for my grad course on writing Aims and Outcomes for Learning. Because it’s new material for me to teach, that meant most of my day was spent wrapping my head around what I wanted to talk about.

But as of now, my head has been officially wrapped and I’ve got a 3 page lesson plan, plus a ginormous PowerPoint presentation to show for it (and no, it’s not a big presentation because it’s so text heavy — probably half of my slides are learning activities to get the students engaged with the theory).

Oy, I’m exhausted now though. And it’s funny, since most of my “work” today has been of me sitting with a laptop in my lap, completely stationary. My mind has gone places, though. And hopefully this mental marathon will pay off in a successful lesson on Tuesday afternoon.

One thing I found out today was that there are a lot of educators who have played with Bloom’s Taxonomy in various ways — most notably on YouTube. Here are some of my favorite video examples I’ve come across today:

Oh, and here’s a video on Bloom’s + Star Wars.


The right kind of people

So yesterday’s suggestion for a NaBloPoMo writing prompt was to write about your favorite quotation and why. I may be a day late, but here goes mine:

(from here)

These days this quote fits my life almost perfectly.

In terms of my career, I feel like I’m on the verge of great accomplishments. I’ve never felt so much like I belong here in the University system. I have grand plans for my career, and more importantly, I know the steps I need to take (and AM taking!) in order for these plans to become reality.

One major reason why I’m in such a good place career-wise is because of finding these “like-minded” friends “who are also designing purpose-filled lives.”  I have amazing friends!

Yet the biggest reason, I think, of why I’m so happy and successful right now is that I have learned to embrace the first 2 sentences of Twain’s quote: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Over the last year I’ve found inspiring mentors who saw the potential in me, and cared enough to encourage me to pursue greatness.

A few weeks ago, someone sent me this TED talk to watch:

I watched it over a lunch break, and found myself nodding along to what Achor was saying — the secret to better work IS to be happy! And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my work situation hasn’t changed all that much. What HAS changed in my work context is me. I’m in a different, and better, place.

Sure, not everyday on my job is happiness-inducing, but on the balance, I know I’m having more better days than not.

Thanks to Mark Twain for the quote, and for reminding me of where to direct my energies toward. Now for me to be this kind of friend to others.