Monday, September 1, 2008

Sadness and Rage

I feel sadness for a young woman, alone in a spotlight in Alaska, who made a mistake many young women make. My sadness is increased exponentially by the cultural policies of the state in which she was raised, policies shared by my home state, policies which deprive young men and women of the information they need to protect themselves from disease and pregnancy.

Oh surely, you say, she knew how not to get pregnant. Perhaps. Even likely. But I grew up in a home where such things were not discussed, not for religious or political reasons but for generational ones. I am forever grateful for the good sex education I received. Along with memorizing the symptoms of primary, secondary and tertiary syphilis, I had to learn all the then-available methods of contraception and their efficacy.  And then I took a test. And that test was averaged in to my seventh grade health mark on my report card. Yes, in Texas.

But the rage? That is directed directly at her mother.  Yes, I know that children act independently of their parents' wishes and expectations. I certainly did. But I detect more than a whiff of disingenuousness. 

I know I just took a vow of political silence.  So I will let the beautifully eloquent words of  Karen Maezen Miller speak for me. I quote today's post from her blog, Cheerio Road, in its entirety and with her permission:

Seeing the soft bigotry of low expectations

With apologies to those who expected more or less of me.

There was once a
supremely arrogant and idiotic man who mouthed this line of someone else's melodic prose – "the soft bigotry of low expectations" – to decry the educational imprisonment of the underprivileged. Nevermind that by his every action he condemned these underprivileged to further generations of poverty, invisibility, exploitation and pain.

Now I see what those words mean.

When you blithely send your firstborn to war and call it foreign relations.
When you leave your three-day-old at home and call it working motherhood.
When you don a dimestore tiara and
call it a star.
When you adamantly
oppose sex education in public schools and silence comment on your daughter's teenage pregnancy by calling it a private matter.
When you cynically manipulate the future of the world and call it a game.
When you ignore the rules of reason, experience, wisdom, truth, legitimacy, decency and public trust and call it a
gamechanger.

I see what it means.

Call me a bigot. But do not expect me to take any more or make any less of this.

Thank you, Karen, for your wise and passionate words. 

And, to that young woman in Alaska: I wish you well.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to speculate about the young man/kid involved. Basically, my thought is that the conversation went something like this: Buddy, you ARE going to marry that girl. No ifs, ands, or buts. We'll figure out what to do later, but for now this is The Script. What do you think, K? Best, Brent

Anonymous said...

And I would add about the VP pick: The feedback I've received from guys demographically sorta like me as well as those part of a broader spectrum think that Sen. McCain hit the jackpot. Call it sexist and unfair, ridiculous and unimportant, but the comments range from "She's a good-looking woman" to one email I received today stating, "I think I'm in love". These (and other) statements from middle-aged men in Big D. ...McCain is no fool. ...I fully recognize this flies in your and maybe other blog responders' faces, but just sayin' what feedback I've received...which, btw, is all unsoliticed. I mentioned this to a female friend and she disgustedly said, "Penis power." Personally, I think she could use a new hairdresser and I'm not even gay. ...All best, Brent

bluelikethesky said...

She just shakes her head....

Gloria Steinem had a great piece in the NYT, today I think, that put it pretty well, that feminism has never been about one woman getting ahead but about eliminating barriers for all.

Her brand of religion is, to me, the most disturbing thing about her. "Dominionist" chistianity is dangerious.

And a Republican from Alaska - the state that receives the most per capita federal spending and specializes in buying citizen loyalty (and large families) - rings false in her cries for "small government and less spending," don't you think?

Anonymous said...

I thought she was RC and didn't know she was "Dominionist". Personally I don't care for Rushdoony's epistemology. I simply see it presuppositionally differently. Mrs. F pretty much convinced me that High Pagan virtues were enough to orderly and justly govern a state/nation.

As far as her positions go, she won't be CIC so does it really matter? I don't know what the big deal is wrt energizing the base. Other than this Prez, how much influence do VPs really and truly have in USA history? Best, Brent