September 17, 2012
Long time no see. I’ve been rather busy with school and everything, so here’s something nice: I have today off. And that means that I get to talk today. On the Internet, of course.
Today, I’m going to discuss something many of you have heard about: the pro-life debate. Here’s a little background:
When most people hear the term “pro-life,” they think of “pro-life vs. pro-choice.” And when most people think about that, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely the fierce controversy surrounding abortion. However, the term is not limited to abortion. See this description of the term “pro-life.”
A comprehensive pro-life ethic, such as that proposed by the Roman Catholic Church and similar religious organizations, prohibits:
- Euthanasia and assisted suicide;
- The death penalty; and
- War, with very few exceptions.
As for the “pro-choice” part that accompanies “pro-life,” see this description:
A comprehensive pro-choice position affirms that all of the following must remain legal:
- Celibacy and abstinence;
- Contraception use;
- Emergency contraception use;
- Abortion, for the first two trimesters of pregnancy; and
And that’s a very fundamental and basic understanding of this incredibly heated controversy. Although the aforementioned pro-choice elements apply primarily to the topic of abortion, it is important that we all develop an understanding that ‘pro-life’ also applies to the last three bullets given after abortion.
Today, however, I am just going to discuss abortion. Some of the most prominent arguments that I hear given against abortion include:
“Human life begins at conception. In no civilized society should one take the life of another, and the sanctity of human life must always be protected.”
“Abortion is not a form of contraception.”
“Women can control the use of their bodies through responsible contraception or abstinence. Abortion, however, is not the morally correct way for women to assert control over their bodies.”
“Many women who resort to abortion are those who are young and aren’t sure of what they’re doing– they’ll regret it later on in life.”
But those arguments are so wrong, lacking, and if you really want to get to the point, downright stupid. Almost all abortions occur during the woman’s first trimester, where the fetus cannot exist independently of the mother. Because of this, the fetus is not and should not be regarded as a separate entity. Here’s another thing: what about in vitro fertilization? Unimplanted fertilized eggs used for IVF are frequently thrown away. Those eggs are technically considered human life, and if so, isn’t that murder? Isn’t that an example of the government, who apparently has an obligation to protect human life, neglecting human life? I’m not advocating here for the protection of unused fertilized eggs, but I’m using that example to bring up a point: the definition of ‘pro-life’ used by pro-life advocates is relative, not absolute. And that is not okay.
Let’s talk about Mitt Romney and his opinion on this paramount controversy. This is important because there is a real and terrible and looming chance that he could be elected this November. Romney has been known to support the hypocritical and misleading idea of ‘pro-life.’ Here’s what Dr. John Wilke, president of both the Life Issues Institute and the National Right to Life Committee, says about Romney:
“Unlike other candidates who only speak to the importance of confronting the major social issues of the day, Governor Romney has a record of action in defending life. Every decision he made as governor was on the side of life. I know he will be the strong pro-life president we need in the White House, and Governor Romney is the only candidate who can lead our pro-life and pro-family conservative movement to victory.”
I do not like Dr. John Wilke and I do not like Mitt Romney.
How can politicians and pro-life figures like Wilke and Romney call themselves pro-life when they only practice it to a limited and contradictory extent? Romney is not pro-life if you really think about it. Yes, he is ostensibly “pro-life” because he is against abortion, but guess what? He is against universal health care. Health is a human right, not a privilege. And some can argue that Romney is not, in fact, against health care coverage for all. However, he has changed his opinion so many times on the issue that I have deduced this: if one is frequently at a point where they’re not sure about whether or not they support it, then that’s that. You are not pro-life and your words against that fact are invalid. And what about same-sex marriage and the general idea of it? What about that very true story of Romney in high school harassing an ostensibly non-straight kid because of his appearance? When politicians and writers and human beings erase every slur regarding sexuality and nonconformity out of their vocabulary, then you can talk about being pro-life. People end their lives because of what one person chooses to say and decides to deem acceptable; did you know that? How is that any less applicable to the term “pro-life” and what the consequences may be to those lives that are affected? And what about Planned Parenthood and the number of womyn’s lives they have benefited and saved through what they do? If Romney is elected into office, then the program is in a substantial amount of danger. How is that any less of a threat to the sanctity of life than what is considered to be the standardized definition of ‘pro-life’?
And what about Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee? He wants to implement a plan that will raise the costs of Medicare tremendously. That, in turn, would make it much more difficult for beneficiaries to access that health care they need. Isn’t that an assault against the sanctity of life? While its impact may not be direct, it is still there and it contradicts the very nature of what constitutes “pro-life.” Ryan voted in favor of legislation that would ban federal health coverage, including the health coverage for abortion. He voted in favor of barring the transportation of minors to an abortion. While these gilded facts may seem like a presentation of being pro-life and morally wonderful and everything in between, it isn’t exactly that in the long run. By opposing the right to an abortion, Ryan is effectively barring the right for womyn to choose. That is not and never will be correct. How can Ryan call himself pro-life when he supports a fetus that cannot survive independently but not the woman carrying that fetus?
The utter disrespect towards women that this entire pro-life debate ensues is just plain ludicrous. If a woman’s reproductive rights are seized, then what’s next? If the government is to force a woman to continue a pregnancy that may not be in the best interests of the woman, then is the government obligated to force other women to use contraception or even undergo sterilization? It is the same topic and the same slope. You cannot make one argument without thinking about the imminent consequences.
I once saw a great quote said not too long ago by someone on the Internet:
“To those persons who say that we are fucked either way this November, I’m going to vote for the one who will let me buy Plan B in the morning.”
That person, in case you were wondering, is not Mitt Romney.
Another thing: to those “pro-life” persons who argue that abortion should not be used as a form of contraception, it is not. Even with responsible contraceptive use, women will get pregnant. Eggs will be fertilized. Pro-life advocates, in this sense, place the blame on the woman who had sex for not being responsible enough to appeal to their standards. And when I say ‘their standards,’ I mean that these pro-life advocates must believe that if two people are responsible by using contraception, it must be impossible for the woman to get pregnant. But guess what? Pregnancy can occur despite responsible sex. In fact, only 8% of women who have abortions do not use any form of birth control. Intelligent and informed people, these pro-life advocates are.
And what about our taxpayer dollars? Those dollars are used to enable underprivileged women to access the same health services as middle-class and upper-class women. The right to an abortion constitutes one of these services. Funding abortion is no different from funding a war in the Middle East when it comes to tax dollars. That is extremely important because abortion is a human right. If we’re absurd enough to keep our violent involvement in the Middle East, then it goes without saying that we need to begin utilizing our tax dollars on one of many things that are important. In this case, it is a woman’s right to choose what’s best for her own body and future.
Let us return to Mitt Romney for just a brief moment. Romney supports his position as being pro-life with exception to cases of rape or incest. Victims of rape or incest can be seriously psychologically damaged by continuing to carry the child, so it’s obvious that those cases should have an encouraged option for abortion. However, there are minors and womyn who are not ready to become mothers, both financially and emotionally. They often face a bleak future and so do their children. Romney and many other politicians neglect to consider these circumstances, and this just goes to show how farcical the pro-life side really is.
In short, those who support the idea of being pro-life can call themselves that all they want, but the truth is this– their basic idea is only on the surface. You say that you’re protecting the sanctity of life, but what about those already alive? What have you done to protect their rights? What are you going to do in the future? If the answers that those politicians give all lie in ‘protecting human life from the start– conception,’ then that is invalid and insufficient. You are not protecting anything except how ignorant and stupid you are. That is all. It should go without saying that womyn and their rights need to be protected. Pro-life advocates are essentially oppressing womyn and their abilities to make decisions that are best for themselves. Human beings deserve the right to a free and positive life, and a person calling him or herself ‘pro-life’ doesn’t enforce that today or any day in the future. Until you advocate for civil rights, liberties, and justice for all, this world isn’t going to get any better with your pro-life banter. In addition, with the elections being this November, it is more important than ever to realize this truth– and once seen, a path can be paved for better words, decisions, and ideas for the future.
September 1, 2012
I’ve decided that I’m going to try to write at least once a week from now on, which should fit in quite well with my hectic school and extracurricular activities schedule.
So, today, I’m going to talk about controversial things. Very, very controversial things.
Let’s start off with a ridiculously and unnecessarily heated word called “sexuality.” Or, perhaps the term that will give us the definition that we’re looking for is “sexual orientation.”
Google defines ‘sexual orientation’ as:
“A person’s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted; the fact of being heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.”
I don’t like this definition. I don’t like it at all. It’s ostensibly standardized, rather misleading, and enforces a stereotype within itself. When I say that it’s standardized, I mean that this particular Google definition seems like one that you’d find just about anywhere, and that’s a problem. It’s a problem because it’s so rigid and accepted, almost in a derogatory way. It seems to depict that there are only three sexual orientations: heterosexual, homosexual, and/or bisexual. That is incredibly untrue. There is no such thing as a set number of ways that one person can be attracted to another person. There is no such thing as saying, “gender is the body you were born with and that’s that. The kind that you’re attracted to determines what your sexual orientation is.” I’m not saying that there are one hundred different sexual orientations or only one. I am saying that it’s up to you to see as many sexual orientations as you’d like or none at all if you want that. You are given a right to love whomever you want, and this right should never be limited to a farcical and ridiculously standardized list of three defined options. That’s just silly. You are a human being, and you should never be subject to that kind of delusive stereotyping. You love who you love and that’s that.
And just to prove my point about the definition of ‘sexual orientation’ being so standardized, here’s Wikipedia’s definition:
“Sexual orientation describes an enduring pattern of attraction—emotional, romantic, sexual, or some combination of these—to the opposite sex, the same sex, or both sexes, and the genders that accompany them. These attractions are generally subsumed under heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality.”
Again with the three categories.
And here’s how The Free Dictionary defines it:
“The direction of one’s sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes.”
Again, again, again. I could go on forever and ever but I think this particular point is clear– people are extremely uninformed when it comes to the basic definition of sexuality/sexual orientation and that isn’t okay. It just isn’t.
And here’s exactly why it’s so incredibly unacceptable for this rigid list of three particular sexual orientations to exist: it creates ignorance. Ignorance is very, very bad. You’ll see those bigots who argue for the sake of love to be between a man and a woman only– anything besides that is ungodly or a terrible sin or an abomination of mankind or will catch your hair on fire. It just doesn’t make sense. In case you haven’t deduced it already, those people who believe that are ignorant. And their beliefs have created a scarily immense stereotype that defines same-sex/pansexual attraction. On the other hand, people have created another stereotype that heterosexual attraction is normal and godly and wonderful and everything else that’s acceptable. But that just isn’t true. Being attracted to the opposite sex is fantastic, but anything other than that is not disgusting or repulsive in any way. Anything other than a heterosexual orientation is beautiful and should be embraced, just like heterosexuality itself. There is no borderline between good and bad when it comes to who you love and who you are.
The topic of gender and the topic of sexuality go hand in hand, so I’ll say this now. There are more than two genders, just as there are more than three defined sexual orientations. There is static gender, and there is dynamic gender, and there are more than two genders, and guess what? If you want, you can argue that there is no such thing as gender. Who’s going to stop you? Gender is not defined by the clothing you wear or the way you style your hair or the way you behave which has to adhere to the labels of either ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine.’ In fact, it isn’t even defined by what kind of reproductive organs you have. There is nothing wrong with a boy who likes wearing dresses or playing with dolls, just as there is nothing wrong with a girl who hates dressing up and enjoys playing with action figures. These characteristics don’t define an individual as being male or female or both or masculine or feminine. There is nothing that should strictly define how people must identify themselves as, and that’s that. Gender is whatever you want it to be, and however many you want there to be, and so on and so forth.
Another thing that bothers me lies along the same lines as my earlier argument about sexuality. I think that it’s absolutely absurd when people act like a sexual orientation other than what is defined as ‘straight’ is bizarre and should be acted upon like it’s so much more different than being straight itself. There are usually two categories of reactions when people find out that someone is not, in fact, straight: they either condemn this person, or they treat the person like they are special and different, thus making that person seem inferior. Let me explain. I’ll address the first type of reaction first, and that is the ‘condemning the person’ type of reaction. I think this one is self-explanatory– the non-straight person is thought of by others as weird and different and unacceptable. They are excluded from social activities and thought of as a separate type of human being. The other kind of reaction is equally deplorable, although it may not seem like it from the surface. Say, for example, that there is a gay boy who has recently come out. Everybody around him is supposedly/ostensibly accepting and supportive, and they decide to show this by being more kind and attentive to this particular boy than to other people. However, with that always comes the realization that this ‘kindness’ is as fake and ludicrous as the people’s supposed ‘acceptance’ and ‘support’ of the boy. These people feel like in order to come off as accepting, they have to treat this kid like he’s special and different and everything in between. They think that they’re doing a good thing, but is it really that if you wouldn’t treat this boy so kindly if he were straight? It’s really just absurd. I’m not saying that this is the case in all situations, but it’s definitely a very prominent scenario and depicts the non-straight person as lesser than others. I’m also not implying that these are the only two kinds of reactions, because there are indeed others, but I’m trying to say that these are the two that I (and likely many others) encounter most often.
Here’s another point that I would like to make: there is nothing that should be scary or wrong about changing ideas about who you do or do not love. There really isn’t. If you consider yourself heterosexual, you might call that safe, because no one will make fun of you or treat you differently or categorize you. But what if, for example, you woke up one morning and decided that you not only liked males, but also females? What if you realized that you only liked females? What if you deduced that you didn’t like any, or that you liked all sexes (regardless of how many there are to you)?
What if, what if?
But here’s the thing:
There is nothing that should be frightening or unacceptable about questioning who you’re attracted to, because there really isn’t anything wrong with it. If you considered yourself bi-curious for a day, that doesn’t categorize you as bisexual or gay or just plain different. You could decide that you are, in fact, open to all genders, and then realize a week later that you’re actually only attracted to someone of the opposite sex. I might be pansexual today but realize that I’m purely straight a few months later. Likewise, I could be only attracted to guys at this particular moment but realize that I’m attracted to both guys and girls in the near future. In all honesty, those particular feelings are not less valid or less existent because I may have identified differently on various occasions. It really just doesn’t matter– the only thing that does matter is that you can be attracted to whomever the hell you want at any time you want, and that will always be okay. Always.
And it’s so wonderful when I see non-straight persons defending themselves when questioned by those who have a problem with it. However, common arguments made by those particular non-straight persons are:
“Nobody chooses to be gay,” or “I was born this way,” or “I can’t help it– it’s not my fault.”
And these very common arguments always imply: “If I could choose my orientation, I’d choose to be straight because that’s acceptable.” And that, in turn, implies that there is something inherently inferior about being non-straight.
But guess what? There isn’t.
I’m proud of who I do and do not love, and there is nothing inferior or lesser or just plain bad about that. There never has been and there never will be.
And I won’t delve too deep into this, but that’s why the idea of marriage equality is so significant: it’s legal recognition that all couples, not just heterosexual ones, are intrinsically equal and acceptable.
But it’s not so easy to just look past this and assume that everybody knows that all love is equal. Many, in fact, do not realize this. An example would be the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 under Clinton’s administration. This law defines marriage as a contract between a man and a woman and allowed states not to recognize marriages performed in other states where different marriage laws applied. An improvement has taken place under the Obama administration, where they determined that section 3 was unconstitutional and, though it would continue to enforce the law, it would no longer defend it in court. Although they didn’t repeal it, it was a small step towards equality. Unfortunately, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives fought back by having the House General Counsel to defend the law in place of the Department of Justice. I mentioned this example just to show the progress (and, of course, regression by the GOP) of marriage equality in today’s government, and its hope for an equal future.
And, really, what’s so different about the issue of marriage equality today and the issue of interracial marriage fifty years ago? Not much, really, when you don’t look into religion as being the primary factor of the former. Oh, and I just have to mention this:
Remember Republican senator Rick Santorum freaking out over an Associated Press reporter asking about same-sex marriage? Santorum responds to the reporter by discussing ‘man on dog sex,’ effectively bringing bestiality into the conversation. So Santorum probably thought that once the line between heterosexual and same-sex marriage is erased, so will the line for bestiality. But you know, I think the difference is pretty clear when talking about two people, regardless of their sexual orientations, getting married, and a man and an animal eloping.
And that’s just a small window into the role of the same-sex marriage controversy in today’s politics.
And to wrap up my post today, I just want to say this:
Don’t ever let someone tell you who you are or who you can and cannot love. Don’t you ever. Never let someone tell you that if you’re not straight or gay, you must be bisexual, or something along those lines. Never let someone tell you that you can’t do this or that because it’s not particularly masculine or feminine. Don’t use ‘gay’ or ‘homo’ or any of those terms as derogatory, because those words don’t deserve to be used like that and that just makes you look ridiculously stupid. Never be afraid to fight for what you believe in just because people will judge you and you’re afraid of people and their ignorant opinions. But you have to stand up because of how unjust our world is– that’s life.
You are you and don’t you let anybody tell you otherwise.
August 25, 2012
Salut, my readers!
So, there’s this guy.
Well, he’s not just any guy– he’s the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 2nd congressional district and he has been serving since 2001. He’s a Republican and he’s sixty-five years old.
His name is Todd Akin.
I will go right out and say that I am not a fan of the GOP. I am not a fan at all. And many people think this is because they know me as a staunch liberal, which is part of it, I guess– but when it really comes down to the quintessence of my feelings for the GOP, it is because of people like Mitt Romney. Paul Ryan. Sharron Angle. Michele Bachmann. Rob Woodall. Rick Santorum. Newt Gingrich. Bob Dole. Renee Ellmers. Oh, there are too many to go on.
But then there’s Todd Akin.
Assuming that you actually read/watch the news on at least a semi-regular basis, you should have heard Mr. Akin’s name pop up and around lately. Perhaps his comments regarding “legitimate rape” should sound familiar:
“Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
You see, it’s because of these things. That’s why I lose an increasing amount of faith in the GOP each day. And don’t get me wrong– there are some really great Republicans out there who are genuinely really brilliant people and think of really brilliant ideas and I like that a lot. I really do. But the deplorable problem is that the Republicans that I actually like, well… there are hardly any of them. For example, I like Richard Lugar of Indiana, who is a moderate Republican. After his defeat by Richard Mourdock of the Tea Party, that was pretty much the end of moderate Republicanism. But other than Lugar, I can’t name many others who appeal to me as a good politician and a Republican that I can actually stand.
And when we speak of Todd Akin, that’s a Republican name that I cannot stand. But, you know, I’ll talk about him anyway.
Here’s the first thing that I don’t understand about Akin’s grotesque comments: “legitimate rape.”
What in the world is ‘legitimate rape’?
So is Akin implying that there is such thing as ‘illegitimate rape’?
Does that mean if a sixteen-year-old girl, who is on the top of her class and looks to achieve fantastic things, is sexually assaulted/raped on her way home from school, she shouldn’t get pregnant because it was legitimate rape rather than illegitimate rape? I mean, in Todd Akin’s words, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Are you sure about that, Mr. Akin? In fact, a three-year survey conducted with four thousand adult women showed that rape-related pregnancies were quite frequent, which I’m sure disproves the mystical way the female body somehow “shuts down legitimate rape.”
Could Akin’s absurd words be brought to other situations? I bet they could. I mean, who really knows? Maybe in a few months, we’ll hear him saying this: Victims from legitimate murder rarely die. From what I understand, the body has a way of shutting that sort of thing down.
You know, considering his previously stated comments regarding the female body and rape, I wouldn’t be too surprised.
In addition, I read an excellent piece of writing yesterday on the Feministing website, and this helps to get my point across.
“I want to thank him [Akin] for demonstrating that the anti-choice movement is so often divorced from scientific facts, like when they claim that the uterus contains a magical anti-rapist semen force field, or when they claim that there’s a causal relationship between abortion and breast cancer. It is not, in fact, ‘really rare’ for rape to result in pregnancy, unless you think that something that happens 32, 000 times every year is ‘really rare.’ I also want to thank him for revealing the contempt and mistrust that lies at the heart of so much anti-choice rhetoric. The contempt for women who have sex for pleasure and accidentally get pregnant. The mistrust of women that feeds the belief that we lie about being raped so we can get abortions, and the mistrust of women that justifies the idea that we don’t know when we’ve been raped and that politicians get to decide that for us. I want to thank Mr. Akin for highlighting the logical inconsistency of being anti-choice and anti-Affordable Care Act. You’ll rail all day long about how Obamacare infringes on the American citizen’s personal freedom to make healthcare decisions, but you’re happy to infringe on an American woman’s personal freedom to make reproductive healthcare decisions? How exactly do you hold both those ideas in your head without your head exploding?
Wow, OK, that is pretty uncivil. What I should probably say instead is, fuck you sir.”
It was so great to be able to read something as wonderful as this, and the quote above is only about half of the article. You can read the rest here: http://bit.ly/OFTB4n
And, here happens to be the most preposterous shocker in a while– This isn’t the first time Todd Akin has made a controversial (and quite ignorant/stupid) comment. Here’s a remark he made back in 2011:
[When asked about NBC's removal of the words "under God" from a video clip of the Pledge of Allegiance] “Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal, and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God…. This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.”
And then here’s what he said in response to the uproar that occurred over his comments:
“People who know me and my family know that we take our faith and beliefs very seriously. As Christians, we would never question the sincerity of anyone’s personal relationship with God. My statement during my radio interview was directed at the political movement, Liberalism, not at any specific individual. If my statement gave a different impression, I offer my apologies.”
And I mentioned these two quotes just to show how ignorant and ridiculous Todd Akin really is. Did he just state that all liberals hate religion, and then try to justify it by wording it a bit differently?
I do not like Todd Akin.
So, here’s a fact: Akin has six children, two of which are girls. I do wonder what they think. I wonder how they feel about their own father making ignorant, sexist remarks against womyn and pregnancy and sexual assault. I wonder, I really do wonder.
Although Akin later released a (quite terrible) apology (see here: http://bit.ly/Q6KeQF), it doesn’t erase the unmistakable ignorance and disrespect embedded in his comments. What’s even greater is that right under his video “apology,” it states this:
“Unlike Claire McCaskill, I believe that working to protect the most vulnerable in our society is one of my most important responsibilities, and that includes protecting both the unborn and victims of sexual assault. We must move forward and work together to replace Claire McCaskill in the Senate.”
Now, I don’t know much about Claire McCaskill other than the fact that she is a senator from Missouri and a member of the Democratic Party. But after Todd Akin ostensibly apologized in that video, why in the world would he place those particular words right underneath it?
Yes, I am very fully aware that this is politics and politics is a rough, competitive world. But after Akin clearly disrespected the female body and gender, I found it to be a little outrageous that he placed those words right underneath the ‘apology.’ I find it absolutely appalling. Maybe he only apologized because everybody was expecting that from him at the least, and after finally doing so, he needed to get the political race on with McCaskill. Perhaps I may be the only one who thinks so, or maybe I’m not. I don’t know. All I know is that Akin probably doesn’t care about “working to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”
And that brings me to another point. Todd Akin stated that “the most vulnerable in our society” includes “the unborn and victims of sexual assault.” Now, I’ll probably write about the abortion debate another day, so right now I’ll just address the the “victims of sexual assault being vulnerable” portion of Akin’s statement.
Todd Akin is undoubtedly aware that the vast majority of sexual assault victims are females.
I know that because of his statement regarding “legitimate rape,” and how “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
I know that because Todd Akin would not have made that statement if he believed otherwise.
I know that because this is Todd Akin and with the blatant disrespect he has shown against women, I’m assuming he’s aware.
I’m assuming exactly that because it is true. It is indeed a fact, but I just don’t like the way Akin puts it. He calls these people, these victims of sexual assault, “the most vulnerable of our society.”
And you know what? That pisses me off to no end. By saying that, he portrays the female gender as being weak and incompetent and incredibly inferior.
As a feminist, one may point out my viewpoint as being an example of feminist bias. But is it really bias when it’s real and actually happening? Is it wrong to speak against those who undermine females as people, who portray women as the inferior part of the human race?
And the answer here is no. It isn’t wrong. It isn’t a bad thing to speak up for what you see as unequal because discrimination is still so irrefutably rampant in today’s world.
And that is that.
And one last thing I’ll say about Akin’s words: how they spread around the Republican Party. Here’s one example. After Todd Akin spoke about ‘legitimate rape,’ Mitt Romney made a point to disagree with Akin’s words. Romney also condemned them a bit and pushed for Akin to drop out of the Senate race, but that was it. He didn’t make a stronger case to fully censure Akin’s words in a way to show that Romney really was against them, to recognize just how incredibly wrong they were. In fact, guess what Mittens did? He forbid a reporter in Denver from asking him questions about Akin’s ‘legitimate rape’ comments.
Perhaps Mittens wasn’t ready to think of something intelligent enough? Perhaps Mittens doesn’t really care enough about Akin’s words, and “disagreeing” will do the job because it’s expected?
In short, Todd Akin has put a large damper on the Republican Party and I’m sorry to say that.
Now that I’ve gotten all of these inflamed feelings out of my system, it’s safe for me to wish you a jubilant rest-of-the-day.
Thanks for listening, everybody.
August 22, 2012
So, I decided to blog again today. However, with school starting in less than a week, this might actually be the only time I write two days in a row.
Anyways, for today’s topic, I will be writing about a campaign that went viral in early March, when it was released: Kony 2012. You’re probably already fully aware of this campaign, as it seemed to explode immensely for approximately two to three weeks after the documentary was released. After that, it kind of sat around, quietly fading into a sad little hole saying, “I was very loved for fifteen minutes but I guess that’s over now.”
I’m late, but I didn’t make this blog until yesterday, right? And I have quite a few things to say about Kony 2012. Plenty, actually.
Here’s a back story: There’s an evil Ugandan warlord by the name of Joseph Kony, and he is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a militant group operating in multiple African countries. He kidnaps children from their homes, turning the girls into sex slaves and the boys into child soldiers. If you watch the video, which you probably already have, it discusses with more detail the tremendous extent of Joseph Kony’s crimes.
In response, an organization called Invisible Children created an awareness campaign entitled “Kony 2012.” Its goal was to bring Kony’s crimes to light and to bring justice to the pernicious actions that he committed against innocent children and adults alike. They created a thirty minute video that reached about 80 million views in the first few days after its release, and to date, has received about 104 million views. These views were mostly accumulated by teenagers in Western first world countries, although the video received views from all ages in many countries. And as I stated earlier, after about two weeks, Kony 2012 kind of just… disappeared. It vanished. It turned into a negligible pile of dust. Well, maybe I’m slightly exaggerating. Of course, people still knew about it from its raging popularity in the weeks before its demise. There was still the “Cover the Night” event, where supporters shoved Kony 2012 stickers onto absolutely everything and anything. I specifically remember the local Weis sign glowing red due to these stickers, and I do have to slightly commend these last few loyal supporters for not forgetting about the campaign like millions of others. Even though I am not a Kony 2012 supporter because of plenty of reasons (many of which I will explain later in this post), you’ve got to give props to these people for sticking with it. It’s actually kind of impressive.
I’ll tell you how I first heard of Kony 2012: social networking websites. I would see status updates and Tweets and Tumblr posts about stopping this wicked, terrible man named Kony. I would see girls take pictures of themselves with their face painted red and their hands marked with the words, “Stop Kony.” And for many of those people, Kony 2012 was the first cause that they felt strongly about. Now, of course it’s nice and great and wonderful that these teenagers, who otherwise would not have given a single crap about any cause at all, ardently believed in bringing justice to Kony’s crimes. What’s disheartening about it is that it took an oversimplified, slightly misleading, and extremely sketchy documentary for these people to care about the cause. Without the popularity of the video that hit mainstream social networking sites, they wouldn’t even have been aware of the issue. And, to be honest, I wouldn’t have either, but I guess that’s the truth, right?
Another issue about Kony 2012 is its obsolete and inappropriate portrayal of Uganda. Nikita Bernardi, a lifelong resident of East Africa, stated:
“The fact is that northern Uganda is no longer what it is portrayed as in the [KONY 2012] video. I know many people have said this, but this is a MASSIVE problem. The majority of people watching this film have never even been to Uganda and so they now have this extremely negative view of another African country. I have read the response that the film-makers posted on their site and they seem to think that it does not matter if Mr. Kony has left Uganda or not and that he is still a mad killer who recruits children to fight for him. Yes, he is mad, but he is nowhere near as strong as he was in the early to mid-2000s. He is no longer terrorising northern Uganda and the region is now relatively stable. If I lived in northern Uganda I would be furious that my region was being portrayed in such a negative and outdated way.”
I’m guessing that the filmmakers are unaware of the fact that many women like Bernardi have pushed past this conflict and are seeking education and empowerment to move forward with their lives. Of course, this does not mean that the issue of Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army is completely resolved, because it isn’t. There are still victims of his that are severely traumatized and wish beyond anything that they could forget. There are even a few still being kidnapped and raped and other terrible, terrible things. But as Bernardi stated, the region is growing (if not already) increasingly stable and the fact that the Kony 2012 filmmakers are portraying Uganda in such an outdated and negative way is absolutely appalling.
In addition to that, there is another problem: the issue of sketchiness that infiltrates this entire Kony 2012 campaign. First of all, if you didn’t know already, most of Invisible Children’s spending is concentrated on awareness and filmmaking, not stopping African militias such as the Lord’s Resistance Army. And yes, in order to get something done, you have to get the message out, but for what? For it to be forgotten in two weeks? Although the film did get something done (we did reach out to northern Uganda), the impact of the awareness spending wasn’t enough for the long haul and IC’s budget spending just rings a sketchy bell.
And here’s another thing: oversimplification of the issue. In the video, there is no mention of holding Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni the least bit accountable. As Musa Okwongo states:
“Invisible Children asked viewers to seek the engagement of American policymakers and celebrities, but – and this is a major red flag – it didn’t introduce them to the many Northern Ugandans already doing fantastic work both in their local communities and in the diaspora. It didn’t ask its viewers to seek diplomatic pressure on President Museveni’s administration.”
The film does a good job of portraying Kony as a “uniquely evil figure,” and as the magazine Foreign Affairs states:
“They rarely refer to the Ugandan atrocities or those of Sudan’s People’s Liberation Army, such as attacks against civilians or looting of civilian homes and businesses, or the complicated regional politics fueling the conflict.”
slightly humorous dismaying incident that occurred. A photo was taken of three Invisible Children members holding guns, posing with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. The three IC members later commented on the issue, stating that they thought it would be a good joke for friends and family. Well, I can tell you, IC: that certainly wasn’t a great thing to do for PR. No, not at all.
Although I have many more criticisms regarding this campaign, I’ll just shortly state one more thing that bothers me about it– and some may disagree with me– I think it’s absolutely moronic and astounding that the filmmakers would think Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army can be stopped by a populist awareness campaign in first-world countries. It’s ludicrous and likely has some other agenda.
And that’s all for today, my lovelies. Of course, since no one in the US seems to be thinking of Kony too much lately, that could also be a reason for my posting this five months after Kony 2012 reached the pinnacle of its popularity. Or, I could just say that I was avoiding the issue, as I myself had too many problems and criticisms with this campaign. And that’s true.
So, you know, I’m really hoping that whatever Invisible Children does in the future (they actually made a sequel to Kony 2012, although that sequel didn’t reach the popularity the first one did), they consider some of what caused an outcry at the Kony campaign. And they must, because I’ll just be after them all over again.
And now that’s all for today. I like to write, so thanks for listening.
August 21, 2012
Hello. It’s nice to see you. So, for today:
I’m going to make my very first blog post about a movement that I care immensely about– or, maybe even more than immensely– Occupy Wall Street.
Some people seem to think that OWS is a complex movement with unclear goals, driven by aimless college kids who really just have a thing for picketing.
In case you haven’t even considered it, those particular people are wrong. Very wrong. And when they say things like that, it makes me very, very angry.
OWS is indeed a complex movement, but it is an incredibly simple one at the same time. And this post that I am writing will explain why.
To address the “aimless” part, I think that this wonderful mission statement should prove otherwise:
“We are the 99%” is a frequent (and possibly the official) expression that drives the movement. And guess what? It makes sense. On OWS’s official website, it states this:
Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations.
And that explains it in a quaint little nutshell. The 1% indeed consists of those banks and corporations, as well as the rest of the corruption lying so gingerly on Wall Street. However, the rest of us (the 99%) can worry about other things that don’t include counting the day’s overflowing profit numbers. The lower half of that 99% has to worry about feeding the children and paying the utility bills and covering that mortgage so a roof can stay over their heads and a light can brighten their rooms and their bellies can feel fed for just one more day. It’s the fact that students are afraid to go to college not because they don’t think that they can succeed, but because of the money. Needless to say, it’s ridiculous.
Just so you guys know how this 99% feels– and one day you’ll feel the unmistakable oppression as well– I suggest that you visit this site:
It’s fantastic for explaining– in a very poignant way– how while some are living at the top and promoting economic injustice, there is a vast number of people that has never seen a wonderful, startling thing: equality.
And I’m going to take an astute guess right now and mimic the strident voice of an OWS critic in response to my aforementioned musing: Well, isn’t that socialism?
Answer: No. Don’t you worry, darling– no, it isn’t.
So no, this beautiful vision is not communism or socialism or anarchy or the destruction of society as we know it– it’s justice, damn it, it’s justice. And we want that. You may not, but the 99% wants it so badly and we will do anything to get it.
Another major concept that OWS is fighting for is something that is (arguably) a bit more controversial: social equality. And what do I mean by that? Let’s take this quote from their mission statement:
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
Did you read that?
“Color of one’s skin.”
And unless you’ve been living inside a cave for a good portion of your life, I think that these issues would ring an important bell inside your head. At least, they should– and if they don’t, they better do so very soon.
Yes, I do know that the extremely controversial topic of religion plays a huge role in the world of social issues, and as long as everybody keeps worshiping their particular deity, this barrier will never change. I myself believe that religion is a beautiful thing, although I am an atheist. As George Carlin famously put it:
But He [God] loves you. He loves you, and He needs money!
And I don’t mean to offend at all, and if you do believe that I’ve done so, please tell me. Like I said earlier, every religion is indeed beautiful, even if I don’t participate in the concept. And religion is fantastic and wonderful and everything in between until it starts affecting people in a way that obstructs social justice.
I am aware that holy texts such as the Bible, the Qur’an, the Torah, and others condemn homosexuality. And every single person in this contentious world is entitled to their own opinion, even those extreme right-wing Republicans that I dislike so much. And it is usually those particular right-wingers that are so filled with bigotry that social equality is not an option. And guess what? That is not okay.
That. is. not. okay.
And when people of bigotry learn to take every single slur about sexuality out of their vocabulary, this world will become slightly better. After all, nobody should be considered inferior because of who they do or do not love.
Nor should someone’s gender or gender identity define who they are in any negative way. We need a world of truth more than ever, and hurling crude remarks towards somebody because of who they are is one good way to make you a complete shitface. Once people of prejudice begin to realize this, I think we’ll have quite an improvement in who we are as human beings. And we need this improvement now more than ever.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what OWS is fighting for. Besides economic corruption and greed, it is the war for social equality and the realization that no person’s life is less worthy because of who they choose to be.
And guess what? I’m going to continue participating in OWS campaigning and their events because I believe that there is a possibility for a better world– one of love, equality, justice, and truth. And if some idiot tries to tell you that it isn’t possible, just shove a smartly-worded picket sign in their face to let them know just how wrong they are.