Thursday, March 22, 2007

A picture's worth a thousand words...

...or "Abortions, Ultrasounds and Me"

So, here goes.

I'm a guy. For those of you who hadn't put a gender to the Maadas Hel nick, there you go. I'm a male in a male dominated society where women are trained into a role from birth to serve me. That's never set well with me, but I only recently realized that I am a feminist. There have always been things about women's depiction in the mainstream, our deprecating-by-nature language, etc. that bothered me.

Having said that, here's where it gets dicey for me. Abortion.

I'm not terribly comfortable with trying to convince anyone I have a valid opinion on abortion since I can't become pregnant. To me, it's like a person with no legs being appointed the head of R&D for the Dept. of Silly Walks.

Still, in my own estrogen-challenged way I've become quite solid in my pro-choice stance, based more than anything else on a woman's right to choose how to live in her own skin. (My opinions aren't influenced by the God stuff, so I get to deal in human issues when trying to make sense of it all.)

So this morning while punishing my poor, tired old body on a treadmill in a gym, I saw this bit of scariness about a South Carolina law that's sailing through their legislature that will force women having an abortion to view ultrasound pics of their unborn fetuses before giving the go ahead. Ultrasound pics, mind you, they didn't request, taken by someone who isn't them, of a fetus they are not connected to in any way.

"I'm just trying to save lives and protect people from regret and inform women with the most accurate non-judgmental information that can be provided," Rep. Greg Delleney, R-Chester, said.

Greg's a guy too. Like me, he's just as incapable of ever knowing what it's like to physically carry a child in his womb. Like me he'll never even come close to grasping the emotional implications of giving birth or aborting it. Like me, he'll never walk in the shoes of the segment of our society who is expected by their peers to give up their lives for breeding purposes.

So, are we really going to pass actual laws that force people to look at pictures they don't take, request or want to view? Why the hell not, we've already got these:

The state's informed-consent law, passed in 1994, requires abortion doctors to tell women the likely age of their fetus and give them information about fetal development and alternatives to abortion. Women must think about the information for at least an hour before terminating their pregnancy.

Hey, I guess if we can pass laws forcing a human to "think about" something of the government's choosing for an enforced time period, then passing legislation that will force us to train our eyes where we're told to is no great stretch.

I'd love to hear from women on this topic, but this is disturbing on so many other levels than just the abortion aspect, in my decidedly testosterone influenced opinion.

A little help here?

I'm idiots

Last night as I was packing up my gear from another fun Wednesday Night Acoustic Open Mic Night (which I host every Wed. at our local sports bar), a diamond studded, trying-too-hard older lady came up to me and asked me about a song I had just played, which was one of my own compositions entitled "God Bless Americans" (liberal satire to be sure). She wanted to know what my political leanings were so I told her. She, not surprisingly, informed me that she and her hubby who are moving here (great) and building a new custom home up on the most exclusive hillside development in the county, are staunch conservative Republicans.

No shit, she-lock, I'd a' never guessed. She assaulted me with the old "People oughta have to work for what they get," line as she waved her diamonds in my face and told me how her daddy was a writer and a prof back in the day at UT. I'm sure she's really had it rough.

This morning as I was on the treadmill (because I've become one of those lunatics that works out every weekday) I saw the Faux News scrawl. I was informed that the brilliant bubba legislature of South Carolina is sailing through a bill to force women getting an abortion to view ultrasound images of their fetuses prior to giving the thumbs up. That's true compassion if I've ever seen it.

Next was a brief telling me that a woman and her husband were given the go ahead to sue a fertility clinic because they say the clinic gave her another man's sperm, rather than hubby. They said they knew because their daughter's skin was too dark to be theirs. Allegedly they have DNA to back this claim up.

Idiots and crazies are everywhere. I need intelligent stimuli. Quick.

Friday, March 9, 2007

It's official

Well, now I've done it.

I just returned from making my candidacy for city council official. Having known several city hall employees for years, I took a lot of good-natured ribbing when I came walking in to file, but I think all in all they're positively interested to see if a small hayseed town will elect a liberal long hair to the council.

Obviously I have a few agenda items in mind going in, and anyone who tells you they don't is a smooth liar. I'll lay those out as the time gets closer.

Election Day is May 12. We draw for order of placement on the ballot next Wednesday.

I'll keep everyone updated on here if they're interested.


Be Very Afraid

The following was for a column, entitled The Left Brain, that I send out to local papers on a semi-regular basis. Since I'm an ex-employee of all of them, they never print my work. No problem. I thought I'd reprint it here for the hell of it. M.H.

I am not scared of Ann Coulter or the dozens of neocon lunatics like her, who the pseudo-news agencies love to parade out in full froth during ratings periods. The fact that she used the word “faggot” to refer to presidential hopeful John Edwards during a speech last Friday doesn’t frighten me. I’m not shaken by such casual, hateful insensitivity or by her logic-defying response to the ensuing furor that we should just get over her use of a “schoolyard taunt.”

No, what scares me was the crowd’s immediate reaction to her words. Applause.

The fact that we live in a social climate that allows whack-jobs like Coulter to become wealthy by spewing their version of public opinion to a waiting audience, hungry for all the intolerance, racism, misogyny and hate they can swallow, scares the bejeezus out of me.

Before anyone points out that Coulter has a right to say things like, “I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote,” (on Hannity & Colmes, Fox News Channel) or her classic post 9-11 syndicated column, playing to our grief and fear stating, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity,” or her vicious comments last year directed at 9/11 widows who she claimed were “witches” enjoying their celebrity status, you’re correct. She has the right to say mean-spirited, horrible things due to a constitutional freedom of speech.

I have a constitutional right to carry a lethal firearm too. I can conceal it while I carry it and I can fire it. This does not give me the right to aim it in Ms. Coulter’s direction and pull the trigger. There are laws against that sort of thing.

There’s an expansive canyon between our rights and our abuse of them to disrupt and hurt others; a chasm that Coulter routinely hops over with graceless ease.

Her latest foray into the Howard Stern-like shock arena may cost her more than usual, however. Some newspapers among her strong client list are starting to drop her column, albeit at a slower pace than she deserves. Evidently a memo has circulated within the corporate media world noting that the use of slurs to taunt those you oppose is bad for business. Who’d a thunk it?

Of course locally, where the finest media outlets in Burnet and Llano counties consistently run fishing columns and canned political rhetoric by conservative incumbents, passing this off as opinion/editorial content, I don’t expect as much as a batted eye. There’s a sick, co-dependent relationship here in the Hill Country wherein the citizenry continues to allow the local press to blatantly shirk its historic duty to those it serves as long as the church news gets in, the obits are timely and the high school football scores are right. It’s embarrassing but not many seem to care.

Still, it’s not the “dog bites man” non-newsworthiness of Coulter’s immature and mind numbingly stupid comments that should scare every freedom loving, flag waver out there; it’s the appreciative audience that she and her ilk play to. That she justifies her remarks with an equally offensive response about bullying schoolchildren isn’t nearly as troublesome as the millions who will nod obediently at the boob tube, drooling in agreement while mumbling, “Yeah, what’s the big deal?”

That group of Americans frightens me more than predictable stupidity from the stupid. Luckily, many of them are easily identifiable by Bush/Cheney stickers and therefore can be easily avoided by those of us who have a clue.