Oxford Historian Fails at Analyzing Michigan Primary Results

Don’t take this as a jab at historians, but perhaps Timothy Stanley should stick to history, because his political analysis misses the mark, to put it mildly.

From his column on CNN:

“The votes that Romney and Santorum drew matched their public personas. In the last two weeks, Mitt has been branded as a “Massachusetts moderate” — who thinks it’s perfectly normal for a patriotic woman to own “a couple of Cadillacs.” In contrast Santorum presents as a “working class” conservative who “almost threw up” at the thought of separating church and state and who implies that college is for snobs. Together, they are the rational brain and the rumbling gut of the Republican Party.”

Considering that Romney’s Cadillac gaffe  was a gaffe because it demonstrated his class privilege, a huge no-no in the current economic climate, where does “patriotism” enter the picture? Buying American-made cars is considered a good thing, patriotic even, yet it seems Stanley is framing this as a bad thing. Substitute “patriotic” in that sentence for “working class” and it makes sense, but in its present state, it makes none.

Stanley does the same thing in the next sentence, linking “working class” with the idea that separation of church and state is a bad thing. What does one have to do with the other? Nothing. Why would one’s membership in the “working class,” even the “conservative working class,” be indicative of one’s views on the separation of church and state? This has not been adequately established–he’s making assumptions here.

Also, rumbling gut? What is this supposed to imply? Indigestion? Impending diarrhea? Or is it a reference to one’s instinctual feelings? If so, on what? What an awful metaphor.

Now, consider this:

“There will be a lot of debate in the next few days about why Democrats and independents were so drawn to Santorum. The consensus is that they were spoilers out to deny Romney the nomination. Aside from some individual testimony to that effect, I’m not sure this can be proven. After all, Santorum has been pitching himself at blue-collar workers for some time and it’s notable that he won union members 45-26 percent. These are the famous “Reagan Democrats,” the unionized auto workers living in suburban Detroit who flipped from Democrat to Republican in 1980 because they were so attracted to Ronald Reagan’s stance on God, guns, and taxes.

Santorum enjoys the confidence of significant numbers of non-Republican populists precisely because of his reputation as an antediluvian conservative. In an age when politicians seem manufactured and packaged to appeal to a shrinking center-ground, Santorum has stood out this season as a man of his word. That word might well by lifted from a particularly angry passage in Leviticus — but it sounds so much better than the bland platitudes that fall from Mitt’s mouth. It’s telling that Santorum performed well in Michigan among people looking for “strong moral character.” That’s what he’s selling on the campaign trail.”

Okay, I’m going to take off the political scientist and writing critic hats for a moment here.

Dude.

Republicans have been divided the entire primary season: they can’t decide which candidate they hate the least. Why on earth would Democrats be “drawn” to any of these Republican candidates, much less Santorum? While Republicans may be thinking “anyone but Obama,” Democrats are thinking “holy shit why would anyone want these guys near the White House?”

While I can pretty confidently say that there was no organized effort on the part of Democrats to shake up the primaries for the Republicans–one thing is certain. The longer it takes for Republicans to choose a candidate, the better chance Obama will have at re-taking the White House, and by a larger percentage. You don’t have to be a snob with a university degree to figure that out.

Putting my hats on now.

Honestly, the Republican Party doesn’t have a viable candidate. Neither Romney nor Santorum, and certainly not Gringrich or Paul, could defeat Obama in November. The GOP erred considerably in their chosen strategy of “making Obama a one-term President.” Pure sabotage doesn’t work in politics–it didn’t even work for Democrats in the 2004 election season–I’m not sure why Republicans chose it as their strategy from 2008 until now. It wouldn’t have worked even had they confined it to the election season–again, it didn’t work for the Democrats in 2004.

President Obama has the incumbent’s advantage–and the GOP needed a considerable track record, in addition to a very good candidate, to reclaim the White House. They have neither. Ensuring a divided GOP, and a contentious convention will hand a larger margin of victory to President Obama.

A larger margin of victory for President Obama will save a large portion of the citizenry from suffering from high blood pressure.

If you asked, I’d say this is fairly obvious–certainly political science 101. Dr. Stanley should definitely stick to his field.

 

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Point of Information Re: Transvaginal Ultrasounds and Abortion

Until the clusterfuck recently in Virginia, most people probably assumed that mandatory ultrasound laws simply required women to get an abdominal ultrasound before an abortion.

Except that abdominal ultrasounds aren’t very useful until a woman is much further along in a pregnancy than the vast majority of women seeking abortions.

Transvaginal ultrasounds are used in early pregnancy.

Virginia’s law was only the first to be blatantly forcing transvaginal ultrasounds on women. All the other states just kept it quiet, hoping people wouldn’t figure it out.

These states require an ultrasound before a woman may have an abortion:

Alabama

Arizona

Florida

Kansas

Louisiana

Mississippi

North Carolina

Oklahoma

Texas

These states are just as bad as Virginia.

Well, now you know.

Why I Left Christianity: And Why I Stayed Away

In the beginning, it was just too painful. I’d been hurt so badly. I was also dealing with a great deal of stress from the three-year long divorce of my parents, along with stress from big changes in my life: a move across town from where I’d grown up, shifting from homeschooling to public school, and it was time for me to figure out what I was going to do after high school.

I was depressed. I was lonely. I was isolated. And I was worn out from trying to be strong for everybody for so long.

I simply could not deal with church. I couldn’t handle trying to find another church–another huge change. And so, on Sunday mornings, I slept. On Sunday and Wednesday nights, I took refuge in my bedroom, cuddling with books, or reaching out online.

I needed friends, family, and mentors who would be strong for me. I needed a support system that was nonjudgmental. I needed comfort. I needed love. I needed to feel safe. I needed someone to listen to me, someone to confide in, that wouldn’t run to the family court judge, my parents, or rat me out when college and military recruiters called.

In other words, I needed to be as far away from Christianity as I could get.

I found safe spaces. I found comfort and love. I found safety. And I promptly broke. Everything I’d held in came gushing out in a hot, ugly, blubbering, bleeding mess. Once it started, I couldn’t stop it–I had to suffer until the wounds had finished gushing.

I became very self-destructive. I did a lot of stupid shit while I was breaking down. My support system was a boy I met through Civil Air Patrol. First him, then his family. I spent a lot of time at their house. First hours. One day, I stayed so late my friend’s mother called my father and asked if I could stay the night. Soon I was spending my weekends at their home. Eventually, I stopped going home. This family homeschooled as well, and I took lessons with my friend. They took me in as their own.

I spoke of my problems primarily with my friend. The rest of his family just loved me. I felt so safe when I was there–so free. His parents didn’t prod–they waited until I was ready to talk to them.

They took me in without ever asking why.

They simply saw I dreaded going home, and let me stay.

I will forever be grateful to them.

I will forever love them as part of my family.

My friend had become fascinated with different religions. All things spiritual, he researched. I became fascinated, too. We spent hours at his computer reading. We huddled over countless books from the library. So began my spiritual journey.

All too soon, this happy period of my life came to an end. The family was moving across the country. I dreaded it. When my father found out, he called me home, afraid they would take me with them. They weren’t going to, despite it being my heart’s desire at the time. But still. They didn’t want my father to press charges, so they took me home.

Why did I stay away from Christianity once I’d healed, adjusted to my new life, and figured out what I was going to do after high school?

Simple: Christians.

Not so much the overtly hateful ones–they were easy to spot, and I avoided their toxicity like the plague. I avoided a lot of Christians.

No, it was the Christians who claimed to be different. The ones who claimed to love as Jesus did. The ones who were so quick to condemn their overtly hateful, judgmental brethren.

At first, they’d befriend me. They’d love me. They’d support me. They’d listen. They made me feel safe.

But there was always the inevitable betrayal.

Sometimes it would be by trying to draw me back into the church.

Sometimes it would be by pulling the “unequally yoked” card.

It was all conditional. If you can’t love me as I am, how can you love who you want me to be?

I have to say, the “unequally yoked” card broke my heart.

You broke my heart.

You stabbed a knife right into my heart, and ripped out a piece of my very soul.

The Christians who claimed to be different were so much worse. They waited until I loved them to tell me they hated me. Worse, they pretended still that they loved me. For a while, anyway.

Before that night, I’d found a new spiritual path that fulfilled me and made me happy. Afterwards? Nothing, no spiritual path, no religion could ever do that again. That part of me is dead.

My incense rots. My beautiful crystals sit in a bag in a drawer, untouched. My books lay unopened. I haven’t meditated in six years. My pretty tarot decks lay next to the crystals in the drawer. I can’t touch them. It hurts too much to do so.

Every spiritual path that existed for me, and could possibly exist, has grown over, been blocked by trees, and eventually fallen into the ocean, never to be seen again.

That is why I can’t go back.

Abortion: Not a Granted Right

I had an epiphany while reading Cunt this weekend. In Cunt, the author, Inga Muscio, talks about her abortions–all three of them. The first two were at a clinic, the third she induced herself.

My epiphany is this:

The Supreme Court did not grant women the right to an abortion. Nor did any of the other men in various parliaments and legislatures around the world.

Abortion is. It always has been, and always will be.

It is as much a fact of life as menstruation, masturbation, and sex.

This is so much more than “abortion will continue, whether or not it’s legal.” It will, it’s true, but more than that.

Abortion is not simply a medical procedure that doctors perform on women’s bodies. Only recently in human history have men been involved in abortion at all. Its had many names throughout history, in different cultures. But it was always the domain of women.

Women “kept their period regular.”

Women “brought on the courses.”

If you read carefully in literature, in myths, and in memoirs and histories, you will find it.

Men have not “given” it to us, nor can they take it away.

We will fight you in legislatures, and outside clinics, to keep abortion legal and accessible, absolutely. But abortion is ours. It is a part of our history. It is a fact of our lives. Abortion won’t go away. No more than you can take our monthly flow away. No more than you can keep us from masturbating.

Our uterus’, our ovaries, our vaginas, our cunts, cannot be taken away. Can’t have them. Our periods, our reproductive capability, our miscarriages and our abortions. Can’t take ’em.

How I Left Christianity Part Five: From Love to Condemnation

“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”

As a child, I was taught at church that Jesus loved me. Over and over again, this was the message I got.

Once I hit puberty, that all changed.

“You look like a prositute.”

“You’re leading your brothers astray. You need to dress more modestly.”

“What were you doing in the choir room alone with him? Were you messing around?”

Once I hit puberty, this is the message I got. This is what I was taught, over and over again. It wasn’t so much about love anymore. It was about my own depravity-my inheritance of sinful temptation that I received from Eve. I was to cover my body in layers of cloth. I was to change my behavior and cut off friendships that had existed since early childhood.

I wasn’t a loved child of God anymore. I was a filthy agent of Satan who had to be reined in at all costs.

“Jesus loves me! He doesn’t care what I wear! He loves me for who I am! He saved me despite my sins!”

I couldn’t say how many times I said some variation of that to my church. They never got it.

I felt like the church was dumping buckets of mud on me, and then telling me I was dirty, and it was all my fault. All I wanted was to go about my business: worshipping my Savior, talking to Him, and fellowship with my brothers and sisters.

Once I hit puberty, I was never allowed to do just that.

The adults in my church were so obsessed with the body parts I didn’t have, and didn’t know existed. I hadn’t developed breasts yet. I didn’t know I had a vagina. I seriously thought I peed out of my anus.

I had no interest in real boys. I loved the Backstreet Boys because I loved their music and I thought they were cute. But the boys in my life?

“Me? Kissing them? You are out of your mind. That’s weird. And gross. Ew. Pervert.”

I was so tired of it. How could I convince these adults to leave me alone?

I tried dressing more modestly. But it was never enough.

“Those pants hug your bottom. That’s inappropriate.”

“You shouldn’t wear tshirts with sarcastic remarks on them. That’s inappropriate.”

“Button up that shirt. I can see skin. That’s immodest.”

“Button that shirt up. No, it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing another underneath. Boys will think it’s not there, and that you’re naked. Button it all the way up.”

“Don’t let that sweater hang off your shoulders. Take it off, or wear it properly.”

I, along with the other girls, eventually took to wearing baggy pull-over hoodies and jeans. Of course, then there was bemoaning over the disrespect our generation showed to God because we weren’t dressing up.

I begged my mother to buy me more clothes. Of course, my parents didn’t have the money to purchase a new wardrobe to accommodate the ever-changing standards of proper modesty and dressiness of the church leaders.

You would have thought the song went something like this:

“Onward, Christian soldiers, to demean those teenage girls…”

It hurt me, deeply, to be treated this way by people I loved and admired…and trusted. I could never be good enough. I wasn’t a person. I was simply a tainted body.

When I took the purity pledge, I earned a brief respite from the constant barrage of insults and condemnations. It wasn’t long, though, before that was used as a weapon against me, too.

Why couldn’t I just be? I knew that I deserved better. I fought for it. I struggled to understand why it was so difficult for the people in my church to just let me be.

All of this? Once I ventured out into the world, once I had a taste of respect, of simply Being, I had no desire to go back to this.

Shit TAB People Say

“X disability is worse than yours.”

Really? And you know this…how?

Let me tell you something: Don’t try to measure the “badness” of shit you have never experienced. Don’t try to tell me how my own experiences measure up against someone else’s experience.

Contrary to what you might think, those of us with disabilites don’t sit around and compare our struggles in some sort of pissing contest.

Don’t you dare try to impose that on us.

We have enough to deal with. We get enough crap from TABs already.

I couldn’t even try to compare my epilepsy with someone else’s disability. Not even if they also had epilepsy-and a friend of mine does. Our experiences are different. Our treatments are different. It has impacted our lives in different ways. None of those differences mean that she has it worse than I do, or that I have it worse than she does.

We’ve bonded because of our mutual understanding, something that an able-bodied person could never have.

You can tell us nothing.

Check your privilege sometime, before I seize all over you.

Freedom Of Religion: What Happened?

“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.” —The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights

Freedom of religion.

This used to mean that every citizen had the right to her own beliefs in God. She had the right to choose her own church, and attend it freely. She had the right to pray to her own God, with no governmental inference.

This used to mean that every citizen had the right to belief in no god. She could not be compelled to attend church, or to pray to any god.

It meant that there was no State Church, no State religion.

When did it come to mean that the beliefs and practices of a faith held by a numerical majority of the country could be written into law?

When did it come to mean that the declarations of a religious system had to be given deferential treatment, that one’s faith held equal footing with science in the practice of medicine?

When did it come to mean that religious leaders held more sway with our government than its very own people?

What happened?

Church attendance has declined. Our knowledge of science has advanced. Technology has developed so quickly that our world has been changed dramatically. The power of the Church has been waning. It can no longer send armies to subdue heretics. Questions that humans have been asking for centuries are increasingly being answered by science. The Church is losing, every day, more and more, the status of having all the answers, to life, the universe, and everything.

It is no coincidence that religion is fighting for so hard now in this country what it fought against over two hundred years ago. They began fighting against it as almost as soon as they got it.