Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blacks and Dems: Inextricably Linked?

I just posted the following in the comments section of an essay posted by Tim Wise.

"Just because someone is democratically, liberally, and/or progressively minded does not mean they are historically and socially aware (and prepared to act for) of the struggles of people of color."

I was thinking of this while driving down the street the other day.  My initial thought: just because someone is a Democrat, does that automatically mean they are down for the cause of  Blacks?  Not necessarily.  The two are not synonymous.

I finally understand why people older than me have been yelling for years that Blacks give their support to Democrats way too easily--almost as if they don't even need to work for it.  Now, I'm by no means saying that we should run out and blindly support Republicans, Libertarians, Green Party, or anyone else.  In fact, we should never blindly support anything.  Make them work for it.  Make them prove that they are worthy to have your support... this goes for anything.  Not just politics.

While riding in my car that day, I was reflecting on being able to converse with people where I work about politics because some of my colleagues and I share similar values.  Compared to other people I know, this is a privilege.  While I still tread lightly (Momma didn't raise a fool), once I hear their opinions, I cautiously add my two or ten cents.  Thinking on this, of course, inevitably led me to segue to a million things and ultimately brought me to my question mentioned above.

While I understand that in recent years (decades even), many of the causes of Democrats are similar to and linked to the causes of Blacks, these terms and fights are not inextricably linked.  The causes of Blacks are more likely to be fought by progressive minded people, but that doesn't mean the causes of Blacks can't also be fought by people of other minds.  Because I suppose the opposite of my initial statement would be true: just because someone is not progressively minded doesn't mean that they are not historically and socially aware of the struggles of people of color.  However, I have a harder time swallowing this based on recent events from the Party of No.

As I age, I've begun to regret more and more being labeled so freely.  It seems that someone always needs a label to define something or someone.  Why the label?  Why the need to identify as Democrat, Republican, Green, etc.?  Why can't we just be?  I appreciate the label of Independent because it carries so much weight.  It means that I freely pick and choose where I fit.  I am independent--free thinking, free choose, free minded, "free from outside control" as my nifty dictionary just said.  But hell, Independents can't even vote in Dem or Repub primaries in some states.  Is that truly a fair election if some able-bodied and present-minded people who want to vote cannot simply because they choose not to be labeled by the two dominant parties?  

But to get anything accomplished, I suppose we must align ourselves with someone, some label, or step out on our own and make our own party, which is an uphill battle if ever there were one.  But they need us too.  Dems, Repubs, Greens, whomever--they need us (the people, not just folks of color) to help move along their elections and we need them to move along our causes.

Another thought: just because someone is a person of color doesn't mean they truly understand and are willing to fight for the struggles of people of color.  I'll expound on this one another day...

In the end, what we must do is stop assuming a politician (of any party) has your best interest at heart and make sure they listen to your interests and fight for your cause.  People fight to get to Washington with the best of intentions, but we know what the road to hell is paved with.  People go there trying to make a difference and some truly do (thank you Mr. President), but they are constantly fighting the status quo, and good ole Mr. Quo doesn't want things to change.  For those politicians who do make changes in the face of a hellcat Mr. Quo, thank you.  Keep fighting!
However, as citizens, we must stop blindly following!  And certainly, stop blindly supporting!  As I was reminded on a video I watched today: Ask Questions. Demand Answers.

So, the lesson for today boys and girls: Fight for your causes, Demand your elected officials do the same, Stop following blindly, and PUSH (pray until something happens) because no one's cause can be fought and won without proper support.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Something has to change

This was originally written a really long time ago.  I hesitated to publish it because I don't like to seem judgmental about people or things.  
On the other hand, this is my blog and my thoughts...
Only God can judge any of us. 

I ran across this article while checking my email tonight (Dec. 2009) and I'm stunned, shocked and a bit flabbergasted.

This article discusses surrogacy and its laws in this country. In light of Nadya Suleman and her octuplets and the many families and women going through this, I feel compelled to speak.
The laws in this country concerning surrogacy, IVF and all other means of artificial insemination must change.

An episode of Law and Order last season made me want to go out and rant about how the justice system of this country must evolve quicker and get with the times.  On this episode, there was a video taping of a crime that would have been perfect evidence for the prosecution because it clearly showed who the perpetrators were, but because the tape could not be authenticated because it had been posted online, the tape was thrown out.  This episode was a clear example of the legal system not having evolved with the technological age enough.  With all the technology available to us and especially available to the government, every person who posts anything can ultimately be tracked.  (Don't think for a second that Big Brother is not watching you!)  While I clearly understand the importance of authenticating evidence and the means by which it was obtained, I mean, damn, here's the crime on tape, and it's been proven that the tape hasn't been altered in any way, so what's the deal.

Now, in terms of surrogacy, according to this article, this country has different laws and regulations per state.  As we can all recall from the Suleman situation, IVF has no laws on how many eggs can be implanted--they only have "guidelines."  Guidelines get broken!  (Just like rules are meant to be broken, right?)  Let's be real.  
I understand the need to implant a few eggs because there is no guarantee which ones or how many will turn into babies, but why was Suleman implanted with so many eggs knowing how many kids she had at home?  Hell, why was she even allowed to receive IVF again considering how many kids she had at home?  But hey, whatever!  We have the right to procreate how we want and how many times we want.  I just pray those kids are well taken care of at all times!  

Now, as for the cases in this article, the first situation with the Kehoes and Bakers--geez!  Neither woman or family had genetic ties to the children, so seriously who is the mother?  Should the mother not be the woman who sought these children out?  Ms. Kehoe went through a lot to "create" these kids, so shouldn't she have the right to them?  But perhaps that's the bigger issue of this whole case--should we have the right to "create" kids in this manner where neither the mother or father are genetically linked to the children and the mother-to-be doesn't even carry the kids for whatever reason.  How far is too far?  Getting someone to carry your child for you because your body physically can't do it is one thing, but it seems another thing altogether when you find someone else's egg, find someone else's sperm, find someone to carry the implanted eggs, and then plan to take the kids home after those long 40 weeks.  (Goodness, does 40 weeks seem like forever the closer you get to week 40!)  Is it something else altogether?  Or is it not?
Realistically, on the other hand, who are we (society or laws) to decide when and how people "conceive" and bring their children into the world?  We certainly can't dial back the clock and remove the option of people to use surrogates; they'll just go to another country.  And I certainly don't want a "world police" deciding this matter for the entire world.  But where do we draw the line?  How do we draw the line?  Do we even draw a line?

For instance, the other guy mentioned in the article--who in the heck didn't do their job in investigating this guy before his kids were  "created" and implanted in the surrogates?  I mean, we all know the media reports what they choose, but from the info in the article, it seems that someone dropped the ball in investigating this guy before hand.  He seems a little "special" and ill-prepared to be a parent of twins.  (Hell, some couples aren't prepared to be parents of twins when they were expecting one bundle of joy, but they catch their breath and get it together in due time.)  But as the famous phrase goes: you need a license to drive a car, but you don't need a license to have kids.  Perhaps we should.  But that scares me too!

I can only imagine the potential fear parents like the Kehoes face.  I mean, these people went out of their way to get the children they wanted in their lives and because of legalities and someone else's concerns (founded or unfounded--who knows), the children were taken from them?  I mean, geez!

There are no clear cut answers to this issue, which may explain why each state regulates how their citizens deal with this.  I find myself doing what I complain about when I'm reading other folks.  Asking a whole bunch of questions, hypothesizing on a whole bunch, and offering some suggestions.  

Again, I can't judge and my only concern is that those babies are well taken care of.

The Founding Fathers certainly didn't have surrogacy in mind when they wrote our laws.


IMO or IMHO: Why?

Why to people feel the need to use the phrases "In my opinion," "In my honest opinion," or their lettered forms?  If you're spouting your beliefs and clearly not attributing what you're about to say to someone else, why is there a need to use the phrase?  Just state your idea!

Using the phrases add fluff.  Why the fluff?  Do you need the fluff to make your ideas sound better or more important?

This isn't a big deal and it really doesn't bother me.  Just one of those things that popped in my head randomly.