Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

No This Week Was Not Equal to Hitler

What a week it has been in the political and social world. Depending on your views on different subjects parts of this week probably left you feeling devastated while others left you elated. I am still greatly concerned about the implications of parts the voting rights act being struck down. I am happy for all of the families who were able to take a huge step forward in equality this week. Even though abortion is an issue that I find myself conflicted on (more on that later) I was proud to see a woman stand for 11 hours to fight for the women in her state and I was proud to see the people in her state join with her. That is how the system is suppose to work.

My reading this week has been full of some of the most thoughtful pieces ever. However it has also contained some of the most hateful. Now, I will admit I am a sensitive person, both to my own feelings and those of others. I do not shy away from conflict but I try to respect people’s feelings in the process. I am learning how to be a peacemaker without being a people pleaser. However, I do think we need to be sensitive to the feelings of others at times and I believe most subjects can be handled without name calling or ugly comparisons.

It is one of those comparisons that I saw multiple times this week that I am just really over. Comparing people or movements that you don’t like to Hitler and the Nazis. When people do this they are insulting both the group they talking about and all of the victims of the Holocaust. Maybe everyone needs a history lesson (I’ll leave that to my history major husband) on just how Hitler and the Nazi movement worked. On just how evil they were and how they set out to torture and eliminate entire groups of people they didn’t like. I think most people would agree that Hitler was one of if not the most evil people to ever live.

I can think of nothing going on in our country this week that comes close to comparing to this horrible period in history. However, I saw it multiple times directed at two different groups. The first place I saw it was addressing the LGBT community in reaction to the Supreme Court rulings. I have to say this is the one that puzzles me the most. You might not agree with marriage equality but really you think it is equal to killing 11 million people? I don’t think so.

The second group of people that I see frequently targeted with this label are people who believe that abortion should be safe and legal. Now, I see what people are going for on this one. They want to say that allowing abortion is no different than creating our own Holocaust. They want to say that we are trying to eliminate babies that are unwanted or might not be perfect. I have never agreed with this comparison but was reminded this week how incredibly hurtful it is to one group in particular. When you compare the pro-choice movement to Hitler and The Nazis you are saying that every woman that has sat there and made that impossibly hard decision is equal to one of the most evil people to ever walk the earth. This woman for whatever reason felt that she had no other way out is she really evil? The 17 year old who was raped at a party? The mother of two other children who had to face the choice abort the baby and live to raise her other children or carry the baby to term but risk her own life? Was that a choice that was evil? The one who learned that her child would not live outside the womb? The woman in an abusive relationship who still hasn’t figured out how to leave but is scared for her very life? Are these the women the faces of evil that would seek to systematically torture and kill millions of people. I know what you are thinking, “I’m not comparing them to Hitler. I’m just comparing the movement as a whole”. Well I’m telling you now that is not what these women hear. They hear “You are evil for what you did. Your choice ranks up there with the most horrible acts our world has ever known”. A friend of mine had this leveled at her this week on Facebook in a conversation that I started and I hate the pain that know it caused her.

I am not saying that if you are committed to the pro-life movement you need to stop fighting for it. If you firmly believe that life begins at conception then it is your right to speak up and explain your beliefs and to vote for people who share them. I am just asking you to think about your choice of words. Think about what results you want when you say them. Are you trying to shame women into your movement or do you really want change hearts and minds? if it is the second that I would suggest acting in love. Getting to know the women that have made the decisions find out their hurt and pain and why they made the decisions that they did. Maybe by having these conversations we might find out things that could help other women down the road who are facing the same choice. We might even stop more abortions because we took time to love others instead of labeling them as evil.

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Observations From The Pool

Today was the first perfect pool day that we have had this summer. Well, perfect by my standards (88-92 degrees, fairly low humidity, sunny, slight breeze) my kids would go any day that it is over 70 degrees. So after nap time we threw a bunch of snacks it the cooler, every water proof toy we own, 3 clean and 1 slightly less than clean towel into a bag and headed to the pool. There was just the right size crowd at the pool today. Just enough kids there for my kids to have other people to play with but not so crowded that it felt cramped. Since my kids were entertained by other kids for awhile I got to participate in one of my favorite activities, people watching.

Parents at the pool in the afternoon all have pretty much the same look on their face, ” We are here. I’m doing my best. How much longer until bedtime?” Since this was our first week day trip to the pool it was the first time we had seen a lot of our “pool friends” in a year. We saw dad who has kids in relative proximity to each of my kids. He always has a drink coozie with a drink that I’m pretty sure isn’t a Diet Coke. Hey, but he’s always interacting with his kids, he “judges” all the swim races that the kids have and is teaching his youngest to swim without a life jacket. So he is one of my favorite pool parents. There is the mom who was pregnant last summer and now has a three year old, a two year old, and an 9 month old. She just looks exhausted. I happily let her big girls play with Maggie’s ponies as she rocked the baby in the carrier and I could tell she was fighting to stay awake. There is the young man with autism that I have watched grow up. I have a special place in my heart for him. He loves the pool and playing with my boys. There were a few new kids that we don’t know yet but I am sure we will by the end of the summer. There were a few teenage girls who never got in the pool and a few young teenage boys who were being loud and crazy ( as they should be) and I watched my oldest and could tell he really wanted to join them. There was the lifeguard who did not seem to be having her best day ever.
It was a great afternoon. Everyone got just enough sun, played hard for hours, ate big dinners and went to sleep easily. Now I feel like our summer has really started.

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A Trip Down Memory Lane

I took my daughter to a consultation with an Ears Nose and Throat specialist this morning. Her immunologist and pediatrician both feel that her adenoids are probably causing a lot of her problems. So we met and discussed our options. Everyone seems to agree that surgery is probably in her future but let’s try and get through the summer without it.

All in all the visit was uneventful but was still like a trip down memory lane. The doctor’s office was in the same building that my oldest son received occupational and physical therapy in when he was younger. Oh, the memories that building holds. Days of victory, days of feeling like a complete failure as a mother, days of watching my child try so hard, and days of watching him refuse to try at all. Any parent of a child with special needs can relate to these memories. There are other memories I have of that building that have nothing to do with my child but with what happened to me during all the hours I spent in the waiting room.

During the time my son was in therapy God was making major changes in our family and in me as a person. Our world was changing as was our perception of it. I began to form relationships with the other parents in the waiting room. We shared stories of diagnosis, evaluations, therapy,etc. After awhile the conversations always turned to two things insurance and money. As I have written about before https://usemyvoice.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/more-than-a-sound-bite/ my family has always been blessed with very good insurance. Therapy is very expensive. When our insurance was at it’s best we paid $30 a week per therapy. That was 10% of the cost. Let that sink in for a minute. 45 minutes of occupational or physical therapy 6 years ago was $300. Oh, yea and actually many insurances don’t cover these kinds of therapies. I listened to the parents as they talked about what they did to pay for their child’s therapies. They became one car families (which is hard when you have to get a child to therapy), they worked multiple jobs (3-4 per family), their other children went without extra curricular activities. The most heartbreaking conversations were the ones when people would say, ” This is our last week. We just can’t make it work anymore”. They were being forced to give up the help their children so desperately needed.

It is because of these parents that I got to know and because of our family’s on going medical needs that I continue to be an outspoken advocate for healthcare reform. As I have said before I do not believe The Affordable Care Act is perfect nor do I believe that it will be a perfectly smooth transition. However, I can’t think of any major transition (even for great things) that were perfectly smooth. There are articles every day talking about how horrible it is going to be and other ones challenging those article. I am not going to post those here because you all know how to google (I will suggest Ezra Klein at Wonk Blog as a good place to start). I just want to remind everyone that the ACA is the only piece of national legislation to attempt to help the uninsured and under insured in our country in a very long time. It is the best thing we have and it is the only hope a lot of families have. I am glad that I was taken back to that building today to be reminded that God has called me to speak up for these families.

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