Names are important. They recognize an individual, make a person tangible, and give them worth. In the beginning of the first Harry Potter book, the villain is so awful that for a spell, they only refer to him as He Who Must Not Be Named. This is how I have come to think of the man who directed vile, lewd, and blatantly inhuman comments towards Sandra Fluke after her congressional testimony on the importance of women's reproductive rights. For years I have never liked saying his name because I didn't want to recognize that his force was sharing space with my world.
But recently, I was visiting with a woman from Bosnia. She and her family escaped during the war but much of her family is still there. She said, "Oh, I just received a text today from my brother. He always thinks of me on International Women's Day. It's so sweet. It's getting a little over the top, though, kind of like Christmas. Men sending roses and going big with the presents. I hate that. I don't want people to forget the real meaning of the day."
I didn't fully understand what she was talking about and felt quite embarrassed about it. But then she told me about International Women's Day, which celebrates the power of women and recognizing how far we have come in our rights and freedoms and choices all over the world. On a radio program later that day, I heard an Indian woman say, "I can't even believe that you are still discussing women's reproductive rights in the United States, of all places!"
Which brings me back to He Who Must Not Be Named. Perhaps he was abused by his mother. Or maybe one of his wives twisted his heart to pieces causing him to call a young woman he does not know a slut. To further request that she make videos of herself having sex so he could watch means he has no respect not only for women, but for himself. What would make any person say such things?
During the week of International Women's Day, at least one trail-blazing conservative women made it clear that He Who Must Not Be Named was being treated unfairly. Mrs. Palin, who likens herself to a mama grizzly, has apparrently forgotten about her female cubs when she says in an interview with CNN from Wasilla, Alaska, "Here is my two cents. I think the definition of hypocrisy is for Rush Limbaugh to have been called out, forced to apologize and retract what it is that he said in exercising his First Amendment rights and never is that the same applied to the leftist radicals who say such horrible things about the handicapped, about women, about the defenseless.”
Well, gosh. It's too bad you didn't have 50 cents worth to share because I would have loved to know more about how you explain such uncivil discourse to your children, female, handicapped, or otherwise.
Let's get real. Left or right matters not in any of this...it's about being human.
It's about modeling for our children how we treat all people. Having a civil disagreement is one thing, but this was blatant demonizing of a young woman speaking her mind. International Women's Day is supposed to highlight women around the world rising up to make their voices and causes heard. Sandra Fluke was but one example of someone doing just that.
It makes me sad to think that on my home turf, supposedly the greatest country on earth, Ms. Fluke is learning the hard way that we have miles to go before we get any sleep.
My own silence was making me crazy. Ignoring a problem does not make it go away. Yet one misguided man cannot chart the course of women's history.
Or can he?
I have decided the risks are too great because there are a few names that mean more to me than anyone by the name of Rush Limbaugh.
Lucy and Benjamin.
No villain, real or imaginary, will ever overpower the love I feel for my children.
And our country is better than one disgusting headline. If men in Bosnia are showering women they revere with roses because they recognize their power and worth, for God's sake, I can speak up for a 30 year old woman in the United States doing exactly what I would want my own daughter to do. For Lucy, I am talking with my signature, in the fall I will talk with my vote, and as I see fit, I will talk with my wallet through organizations that seek to strengthen women's voices everywhere. For my children, I am engaging with friends and family to add to the conversation that all women are powerful, meaningful, vital contributors to our world at-large who deserve to be heard and treated with respect all the time.
They say silence can be deadly...and for Lucy and Benjamin, I am not taking any chances.
It would stand to reason that after reading some tips on successful blogging that I would grind to a screeching halt, much like baking a chocolate cake after starting a diet.The tip I ran across in several sources said, "Blog every day!" But here is what happens to me. The ideas I have come mostly fully formed. In the shower, the car, at any time when my brain is mildly afloat and usually when I am not near a computer. So I jot down my ideas on scraps of napkin, the notebooks I try to have on hand for such purposes, or the backs of lost school papers when the journals aren't present hoping that I can re-capture as much as I can. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't. Then the mind games set in. I give it a go and if I don't like the result, I save the post but never publish. A few days pass, I try again, and then I work myself into a lather. If I didn't post yesterday, what's another day going to hurt? Before you know it, seven days have passed and the thing I love is shriveling up like most plants I have ever tried to care for. I do not do well with plants, and I have much higher hopes for this blog.
At any rate, I am here with scraps of this and that trying to piece together my next post...don't forget about me. I haven't forgotten about you.
Thing 2 wants nothing to do with hearts, red and pink construction paper, and any mention of kissing will prompt the gag reflex. A babysitter once shared that he seemed anxious on one of her visits. She asked him what was wrong, and he asked if he HAD to get married when he grew up. She said no...it wasn't a law or anything. The weight of the world appeard to be lifted from his shoulders. Had he not been so obviously physically and mentally relieved, it would have been funny. She is a good babysitter who knows when and when not to laugh.
But....I will tell you that Thing 2 carries his love in unexpected ways. He still seeks out my hand to hold. After chess club, he thinks nothing of walking down the hallway of his school with his hand wrapped tightly around mine. I never let go of it because who knows when it will happen again? I fear my days are numbered. The discussion of Valentine's Day prompted indignance. "We love each other everyday...we don't need a special day for this... and chocolate is good to me any day of the week." True, baby boy, true.
And while he reigns as the best sleeper in this house, occasionally he asks if I will just "snuggle up for a few minutes until I feel good." My heart breaks while I casually hang out just a little longer than necessary. I know this because he prompts my leaving by saying, "Thanks. That's enough, mom."
If there is Freaudian crap involved, I do not want to know. What I want is to put these moments in a bottle and store them up for the less-than-loving moments that are sure to come.
Thing 2 wants nothing to do with hearts, but he certainly has mine.