Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Sunny September Day

I woke up about the usual time, but wasn't going to work immediately because I had a Dr's appointment on the south side of town. Therefore, the normal rush to get ready for work wasn't part of my routine that day. I could take my time. I made myself a cup of coffee and turned on the news. There it was, a plane had hit one of the twin towers in New York City. Initially, I didn't realize what type of plane, I assumed it had to be a small private plane and I figured someone passed out,or had a heart attack thus losing control of the plane, because how could anyone get so off course as to hit something so obvious, so visible, something that dominated the landscape of New York City the way the towers did.

I got up from the couch and started doing things around my apartment while listening to the continued news coverage. It was then that I heard it was a commercial jet that hit the tower. I don't know what everyone else was feeling at that moment, but I knew then we were being attacked, i knew it just wasn't possible that a commercial jet could actually hit the towers. A plane would never even get that close to them, you have a pilot and a co-pilot, and air traffic control; an error of that magnitude just wasn't possible. I knew that the unthinkable had happened, but I didn't know the horror that was yet to come.

By the time I left for my Dr's appointment the second tower had been hit, as well as the Pentagon. I can't explain very well what I was feeling at that point. I wasn't feeling anger yet, I wasn't wondering about the loss of life yet, I wasn't worried about anyone in my family and whether they were safe or not. However, that's just me, I'm sure a lot of those feelings were consuming the hearts and minds of citizens all over the country. I guess at that point I was just numb.

I started driving and turned on the radio to listen to the news coverage. Like you have heard so many times, the weather that day was perfect, absolutely beautiful. I was driving around I-465 on the south side, shortly before getting to my exit at Emerson avenue, the first tower fell. It had not even entered my mind in anyway shape or form that something like that would happen. When it did, it all started to sink in for me. To this day, I'm not sure, but I don't even think I ended up going into my Dr's office. I remember driving and saying "oh my God." I said it out loud. Different people show their emotions in times like that in different ways. I cried. It hit home what was being done to us, what the loss of life was going to be, and that we had finally experienced a terrorist attack in a way that I doubt many of us thought could ever happen here. Not here, not in the continental United States, not in our biggest city. It just couldn't happen, not to us.

The next emotion I remember feeling was fear. I had no way of knowing if it was all over or not, if other areas of the country were being attacked, or what might be next. I immediately went to the home of my 1st wife and mother of my two oldest kids who were 11 and 6 at the time. I needed to make sure they were okay, I needed to find out if the school had called, were they on lock down, were they safe or not. Once I felt comfortable, I left and went to my mothers house. Mom would have been alone, Dad was working. I grew up in that home, in every way it represents the innocence of childhood to me, and I wanted to be there to check on my mom, and in some way that I cant explain, I felt safe there, I just felt it was where I needed to be at that moment.

I eventually went to work, I wish I hadn't. It annoyed me that people were actually still calling about their insurance claim, wanting to know the status of it and when they might receive "their money". It's kind of sick really, that anyone would still be thinking of something so trivial. I remember talking to my kids, I needed to hear their voice.

Today, I watched some of the replay of the live coverage that was being shown on MSNBC. Thumbs up to them. Frankly, i think it should be shown every year. I don't believe in dwelling on that horrible day, but I also don't believe in forgetting it either. I realize nobody can literally forget such and event, but, sadly, I really think we are back to a point in this country where many people think that it can't happen here, not again anyway. I really hope I'm wrong about that, but I don't think I am.

I lost no friends or relatives in the attack, my wife did lose friends and co-workers that she had worked with at the Pentagon. I hope for all of the families that lost loved ones and friends, that they are finding some sort of peace as the days and years go by. It was later on that we learned of the effort of those everyday ordinary citizens who lost their lives over a field in Pennsylvania and what they had done. Every single account I have ever heard about that portion of the tragedy was about men and women, calling him to check on their family and to make sure that they would be okay, and to simply say goodbye. There are no accounts of phone calls being made that consisted of cries of help, or panic, or questions of who was going to help them. I don't know if they knew exactly what the results of their actions would end up being, but those normal, average, everyday citizens probably saved thousands of lives, by giving there own. If that isn't a reflection on the greatness of this country then I don't know what is.

With all of our scars, this is still a wonderful country, there is no place else that I would rather be. God Bless America.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom

Well, tomorrow my family will be gathering to celebrate my mothers 80Th birthday which is actually on Monday, August the 16Th. August the 16Th is also special for another reason, on that day, my parents will have been married for 63 years.

I honestly can't believe my parents are both in their 80's. It just doesn't seem possible. But, then again, it doesn't seem possible that their youngest child is 48 either. Inside I still feel like the same kid who was trying to explain to them why yet another basement window was broken due to playing baseball in the backyard.

It's hard watching them get older. However, I am so blessed to still have them both when so many of my friends have lost one, if not both of their parents. My dad has had more health problems than I can count, including a recent fall which led to stitches and a black eye! Who was the first person to run to him? My mom, but that's no surprise, she has been by his side every step of the way, through good times and bad. My mom is a real unsung hero. The sacrifices she has made of her own time and energy to take care of my dad through the years is beyond explaining. But you will never here her say a word about it. I am writing this blog in honor of her and her 80Th birthday.

My mom is a wife and mother. She is still great at both, but her 4 children all probably feel like she still tries to mother a bit too much, but trying to stop that is like trying to stop the wind, it isn't happening. The only recourse you have is to sit there and take it as she kisses you on the cheek and in my case, reminds me that I'm always going to be her baby!! Ugh! Mom, stop!!!

I suppose by today's standards and by those who deem themselves to be more "enlightened" about whats most important in life, my mom would not be viewed as a successful person. How could she be? She didn't go to college, and worse yet, didn't seek out a career of her own, but chose to stay home with her children and lend support to her husband who at times worked 3 jobs to provide for the family. I'm not knocking today's women at all; we live in different times and in many cases the mother has to work in order to bring in enough financials for the family to survive. Having said that though, there are still those women who choose to work outside the home along with their husband so as to live the level of comfort they have decided they need. I'm not knocking that either, it's a personal choice. What I find frustrating though, is so many times it's implied that unless your a "career" woman, you are somehow choosing to be less than you could be. So let me just say flat out, my mother is just as successful as any doctor, lawyer, business leader, politician, that you can name. How many marriages last 63 years anymore? How many people sacrifice much of their own time to care for one other individuals needs, and has done so for years?

When I was younger, I often times felt my mom was naive. I can remember having conversations about tragedies in the world, or something bad someone did to someone else or was rumored to have done. My moms response was always something to the effect of "oh, i don't believe that, nobody would do something like that". I was always bothered that my mom was so non-confrontational. I felt like she tended to put her head in the sand when she needed to speak out about the wrongs of the world and the wrongs she saw around her. However, as Ive grown older, I've come to understand better why mom responded as she responded that way so many times. It was because of her heart; her kind, loving, unprejudiced, unbiased, hopeful, patient, forgiving, adoring heart. My mom does her best to see the good in everyone, always has, still does. I'm telling you, Hitler could have lived next door and while conscious of his evilness, my mom would have baked him cakes and tried to change him with love. Is that going to far the other way? I mean, at times we have to confront evil don't we? Yes, i guess what I'm saying is my mom, in my opinion, was too nice at times and showed that tendency not to want to confront things. But having grown up now, and reflected on her personality, and how she raised me I can tell you one thing; if there was a little bit more of my mom in everyone, there would he a lot less hate, a lot less prejudice, a lot more patience, a lot more forgiveness; in short, the world would be a much better place than it is.

My mom was a mother to a lot more people than just her 4 children. My friends loved coming to my house. Most of the time that I wanted to have someone stay all night, she welcomed them in as one of her own. I have one friend that I don't talk to much anymore but when I do, he always asks about Ray and Barb, and the times he stayed all night, or went with us on vacation, etc. There were even years where a friend of my sisters celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with us, because she had no real family in town. My mom always considered her just another daughter.

Having said all of that, if I were to try and give someone a picture of my mom, someone that didn't know her, I would focus on her care of my father over the years. My dad started having his heart problems in his late 40's. After heart attacks, open heart surgery, abdominal surgery to remove an aneurysm, a staff infection that almost took his life just a few years ago, she has been by his side whether it be at the hospital, at home, or anywhere she needed for him to be. It might not seem like a lot, but think about being in your 70's and sitting in a hospital room everyday and night, only to go home to clean up, catch your breath a little before you head back to the hospital. If you saw the amount of pills my dad has to take, you would think that in order to make sure he gets what he needs, an expert in algebraic equations would be necessary to figure it out! My mom has done it for years, I think she even once made a chart so she wouldn't loose track of what he needed and when. The Bible describes the wife as a help mate, you might as well put a picture of my mom next to that verse.

As for the care of her children, I wouldn't know where to begin or end. My siblings and I, as most kids do, have put her and dad through hell at times I'm sure, with worry over our decisions, or our problems, anxiety's and fears. Since I've been a father now for some 20 years, I realize how much emotional energy is spent hoping the best for your kids, fearing they may have made a bad decision, or hoping that life treats them kindly and that they find more happiness than you did. A parent wants their children to be better than they were. My mom, with her sacrifice for her children, has always conveyed that. Those qualities I mentioned earlier, love, patience, kindness, forgiveness, the willingness to see the best in a person, has always been something she showed in the raising of her children.

I have numerous special memories of my mom that both go back to my childhood, a couple of which I'll mention. The first one was how I was treated when I was sick. Talk about a mother!! I almost miss being in misery with ear aches due to the treatment I got! She always made me feel safe and secure and that I would feel better soon. She spent many mornings with me, as I lay on the couch sick, watching games shows and such. The simplest things create the greatest memories. She is still creating them by the way. I recently broke my leg and she and dad have brought up at least 3 meals so far!. Not so much to make over me, but to help Jasmine out. The second one I have is the time I spent with her during lunch while in school. I don't think this happens anywhere anymore, but my elementary school was literally around the corner from my house. At lunchtime, you actually got to go home!! It is so ingrained in my mind, that I think I even remember the time frame, it seems like you had from 12:10 to 1pm, though I could be wrong. I would go home, knowing I had what they used to call "beef cookin bags" or a fritter, or a cheeseburger, or something delicious waiting on me. I would eat, watch Cowboy Bob, and then if we had time, my mom and I played the marble game aggravation together before i went back too school. All very simple things, but things that are in my heart and my memory that will never leave.

Nothing that I could write about my mom does her complete justice. But she wouldn't expect anything anyway. That's just her and the humble way in which she carries herself.

Mom, your something special. I love you so very much. Happy birthday mom, from a very very grateful son.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vacation-Day 3,4, and 5.

Monday, Day 3:

We deliberately made this a lazy day. We just hung out in the cabin and played games. I got the beating of my life in a game of Risk. I still think the game needs a nuclear option. We did go out for dinner at a place called Brothers Restaurant where I had one of the best prime rib cuts I've ever eaten!

Tuesday, Day 4:

We went to a flea market in the morning. There was one guy selling a bunch of old Beatles 45's. I so wanted to just buy them all up but I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money. Getting around was a challenge, a couple of steep hills that I had to crutch my way down to get to the market. I gave in and let Jasmine go get the SUV to pick me up. I'm starting to understand why it's hard to let people do things for you all the time when you have an injury that limits your abilities. I don't like being a burden. I know it's my family, and they love me, and would do anything for me, but I still don't want them to change routines just because of me. After the flea market we went to a placed called Waffle King for breakfast. It was good, but nothing any better than you get at Waffle House which was just down the street. Something happened really nice while we were there. We got there and one table was available and a lady was getting ready to sit down in it and she saw me on my crutches. She insisted we take the table. That's one thing about the south I like, it tends to be more laid back, even in places like Texas, and you feel it. I get the feeling that wouldn't have happened in New York, or Chicago, but who knows, I'm sure there are nice people everywhere. We ended the day by going to this mountain are where there were alot of monuments dedicated to biblical themes; I looked, and was surprised that i found nobody from the ACLU protesting it's existence. I imagine they were too busy ensuring that a Mosque can be built near ground zero. Don't get me started.

Wednesday, Day 5:

Slept in late. Left for a large lake in nearby Georgia that we wanted to see. We spend some time there and let Hannah frolic in the water a bit. It was very pretty and i will try to post some photos later on. We had another nice down home cooked meal at a family style restaurant. Yummy! Well, except the fried pickles I tried, no so much. My leg, foot, and ankle, see to be doing better. I've been trying to go without my brace as much as I can when I'm in the cabin. My biggest worry is my knee, that's where some of the pain seems to be concentrated at even though they are telling me they don't think there is damage, time will tell. Ended the day with a game of clue which yours truly won. Mr Green, in the theater, with the pistol. I new it all along.

P.S. Over these three days, Brett Favre retired, then it was reported it wasn't a sure thing, then it was reported he will play if his doctor gives him the okay as it regards his ankle. Somethings never change. It really doesn't matter, my favorite quarterback Aaron Rodgers is going to lead the Packers to the Super Bowl anyway this year :).

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vaction-Day 2

This morning started out with concern over my leg. Well, actually my foot. It and my ankle were more swollen then they have been since I broke the leg. The skin around it was also cracking and extremely dry. We called Jasmines uncle who is a physical therapist and he said not to be alarmed. I guess the cracking is normal when it is as swollen as it is. He suggested we go buy some compression socks (the kind you see a lot of older people wear) so we did just that. I have a very stylish white and black pair. I suddenly feel the need to wear some plaid shorts, dress shoes, and walk around with a metal detector but i digress. We really can't pinpoint the reason for the sudden swelling. It may have been that the ride was a little harder on my leg than I thought; obviously I was limited in my ability to keep it elevated. I also had more pain today than I have in quite some time. Most of it was in my knee; and I can't help but get nervous when that happens. Despite the doctors feeling that the knee is okay, it will be sometime before we know that for sure. Okay, tired of the discussion about my injury? Good, because so am I.

Today, we all slept in late. We went into town and ate at a place called Doyle's. Jasmine had a huge plate of nachos, Abby had a burger, Jason had chicken wings, Hannah had chicken fingers, and yours truly put away a fried grouper that was very good, but not quite as good as Plumps in Broad Ripple.

After eating, we headed for Wal-mart to get some groceries for the the evening and for some meals to have during the remainder of the week. This was quite the adventure because we learned that GPS gets really confused when you are very close to 3 separate states! North Carolina, (where we are technically at), Tennessee, and Georgia. We plugged in "Wal-Mart", the GPS insisted it was 3 miles down the road on your right. Well, it was actually about 7 miles down the road on the right. It took about 30 minutes to find something that should have taken us about 10. Technology does in fact let you down once in awhile.

When we got back to the cabin we had a lot of fun. We enjoyed the incredible view of the Smokies again, made pizza, played a game called Imagine If, and closed out the evening by watching the Mummy. Tomorrow night I've talked them into watching Rocky, one of my all time favorites. Jason and Abby have never seen it, Jasmine is still upset with the Academy of Arts and Sciences for giving it the Oscar for best picture in 1976. She just doesn't get it!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Vacation Day 1

It's been ages since I've posted anything so I thought I would stay in practice with my writing by posting a few comments while on vacation. We left this morning around 9am and made really good time, getting to our cabin around 8pm. This included some stops so I could get out and stretch my leg for awhile. I had very little discomfort getting here and in fact sat in the front seat with Jasmine the entire time instead of sitting in the back stretched out like I thought I would have too at some point.
I spent some time reading on the way down, (no shock there), and it's no shock for those that know me well that the reading involved some political articles and a book called Common Sense. My reading is almost always non-fiction!

The kids did wonderful on the drive, including Hannah who I think only got upset once and that was when we had to cut her off from eating her dinosaur gummy bears! Jasmine of course had to do all of the driving due to my broken leg. She is awesome, she has been extra busy since i broke my leg and with help from the kids, did all the packing, the loading and unloading of the car, and made dinner when we got here. The road up to the cabin is very steep, and its all gravel. It's not a drive you really want to make after dark, and we didnt have time to go to the grocery or anything for fear we wouldn't find our way back if it got dark!! Therefore, we just made pancakes. In fact, I tried pancakes with peanut butter and syrup on them since we have no butter yet. I've heard of eating them this way but never had before; all in all, pretty tasty. There is only one thing missing, and that is Taylor. I miss her humor and how much she likes to joke around. However, i admire her. She was given permission by the marching band director to miss band camp if she wanted, but she elected to stay so she wouldnt get behind on the needed practice time before they begin their marching band program. I know she would have missed the fun of being with the other band members during such an important week. Taylor, if you read this, we are having fun but we miss you.

Everyone is pretty tired after the drive. It's just Jason and I up at the moment and we are watching some episodes of Arrested Development!! This is one of the most underrated shows ever to appear on tv. It was cancelled after only 3 seasons despite winning numerous awards. Leave it to televison executives!! I can't remember what replaced it but it was likely yet another stupid unreal reality show!!

It's funny, when i started this blog I intended it to be somewhat political in nature including some posts on historical things such as the founding fathers, etc. I will get around to that, but those posts take more time and effort and i find myself getting worked up at times given the absurd things i see happening in this country i hold so dear and love so much. Therefore, I sometimes just need to get away from all of that and just ramble as I'm doing now. I'm working on an entry that I'm going to call "Power and Apathy" that i hope to post sometime in August.

I guess that's it for now. Im not sure what we have planned for tomorrow yet. I know I'm going to miss not being able to hike, but thats a little hard to do when your on crutches. I can't believe how fast your muscles deteriorate when you cant used them. n my first physical therapy session yesterday, I found out the thigh on my broken leg side was 1" smaller as to circumference when compared to my other leg. But, I'll get it built back up. If you have seen some of my posts on Facebook, my motto for the time I spend in physical therapy is "BRING IT"!

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Never Served

I never served. This weekend, I won’t be struggling with thoughts of a loved one lost while at war. In fact, I hardly know anyone having to deal with that type of loss. My dad served in the Navy, towards the end of World War II, I had both a brother and brother-in-law, serve in the Army but did so towards the tail end of the Vietnam War. In all three cases, they were fortunate enough to have never been in harms way. My wife served in the Air Force as an Intelligence Analyst during the 1990’s and spent much of her time at the Pentagon. She had to leave the Air Force due to a disability and did so before 9/11. I do have a dear friend from my childhood who lost a brother in Vietnam, and I have a friend who served in that same war and fortunately was able to come home though many of his friends did not. That same friend saw things in war that define the word horror. Like most people who have served, he is very humble about it, and likely would not want me to share any stories he has shared with me, nor would he want his name mentioned. I will honor that because I respect him more than he probably realizes. I know he carries memories. I once asked him if he had ever visited “The Wall” in Washington D.C. and he told me he hadn’t, and didn’t think he ever could. I had a chance to visit it a few years ago; I looked up the name of one of his friends, as I did the brother of my childhood friend. It was very moving being there, but I wasn’t carrying the pain and loss that so many do when they visit.

I never served. I don’t really have a reason why. The Vietnam War had ended in the mid 1970’s. It had been a controversial war to some, so as a boy of 13 or 14 years of age, I probably heard some negative things about it all. I remember stories of how our Vietnam veterans were treated when they came home. Perhaps that combined with the fact that the draft had ended eliminated any thought of serving from my mind. I don’t remember, but I was likely very happy that I didn’t have to serve. I was able to graduate from high school, and go on with my life without a second thought of having to spend any time in the military like so many before me had.

I never served. I’m now 47 years old, about to turn 48. It’s funny how time changes your perspective on things. Maturity does something to you, something good I think. As I was growing up, the weekend leading up to Memorial Day was all about a race and about grilling out. Today, I don’t get into the race like I used too. I still fire up the grill, and I turn on the race because it’s just something you do if you live in Indianapolis and its race day. However, what I find myself doing more and more of is thinking. I think about what families who have lost loved ones in war are going through. I wonder if their pain eases over time, I wonder if despite the tragedy they feel a sense of pride and honor about it all. I find myself thinking about what my life would be like had not so many before me made the ultimate sacrifice. I hear everyone talk about how we need to be thankful for those that died to protect our freedoms. I hear it so much, that I hope it hasn’t become something that people just say because they feel like their supposed too. I was like that at one time I think, especially when I was younger. I’m like that no longer though. I will find myself searching for things on TV this weekend that tell stories of the many sacrifices so many of our young men and women have made. There isn’t anything that gets to me emotionally like seeing a man in his 80’s tell stories and share memories about a buddy lost in World War II and after all these years, watching him still break down and cry. Even while writing this, a commercial came on TV that shows a young woman in the Army, walking through an airport. An elderly man, a veteran, sits nearby and sees her. He slowly stands up on legs that have grown old and feeble, they lock eyes, she smiles at him, and he proudly salutes her. If something like that doesn’t move you; cause you to pause and reflect, I don’t know what will.

I never served. I never served and to be honest, I regret it. I’m not saying that I wish I would have experienced war. I’m just saying that for a country that has given me so much, provided me with so much happiness and freedom, I wish I would have done more. I don’t know, maybe I still can in some way. I often wonder how I would have responded had I experienced war and death. Would I have run and curled up in a corner, being afraid to die; or, as I suspect, would my instincts of survival kick in and I fight with all my might to protect and defend. I don’t guess it really matters, because so many men and women have done that for us, and they still do to this day. Young lives are lost, husbands and wives are lost, children are lost, parents are lost, brothers and sisters and dear friends are lost so that you and I can have freedom.

I never served. I never served but I wish I had. I know this will cause an eyebrow or two to rise, but sometimes I wish the draft had never stopped and that it was still in effect. I know, there goes my chance to get elected, right? I mean, how much of the youth vote did I just lose? Think about it; we have so much going on right now, so many threats in so many places, I often wonder if we have enough men and women serving in our military forces. I hope so. But that really isn’t why I feel the way I do. Is it really too much to ask to give a couple of years of ones time to a country that gives so much in return, so many opportunities? This country affords us all so many wonderful possibilities; there is no place like it on the face of the earth. Is it too much to ask to spend a couple of years protecting and defending her?

I never served. I never served but others did, and others died. Saying thank you seems so meaningless, so empty, so lacking, but it’s all I can come up with. Because so many have died protecting this great nation, I guess I get a little ticked off at this notion that our leaders feel the need to apologize to other nations and make sure that they realize we have made mistakes. Have we made mistakes? I suppose we have but I am hard pressed to come up with anything specific. I don’t think for one minute that we are “better” than anyone else, but what I will say and I will say it with pride; we have in our history “behaved” better than most. It brings to mind these words by Colin Powell; “And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, “Okay, we defeated Germany, now German belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. And that is the kind of nation we are.” Apologize? I think not!!!

I never served. I never served but to those who have and are, thank you. To each and every person who has but a memory of a loved one to hold on to this weekend, I humbly say thank you, and may the wonderful memories of your loved one lost, bring you peace, honor, and pride. God bless you, and God bless this great nation of ours, The United States of America.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A TRUE Feminist View on Motherhood

I watch the news a lot. According to my wife, I watch it too much. I guess it comes out in the amount of agitation and worry I show over certain topics, the way the media handles things, and the fact I want to start a movement to kidnap Keith Olbermann, stuff him in a box, and send him to a far away country. Wherever he ends up, even if it’s on an island of 100 or so, he will have as many loyal viewers as he does now.

To be honest, I think we all naturally gravitate to reporters, commentators, etc., who tend to share our viewpoint on things. I think that’s human nature. I mean, let’s be honest, given two choices, would you want to be in room one with 100 people who have political views the polar opposite of you or would you prefer to be in room two with 100 people that view the world in a similar fashion as you do. In order to affect change, I suppose going into room one is a good thing to do from time to time, but our comfort zone will be found in room two.

In actuality, I do try to listen to commentators, political pundits, and journalists, with whom I’m on the opposite side of the political fence. In fact, there are three or four I enjoy listening to. They aren’t like Olbermann who makes me want to wrap my head in duct tape, so it doesn’t explode (okay, I stole that line from one of my favorite commentators).

One of those people is Kirsten Powers. Even when I disagree with her, which is often, I feel she states her position honestly, with passion, and generally avoids the all too often tactic of simply calling the other side names. She actually makes me evaluate my own opinion on an issue, reexamine it, and reflect which is what a good analyst does. In short, she seems like a very nice person. I usually see her on TV, where she often appears on FoxNews to speak from a left point of view. She sparked enough interest in me that I googled her, looking for articles she may have written. One of the first ones I found made me respect her even more and I thought it was appropriate to share since tomorrow is Mothers’ Day, and it is about women and motherhood.

Ms. Powers describes herself as a feminist, but based on her definition of it, I’m a feminist too!

Her words come from a post she wrote back in June 2006 titled, "This is Why So Many People Hate Feminists." I won’t tell you what she said; I will let her speak for herself, but understand I am only pulling some of the main points found in the article. It was written in response to a Washington Post entry by Linda Hirshman, a "feminist philosopher,” whatever that means. Ms. Powers responds in part, and I quote:

"In a Washington Post op-ed yesterday, Linda Hirshman, a self described feminist philosopher, treats full-time motherhood with the curiosity of an anthropologist who has stumbled upon a previously undiscovered tribe of people. Like SNL's "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer,” Hirshman seems to be "frightened and confused" by this bizarre creature called the "stay-at-home mother." What could possibly account for their freakish behavior?

According to Hirshman: "The tasks of housekeeping and child rearing [are] not worthy of the full time and talents of intelligent and educated human beings. They do not require a great intellect, they are not honored and they do not involve risks and the rewards that risk brings."

It's incredible that the drudgery of working full time at a law firm is deemed worthy of women's "full time talents" but a woman dedicating herself to raising a family isn't. Hirshman then bizarrely asks: "Oh, and by the way, where were the dads when all this household labor was being distributed?" Umm, if they have a stay at home wife, they are probably working all day. And for most people, it's actually called being a mother and a wife, not "household labor.”

I saw Hirshman on 60 Minutes and was shocked when she announced that women graduates of Ivy League schools who had left their careers to raise families were making the "wrong choice.” There it was laid bare: feminism really isn't about women having the freedom to make choices. It's about women making the "right choice" as determined by people like Linda Hirshman.
Hmm…this reminds me of how Sarah Palin was treated. Regardless of how her politics strike you, she was called stupid, maligned, and even accused of exploiting her handicapped son. Her family was treated like garbage from the likes of “moral pillars” like David Letterman, and I never heard a word in her defense from the "feminists". But I digress, back to Ms Powers…

“Hirshman is perplexed by the resistance she has received, but quickly surmises that all the opposition she is receiving is manufactured by religious freaks bent on imposing a biblical view of motherhood on society. She clearly could stand to take a stroll along the Upper West (or East) Side of New York -- hardly the beachhead for Christian childrearing -- to disabuse her of this notion. It is littered with highly educated ex-career women who are happily raising their children full time.

I didn't mean to imply that everyone hates feminists or that they should hate feminists. And while some people thought that using the word "hate" was too strong, I'm sorry to inform you that many people do in fact "hate" feminism. I know this in part because I have considered myself a feminist for the better part of my life (though as I said in my post, the meaning of this word today remains unclear considering that Hirshman also considers herself a feminist) and have all sorts of people tell me how much they disagree with feminism -- and most of those people were Democrats and people who consider themselves liberal in every other way. Most often, the reason people cite is that they feel feminists are judgmental about their choices and seek to impose a worldview on everyone else, rather than truly letting women make their own choices.

To me, feminism has always meant supporting the idea that women should be able to pursue their dreams, whatever they are, and for many women their dream is to have a family and be dedicated to that full time (though most women can't afford to do this). And if they choose to pursue a career or have to get a job to add to the family income, there should be an even playing field, they should earn what their male counterparts earn, and they should not have to tolerate sexual harassment. Feminism meant making sure that when women were raped that they were not further victimized by the court system. Feminism meant women being able to get credit cards in their own name and have control over their own finances. Feminism meant girls shouldn't be told they can't do math (remember the Barbie who said "Math class is tough?") or become mechanics, or pilots, or anything else, merely because they are female. It meant getting equal funding for government research of diseases that affect women at a time that all such research was done only on men. It never meant --and does not mean to me today -- that women who choose to stay home and take care of their children, and dare I say it, their husbands, should be maligned the way they are in Hirshman's Washington Post op-ed."
..end of quote.

Bravo Ms. Powers, bravo!