Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Please keep your hate to yourself, or another episode of Lizzie Smash!

If you're a facebook friend, you know the tragic tale of sick baby kitty all ready. If you're not....

Baby kitty, also known as Burleigh (after my grandma), Bee, Burls and numerous other nicknames, started having seizures yesterday. Burleigh was brought into the house by my uncle right around my birthday, and as soon as I saw her fluffy little self, I was silly for her. We called the vet, who suggested trying caro syrup (in case it was low blood sugar). That didn't work. We tried giving her a bath, in case it was some toxin making her sick. That didn't work. Auntie spent all night with her and we took her to the vet this morning. She's got a neurological problem, possibly kitty leukimia or lesions on one side of her brain. All we can do is drug her full of phenobarbitol and steriods and hope for the best.

While we were waiting in the vet's office we were chatting with a lovely lady about her newborn daughter and kids in general. Out of fricken nowhere this douchebag chimes in with "That's nothing, my son tried to make out with my girlfriend, and he's only 8".

If that wasn't weird enough, he goes on this homophobic rant about how glad he was that his child tried to mack on his girl because it means that his "only son ain't gay,he's gonna carry on the family name". As happens when confronted with bigots, I got mad and my hands started to shake. Not helpful when trying to keep a wee baby kitty with seizures calm. Douchebag keeps going on and on about how having a gay son would be the worst thing in the world. Wonder, bless her, pipes up with "I think there are worse things in the world than having a gay kid, like having something actually bad happen". Then douchebag goes on about his gay ex wife. Still trying to control my anger and calm a sick kitty, I said (as snakily as possible) "I can't imagine what might have turned her gay"". The conversation just got worse from there, including Douchebag overestimating the weight of his pitbull and Wonder wondering if that's the only thing he overestimates.

I don't care what Doouchebag thinks, though I feel more than a bit sorry for his kid. I don't want to be slapped in the face with his hatred and ignorance. I don't wan't anyone to be slapped in the face with hate and ignorance. But I really don't want to have to get my fist shaking, kyriarchy smashing rage up when I am worried that my tiny ball of fluffy love is at death's door.

(Baby kitty, after a marathon, drug induced 6 hour nap, seems to be doing a little better. She peed!!!!! And then ran off to play with her brothers. She's still wobbly legged and can't jump up on stuff too well. But maybe she'll be okay).

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

That's Entertainment

Let's see...

Israel is trying to start a war with Turkey and peacenik hippies and the US is blocking an independent investigation through its vote on the UN Security Council.

The top kill failed. The junk shot failed. There will be no more efforts to stem the gush of oil until the relief wells are drilled 2 or 3 months from now in the Gulf. But that oil spill is dwarfed by the one in Nigeria, apparently, where oil companies have been participating in state sponsored murder for at least a decade.

Economies in Europe like Iceland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, are lining up to drop like flies (if they haven't already gotten to the austerity measures normally reserved by the IMF for browner skinned countries, then they will shortly).

Economics here ain't much better.

And how many states are thinking of passing "Papers, please" laws similar to Ari-fucking-zona's?

But what the news bunnies are covering today is Al and Tipper's break up and "Is Obama aging faster than previous presidents?". And no, this wasn't fauxnews.

There is only one appropriate response

The Road To Hell and Good Intentions

When I choose to become a mother, I had to decide what kind of mother I wanted to be. At the tender age of 20, the best I could articulate was "I'm not going to be like my own mother". Years of abuse showed me exactly who I didn't want to be, but it didn't give me any kind of skill at being the type of parent I wanted to be. But I had very good intentions of not being awful. I think we all do.

The problem with having good intentions but no skills is that it doesn't change anything. Only rigorous self examination and replacement of bad habits with good ones does that. It was not enough to say that I wasn't going to be the kind of parent who threw screaming tantrums at a small child when I was stressed out. I had to consciously remove the parts of me that had been trained to deal with stress through anger. I had to be mindful of my moods, my actions, my words and behaviors, to be sure that I never let my child suffer because I had been taught all my life that children are their parents' punching bags. Even though the kid is now 15 and taller than me, I still have things to learn. But the best thing, the first thing, I learned in this little bout of breaking the cycle was how to apologize and mean it and not ever do it again.

This self examination works for other forms of abuse as well. I am talking about racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, etc. etc. etc. These are forms of abuse inflicted on the weaker members of society by the more powerful ones. That they parallel child abuse is not coincidental.

Whatever our intentions are, we have all been raised in an abusive society. In order to fulfill the promise of our good intentions and of statements like "I'm not a racist" requires more than just the desire to be good. We cannot break the cycle unless we have new skills and are willing to examine ourselves critically.

I'll give you a wee example. Several years ago, a girl friend walked over to my house from hers. It was about half a mile, not far. On her way over she got harassed by a bunch of guys doing the "hey baby, show us your tits" shit. She was freaked out, obviously. But not just because she'd just been terrified by a bunch of dudes. They were black, and she was white. And she was worried that her fear of them was because of their skin color, and not their behavior. She didn't want to be harassed, but she didn't want to be racist either.

We sat and talked. If the men scaring her had been white, would she have been more or less afraid (neither). Did this event make her less trustful of strange black men on the street, or of all strange men on the street (all). You have to go through this self questioning every time something makes you squeamish, or uncomfortable, or scared. You have to rip out the social programming and look at every side of it with a critical eye. Is this here for a reason, is it useful? Does it keep me safe or does it cause me harm? Does it cause others harm? Do they deserve that harm? That is the only way to conquer abuse. It's not easy. it's not pleasant. I've had to admit some less than pleasant things about myself in the process. But I can honestly say that i have done the hard work (and continue doing the hard work) to rid myself of the abuse I was taught at the hands of my mother and at the hands of society. Good intentions are never enough, they are just the beginning.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

There is no way to justly enforce an unjust law

Ah the talking heads. I just heard some bloviating douchebag on tv declare that officers in Arizona are being trained to enforce the new "Papers, please" law in a just fashion.

Thank gawd I wasn't drinking something at the time or I would have ruined the compy with a spit check. Was there ever a just way to enforce slavery? How about relocation of native peoples? A just way for Americans to throw Japanese-Americans into concentrations camps? A just way for the Nazis to carry out the final solution? A just way to keep women from voting? A just way to sterilize the disabled?

There is no compromise on justice. A thing is either just or unjust. You can't make an act of injustice ok with good intentions or kindly actions or even with the entire weight of the law and constitution on your side. There were lots of laws for all those situations above. Not a damn one had anything to do with justice.