I think I have bloggers block. Or I might be premenstural. I don’t know. I’ve been rather reclusive this last week. And for no good reason. I’m not upset, I’m not sad, I’m not mad or insecure. I’m just not inspired. I haven’t been on the interent in days. I’ve done fly by checking of my myspace mail, and everynow and then I’ve checked my gmail, but basically I’ve been voiceless as of late. I haven’t been chatting on my cell, either. Weird, huh. But I get that way. Sometimes I just don’t wanna talk. Sometimes I don’t have anything to say. And I have no patience for trying to be interesting and conversational when I have absolutely no opinions. It sounds like a funk, but I swear I’m not upset. I’ve just been complacent. I still am, mostly.
But not on Saturday. No way. And let me warn you I’m about to get political. I’m stepping up on a soapbox. I’m about to get jiggy wit my opinions…….
Today marks the anniversary of the controversial Roe vs Wade. I am Pro-Choice. You might can tell where this is going. I am a single mother and I am proud to be a parent. I believe in a higher power. I believe in the right to speak and be heard. I believe that peaceful protest can make a difference. I was raised by war protesting liberal hippies. And I have been raised to believe everyone has the right to their opinion.
So, I was somewhat supprised at my reaction to a protest on Saturday. My face burned with outrage. My skin crawled with angry goose bumps. I got so worked up, in fact, that I couldn’t breath.
It all started Saturday morning when my ex-husband and I decided to walk to get his car from five points, where he’d left it the night before rather than drive home intoxicated. I have a cold and was in need of expectorant and the drug store was on the way. It was a nice morning and the walk seemed like a good idea. So we set out, my ex-husband, my dog, and me. We had gone a couple of blocks when we noticed a gaggle of police vehicles, lights flashing, blocking off the road ahead of us. Oooo, I thought, maybe it’s a crime scene. Morbid of me, I know, but that’s what I thought. We cautiously eased by the roadblocks on the sidewalk after being reassured by the police that we could go. (well, actually we tried to get their attention by waving and whatnot, but the coppers were too busy chatting to pay us any attention, so since they didn’t tell us to stop or look alarmed at us passing we took it as permission to keep on walking) A few more blocks, a few more police vehicles later and we start to see a large police van followed by a very large, but oddly silent, crowd carrying signs. I could vaguely make out the word “kills” on one of the signs and suddenly realized that it was an Anti-Choice protest. (for those of you confused by my symantics, let me explain. As a Pro-Choice supporter I am offended ~ and I’m not easily offended~ by the term “Pro-Life” It impies that the other side of the argument is anti-life. As in pro death. Which is ridiculous. So I opt not to use that term) Now, as I have stated I support protest. I support speaking up and stating your opinions. We live in America and you have that right. And thank whatever God you believe in for that. But as we approached the demonstrators I became increasingly heated. It wasn’t the demonstration itself that was getting me worked up. It was small, maybe a hundred or so people, and sadly under attended. As they marched silently down the streets of Five Points ~ the most liberal part of Birmingham, no one paid much atttention. Which made me sad, for them. But I found two or three things very very disturbing about their protest.
First, and most practically, I was angered by the amount of police escort these peeps had. The crime rate in Five Points has grown increasingly by extremely alarming numbers in the last five years. Rape, muggings, and murders have become quite the regular news headline for this part of town. Now for those of you who are not familiar with Birmingham, Five Points is where the bars are located. And the nice restuarants. And is within walking distance of UAB (The University that Ate Birmingham) and just blocks from Sanford, another nice collage. It is the place for co-eds to congregate. Several years ago the police force in southside was weeded down and reassigned to other parts of Birmingham to prevent the outrageous crime rates in those areas. As the years passed the criminals figured it out and have relocated to Five Points. Most of the business owners and employees have been working for some time, passing around several petitions, to get a larger police presence in this area. And nothing has happened. Some nights you couldn’t find a cop in Five Points to save your live, and most of the time if you are looking for one it’s for that very reason. But here, on a peaceful and quiet Saturday morning you couldn’t spit and not hit four or five police officers. Closing off SEVERAL blocks of busy streets for these demonstrators. And, by the way, since when does the Ant-Choice side need protecting. They are the ones that BOMB clinics. They are the ones that scream and yell and grab you if you attempt to enter clinics. They are the ones carrying signs of dead baby parts. Were the police there to portect us from them? I mean seriously. This is a city that survived a hideous Clinic bombing, by Eric Rudolph killing a police officer and permantly injuring a nurse (no actual abortion doctors harmed, just innocents). I’ve never heard of a Pro-Choice supporter bombing or killing anyone to get the point across. BTW, the protest had the audascity to walk by the very same clinic that was bombed all those years ago.
My second issue was the four teenage BOYS carrying a child sized coffin wearing red tape over their mouths. Okay, first off, if you are a teenage boy and you are on the Anti Choice side of the argument (which I already have a problem with boys having an opinion on abortion at all, but my mother keeps reminding me that everyone is entitled to their opinion) then here’s a suggestion on how to stop a huge number of abortions…keep your dick to yourself. We do KNOW what causes pregnancy, you know. The tape should be over your zippers and not you mouths. Not having the sex would stop a good number of abortions.
And secondly, a child’s coffin!!! I am so glad my child was not with me. I would have been horrified at my son being subjected to this sight. He is eleven and exactly as mature as he needs to be at eleven. I bet these same people block violent tv from their televisions so their children aren’t affected by the worlds violence, the same people who think the purple Teletubbie is gay and therefore should be removed from childrens television. But toting around a baby coffin and signs with very vivid pictures of dead babies is just peachy in their book. It really pisses me off. There is this Anti-Choice van that sometimes parks outside my sons school and the local library where a lot of his school mate go after school. This van is COVERED with horribly graphic pictures of dead things. If it were a video game it would be rated M for mature. If it were a movie it would be rated NC-17 or R and I would have to show my ID to get in to see it. But here it is sitting outside the elementary school for fice and six years olds to see. It just pisses me off. There is a time and place. Have some decency! Are first and second graders really your target audience?
Another thing that bothered me was these women carrying signs that read “I regret my abortion” Well, I’m very sorry for you. I am. But that’s your shit to deal with, not mine. Talk to your shrink. That’s what they are there for. I have no place in your guilt. Work it out yourself and move on.
My final rant about the protest is this: They had their children with them. Children, I believe, should be outside playing ball or in treehouses, not walking down the street carrying signs proclaiming that I’m going to hell over a subject they have no grasp of. What an awful burden to lay on a childs shoulders. And let me clarify here, I am appalled at children under a certian age at ANY protest. I was horrified to look into a little girls innocent eyes and see hate. Please don’t preach to me about children being important while you raise your child on hate.
Now, let me clarify some things here. My child is the most important thing in my world. I would not trade him for anything. I never ever regret having him. He is my light. I try to raise him to respect others opinions, religions, and cultures. I try to raise him to have repsect for the planet and the universe. I try to raise him to make good decisions. And I’m doing a damn fine job of it. I explain to him both sides of political controversy. Not just my side, but the other side as well. I was horrified when he asked me about abortion, but I explained to him what it was and why there was some much controversy surrounding it. And I hope that my son feels as though he can talk to me about any situation that arises in his young life in these dangerous times that we live.
Let me also clarify some things about me and my opinion. I was a very troubled teenager. I lived a good deal of my adolesent years as a runaway, in and out of juvenile halls. I am not proud of this past, but not ashamed, either. It has shaped me. And during those times I got myself in to several situations. I have been pregnant four times. I have had an abortion, a miscarrage, and two live births ~ on of which I gave up for adoption when I was just fifteen. I have some expirience in the choices and consequences of pregnancy. And I have some pretty strong views. I do not regret one single decision I made. The miscarrage, of course, not being a decision, I really had no choice. And it was awful, a pain ~ mentally and physically~ I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Though I do not regret my decisions I understand the pain of making them and those that do regret. It hurts. All of it. But they are our decisions to make. Not yours to make for me.
And I thank every God I can think of that I live in a country that allows me to make my own decisions. It could be a lot worse