March 17, 2005
Well it's certainly been awhile since I posted to this blog. The semester is more than 1/2 over and I have spent most of my waking moments working on my MA thesis. Working on this thesis has brought me to the realization that the way the current culture is addressing issues of abortion, pro-choice has got to start being more aggessive and proactive in the conversation.
I have spent a significant amount of time over the last 5 years fearful for choice yet scholastically fighting to keep it through my research and role as a graduate instructor. Likewise, I continue to engage in discourse about choice with those I know to be anti-choice. Slowly and methodically one can educate those on the other side of the issue.
I am appreciative that choice has been available to me yet fear for my daughter's ability to choose.
In response to the current “Culture of Life" - we must value ALL lives including those of pregnant women. The potential loss of the right to choose what to do with your body or whether to play the social role "mother" is worth fighting for.
New pro-life rhetorical strategies such as fetal pain and new 4D sonographic imagery are gaining momentum and have to be engaged by pro-choice advocates.
We can no longer ignore the fetus and the concept of fetal pain as this only allows the pro-life advocates to set the terms and parameters of the discussion.
Michel Foucault illustrates the importance of the power/knowledge dynamic as those that put that "knowledge" out there determine the terms and therefore hold all the power.
One only has to conduct an internet search on fetal pain to see who is controlling the discourse on the topic.
If anything this is a call to action to wield our power by fully engaging ALL discourse on abortion. Until we do our ideology will be reactive rather than proactive. In fact one of the only discussions by pro-choice on fetal pain comes from the Canadian action network. Where is the North American choice discourse?
More to come soon.......
November 3, 2004
What is wrong with America?
Well it seems the election is over and that I will soon be moving to Canada. Perhaps some will feel this is a rash decision but it is actually one that my family feels strongly about. I refuse to live in a country on the backslide. We have learned nothing from our history and in fact feel morally right in our killing.
Today I am angry. Angry at this country that would subvert the rights of women, gays and lesbians, the elderly. But I am angrier at the people that have sold out their own bodies, their dignity, and their respect.
I have attempted to respect the religious views of my fellow citizens. However, as they blindly turn to God and away from their own self interests I can no longer respect the faith that will be the instrument of America's destruction. I rail at this religion that would subjugate my daughter to her body processes; that damns my friends and relatives to their sexuality.
For those of us that believe in true respect and equality for ALL people not just those born well, this Christian God is a tool of oppression wielded by the strong to obliterate the weak, the poor, the "other."
God is a dogmatic myth that weak people cling to because of their fear of death. This doesn't make you strong or special but in fact shows a total inability to have faith in your own ability to do the right thing without moral instruction.
What does that say about us as a nation? We are weak bullies who can't deal with the same type of trauma that has been occurring on other continents for years. We, the tough Americans, are nothing but fear mongers and death creators all in the name of GOD. How are we different from the radical Islamics that we fight against? Unfortunately the answer to this question is we aren't. In fact we are worse.
Today I wrote 2 poems. While I am a writer I am not usually moved to write poetry. However, my anger cannot be contained. It seeps out every pore of my body. I scream at this the country of my birth and am shamed by our stupidity.
I know this post is inflammatory and I don't care. I am writing this for my own sanity. This is my swan song to a country I once held dear and no longer respect.
For those of you insulted by my post - oh well. I have been insulted for the last four years as the Bush administration has lied, manipulated, and deceived in the name of God. I am insulted by the ignorance of my fellow citizens that watched the presidency be stolen once and then reward that theft with another opportunity to do damage.
Shame on us!
October 6, 2004
One of my reasons for not blogging before is the knowledge of my own struggle to consistently keep up with it. However, since my last post my family went through yet another hurricane. This has been one bad year for Floridians. Unfortunately, that will most likely not change for awhile as they have much recovery to do and an election to cope with.
While an election is not usually such a big deal after the ridiculousness of the last election in Florida, there is good cause for concern. As a Floridian who was in Palm Beach County during the 2000 election today's post is about (what else) the election.
As a researcher currently taking a methods and theory class navigating my own role as a writer/researcher I was disturbed by the after debate spin on Tuesday night. I was so bothered that as I was finding the transcripts of the 2 debates that have occurred so far, I took a minute to send MSNBC an email (included below). Another concern I had with the debate and the one I will address here is a comment made by Cheney concerning terrorists.
According to Cheney, “The key to success in Afghanistan has been, again, to go in and go after the terrorists, which we‘ve done, and also take down the Taliban regime which allowed them to function there, in effect sponsors, if you will, of the al Qaeda organization.”
Later in the debate Edwards addressed Cheney’s linkages between countries where terrorists are and the idea that these countries necessarily sponsor terrorism.
“Well, the vice president talks about there being a member, or someone associated with al Qaeda, in Iraq. There are 60 countries who have members of al Qaeda in them. How many of those countries are we going to invade”?
Dick Cheney suggestion that because the Taliban was able to function in Afghanistan and Iraq that they are in fact sponsors of terrorism seems a stretch. In fact, couldn’t the same be said about American terror networks like the KKK and Michigan Militia? Not to mention Timothy McVeigh, Uni-bomber Ted Kaczynski, etc…..
Does this mean that because these organizations operate freely in the U.S. (not to mention foreign terrorist operatives that trained in the U.S.) that the U.S. sponsors terror?
While I don't expect an answer to this question, I do feel that Cheney's comments illustrate his personal feelings and those of the administration's with regard to premptive war. These comments should cause waryiness on the part of the American public as most disagree with the way America has handled this war with Iraq and subsequent occupation.
Well that's it for today as I have to read my student's blog posts on "Speak Up" and find out their reactions to the debate.
September 11, 2004
I talked to both my parents and in-laws today in PBG, Florida for the hundreth time in the last 2 weeks. Florida is not having any luck this year and according to some meteorologists this isn't likely to change in the near future. It would seem that weather patterns are cyclical and we have come around again to a time like the 1940-60's when Florida was a hotbed of hurricane actiivity.
I have to say I must be lucky. I spent 28 of my 33 years living in South Florida and in all that time tha Palm Beaches only took one direct hit. Hurricane David and he was Cat1 and therefore not a huge deal.
My parents and brother have now been without power for over a week and for those of you not from S. Florida it is HOT! My parents are still on a boil water order, 9 out of 10 street lights were knocked down. Mass 4-way stopping is a nightmare and there are always those drivers that don't follow basic driving rules.
My in-laws finally got their power restored but cleanup is slow and since Stuart took a major hit the Gardens are being somewhat ignored. Charley, Frances, and now Ivan.
The funny thing is that since I moved to Minnesota there have been sooo many times when people asked me why? Their reaction to my decision to leave Disney World land seems crazy. While these hurricanes have not impacted me directly I too have spent anxious weeks as they have threatened family and friends. Yet, I've never been happier to not be in Florida.
I spent a month there this summer in June and it was HOT! Some of the extended family are Loco and made the vacation not very vacation like. I felt like a psychiatrist navigating dysfunction. How is it that some extended family's manage such normalcy while others can't?
Today my refrigerator decided to die (must be sympathy pains for my parents) so I'm off to save and tranfer to my neighbors what is salvagable.
September 10, 2004
Well this is it. I've been considering blogging for about a year now but just haven't. Having recently set up a blog for my writing students and another for a course I'm currently taking, I decided that procrastination had to end. There are many times when I wished that I had set this blog up sooner. Having never been a journal user - probably because I’m an extremely verbal and opinionated person - the idea of committing my thoughts to the web has been of surprising concern. How much of yourself to share? I say surprising because in interpersonal communication I will most likely share too much.
For all those who are already blogging I am a colleague of Clancy Ratliff; Laurie Johnson; and more recently Krista Kennedy. Having followed Clancy's blog for the past 2 years I've decided it is in her tradition that I will commit both my personal thoughts and academic musings to this blog.
My name is Lynda and I am a 3rd year MA/PhD student and Graduate Instructor of Writing at the University of Minnesota in Rhetoric with a minor in feminist studies . My specialty or research area is reproductive technologies with specific emphasis on abortion. My current work is centered around the fetus specifically in reference to the state legislation Women's Right to Know. Other interests include: Linguistics, Discourse Analysis, Pedagogy, Politics, and popular culture.
Beyond my academic life you'll be sure to hear about my 3 children (14, 13, and 9) and husband of 15 years or our families that reside in hurricane prone Florida. You may also hear discussion about any number of television shows that I am currently addicted to.
Rather than simply beginning the blog with my own feelings about the state of affairs of reproductive right's in the United States I've decided to include a mass email sent by Gloria Steinem.
Gloria's Perspective on Bush's Reproductive Policies
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2004 21:26:46 -0500
As I sat in front of my television and watched George W. Bush's
convention last week -- perhaps the most expensive display of false
advertising in history -- the sense of urgency we face this November
struck me with full force.
"We must make a place for the unborn," Bush said earnestly.
But if they're born female, their place is far less secure. The
Republican Party, under Bush's guidance, has never been clearer about
its intentions to strip away women's basic rights.
The Republican Party ratified its platform last week in New York,
calling for a constitutional ban on abortion, and going even further
than in the past by pledging to support only anti-choice judges --
and that includes nominations to the Supreme Court. This is a slap in
the face to the 73 percent of Republicans who believe, as a new poll
reveals, that the right to choose should be a woman's decision, not the
government's. It's one more proof that Bush's views on choice aren't in
line with the majority of the country; in fact, they're not even in line
with majority of his own party.
Bush can't confuse us with such slogans as "`W' Stands for Women." "W"
stands for what The New York Times reported as "Bush's War Against
Women." A few examples:
** Bush signed a law banning abortion procedures without any exception
for the woman's health. That's in addition to blocking abortion rights
for young women, poor women, women who work for the U.S. government --
and even women in the military.
Bush pledges in his second term to pass a Human Life Amendment that
would confer personhood on the fertilized egg, thus nationalizing
women's bodies during all of our childbearing years.
** Bush opposes sex education and lavishes tax dollars on the
"abstinence-only" programs of religious extremists -- even in his global
AIDS package. This is a cruel joke for women, who are now more likely
to die of AIDS than men. When SIECUS and Advocates for Youth campaigned
against federal funding for abstinence-only programs, they were
subjected to three federal audits each.
In Bush's budget for 2005, he pledged $273 million more to
abstinence-only programs -- in addition to opposing emergency
contraception (against the advice of his own panel of experts) and
enforcing the Patriot Act, which requires that the U.S. government have
access to all our health records, and it's against the law for health
professionals to even inform us of a government request.
** Bush eliminated funding for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund
-- funds that could have prevented 800,000 induced abortions, 4,700
maternal deaths, and 77,000 infant and child deaths annually -- even
though a Republican-led Congress had approved them.
Bush imposed and will extend the global gag rule -- already responsible
for the injury and death of millions of women from illegal abortions --
by executive order, no democracy necessary.
** Bush has nominated more judges than any of the past six presidents,
eliminated the American Bar Association as an arbiter of competence, and
supported extremists like judicial nominee Leon Holmes who wrote, "the
wife is to subordinate herself to her husband."
In a second term, Bush will likely appoint at least one U.S. Supreme
You may have noticed a theme here: Bush uses the Republican label and
the few remaining Republican centrists in prime time at the convention
but he and his administration are far from the party of Eisenhower or
Goldwater (he was firmly pro-choice).
John Kerry and John Edwards are the exact opposite on all of the above
positions. They will restore respect for the United States, including
its policies toward the female half of the world.
Because politicians like Bush obfuscate their actual positions,
political campaigns have lost credibility with many Americans.
That's why Planned Parenthood, an organization that is trusted and
known -- especially by women who hold the key to this election -- has
endorsed a Presidential candidate for the first time in its history.
With less than 60 days left before the election, the Planned Parenthood
Action Fund is on the ground and on the air in battleground states --
and this is just the beginning.
Because the Action Fund does not accept labor or corporate
contributions, we're one of only several organizations that are
qualified to be on the air right up until November 2.
This opportunity is rare -- and we have a responsibility to get the
That's why I hope you will become a member of the Action Fund today.
There is so much at stake right now, we simply cannot allow ourselves to
fail -- together we must rise to the challenge and educate the public
about the candidates' positions, organize our grassroots supporters, and
mobilize pro-choice voters each and every day until Election Day!
To make a secure online donation, go to:
P.S. A low-point of the convention was using Laura Bush to present her
husband as a champion of Afghan and Iraqi women. In fact, he supported
the Taliban until September 10, 2001, gender apartheid and all. In other
words, he uses faraway women to whitewash policies that actually place
them in more jeopardy than before, plus policies that damage women here.
Please forward this e-mail to your friends, family, and colleagues and
ask them to stand up for reproductive freedom -- and the female half of
the world -- this November!
Why Gloria? It does seem to implicitly say something about my opinions to even mention her name and while we do agree on Bush's reproductive policies it is so much more than that.
Ms. Steinem's email took me back to a small community college auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida - November 2000. While I had "heard" about Gloria Steinem (feminist, man-hater, playboy bunny) while growing up and read an absolutely great article "If Men Could Menstruate," I had no idea how going to her speech and the events that unfolded over the next weeks and months would effect me or the rest of the United States. Just 4 years ago during the question and answer period of her talk older Jewish women began asking Steinem what they should do about the ballot problem. Ms. Steinem had no idea there was a problem but to her credit promised to look into the issue and recommended that the women speak out to their election officials. It was a strange day because it was the last day of my belief that the voting system worked well in the United States. The world would soon become familiar with Palm Beach County, butterfly ballots, and hanging chads. Neighbors, fellow students, and my children and I marched in protest in West Palm Beach behind Jesse Jackson who chanted "Stay out the Bush (e) s."
This year at the Democratic National Convention (I watched the RNC also) Al Gore talked about the 2000 election and the voting problems in Florida. The panel of journalists on CNN (particularly those representing a conservative philosophy) said we should just move on. I remember getting angry and thinking, "How can we get over something that has yet to be resolved?" What I mean is that there are still problems with voting in Florida and maybe other states as well. We still have President without a mandate (not popular vote winner) whose policies have taken us to war, created horrific deficits, and jeopardized personal liberties (Patriot Act). I'm sorry if I just can't get over that but being there during the craziness that followed the election will never leave me. We as a nation oversee the elections in other countries to ensure the integrity of the democratic process. Given the problems discovered in our own system in 2000 let me say, "NO there just is no getting over it!" Until we resolve our own issues of democracy the United States should not act the example.