Pole Dancing vs Pole Fitness

Pole Dancing vs Pole Fitness

There’s been this big hullabaloo in the news lately about some school in Canada offering pole dancing classes for kids. I wasn’t going to comment because I thought it was a really silly thing to get worked up about but… a week later and it hasn’t gone away.

I’ve taken pole dancing classes. They are a total blast. So the big question is: Would I put my kids in pole dancing classes?

It depends on the instructor. I could sit here and try and explain it to you, but I really need a visual aid for this one. Watch the video below and I think you’ll understand. The girl in the green outfit could easily teach children. The girl in red should definitely teach adults. They are both insanely flexible and strong as hell. They are both seriously amazing to watch and induce many open mouthed expressions of awe. But they are very different in their styles.

Cirque du Soleil has a professional pole dancing champion on their cast and I saw a Cirque Eloize show that incorporated a pole dancing routine with a man and a woman. You can catch a glimpse of the man’s portion at about 1:08.

What do you think? Is there a difference or is pole dancing just plain dirty? Is the issue what adults project onto it?

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Upheld: A Mutant Editorial

NICU

NICU by komurphy2 on Flickr

Yesterday, my boss and I were looking through his inbox searching for new contacts to email about our medical conference. We hear a, “Woooo!” from one of the other doctor’s offices. A few seconds later she runs in, “I haven’t actually read the story but the headline says “Upheld’ and it looks like they upheld ALL of it! I’m going to read it right now, I’ll be right back.” My boss says, “Thank god” and we get back to the inbox. A couple of minutes later she comes back into our office and right behind her, another doctor rushes in smiling, “Did you hear?!” The office erupted in very excited chatter as they discussed the ruling and Judge Roberts and how wonderful this is and so on and so forth.

While I did make a few comments, I mostly just sat back and watched these doctors and the others that kept coming. One of them was dancing. A couple of them hugged. And I got that really warm feeling you get when you know that something is good and right.

These doctors aren’t the new kids on the block. My boss founded the neonatal intensive care unit in our hospital. He is a well-respected speaker internationally and our unit was ranked one of the top in the nation despite its dismal nurse to patient ratio. Most of these doctors have been neonatologists since before I was born. They’ve worked for this public hospital in this very large and diverse city and they have seen it all.

They are the experts in healthcare– not Mitt Romney, not Barack Obama, not the Supreme Court, not the Congress, not you, not me. It is these men and women who have worked with the most desperate of cases, with the most scorned of people, for decades. They have seen insurance companies and hospitals change. They’ve seen economic booms and busts and in-betweens.

They weren’t pleased this was upheld, they were ecstatic and I think that is very important testimony to the importance of the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare is a derogatory term) for our country.

This country has developed an extreme anti-government sentiment that saddens me. I was raised on the fundamental belief that our government is for the people, by the people. If government is evil, it is because the people are evil. I am chilled by the notion that the more ideal solution is the private market which is for the shareholders, by the shareholders.

We ask our government to improve our livelihoods by asking them to protect our borders, to educate our children, to clean our water, to regulate our food, to forbid certain actions and substances, to fund our research, to deliver our mail,to build and maintain our roads, to monitor our entertainment, to put out our fires, to levy justice, to enforce our laws, and to help care for our poor, our elderly, and our disabled.

That is what government is supposed to do because it is for the people. By raising the standards of government, we are raising the standards for ourselves. We should demand that our government improve performance instead of insist it perform less. It is what we demand of ourselves and each other.

I’ve been in a few hospitals in my life whether to receive care in one, visit a patient in one, or to work in one.

Insurance, or lack of, creates a type of segregation. The private hospitals are a very different experience from the public one. With most uninsured patients flocking to the public hospital, money doesn’t flow as abundantly as it does in the private ones. With the reforms in the Affordable Health Care Act , you should start to see a more level playing field. People like to think they deserve or are entitled to something better because of their position in life they believe they have attained by the American virtue of hard work. They ignore the fact that their position in life has more to do with their skin color, their parents, their education, their geographical location, their parents’ education, and damn good luck, than buckets of hard work. I’m not saying you haven’t worked hard, I’m saying you’re not successful simply because you worked hard.

I don’t believe the private hospitals will turn into the public hospitals. But I do think their profits will slim a bit while the public hospitals improve a bit.

What drives me crazy is the notion among the insured that they are receiving better care in a private hospital. In the case of many public hospitals like the one I work in, it’s the opposite. In this city, when you are really sick and your case is somewhat complicated, every private hospital sends you to the public one.

Why?

Because we have the doctors with the most experience by sheer volume of patients. Additionally, ours is a teaching hospital as most public hospitals are and our doctors have the latest and greatest research at their fingertips– more often than not, they are the latest and greatest research.

The doctors here have a completely different mindset. They are going to save your life, that is their number one thought. And they are going to take more risks because they aren’t saddled with concerns of bottom lines and lawsuits and profit margins. Because these doctors are not for the shareholders, by the shareholders they are for the people, by the people.

To say I am passionate about allowing access to affordable healthcare for all is an understatement. I  believe it is a fundamental right equal to public education and other public services. While there is an individual mandate, you are still allowed to choose whether you remain uninsured or not and we will have to continue to pay for your uninsured medical costs but at least we’ll have access to some of your money to cover it. To me, that’s fair, right, and sensible.

I hope you all have an amazing weekend. I have a Bachelorette Party tonight, my kids return tomorrow afternoon, and the wedding is on Sunday. I’m a wee bit nervous about the Bachelorette Party because I dislike being around drunks (especially strangers) and we’re going to the Las Olas Riverwalk– a bar strip in Ft. Lauderdale. The last time I went there I left irritated and had to refrain from shoving a man who was irritating the crap out of my friend and I.

It’s weird, I used to like hanging around drunk people but after the divorce and the role alcohol played in it, it lost its appeal and I have gotten close to losing my cool on more than one occasion– while sober. But I’m putting on a big smile, we’ve planned a few things for fun and I’m going to stay positive. I’m really excited about the wedding.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

P.S. I’m disabling comments. I don’t want to open the gates to Trollandia.

The Other Reason You Should Be Angry About Trayvon Martin’s Murder

I want to say I am really proud of the discussion raging across the United States right now regarding racism which has been brought on by the tragedy of Trayvon Martin.

However, I am frustrated this discussion is completely overshadowing what I see as the key to this tragedy– the fact that George Zimmerman was licensed to own a gun. Why, why, why is gun ownership still so easy to come by in this country?

We are so advanced. We spend ungodly amounts of money on defense on a national level and services like the police on local levels and yet we insist on being armed. Why? Do you honestly think your little gun is going to protect you against the top military in the world? Do you honestly think your little gun is going to do a better job of defending your family than the highly skilled local police force?

What is it going to take for this country to let it go? At the very least, can we please make it insanely difficult to get one? How is it that one must go through major steps to become a teacher, a police officer, a fire fighter, a doctor, a lawyer, a pilot, or whatever else requires licensing and yet a paranoid man with a history of violence (against police) can obtain license to own something that is specifically designed to end lives?

I am irate, like everyone else, about the police response and handling of the tragedy but the bottom line is it shouldn’t have happened in the first place and not because we’re in 2012 and still grappling with racism. Blacks shoot and kill blacks every day. Whites shoot and kill whites every day. Men shoot and kill women. Women shoot and kill men. Children shoot and kill children.

Why?

Because it is too damn easy to get your hands on a gun in this country.

Yes, talk about racism. Let’s grapple with that monster. But for the love of god, let’s not look past what actually ended Trayvon Martin– a loaded gun.

With all of the technology and all of the services we have in place, there is absolutely no need for gun ownership. Asking for a license to own a gun is simply the equivalent of requesting a license to kill.

Self-defense? There are other methods that do not take a life and they are getting more effective every day.

The number of people who save themselves because they owned a gun is negligible, especially when compared to the number of people who died because of a gun that is fired by rage, fear, shame, anxiety, intoxication, paranoia, or any emotion that pulls a trigger– none are positive.

Yes, I am angry that in 2012 there are still idiots who find other people suspicious because of the color of their skin. Yes, I am angry that in 2012 there are still people in charge who take sides because of the color of a perpetrator’s skin before considering the facts. But, I am angrier that in 2012 there are still people who can get guns– especially people with a history of violence and paranoia (over 40 calls to 911 reporting suspicious activity or people is paranoia).

We need to come to terms with race in this country but we also need to work towards tighter gun control laws so these types of tragedies don’t happen as we work towards a better tomorrow.

What will break us finally? Columbine didn’t do it. Virginia Tech didn’t do it. Trayvon Martin isn’t doing it. The countless stories of shooting murders and fatal shooting accidents that appear in your local newspaper don’t do it. What then? And why should we wait until that sort of tragedy to take place before we move to action? Hasn’t there been enough bloodshed already? Haven’t enough black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Native American boys and girls been buried already?

In Remembrance

San Francisco Chronicle Front Page September 12, 2001

September 11, 2001. I was living in a one bedroom apartment on Russell Street in Berkeley, CA. I shared the apartment with my Then Boyfriend and our two cats– Pharohe and Rajah. At this point my awesome telecomm job had vanished and I was scraping money together working, among other places, at the Wet Seal on Telegraph by UC Berkeley. It was early in the morning when the phone began to ring. I ignored it and kept sleeping. Then Boyfriend had to go to work early that day so the alarm went off. We had a radio alarm clock. It came on and someone was talking. I thought I heard something about buildings falling but I wasn’t sure. I wondered if there’d been an earthquake or something. I turned it off and he started getting ready for work. The phone kept ringing. I finally got out of bed and picked it up. My family had been trying to get a hold of me. They didn’t want me going into the city because of what had happened. I was out of it and put on the TV and was horrified. It turns out that I had a journal back then. A gorgeous large spiral sketch book. In it, I pasted the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle the next day. But on September 11, I wrote an entry. Every year, I open my journal and look at it. In that spirit, here it is:

September 11, 2001

The media has called it Pearl Harbor 2. The twin towers in New York have been toppled to the ground by two commercial jets. Another plane has crashed into the Pentagon. Another plane has fallen from the sky and there’s another unconfirmed crash. [This turned out to be an error, remember that?] Some are saying we’re at war. San Francisco is tense as is my family back [home].

More than concern for safety is shock and sadness. The collapse of the first twin tower is on camera. As is the second plane crashing into the second tower as well as its collapse. I’ve never felt so chilled. The disintegration is creepy and something I can’t grasp.

/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/~/

Over and over again I’ve watched endless footage. I feel as long as I’m close to a TV screen with the news on I’m somehow safer. I’m trying to really get this thing and I can’t. I feel as if I’ve been pulled into a movie as an extra. None of this is possible to me.

I hate today. I just want my family.

Ten years later. My heart still hurts when I read or hear or watch coverage on this. My eyes water. My stomach chills. It still makes me ill to think of the people– all of the different kinds of beautiful people who were taken from their loved ones that day. And yet, we are blessed in this country. Blessed that this violence is not part of our daily lives the way it is in other parts of the world. And yes, that’s inevitably where my mind and heart wander.

I’ll be out and about today, not lingering too long at the TV or gazing too long at the newspaper. I’ll cherish what I have by spending time with my loved ones and thinking about everyone that was affected that day one way or a million others. New York, I’m thinking of you today.

I like my men tough and my women strong

Swan Kick by FlyingMouse 365

When I think of an ideal role model for my daughter, my goddaughter, Friend’s daughter, and me, I tend to think of a few specific attributes.

  • Intelligence. Knowledge is power, after all. And I’m not referring simply to a natural state of intelligence, I’m thinking of one who hungers for information always.
  • Excellent communication skills. She can explain complex theories in ways that are perfectly easy to grasp. She can convince you easily, smoothly. She can mediate. She can make peace. She can state her piece clearly, concisely.
  • Independence. She’s a free-thinking individual who doesn’t blindly follow the herd. Sometimes she takes the well-worn road, but she’ll forge her own path if she has to. The people she loves and brings into her life are there by her choosing and invitation and are not there because of fear, insecurity, or because everyone else has someone in their lives.
  • Hard-working. It doesn’t matter what the work is, when it’s time to get to it she does it. She puts her best effort, full concentration, and complete passion into the things that are meaningful in her life.
  • Confidence. She doesn’t look to others for approval because she doesn’t need it. She might raid your brain for some ideas or input or perspective but she makes up her own mind. She screws up, admits it, learns, and moves on. She knows she can handle “this” and this is everything.

If you ask me, any woman who has ever made a positive mark on history has possessed these qualities. If you want to be an effective woman and create change in your world, these qualities must be in your possession. These are the traits of a strong woman. This is what you will find in common among all women of significance on all levels– from a local environmental activist to an international advocate for women’s rights to a CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation.

Do you know what you may not find among the truly amazing women in our world?

Leather wardrobes, a penchant for armor and horseback riding, abilities to hot-wire a car or even change a tire much less the oil, guns, motorcycles, and other indicators of “toughness” Peg Aloi clamors for in her piece at Huffington, Tough Gals: Do They Still Exist?. Heck, I bet among the truly amazing, strong women in the world you may not always find even a pantsuit.

The strong women of today aren’t any less so than the women of yesterday because they may or may not own a Hello Kitty bra. Aloi bemoans the current fascination with all things girly, touting this as an indication we’ve gone as soft as a handknit cashmere scarf.

What happened to our hard-won bad-assery? All those years of being suffragettes, bra-burners, free love artists, corporate queen bees, supermoms and women-who-wanted-and-got-it all? I mean, hadn’t we arrived and become a force to be reckoned with? […] Maybe “having it all” was a silly fantasy that ultimately made women feel exhausted and inferior. Maybe we just wanted to sit on our asses and knit and eat cupcakes in our Hello Kitty jammies.

And now that so many women have seemingly retreated from our reign of awesomeness to immerse themselves in the feminine past-times of yesteryear, it does indeed appear that we’ve lost sight of what it means to be a badass, strong, tough woman.

Oh dear, Peg (can I call you Peggy? It’s so much cuter). It appears you have it all wrong. And you are so misguided in your judgment I can’t help but wonder– are you a member of the patriarchy in feminist clothing?

Here is a quick description of Peg’s longed for tough gals:

There are tough times ahead, and we need to be tough bitches to face them. Growing vegetables is useful; but so is learning how to shoot a gun, hot-wire a car, and manipulate our way into a bomb shelter. Remember our tough gal role models? They were strong, sexy, and took no crap. They wore leather and sang rock and roll.

Here’s what bothers me about that whole description she’s got going on there– those chicks sound a lot like… men. She even goes on to specifically mention the likes of Grace Jones who worked hard to look like… a man. And really? Courtney Love? As much as I love her music, I’d rather not hold her up on a pedestal as a kind of woman to aspire to.

I will not take away what the stereotypical tough gals do for the feminist cause. Specifically, they show men they’re not as precious as they think themselves they are. These women show them we can do a lot of the stuff they claim for themselves. Heck, they even show women can even look like men. These are the “Anything you can do, I can do better” variety and they have their place in the movement.

The problem is, as a feminist I demand equal rights for men and women. There’s no clause attached to that statement. See, I don’t want equal rights for men and women who emulate men.

As a matter of fact, I will go on to argue this type of op-ed piece is extremely damaging to the feminist movement. Here’s why.

This piece concedes the domestic, “ultra-femme” arts are sub-par to the more masculine arts of the gun-toting, hot-wiring variety. This piece is basically admitting a realization that women and the things they are often associated with are less important and less desirable. This is extremely dangerous and damaging thinking.

It is in the same vein as declaring a teacher to be of a lesser class than a police officer. They’re both civil servants. They’re both employed to better the public. But being a teacher, in this context, is definitely not as awesome as being a police officer.

Peg claims shooting a gun to be as useful as gardening. At the same time, she’s pretty horrified by cupcakes. Funny enough, the first woman to come to mind when you talk to me about shooting guns is Sarah Palin while the first woman who comes to mind when you talk to me about cupcakes (and every domestic art) is Martha Stewart.

I’m pretty sure most people would concede Martha’s at least as tough as Sarah. I mean, Martha even served time in jail. And they’re both often referred to by that b-word Peg’s so fond of. For me, the differences come down to their contributions– Martha’s got a huge multi-faceted corporation and Sarah’s… well I’m not going to go into Sarah right now but I don’t count her as a feminist that’s for sure.

Not to mention, this kind of ridiculous commentary takes away from some really amazing women that are accomplishing some really amazing things right now.

  • Let’s start with BUST magazine. BUST is a feminist magazine. One of its founders was Debbie Stoller— the knitting rock star of the world if you will. Peg’s pissed they’re having a craft fair. The thing is, BUST’s got it right– equal rights for women: even the ones who do womanly things.
  • What about Miesha Tate? She’s the Strikeforce MMA fighter with a championship belt. She often wears pigtails into the ring and has posed in some very sexy and feminine poses. She looks cute and girly as heck but she’ll choke your lights out– while wearing pink.
  • There’s also Misty Copeland. She does this super girly thing called ballet. And she’s amazing at it. Is that too girly? Even if she’s more muscular than Xena? I haven’t even mentioned she’s a rare African-American ballerina and is making waves in the call for further diversity in the ballet world.
  • Let’s also talk about Daina Taimina. Don’t know her? She’s a mathematician (so feminine, right?). Daina solved a problem mathematicians had been struggling with for centuries– how to make a model of a hyperbolic plane that you can physically manipulate without damaging. Until Daina came along, mathematicians had to rely on computer models and you can’t touch those. And a colleague of her came up with paper models but those were really delicate little things that you couldn’t stretch or smoosh or twist or toss or anything. Well Daina saw those paper models and figured out the solution– she crocheted a hyperbolic model.
  • Peg really likes fictional female characters. She provides more examples of characters in movies and TV than real-life women in her piece. Since she likes those fake women so much, I have another recommendation for an interesting woman– Alexia Tarabotti. She’s the main character in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate novels. Alexia is quite concerned with manners, pastries, and parasols but she also gets down and dirty with the likes of werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and other spooky things– all while keeping her hair as neat as possible, please.
  • Finally, there’s a whole segment of women that were recently in the news– female investors. Funny enough, Peg alludes to a particular “Wall Street ball-breaker in Working Girl” but what’s fascinating is the news that female investors have been more successful managing portfolios than men. Why? By being decidedly feminine in their investment strategies– i.e. risk-averse (and most likely not concerned with ball-breaking).

What is truly important to understand is the fight for equal rights for women is not a fight that requires masculinity or toughness. The fight for equal rights does not require blazing guns and fist fights. It doesn’t require armor. Honestly, it doesn’t even need these things and most women fighting for women’s rights don’t want to bring these things into the equation. And it’s not because we’re soft. It’s because we want our rights on our womanly, feminine terms.

As a matter of fact, if you ask me what a leader in the feminist movement should look like, I’d say I’d prefer one that looks decidedly feminine. We are women. There’s absolutely no shame in that. We don’t need to pretend. We don’t need to hide. I am woman, hear me roar– in my dress and stilettos.

The Many Reasons Moms Need Google +

This article has come out showing the vast majority of Google +users are young men in some sort of technology-related job. This doesn’t mean Google + isn’t a good site for women. As a matter of fact, I argue that women (especially moms) are the ones really suited to use Google + to its maximum abilities. By the way, before I continue, email me for your invite.

So, why am I making the case for women to join Google + by the truckloads?

Multiple Personalities.

Women are multi-taskers of the highest order, it’s true. And with that ability, comes the tendency to cycle through one persona after another all day long. Google + gives you easy to create Circles and easy ways to manage the content you would like to share.

You can make this as detailed or as simple as you want it, but I have a feeling most of you will love the variety of ways you can mix and match your circles.

Here is a more in-depth way of using Circles that may be of benefit to you.

First of all, no one knows what circle you’ve put them in except you so if you have a twisted sense of humor, feel free to use it when constructing your circles.

Second of all, Google + lets you restrict whether or not the content you post can be re-shared so you can post with confidence.

I have friends of all types. Some of us bonded because we have kids that go/went to school together.  Some of us bonded because of comic books and anime. Some of us bonded because of books. Some of us bonded because of movies. Some of us bonded because we were stuck in an all girls- Catholic high school together for four years. Some of us bonded because we worked together. Some of us bonded because we’re crafty. Some of us bonded because we’re single moms. Some of us bonded because we’re bloggers.

Yes, I can throw everyone into one big Friends circle and call it a day. Or, I can do everyone a favor and streamline my connections, making their Streams much more interesting and relevant.

For example:

I can have the moms from Daughter’s class in one circle, the moms from Eldest’s class in another circle, and the new moms from Baby’s class into another circle. If I have to ask the Moms from Eldest’s class to check if our kids switched PE uniforms, it’s not a problem to type that question up, direct it to that circle, and be done with it. If I need to introduce myself as the Room Mom for Baby’s class, and give them my contact information, I can type that up, restrict it so they can’t re-post it, and dash that off. Meanwhile, the Moms in Daughter’s class might get some pictures I took at a recent school event.

That is a very practical way to use Google + effectively. Add the fact Google + will email those in your circles who have not signed up with Google + yet, and our lives are a bit easier.

You can use Google + to help on a personal level too– reaching out to circles of select individuals who you’re comfortable being open and honest with more than others. You can make sure your family doesn’t get your (ahem) cruder posts. You can geek out with my fellow comic book lovers about Avengers movie teasers.

When you filter your content this way, you won’t be cluttering Streams needlessly. It makes for efficient browsing and gives your items a much better chance of actually being spotted and responded to which is the whole point of Social Networking.

This is why circles are my favorite feature for Google +. I also find the Sparks very interesting and can’t wait to get a smartphone this year so I can take Google + mobile and really have a ball with it. But of course, there’s one more important factor for me that gives Google + the edge over Facebook.

It’s Google. It’s not just that there’s a seamless integration with Google searches, your Reader, YouTube, and so much more; there’s the perception of the company itself. I believe I am more secure and that my interests are more important to a company like Google who has shown they care about ethics even as they manage to be an extremely successful corporation.

Facebook? It was founded by an Ivy League kid with a chip on its shoulder who has betrayed his users’ confidence time and again in favor of a bigger buck. Does it have fun features? Yes. Is it easy to use? Yes. Can it all be replicated? Yes. Can it be improved upon? Yes.

I have always been a bucker of trends. I have always rooted for an underdog. Maybe it’s not a good sign for the future of Google + that I am coming out as such a strong advocate for it.

But, I’m doing so because I really believe there is something here that is not only useful, but fun and helpful as well. I do believe that Google + is taking the best of the social networking worlds and bringing them together in a marvelous way. Note this is article has mostly focused on why Google + may be a better option for grown-ups than Facebook; I haven’t even touched on Twitter.

Feel free to drop in on me on Google +, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you need some help getting on at all or even just getting invited. I don’t think there’s any reason to be wary of a new social networking site. Technology moves insanely quickly and gets easier to adapt to every day.

Of course, there are bugs and kinks. My account, for instance, risks the chance of being suspended because I write anonymously (something I’ve been debating relinquishing and will possibly write about soon). Google + wants “real” names. I’m hoping I’ll be alright. The way Google is handling this in a very open manner is the kind of thing that makes me happy to be in their hands.

What about you? Are you venturing towards a brave new world today?

Reminder: They’re Human Beings Too

Charity
“Charity” by CJMellows on Flickr

On a recent post, “Politicians as Playground Bullies”, Lane from InMintCondition wrote:

“Well put! It’s petty politics like this that make me want to move out of the US of A. I’m more than happy to pay my fair share in taxes and I’m way under the $250k threshold. I got pissed recently when a family member tried to tell me all the ways to “trick” Uncle Sam so I can pay less taxes. Sigh.”

There’s an overwhelming, and alarming, rise of “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is yours, and you better keep your hands to yourself—or else.”

For instance, the current birth control issue.

The Institute of Medicine, an independent and non-profit organization, issued a report with several recommendations regarding women’s health and the new health care law. The most controversial recommendation?

Free contraceptives, sterilizations, and reproductive education for all.

This recommendation was based on these and other findings (quotes from the CNN article):

“A national survey found that an estimated 49% of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended in 2001. And women who have unintended pregnancies are more likely to have little or no prenatal care, and engage in risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking or experience domestic violence.”

Personal aside here: I work with the staff of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the largest hospital in my insanely huge and metropolitan county. I see, and hear, the effects of this on a daily basis. It is horrible what these infants suffer and heartbreaking how survival can often mean a shorter life filled with debilitating hardships.

But, that’s not all.

“Birth control can also help women space time between births. Short periods between pregnancies have been associated with increased risk of higher mortality for children under age 5, low birth weight, preterm births, stillbirths, miscarriages, and maternal death.”

Again, something I am learning about thanks to my job. Rapid-fire births are dangerous!

Wait, there’s more.

“The direct medical cost of unintended pregnancy in the United States was estimated to be nearly $5 billion in 2002. The cost savings due to contraceptive use in that same year was estimated to be $19.3 billion.”

Hey, look at that! Money! I could’ve sworn I’d read somewhere we were looking to save money…

But then, well, then I read the comments. Comments like:

“I have absolutely no problem with birth control, abortions, etc.  I do however have a problem paying for it out of my pocket.  I feel it wrong for my personal dollars funding the mistakes made by women that cannot keep their legs closed. This article is not talking about women that are victims of rape. This is MY money being used for the education, medication, and late action when women make a decision to lay down with a man and then want someone else to deal with their problems. Sorry” – DaleNC

Why should I pay for everyone else’s needs??” – vcz1928

Sure why not. I feel good that my hard earn taxes goes to promote slutdome through out our country. I mean after all, being a skanke is a right that should be paid for by all. I think these people on this board needed to be aborted.” – momomiester

that welfare garbage won’t use bc, they’re too uneducated to know any better. Free bc, free abortions, free anything is ignored by these leeches. Look how they won’t even use their free education.” – CNNdistorts

“its amazing the bull that comes out of washington, first off, most hispanic, middle easterners, and people from africa dont believe in birth control, so that basically leaves poor white trash, promiscouis teenagers, its not the insurance companies responsibility, all the will do is hike up the premiums i live in California our insurances cost us over $800 a month i had to cance my name from the policy just to bring it down to little over $500 gov should worry about other things… “ – soyo

I know when you sit and enter your comments, you’re typing into a little box. I know there’s no actual person sitting in front of you that you are speaking to. I get that this emboldens you.

However.

This level of nastiness is uncalled for. And more than that, this level of self-interest is heartbreaking.

I can’t help but imagine the people who pinch their pockets and bemoan about how unfair it is for their money to provide services for other people (who apparently all happen to be moronic and degenerate) must never in their lives have gone through a tragedy. They must have never experienced the power of a community that surges together to help strangers the way those of us who lived in South Florida during August 1992 did when Hurricane Andrew shook us to the core.

The creatures the commentators refer to—whether they be “welfare garbage” or “poor white trash” or “hispanic, middle easterners, and people from Africa” or even (God bless them) “skankes” are, you know, people.

They’re Human Beings.

Why do we insist on stripping each other of this?

Humans have always been tribal creatures. We have survived and come so far because we have it in us to look out for each other.

Where have we gone wrong?

It seems we fear terms, labels, and catchphrases more than we trust our guts. We look more to others who are louder and flashier than to ourselves for guidance.

My grandparents and my parents were immigrants. They have worked so hard not just to meet our needs but to get us to levels above fundamentals.

My maternal grandfather worked about three to four different jobs at any given time. He also freely gave money to those who needed it.

He never refused anyone who came to his printing company looking for water and often took them to lunch too. His printing being in a rough part of Downtown, this was an almost daily practice.

He never raised the rent on the tenants of the properties he owned because he was concerned of the burden it would place on the elderly and the young families.

When he passed away, he did not leave my grandmother penniless or in debt. He left her just enough for her to continue living the life they’d lived together for 52 years. He successfully took care of his own and others.

My grandfather was an Atheist. He wasn’t doing this because a Church told him to. He wasn’t doing this because it’s what God would’ve wanted or because it’s what Jesus would do.

My grandfather didn’t do any of this because of any political belief or affiliation—he abandoned hope that a government would do the right thing when he abandoned Cuba and buried it when Kennedy abandoned the Bay of Pigs.

My grandfather was not upper-class and privileged. He was uneducated, dropping out of school in the sixth grade to support his family as his father swindled away any earnings by gambling and womanizing. He had to work hard so he, his five siblings, and his mother would not have to be evicted from house after house because the money had been thrown away.

My grandfather did the things he did without doubt or hesitation because he knew in his gut it was the right thing to do.

I do too.

I understand there is a lot of mistrust in our government being able to manage anything effectively. It’s an argument with a lot of convincing evidence.

However, hateful assumptions and stereotypical characterizations of the recipients of some of our government’s services are not evidence.

We all have access to at least some government services. We have access to postage services, police services, fire services, military services, disaster relief services, and educational services to name a few.

Arguing the quality of these is not the point. Arguing the extent to which they are used is also not the point.

They are paid for by us and are available to you should you choose to use them.

More importantly, they are paid for and available to you should something happen that strips away your choice to not use them.

No one becomes a success alone. It may feel lonely at times, but no one is truly alone on the path to success. Your success has a lot to do with you, yes. But, your success also has to do with others.

The opposite is also true.

No one becomes a failure alone. Your failures have a lot to do with you, yes. But your failure also has to do with others.

I place my vote of confidence in my fellow man and woman. I want to succeed. I want you to succeed. I want us to succeed.

I want to do whatever it takes, not to get this country back to basics because that implies a regression, but to elevate this country to its next stage—one of inclusion instead of exclusion. I wish you’d join me because then we’d have a much greater chance of succeeding together.