• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Catscatscats on The Best Christmas Movie
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The Best Christmas Movie
    Propertius on The Best Christmas Movie
    atl on The Best Christmas Movie
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on The Best Christmas Movie
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Every time I hear Collins…
    William on The Best Christmas Movie
    William on Every time I hear Collins…
    riverdaughter on Every time I hear Collins…
    riverdaughter on Every time I hear Collins…
    girdharikeer on Every time I hear Collins…
    riverdaughter on Every time I hear Collins…
    riverdaughter on Every time I hear Collins…
    Ga6thDem on Every time I hear Collins…
    Propertius on Every time I hear Collins…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    December 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Nov    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    293031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Open Thread
      Use the comments on this post to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.
  • Top Posts

I Am Not A Feminist

deeandlouI am not a feminist.  For one thing, I’ve never really known exactly what the term means.   Thankfully, Murphy at PUMA Pac provided me with a clue by posting this quote:

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
– Rebecca West

While that’s nice to know, I’ve been more inclined to accept the “me, a name I call myself” type labels ever since I first learned the song that line comes from.  Which brings me to another point, if feminist means celebrating the “feminine” that lets me out right there.  I’ve never been, nor wanted to be, “feminine.”  While I’m perfectly comfortable embracing the “female,” “feminine” has always seemed to me to be the definition of  female as “less than,” and I can’t go for that.   The “just a girl” attitude I’ve always perceived to be associated with the word “feminine” has always pissed me off.

Some might say that’s because I was born gay, but I’m not buying that either.  While I was born gay, I didn’t really recognize that about myself until my mid-twenties, believe it or not, and didn’t really accept it until even later than that.  “Gay” was just not talked about in my house, or anywhere else I was exposed to growing up in the late fifties, early sixties; there were girls, boys and tomboys.  I was a tomboy.  But even once I embraced my lesbianism, actvism was never an option I considered; nobody I cared about, gay or straight,  discriminated against me, and that was all that ever mattered to me.

I feel the same way about my blackness; I’m not militant about it; like being a gay woman, it is simply who I am, who I was born to be.  I’ve always known I was black, everybody in my house was too, even though none of us really have the same hue.   The first time I was aware of it was probably about the same time I realized girls were just as good as boys, about the same time I first heard “doe, a deer…”  Seeing people on TV who were just like everybody else I knew, only a different color, made me ask my mother what was up with that one day around the time I started school.  The nature of society as it was reflected on the news probably had something to do with my racial awakening, but even with all the unrest roiling around the country, to me my blackness was no big deal.  Some people didn’t like girls and tomboys either, but that was their problem.  Politicizing my “me-ness” has always seemed to me to be accepting of other people’s definition of who they think I should be, in fact, in my mind, to be radical about one’s inherent physical qualities requires that one define oneself on others’ terms.

I am a black gay woman.

Deal with it.

But, first and foremost, I am a human being.  On that level, I’ve always been pissed off that some people think they’re better than other people, no matter what the reason.  So what if you’re rich, or white, or smart, or tall, or go to a different church, or pee standing up?  That’s who you are, we either like each other or we don’t; life goes on.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never been able to abide anybody abusing anybody else.  Who do you think you are?  What gives you the right to try to impose your will on somebody else?  What makes you think you can hit, or hurt, or be mean to another person just because you’re mad about who they are?  Because that’s what just about all conflict comes down to.  We get mad at our lovers, spouses, friends, children, enemies because they’re not who we want them to be at that moment.  The same is true for religion; you don’t worship the way I think you should so I hate you, you’re not the right kind of believer.   You don’t drive the way I think people should drive so screw you, you’re not the driver I want you to be.  You’re gay, you’re white, you’re stupid, you’re wrong.  For some reason, too many of us think some aspect, any aspect, of other people’s reality is subject to our approval.

So people around the world blow other people up because they exist in places they don’t want them to be, people dedicate their lives to trying to force other people to behave according to the standards of their “one God who loves everybody the way they are,” people shoot other people because they own things they want and don’t want other people to have, people invent ways to hurt other people for being who they are.  And nobody ever stops to consider how silly it all is.

A man wants a woman to behave the way he wants her to; he wants what he wants, when she won’t allow it, he shoots her in the face with a shotgun.  That is the way he is.  He has done things like that before, if not stopped, he will do it again.  But, how do you stop him without becoming like him?  If you do, when will the cycle stop?  Because he hurts the woman, the people who love her will want him to be hurt the same way, that’s human nature.  But, no matter how unreasonable he is and always has been, somebody loves him, too.  And, even if they don’t love him, if he is hurt in return, some who identify with him will take up his cause and hurt people on his behalf.  Which will of course require further retaliation; and so on, and so on…Ongoing wars that began millenia ago have been started in much the same way, many feuds, fights, turf wars, etc., have been started for less.

And, that is not the way we should be.  But, what to do?  No one should bear the pain of losing a family member, let alone two, to someone else’s ego-driven rage of insecurity.  We can never, ever expect anyone to accept that kind of injustice.  Their anguished howls of outrage and pain are outrageous and painful to all who hear them, and if they are unbearable for those of us not directly affected, and they are, we can only imagine the depths of the despair they feel, which anguishes us even more.  Never would I suggest that anyone in that situation simply “take it” in the name of “getting along,” or “stopping the cycle.”   But my outrage, pain and anguish is not because I empathize with another woman, but because she’s a human being.

As am I.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, as long as we, as a global society, a human family, approach our attempts at conflict resolution as feminists, blacks, gays, Christians, Jews, Muslims, whites, Democrats, Republicans, or any other kind of “-ists” “-isms” “-ians,” or “-ites,” we’re doomed to perpetual warfare, personally, nationally, politically, and ethnically.  Until we see ourselves and others as what we are, human beings, there’s no hope for any of us.

My thoughts and prayers go out to fellow PUMA Betty Jean Kling and her daughters, Denise Richardson and Louisa Richardson-Rodas.  May God bless them and show them mercy.  I support her in all her endeavors to seek justice for her family and all who have ever, or might ever, find themselves in a similar situation, which is, unfortunately, all of us.

This angry, black, lesbian, Baptist human being reaches out with open arms to another human being suffering a fate no one should ever have to even contemplate, and offers her and her family love.

What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.

Though we have never met, Betty Jean, this post goes from my heart to yours.

If I have trivialized, misrepresented, sensationalized, or offended you in any way, please accept my humble apologies.

Sunday: Louisa

Conflucians, I am keeping this post up and will update news from Betty Jean on the condition of her daughters, Louisa and Denise, when it becomes available.  We would like for news of this incident to become viral and spread throughout the internet so please send this link to as many people as you can.

Updates on Louisa:  Last night, I received the following information passed along by Sheri Tag:

Email From BJ:
Just got home after a 36 hours shift but it was worth is – time for a new brain hemorrhage is passed now – and we think the brains on the left side is not in heal mode – Thank You Jesus
Now if we can keep her fever down and infections away for another full week – there is reason to hope that with prayer we might consider a possible partial recovery !
Louisa will never be the same – but 15 hours ago we were having the pull the plug discussions and now we are having a different one – so Please keep the prayers coming!

BJ asked I relay this information:

Swelling has reached its peak and starting to subside and reverse.

Today Louisa grabbed and squeezed BJ’s and the doctors hand.

The breathing tube will be removed and a trache will be put in, with the anticipation of Louisa breathing 40% on her own.

The main concern at this time is infection.

BJ wants to thank everyone again and asks for continued prayers because this week Louisa will really need it.

So, it looks like Louisa is starting to come around.  This is good news.

Continue reading

Thursday: For Louisa

Both clinging to life

Denise and Louisa, Betty Jean's daughters: Both clinging to life

The trials of Job are not limited to biblical sheepherders.  Many PUMAs know Betty Jean Kling, a tireless Hillary Clinton supporter who had a passion for healthcare reform.  Betty Jean’s son died of cancer and her daughter Denise is living with advanced ovarian cancer.  Betty Jean’s heart’s desire was to see that her daughter, and all those affected by serious disease, get the treatment they need.

But an evil genius works against Betty Jean.  Last June, Denise was attacked in her sleep by her estranged lover, George Hartwig.  He hit her in the head with a hammer.  He was sentenced to 3 months in prison for the attack and released.  Monday night, as Betty Jean attended a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in New York City to help her pay off her remaining debt, Hartwig struck again.  He shot Denise’s sister, Louisa, in the face when she got in the way.  Louisa is now in critical condition in a New Jersey hospital.  (One of our commenters reports that Louisa has lost an eye and may suffer brain damage if she survives.) You can read about the attack here, here and here.   This has been devastating to Betty Jean who is now dealing with two daughters who are fighting for their lives.

Domestic violence is a sensitive subject for many people.  I don’t know why it should be.  You shouldn’t be allowed to commit violent acts against another human being no matter what degree of relationship exists but violence is often tolerated in marital situations. Still, it is imcomprehensible that an attacker would be allowed to roam free after he heartlessly attacked a cancer patient with a hammer.  That this man had the ability to shoot her sister with a shotgun is simply unbelievable.  Where were the local police?  The New Jersey justice system?  How can targets of domestic violence sleep easily if their predators are not actually restrained?  The attackers in instances such as these seem to be operating with a single minded obsession, as if they are determined to remove a weed from their garden.  It’s irrational anger projected onto a hapless target.  If the crazy worldview of the attacker can’t be changed, the attacker himself needs to be locked up.

We need a Louisa’s Law that will prevent the release of these attackers who, like pedophiles, have a habit of being repeat offenders.  They need an attitude adjustment that only a lot of time with a prison psychologist can accomplish, along with restraining orders, ankle bracelet monitoring systems and no legal access to firearms.  Of course, that doesn’t prevent the abuser from using hammers so maybe locking them up and strapping a GPS device to them when they’re released until they get the point is the only way.  Worldviews are very difficult to change unless the person sees there is really no alternative and that society will simply not allow them to act on their murderous rage.

If you want to help Betty Jean advocate for a new Louisa’s Law, please contact her at Free Us Now.   NJ Senator Menendez sponsored legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.  You might want to drop him a line if you agree with him or contact your own senators.  NJ Senator Lautenberg  wrote the Domestic Violence Gun Ban and Brady Law.  Both of these Democrats know how serious this issue is but they have faced a tough fight from the NRA in recent years.  It is time we focus our attention on the risk that Domestic Violence poses to their victims and others who get in the way.

The New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women has many services for women who are facing domestic abuse but surprisingly little on their legislation page.  If you are a lawyer or advocate in this area, or have experience lobbying for legislation, let them know you want to help.

Finally, there will be a hearing  on the arraignment of George Hartwig.  The Honorable Judge Harry Carroll will preside.  His contact numbers are voice: 201-527-2460, fax: 201-752-4109 if you would like to politely urge him to keep Hatwig behind bars until his trial.

We send our positivc thoughts to Betty Jean.  The Trial of Job didn’t last forever.  It ended well.