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Sun Aug 6, 2017, 03:56 PM

My Choice


Being a male may prevent me from being an expert on “women's issues.” However, I have learned a few things from teachers, especially those who are patient. Two that I have in mind are my daughters. They are both in their twenties now, and are both social-political activists, with a particular interest in women's issues. Both are university-educated, and share information with me.

Now, when well done, parenting is a unique educational experience, with both boys and girls. I learned a lot from all four of my children, since they were itty-bitty. And I did my best to encourage their being curious, self-confident, and happy. Of course, I was not perfect, no one ever is. But we made their childhoods an adventure. Those are times I can look back on with real happiness.

Raising teenagers is – at least in my opinion, though others likely agree – distinct from raising pre-teens. There comes at time, somewhere around 16, when boys experience with identity formation resulted in my sons concluding that I was not the smartest, strongest, absolute coolest man who ever walked the earth. On one hand, I missed the earlier times; on the other, I encouraged them (except when they challenged me to box).

My daughters' mother had more difficulty with them as teens, and abandoned them. That was tough, because no matter how good I might be as a parent, teenage girls tend to do better with a stable mother figure. But I did my best, and am pleased that both continued to think of me as both human and someone who has added to society. At her university, the youngest even published an essay that referred to me as her hero. That surely made me happy.

I so wish that my father knew my daughters. But he died, and their other three grandparents have never been part of their lives. Thus, I've been lucky to have extended family that has filled various roles. My aunt and uncle served as “grandparents” to two little girls without grandparents. Another aunt, 88, and uncle, 89, are also wonderful with all my kids. Plus my siblings, my nieces and nephews, and my cousins, etc.

Not a single female relative they know accepted being treated as unequal to males – either in family life, or the larger society. That doesn't mean they didn't face discrimination. So few things have pleased me more than to sit back and listen to my 88 year old aunt tell the family history of strong women. In a book I published years ago, about the Irish immigrant experience in the northeast, I documented how much of the anti-Irish dynamics were due to the equal role of women in traditional Irish society.

My children all share my passion for the environment. In my opinion, it is impossible to fully appreciate nature, if you don't appreciate that male and female are absolutely equal, though not exact. This is part of understanding human nature. It allows us to appreciate the potential benefits and problems of both patriarchal and matriarchal societies. It prevents the perverse attitudes that sex is dirty, and that we should be restrictive in assigning gender roles. It provides opportunity to understand the history of human migration patterns, including environmental and human factors.

All of my kids got to know my mentors, Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. The boys grew up thinking Paul was their grandfather. All of them knew Rubin as a wise uncle. I say this, because our current society encourages the breakdown of family systems – despite the pious crap about “family values” – and there is a much-needed option of redefining what family means.

As the saying goes, human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights. That shouldn't be debated any more than Black Lives Matter. Or that the Standing Rock Sioux have the right to say no to a pipeline. Or that human beings are not, by definition, “illegal.” We need to translate these truths into our social and political reality.

This is why I have stated on several DU:GD threads that I'm opposed to trying to expand the party by way of welcoming anti-choice politicians.

H2O Man

39 replies, 16184 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 39 replies Author Time Post
Reply My Choice (Original post)
H2O Man Aug 2017 OP
guillaumeb Aug 2017 #1
lunatica Aug 2017 #4
H2O Man Aug 2017 #15
volstork Aug 2017 #12
H2O Man Aug 2017 #14
guillaumeb Aug 2017 #23
H2O Man Aug 2017 #13
guillaumeb Aug 2017 #24
Solly Mack Aug 2017 #2
H2O Man Aug 2017 #16
onecaliberal Aug 2017 #3
H2O Man Aug 2017 #17
Me. Aug 2017 #5
H2O Man Aug 2017 #18
countryjake Aug 2017 #6
H2O Man Aug 2017 #19
Warren DeMontague Aug 2017 #7
H2O Man Aug 2017 #20
Warren DeMontague Aug 2017 #22
Horse with no Name Aug 2017 #8
H2O Man Aug 2017 #21
dembotoz Aug 2017 #9
H2O Man Aug 2017 #25
mopinko Aug 2017 #10
H2O Man Aug 2017 #26
seta1950 Aug 2017 #11
H2O Man Aug 2017 #27
Honeycombe8 Aug 2017 #28
H2O Man Aug 2017 #29
Honeycombe8 Aug 2017 #39
BobsYourUncle Aug 2017 #30
H2O Man Aug 2017 #33
Raster Aug 2017 #31
H2O Man Aug 2017 #34
DFW Aug 2017 #32
H2O Man Aug 2017 #35
DFW Aug 2017 #36
Hekate Aug 2017 #37
dawg Aug 2017 #38

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 04:00 PM

1. Recommended.

The problem, as I see it, is that many people in both parties feel that their personal beliefs regarding abortion should overrule others' rights.

I understand having a religious or philosophical personal objection to abortion, but that personal objection should be limited to what you personally choose to do if the situation of an unwanted pregnancy arises.

Recommended.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 04:24 PM

4. My thoughts exactly

The choice is everything. And my answer to people who think they can judge others is to tell them that if they're anti-abortion then by all means they should never have one. Other than that it's nobody's business what others choose to do.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 07:12 PM

15. Yep.

Exactly!

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 06:18 PM

12. THIS.

AND what H2O Man said.

"The real issue is that Americans no longer accept the law as the highest authority in the land. They believe private morality is. We were once a nation of laws, not men and certainly not private morality. That has changed. And while private morality is all well and good and an excellent way of living one's life, it is not a good way of organizing a society, as the last forty years have shown.”

I am unsure of the author of this quote; I may have read it on a blog somewhere.
Private morality can and should inform one's outlook on and approach to life, but should not become a point upon which to dictate public policy. Not from a republican, not from a Democrat, not from anyone.

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Response to volstork (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 07:12 PM

14. Great quote.

Thank you.

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Response to volstork (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 08:01 PM

23. An excellent reference.

As to law and private morality, at one point, people who evaded taxes and other obligations were seen as criminals and cheats. now they are seen as good businesspeople and Presidents.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 07:11 PM

13. Very well said.

Thank you for this.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 08:02 PM

24. Inspired by your post.

And the many responses are excellent.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 04:05 PM

2. K&R

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 07:13 PM

16. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 04:18 PM

3. X10000

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Response to onecaliberal (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 07:13 PM

17. Thanks, onecaliberal !

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 04:27 PM

5. KR

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Response to Me. (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 07:15 PM

18. Thank you, Me.

This is something that seems way too obvious to me.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 04:48 PM

6. Highly Recommended!

to strong women, everywhere!

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Response to countryjake (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 07:20 PM

19. Thanks!

I have one male relative who is definitely uncomfortable around strong women. In fact, he's uncomfortable at the very thought of strong women. However, I finally got him to register to vote in 2008, and in 2016, he campaigned for Clinton. Maybe there's hope?

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 04:52 PM

7. Choice is not negotiable.

My Body, My Business.

And since I don't have a uterus, I'm not personally involved in the decision to have or not have an abortion. I'm not going to legislate for uteruses that I don't have.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #7)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 07:26 PM

20. Right.

Four times, I was involved in the decision that it would be good to have a baby, each time resulting in a pregnancy and a birth nine months later. (There was also one miscarriage, so it was five times.) Those times when there wasn't a mutual goal of pregnancy, that was avoided. Other people's experience isn't my business, unless they ask my opinion of one thing or another.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #20)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 07:59 PM

22. Yes. I think most of us agree that good communication is crucial in a healthy adult relationship.

Certainly about a decision that big.

So, yeah, it's not like my wife and I didn't have long discussions about the decision to have kids, too.

But from a legal perspective the person making decisions about a pregnancy needs to be the pregnant person alone. I know you agree, I'm just reiterating.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 05:27 PM

8. It shouldn't even be up for discussion

and while I believe we should welcome anyone that wishes to vote Democratic....I do not believe we should sacrifice our principles to get that vote. That isn't winning....that is conceding a victory.
We are at a place in history where I imagine it will be hard to vote as a republican so I am assuming that is why this discussion is making the rounds.
The thing is....OUR party has a place for those that do not want to have abortions. It also has a place for those that need them....that is what CHOICE is all about. You do what you need to do, I will do what I need to do and I won't infringe on your decisions but I will not allow you to infringe on mine.
It isn't that hard for someone to stay in their own lane.

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Response to Horse with no Name (Reply #8)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 07:27 PM

21. Perfect answer.

And a wonderful example of the power of rational thinking. Thank you.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 05:35 PM

9. Yes

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Response to dembotoz (Reply #9)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 09:32 AM

25. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 05:47 PM

10. the proper frame of this issue is- who decides?

if you dont think women should have the autonomy to decide, then who?

if you are going to pass laws making it illegal, that means the government decides.
when you carve out exemptions for rape and incest, then law enforcement decides.
when you make a carve out for the life and health of the fetus or the mother, then doctors decide.

and when you go back to back alley abortions, it requires someone to decide to break the law, for motives both noble and coarse.

back in the day, women who wanted an abortion could appeal to (male, of course) doctors. in some cases it was one on one, and liberal. in some cases there were panels of doctors. (death panels, really, considering the stakes.) and many of those panels were just opposed in principle, and rarely said yes.

it is one of those things where the only logical thing to do is to draw the line at zero. the woman decides. for a million individual reasons that no fair law can anticipate.

and for the record, i have 5 kids, not all planned. tho i chose to carry those babies, knowing that i was in control of that choice meant i was a free person and not a slave.
every one was a risk of my life. every one left scars on my body. every one disturbed my metabolism and health, in some ways permanently.
that is a heavy burden to bear at someone else's insistence. that is slavery.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #10)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 09:35 AM

26. Very well said.

Thank you for this!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Aug 6, 2017, 06:02 PM

11. Thank you

Very well said , exactly how I feel as a woman.

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Response to seta1950 (Reply #11)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 09:35 AM

27. Thank you, seta1950!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 10:33 AM

28. Excellent post. But that's a big leap from women's rights to not accepting "anti-choice."

The real choice is not between anti-choice and pro-choice. The real choice in some districts is anti-choice Democrat who votes for Democratic Party bills most of the time vs an anti-choice Republican who votes against Democratic Party bills most of the time.

The Dem Party bills affect women often more than men, like health insurance, equal wages, equal rights bills, etc.

To allow a Republican to get that district is ironically voting against women in many ways. That is, in my view, an anti-women's rights move...to take an ideological stand and disregarding the real effect of that stand on the group one professes to be concerned about.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #28)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 10:44 AM

29. Perhaps you could

assist us in bridging this "gap" by pointing out a half-dozen or so of the democratic candidates who are actively anti-choice, but are solid on other human rights issues?

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #29)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 07:10 PM

39. I don't know of solidly anti-choice Democrats, actually. Do you?

You also didn't define what you mean by "human rights issues."

Also, there are other issues than those. Insurance, health care, wages, the economy in general, infrastructure, taxes, daycare, birth control, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, voting rights, gerrymandering, immigration, work visas, etc.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 01:50 PM

30. I love the phrase you used...

"male and female are absolutely equal, though not exact". It speaks volumes to me.

How about a word-game:
How many word-pairs fit in "______ and ______ are absolutely equal, though not exact"

Examples: old/young, black/white, gay/straight, native/immigrant...

How many problems would vanish if such truisms were taken for granted?

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Response to BobsYourUncle (Reply #30)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 03:28 PM

33. Great point!

Thanks! That is the essence of human rights.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 02:26 PM

31. BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!

No retreat. No surrender. Choice is non-negotiable.

Wonderful post, H2O Man! Thank you.

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Response to Raster (Reply #31)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 03:32 PM

34. Thanks, Raster!

It seems worth noting that Trump self-identified as a Democrat, before eventually becoming a republican. If he were to change back, would anyone seriously think that we should support him as a result? Of course not ....at least I'd hope not.

Human rights are not open to negotiation with those opposed to human rights.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 02:55 PM

32. I have no problem with someone who is against abortion

I have an IMMENSE problem with someone who is against choice. Just as I would never force a woman to have an abortion if she doesn't want one, I would never force her to bring an unwanted pregnancy to term if she didn't want that. It is not, no way nohow, the place of ANY third party to make that decision.

I come from a long line of strong women anyway, as well as having married one and helped raise two more. My grandmother was dismissed by New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia as his liason to labor in the 1940s. It seems she was too cozy with labor for his liking. She also committed the cardinal sin of backing her husband, my grandfather, for Attorney General on NY (some nerve, right?). Six years later, she became a passionate East Coast fundraiser for the mayor of Minneapolis for the US Senate from Minnesota. His name was Hubert Humphrey.

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Response to DFW (Reply #32)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 03:39 PM

35. Exactly, DFW!

I have relatives in Scranton. A large Irish Catholic family. My (late) aunt and uncle were university professors and party activists. My aunt was a delegate at numerous Democratic Conventions. I remember staying there as a kid; one neighbor was the governor, and his son -- now a Senator -- played with my cousins.

The older people were all anti-abortion. I can't say about their position 50 years ago, but they were not anti-choice when we talked politics when I was a young adult. They were strongly in favor of sex education in schools, and in making birth control available to all.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #35)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 03:49 PM

36. Many on the far right refuse to acknowledge an obvious truth

They vehemently oppose sex education and contraception, which are the two biggest preventions of abortions that exist. "No unwanted pregnancy" equals "no abortion." As obvious as that might seem to those of us capable of reason and linear thought, the extremist right still closes their eyes to it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 06:47 PM

37. KnR

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 06:55 PM

38. I'm not going to support an anti-choice candidate in the primaries.

But if one makes it to November anyway, I would vote for an anti-choice Democrat over an anti-choice Republican - especially if it meant the possibility of putting a Democrat back in Georgia's governor's mansion.

I certainly don't think we should go out of our way to recruit anyone like that, though.

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