Tea parties and nap time

Each morning, it's my goal to do two things before Baby J wakes up: first, grab a bowl of gluten-free Honey Chex. And second, read the Morning Jolt by Jim Geraghty on National Review Online. It gives me a condensed, link-filled, 4-point summary of the day's news. And it usually makes me laugh, too. 

Yesterday's Jolt featured commentary on the liberal snickering about Sarah Palin, who recently said to the crowd at a Tea Party rally: "Don't party like it's 1773 yet." Geraghty has written before about what he calls our "narrative-reinforcement" main-stream media, saying that:

...once the narrative is set, it is very hard to alter... It's been remarked in the Corner, among other places, that every prominent Republican is either classified as either dumb or evil. Dumb: George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford (or at least bumbling). Evil: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Newt Gingrich.
Sarah Palin, as we all know, must be stupid in the eyes of the media. She has five kids and a strange accent. And once a public official labeled "dumb" says something, it must be dumb. If she says gravity pulls objects towards the earth, the lazy who are convinced they are clever will claim she denies the existence of human flight.
So when Palin says to a crowd, "Don't party like it's 1773 yet," of course she must have meant 1776 and is such a phenomenally gaffe-prone dunce that she botched a date almost every grade-schooler knows.

Many a liberal blogger, reporter and pundit took to their Twitter accounts to report and mock the line, failing to recall that something relevant did indeed happen in 1773: the Boston Tea Party. There's plenty more great conservative commentary on this on the web, especially by Michelle Malkin and Neo-Neocon, but I bring this up with reference to (what else) my own life.

Husband came home from work yesterday and said that a co-worker of his (a former co-worker of mine, as well) asked about me and how I was doing, "staying home and all."

I asked, "What'd you tell him?"

"I said you were really enjoying it."

"And he said?"

"He said he didn't believe me."


I know this is only a small conversation, probably said without much thought and with no real significance, but it saddens me to hear about people who believe the media narrative that mothers can't be happy at home.

Now, I said "happy" at home. I didn't say it's a carefree, energetic, walk-in-the-clouds existence. It's a job, and it's my job. And jobs are hard. But the best jobs--all of them--include meaningful work, personal rewards and a sense of accomplishment. 

Gloria Feldt, former head of Planned Parenthood, recently had this to say about women choosing to stay home with their children:
They make it harder for the rest of us to remedy the inequities that remain. We have to make young women aware of how their choices affect other women. It should be acceptable criticism to point out that, although everyone has the right to make their own life decisions, choosing to “opt out” reinforces stereotypes about women’s priorities that we’ve been working for decades to shatter, so just cut it out. And, the “individual choice” women have to become stay-at-home moms becomes precarious when they try to return to the workplace and find their earning power and options reduced. If we could see child-rearing as a necessary task and not an identity, and if we could collectively recognize that facilitating it benefits us all, we would go much further in guaranteeing women’s choices than we do when we are expected to uncritically celebrate every individual’s decision.
Ah. Pardon me, Gloria, while I make it "harder" for you and your world of truly misogynistic, misplaced priorities by playing peek-a-boo with my infant. 

If having your baby fed, content, changed and sleeping in his own crib at 3:19 on a Wednesday afternoon doesn't make a mother feel happy, I'm not sure what would. Granted, I have other projects built into my day (especially during nap time) that let me focus on writing, designing, and video production. And luckily, some of those projects bring in a very small amount of much-needed income. But still, if I only had the baby, that would be good, too. I would be happy. To Gloria Feldt, the liberal media at large and especially that one co-worker, I say: Believe me.      


Ignorance is death

Changing Baby J’s diaper a few weeks ago, I was half listening, half watching Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life interviewing Christopher Cardinal Schรถnborn on the EWTN cable channel. The two men, both crusaders for the unborn (and all other human life), discussed legal and spiritual ways to fight the evil of abortion.

The interview didn’t truly catch my attention, though, until photos of the saddest sight possible flashed on the screen: small babies, burnt, dismembered, desecrated. Babies with their eyes open. Babies murdered through abortion.

Seeing those images never fails to immediately bring me to tears. Writing about it, days later, I’m still emotional.

However, whereas I’ve regretted seeing other forms of gratuitous violence, sex or other graphic content on television and in movies (The Dark Knight, for instance, was a great flick, but oy!), I’ve never regretted being face to face with the reality of abortion.

Why? Because: Ignorance is death.

Perhaps nothing divides the pro-life crowd more than the issue of seeing abortion. We’ve all seen the groups that stand outside college campuses or along busy roadsides displaying large poster images of aborted children. They make us wince. They should.

Catholic author and mother Danielle Bean writes that while she is completely pro-life, 
“I am not sure anyone should have the right to display graphic and disturbing photos in public places. I am raising my children to be 100% pro-life as well, but I don’t want someone else deciding for me when they are ready to see horrifying images of dead babies.”
Bean goes on to say that these tactics “do very little to promote the cause of life” and that the more powerful image is the one of the baby in utero. I greatly respect Ms. Bean and love reading her work, but I do disagree on this point.

I’ve heard other passionately and actively pro-life women argue against the images as well. “How will a post-abortive woman ever believe she’s worthy of forgiveness when she’s forced to look at photos of what she’s done?” is a reasonable question (and one that I think is sufficiently answered by the wonderful team at Rachel’s Vineyard).

One of the hallmarks of Fr. Frank’s ministry with Priests for Life is that “America won’t reject abortion until it sees abortion.” On their website, viewers can find photo gallery after photo gallery of every aspect of abortion: the abortion procedures, in detail; the abortionists, in their own words; the remains of the innocent. Fr. Frank writes:
“We present here some of the grim reality of abortion. Only seeing such images can bring us to the kind of indignation needed to sustain the sacrifices that will be necessary to finally bring an end to this injustice.”
Perhaps most poignantly, he states: “Abortion is a reality which is so horrific that words alone can never convey its meaning.”

In an age when abortion is euphemized to the extreme (“products of conception,” anyone?), his own words ring true.

One horrifically honest campaign created by Priests for Life is called “Is This What You Mean?” Truncated descriptions of abortion procedures, described by abortionists themselves, are outlined. I can barely read more than five without having to leave the webpage. It’s that awful. And that real.

While I sympathize with Ms. Bean and the many other hard-working, dedicated pro-life individuals that object to the use of these disturbing photos (whether on street corners, in front of abortion mills or on the Internet), I’m firmly in Fr. Frank’s camp.

That’s not to say that showing the humanity of the living unborn baby (as opposed to babies killed by abortion) isn’t thoroughly effective and, at times, the better strategy for reaching hearts. A key moment in the movie Juno comes as the pregnant heroine approaches an abortion clinic and meets a peaceful protester, who happens to be her classmate. The pro-life girl says, “Your baby probably has a beating heart, you know. It can feel pain. And it has fingernails.”

At the mention of fingernails, Juno makes an about-face and says, “Really, fingernails?”

Showing and explaining fetal development is not only useful, but it has saved many, many children.

But in an age when shock sells, sometimes it takes more than the mention of fingernails to get someone’s attention to the reality of abortion. Sometimes it takes the truth—the burnt, bloody and broken truth. Because ignorance is death.