A Big Fat Middle Finger to Mike Pence

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Planned Parenthood is an organization that I absolutely and fully support.

Yes, I support their abortion services (I am, after all, pro choice). But what most people fail to understand is that Planned Parenthood is so much more than that.

Only three percent of what Planned Parenthood provides is abortion services. According to the most recently available annual report (2014-2015), STI/STD Testing & Treatment was the top service provided, closely followed by contraception.

What else does Planned Parenthood offer? Cancer screenings. General family practice services for both women and men. Pregnancy tests. Prenatal services. Advocacy and Education.

We need Planned Parenthood. 

And now that Governor Mike Pence is the Vice-President Elect of the United States, we need to do all that we can to protect it.

In 2007, Mike Pence sponsored the first bill to defund Planned Parenthood. He continued to do so until one finally passed the House in 2011. That was the same year he threatened to shut down the government by not approving the budget if the bill didn’t pass.

He signed every single piece of anti-abortion legislature that came across his desk as Governor of Indiana.

He believes that condoms are “too modern” and a poor defense against STDs.

This is the man who is about to be the second in command of America. And this is the man who so desperately needs the education that Planned Parenthood provides.

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So I just made a donation in Mike Pence’s name to Planned Parenthood, as many others are doing. He will be notified of the donation. This may seem like a small, ineffective thing to do – but it accomplishes two things:

  1. Money is given to help keep Planned Parenthood able to provide healthcare to those who need it.
  2. Mike Pence is the recipient of a big fat middle finger telling him that there are loads of us who don’t appreciate his archaic views and demands to control reproductive health.

And if Planned Parenthood isn’t your thing, there are many other organizations you can donate to in “honor” of Mike Pence:

The Next Day. What Now?

If you’re anything like me, you spent yesterday grieving:

It isn’t a political defeat that we’re lamenting, it’s a defeat for Humanity.
 
We’re not angry that our candidate lost. We’re angry because our candidate’s losing means this country will be less safe, less kind, and less available to a huge segment of its population, and that’s just the truth.

And while I still mourn the loss of the country that I believed I was a part of, it’s now time to move forward. I was listening to new episode of The Light Bulb podcast by Storywonk this morning, and Lani said something that resonated with me (and also made me cry – again):

I’m angry. I’m furious. I find this whole thing just so incredibly upsetting. But I can’t make a difference holding onto that. I can’t make it better. And so I have to believe that there is space in my heart to forgive the people that allowed this to happen.

I’m still angry too. But my anger makes me self-righteous and indignant – and you can’t cultivate change that way. Yesterday I said that I want to be a kind, reasonable, and rational human being who strives to make this world a better place in spite of what may be happening around me.

So how do I do that? How do we do that?

Sanderson Jones, founder of Sunday Assembly, provides some suggestions:

Act with love: Smile at someone in the street. They probably want to know they’re in a world of love and kindness. Make the world a less scary place for your neighbours and friends.

Choose your way: what you choose to focus on affects how you feel. Choose the right things for you, and take time before you react to others.

Listen: Hearing people that agree with you is great but more important to listen to those that don’t.  Find spaces where you can be with difference, live with difference and listen to difference without judging.

Contribute: in every street in the country there are people who disagreed with you. Make their world better however you can. Work out your way to be a part of a positive future and take action.

Some tangible ways to make this happen include:

  1. Donate $ to causes that share our values and seek to improve humanity. Those include the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, your local LGBTQ center, and The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.
  2. Volunteer. Get involved with your local political chapters. Find grassroots organizations and help spread the word or organize a fundraiser. Now’s the time to start planning for the mid-term elections. If you’re looking for something less political, volunteer to take calls with the Suicide Prevention Hotline or The Trevor Project.
  3. Pay it forward. Do something to make a stranger smile today. Leave a book in the subway. Pay for the meal of the person behind you at the drive-thru. Share your umbrella with someone on a rainy day.

While there’s a lot that needs to be done in the political arena to correct the missteps made in this election cycle, it’s more important for us to show unity. We are one country, not two (divided as we may be).

The only way to fight hate is with love.

The Day My Country Broke Up With Me

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I’m finding it hard to describe my emotions this morning. Angry, disappointed, but also heartbroken. There is a physical ache in my chest. The last time I felt like this was when the person who I thought was the love of my life broke up with me. And honestly, that’s how I feel this morning. I feel like the United States of America just broke up with me.

I knew we were having problems. I knew we were in trouble. But I naively believed that we could work it out. I honestly believed that when this election was over, the country would have united as one. Instead, we are more divided than ever.

I’m not sure what the next steps are. I know that I don’t feel welcome. I don’t feel as if I belong here. And I am a white, middle-class woman. I can’t fathom how minorities feel. I can’t begin to understand how the LGBTQ community feels.

Now, more than ever, is when we need to step up. My country let me down, but that doesn’t mean I have to let my country down. At the end of the day, I am a human being. You are a human being. And I will do everything in my power to show compassion and kindness to those around me.

“When they go low, we go high.”

I want to be a beacon in the dark. I want to be a refuge. I want my community to rally and exclaim that WE ARE NOT THIS. I want to speak out against inequality and discrimination. I want to stop and help when I see injustice happening. I want to give a stranger a hug.

I want to be a kind, reasonable, and rational human being who strives to make this world a better place in spite of what may be happening around me.

My country may have broken up with me this morning, but I didn’t break up with it. I may be hurt and emotionally exhausted, but I am ready to rally.