Today is my brother Ralph’s 55th birthday. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since we celebrated his 50th with a Hollywood-themed birthday bash, but here we are. If you’re new to the blog and don’t know his story, click to read ‘A Little Down Syndrome.’
Ralph’s story is filled with real-life heroes beginning with my mother and father, and extended family. It’s an example of the miracles that occur when individuals possess real love, commitment, determination, resolve, and faith in God. In today’s superficial world of “designer babies,” abortion on demand (mainly for convenience), and self-absorption, is it any wonder that 90% of unborn babies discovered to have Down syndrome are aborted? What a tragic statistic. How ironic that medical advancement designed to improve health and healthcare for human beings has resulted in a death sentence for those deemed “unworthy” of life?
I’m certainly grateful for Ralph’s loving presence in mine. Happy Birthday to the most loving, inspiring, and beautiful soul I know!
I tend to avoid trite, overused phrases like “boundaries” because like so many other pop culture phenomena it has almost become meaningless. We live in an age of exhibitionism, after all, where way too many people mistake fame for success, have lost all sense of shame, and demonstrate little (if any) respect for themselves and others. However, my recent experiences with long-term friendships have demonstrated the validity of personal boundaries and the necessity of defending them vigorously when necessary.
Why is it that those who profess to have your best interests at heart find it so difficult to simply listen? That’s it. Just listen. Don’t offer unsolicited advice, don’t relate the issue to something they’ve done/said/heard in the past or present. Don’t insist they’re right simply because they’re older. Just listen. Period. And no, I’m not talking about my mother, who at this point seems to be the only one in my life up to such a task. And I gladly reciprocate when she needs an ear in return.
No, rather than being a generational issue, the inability to listen without commenting based on personal filters and experiences appears to be a problem among my peers. In particular, a friend with whom I have shared a close, supportive relationship for over a decade. Along the way, we’ve passionately agreed and disagreed on a on variety of subjects, but mostly shared the same values and similar upbringing, though my family — as close as we are — maintains a healthy respect for privacy. Now that their kids are grown adults, my parents don’t pry into every little aspect of our lives but they are there to listen and help if they’re able (if it’s solicited). It would never occur to them to get in the middle of an argument between one of their offspring and their spouses, for example. But if one of their children came to them and confessed that their spouse was abusive or having an affair, you can bet your life they’d have something to say and do in response.
But those are extreme circumstances warranting parental and/or familial involvement.
What I’m referring to here is a basic right to privacy in daily life. I’ve always made an effort to be the kind of friend I’ve described above — one who listens sympathetically when a friend is upset, sad, scared, heartbroken or lonely. One who shares in a friend’s joy when something wonderful transpires like an exciting new job, relationship or sought-after accomplishment. In the case of this particular friend, I have also abstained from judgment in spite of her many poor choices over the years, including an affair with a married man and a relationship with one young enough to be her own son. There have been times when her strong personality has been overbearing but I’d overlook it by focusing on her boundless generosity, good-heartedness and sincerity.
In the last year to two years however, that has become increasingly difficult to do. Lately being in her company has felt more like a chore than a pleasant visit among friends. She has a way of bringing up controversial topics — the few over which we vehemently disagree — seemingly out of nowhere. At the same time, she shuts me down before I’d even have a chance to offer my opinion, though she always takes the liberty of expressing hers loudly and clearly. Case in point: abortion. Read more about that here.
At the same time, she believes if you’re not confiding every last detail of your life to her somehow that means you’re not really a friend. In my case, all it means is that I reserve my right to privacy. I hold sacred my right to savor an event or relationship, free from the opinions of others including well-meaning but intrusive friends who are at the receiving end of my capacity to just listen without comment. This is especially important to me when the friend really doesn’t have a clue about the power of the internet and social media to bring people together — for all sorts of reasons.
My work centers around new media, as does my activism. Over the past five years I have made countless real-life friends thanks to Facebook and Twitter. Many of them I have met and hung out with in person countless times; others I’ve only spoken to on the phone because of geographical distance. But just because I haven’t met some of them in the flesh doesn’t mean I discount the relationship or regard them as anything less than friends. Of course it’s true that I have also encountered what we jokingly refer to as “trolls”, along with an occasional stalker online but for the most part my experiences have been positive.
People who aren’t as engaged in social media tend to view it as either a waste of time or a place to reconnect with long-lost friends and family. That can certainly be true as well. If your job doesn’t rely on social media marketing, but does involve dealing with customers on a daily basis who share their internet horror stories, it’s understandable you’d form a negative impression of everything that transpires from behind a computer.
In the case of this friend, she has supported me through various trials and tribulations including online dating disasters. Yet she conveniently forgets that there have been plenty of “real life” interactions that have ended badly too, including introductions facilitated by mutual friends. So while it’s easy to blame the internet, it’s really just another vehicle of meeting people who may or may not be honorable. The real problem is our youth-obsessed culture of contamination and convenience, not the internet, which is simply another tool of connectivity.
Given the disappointing events of this past year from which I have happily bounced back and moved on, I felt it in my best interest not to disclose a fairly recent correspondence with someone who came into my life via social media. At this point, there’s nothing significant to share since my friend already believes it’s impossible to develop any feelings — platonic or romantic — for someone you’ve never laid eyes on in person. Confiding my feelings in her would only open me up to ridicule with lots of exhortations about how people lie about themselves online and how I should ask a family member who works for the FBI to investigate this person immediately. So I’ve kept this new relationship very close to my heart and away from all cynics, while maintaining my own sense of logic and prudence.
Until another mutual friend overheard me on the phone and spilled the beans to this other friend, against my wishes. That’s a topic for another post because I’m struggling to forgive her for betraying a confidence — something I take very seriously.
Anyway once my friend with the dominant personality had this information, being around her had become even more challenging. She’d inevitably ask about it and when I would respond with a simple answer devoid of the details she was seeking, it would typically devolve into an argument between the two of us. So this past weekend when she invited me over to her house, I should have heeded my intuition, which was screaming, “Don’t go!”
Instead I agreed to the visit, figuring she’d think I was avoiding her if I didn’t (imagine that!). Sure enough, our conversation went pretty much as expected after I listened to her discuss her latest relationship (another potential disaster involving a troubled marriage and children). Once again I didn’t judge. I simply listened. I didn’t remind her of her past transgressions or the fact that she kept repeating the same mistakes. I didn’t offer unsolicited advice. I just gave her one of the things human beings most crave: the experience of being heard.
Too bad I wasn’t afforded the same courtesy in return when she put me on the spot. Most offensive was the way in which she rattled off a laundry list of my past hurts and disappointments, all couched in terms of her “concern” for my well-being but in actuality translated into something like this: “You’re obviously incapable of learning from past mistakes and making smart decisions. So I’m going to butt in to remind you that in spite of my own regrettable track record, I still know everything so you need to sit and listen to me lecture you, or else you’re just a stubborn fool!”
Having reached my limit years ago, this latest incident put me well over the edge. It certainly didn’t come across as well-intentioned when she scolded me that my feelings (or the other person’s) couldn’t possibly be real, or when she reminded me of the pain of the past, or when she reprimanded me that I was getting defensive because deep down I knew she was right. No, deep down I realized this friendship was no longer serving me, and that it was finally time to let go. I was defensive because she was dismissing my judgment in this particular case, assuming I’ve learned nothing from the past. I was defensive because instead of simply saying something like, “I’m happy for you but just be careful because you know I care about you and I don’t want you to be hurt again”, she pounced on me like a criminal defense attorney on a beleaguered witness. Since when is a serious conversation among friends supposed to be an interrogation? And is it any wonder I did not want this information getting out?
In that moment I finally took a stand by getting up, putting my breakfast dish in the sink and announcing I was leaving. I threw in a few sarcastic, “You’re absolutely right (insert name here)!” to which she definitively exclaimed, “I am right! I am right!” As I headed out to the driveway I heard her call out “I love you!” but honestly I was too exhausted and angry to respond in kind, though hours later I finally responded in kind to a similarly themed text. It’s not that I don’t love her. I do. I’m simply worn out from fighting for my right to privacy and defending my own experiences when they don’t meet with her approval.
So yes, in the past few weeks two trusted friends, the one who snitched after eavesdropping on a private conversation, and the one who assumes she’s “right” about everything in spite of her own track record, have egregiously violated “boundaries”. Perhaps my lesson here is to speak up sooner rather than later when friends cross a line to avoid potential eruptions down the road. I am a very private person, after all, and there will always be a part of me that’s off-limits to anyone. I reserve that right, while I also respect it in others. If only everyone did — especially the ones who purport to be friends.
I often write about my frustration with certain patriots who fail to make the connection between a strong moral foundation and financial prosperity. These are the same well-intentioned people who think political candidates and leaders should only focus on the economy while we “call a truce” on social issues. This logic is flawed for so many reasons which I’ve already delved into extensively on the blog. If American communists were smart enough to understand that America’s economic power flowed from its solid moral underpinnings, certainly concerned activists ought to wake up to that reality too.
Read ‘em and weep because they’ve pretty much accomplished them all, thanks to the intentional dumbing dumb of the American public school system (which is why the Department of Education must be abolished and education returned to the states) and the infiltration of leftists into academia, pop culture and the media.
We must counteract this by casting off the flawed belief that we cannot or should not speak about religion or politics in polite company. Frankly at this point if you’re not getting out of your comfort zone to educate low informed or misinformed voters, then all hope for saving this country is lost. And that includes engaging in cultural commentary and (gasp!) being judgmental when warranted.
Case in point: the breakdown of parental guidance, discipline and involvement.
A good friend of mine, a mother and grandmother, went shopping for lingerie the other day at Macy’s in the upscale Town Center Mall in Boca Raton. While heading for the dressing room she encountered a young teenage couple, probably no more than 15 or 16 years old. The boy was sitting in a chair outside of the dressing room while his girlfriend tried on various, sexy ensembles which she would then come out and model for him. As she did, he snapped photos of her with his i-phone.
Did I mention these were teenagers in a public dressing room?
Perhaps I will sound like a prude to some but What the hell are their parents teaching them?
My very non-threatening friend, who barely stands at five-feet tall and weighs about 100 pounds, was appalled and very sweetly said to them, “You two should get married and have babies. Remember, first comes marriage and then the baby carriage.”
That was all that was needed for the two of them to get out of the Macy’s lingerie department as fast as they possibly could, earning my friend the accolades of the Macy’s clerks who shared her disgust but couldn’t legally ask them to leave. My friend suggested that they go to the HR department to make a suggestion to amend store policy to disallow the taking of photos of underage girls modeling sexy underwear in their dressing rooms.
A few years back another friend of mine whose daughter is now grown and married, used to tell me how other Boca Raton parents would openly mock her for always wanting to know if there would be parental supervision when her daughter was invited to various parties and other events. They’d laugh and tell her “Oh you worry too much!”
My friend, who was also blessed with a traditional upbringing featuring two involved and caring parents, bemoaned the fact that so many South Florida parents were more caught up in their own social lives (since most of them were divorced and dating) than in the welfare and raising of their own children. A perfect example of our culture of self-absorption.
While both of these incidents took place in Boca Raton, this uppity oh-so-sophisticated town is not alone. Self-centeredness, the decline of morality, the contraceptive culture, the notion of “liberation” as the ability to have sex without commitment whenever and with whomever you choose, the acceptance of abortion as a “taxpayer-funded right” thanks to Roe v. Wade, and the general dumbing-down of America have all wrought dangerous — and perhaps irreparable consequences.
I hope it’s not too late and I will keep engaging the culture to the extent that I am able to influence it.
So it’s up to us as individuals to do everything in our power to expose monsters like Gosnell and to keep informing the public about what really ails our beloved United States of America. I hope you’ll join in the effort — our country is worth it!
So some of you might have read yesterday’s Kermit Gosnell blog post and, knowing me only as the founder of Writestream, were caught off-guard. If so I can’t really blame you since the old adage, “Never discuss religion or politics” has been the silent credo of most Americans for many decades — much to our detriment. It’s my firm belief that these are some of the most important things we ought to be discussing as mature adults, in order to be fully informed Americans capable of making wise decisions at the voting booth at all levels of government. We get the government we deserve, after all, and since the Left has completely dominated pop culture, media, academia and public education for over 60+ years, it’s even more imperative that others who seek out alternative news sources, study authentic history and care about the direction of our beloved USA, speak out courageously and consistently.
Although it’s comforting for me to hang out in the choir loft with the other U.S. Constitutional believers and upholders, staying there exclusively does absolutely nothing to change the hearts and minds of others who are either misinformed or uninformed. This is not a slam at anyone. We live in a fast-paced culture filled with work, family obligations, bills, activities, community involvement, etc. Not everyone gets their news from Twitter, or from the countless reputable news sites online. And with the blatant bias of network and cable news (and yes, I include Fox News in that assessment, as they’ve gone way downhill over the past several years), and the subtle-but-evident leftist agenda infiltrating just about every entertaining program on television and cable, it’s no wonder so many Americans are unaware of what’s really going on.
A few years ago, I was involved in a small business with two other women who felt the same as I did but were very careful about keeping their feelings hidden, lest they alienate any potential or existing clients. I know of many other businesspeople who use aliases on Twitter and blogs for the same reason. These are completely reasonable positions, given the hostility toward “Tea Party” Americans (which of course is predicated on the lies perpetuated in the media, pop culture, academia, etc) as “racists”, “xenophobes”, “misogynists” — the list of false epithets goes on and on.
But I am taking a different approach. If politics is culture, I am going to do everything I can to integrate my love of books, authors, internet radio and social media with my long-held beliefs in the exceptionalism of the United States of America whose entire way of life and culture has been purposely destroyed by
people with evil intent. Think I am exaggerating? Check out Agenda: Grinding America Down. For that matter read all of the posts in the culture and politics categories. My aim here is to get out of the choir loft regularly and share the ideas of the US Constitution, our Founders, limited government, personal responsibility, national security, etc. with a new audience.
It’s obvious that our permanent political class isn’t going to do it. And it should be quite obvious to anyone who reads or follows me that this is NOT about political parties. Yes, I am a registered Republican and always have been out of necessity since right now we’re stuck with a two-party system. But I despise the leadership of the gutless, spineless, rudderless and unprincipled GOP just as much as I despise the Leftists who run the Democrat Party. I appreciate bold, courageous and unwavering leadership — the kind consistently demonstrated by people like Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint. If I had my way, a viable third party would emerge and the GOP would deservedly go the way of the whigs as punishment for having lost all sense of moral clarity and righteousness.
Case in point: the Gosnell trial. What a missed opportunity for the GOP! This is a party that is relentlessly (and falsely) maligned as “a party of white men”, “racists,” “misogynists” and “rich people”. The Grand Jury report from the Gosnell case provides a stellar, factual, real-life opportunity for the GOP to rebut all of these falsehoods and point to where the culture of abortion has taken us. It’s rife with examples of actual racism (Gosnell had much higher standards of treatment for suburban white women than he did for the poor black women who came to his clinic); infanticide (remember, many of these babies were alive OUTSIDE of the womb and killed for the “crime” of being alive); and a compelling argument as to why ZERO taxpayer dollars should ever be used to unleash this brutal war on the unborn.
The Gosnell case also offers the perfect vehicle for initiating an enlightening discussion about Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood — a notorious racist/eugenicist who wanted to wipe out the entire black population, along with others she deemed “unworthy” such as the handicapped.
Given this excellent opportunity to inform Americans about what’s really going on in the abortion industry, the GOP leadership as usual, was silent. Crickets.
Not a word spoken about it.
Could it be partially due to the fact that former Pennsylvania governor and squishy “moderate” Republican Tom Ridge bears some responsibility for the atrocities committed by Gosnell? Under his tenure, state oversight of abortion clinics was loosened, so as to appear “reasonable” and “pro-woman”, I can only suppose. While most Twitterers yesterday rightfully focused on the media’s dereliction of duty with respect to the Gosnell case, I also called attention to Tom Ridge and GOP crapweasels (to use Stacy McCain’s excellent term) because they are also complicit in this horror. Like Sarah Palin, I am so done with the GOP’s “truce on social issues” and its enabling of evil. What ails this country goes so far beyond economic issues. Many of us out here in the blogosphere fully understand that. But as long as we have a permanent political class in D.C. that is more concerned with preserving its own power than in doing the right thing; as long as the GOP consultants operate out of self-centeredness and fear of pissing of so-called “moderates” and “independents” for the sake of a fat paycheck — the fate of the country be damned — I am afraid we’ll be in this predicament for a very long time. Or at least until everything comes crashing down around us.
If that’s what it’s going to take to get people in power to finally do the right thing — or better yet, help new, principled leaders emerge out of the ashes — then it’s all to the good.
And finally to the GOP leadership: Take your so-called “truce on social issues” and shove it. Pursue that strategy at your own risk because I am definitely not alone in my desire to see you crash and burn. Like so many of my compatriots on Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere, I will not sit quietly and enable evil, nor will I excuse those who do for the sake of preserving their own political power at the expense of our nation and its people — especially the most vulnerable among us.
Maybe that’s why the Left is ignoring Kermit Gosnell: He’s a medical terrorist who performed abortions in the most heinous manner imaginable.
Dr. Kermit B. Gosnell regularly delivered live babies and murdered them. This news is not important to the left wing, pro-abortion mainstream media, because Dr. Gosnell did not slaughter kittens and puppies.
I would only add the observation that in my own life I have also witnessed the same disconnection among some extended family members and friends who relentlessly post about animal abuse on Facebook or Twitter yet remain silent about abortion. This certainly isn’t true for all of them but there are a few in particular who seem to channel all of their energy and outrage into fighting for dogs and cats while ignoring the human slaughter that goes on in this country day in and day out. While I vociferously condemned Michael Vick at the time for his repugnant abuse of dogs, I was simultaneously disgusted that Americans from coast to coast (and one of my relatives in particular) just couldn’t seem to let it go, even after the guy served his time, turned his life over to God and made every effort to repent his past misdeeds.
A few people even unfriended me from Facebook a few years back because I remained a Philadelphia Eagles fan (as I’ve been my entire life) even after they signed Vick. I wonder, how many of these people know about Gosnell? Do they feel the same outrage?
As someone who loves cats and to a lesser extent, dogs, I abhor any kind of animal abuse. However, I am even more repulsed by the human slaughter of abortion, which is not only legal in this country but funded by taxpayers. OUTRAGEOUS.
Once again to the GOP and Libertarians: Take your “truce on social issues” and shove it. You are also a disgrace.
But in the case of the Philadelphia “doctor” whose own personal Hippocratic oath reads, “Do as much harm as possible in the name of the Almighty Dollar” instead of the actual “First, do no harm”, the mainstream media has displayed a stunning and blatant lack of interest. As my dear friend, journalist Harriet Baldwin noted in her Examiner piece:
The “mainstream” or dinosaur media has largely ignored the Gosnell Abortion trial so unless you are an avid follower of news via the internet, chances are you haven’t even heard the details of babies born alive screaming outside the womb and Gosnell and his abortion workers snipping the spinal cords of live babies.
Gosnell, 72, is charged with murdering seven babies at Philadelphia Women’s Medical Society and with the death of the woman, who suffered cardiac arrest after she was given too much anesthesia.
One has to wonder why the major media “news” outlets have all but blacked out the details of this monstrous murder trial and it’s horrifying details.
This is just the type of story that should have grassroots activists on their feet, on the phones and writing e-mails to ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC and ask WHY?
The old guard media seems to be having a feeding frenzy over gun control and aiding in the usurpation of the rights of lawful gun owners- but not on the Gosnell Trial, taxpayer fundedPlanned Parenthood or even the warped, life and beliefs of Margaret Sanger who wanted to eradicate the Black race.
As many in our party call for “social truces” and encourage candidates to stop talking about social issues, I’d remind them to heed the advice of Lady Thatcher: “This is no time to go wobbly.” If our country does not start to focus on returning to a culture that respects life, how can we ever expect to solve the growing problem of violence?
I wonder if “calling a truce on social issues” was the underlying motivation for squishy GOP moderate Tom Ridge to relax the government accountability standards for Pennsylvania abortion clinics during his tenure. According to Business Insider:
The clinic was not inspected from 1993 to 2010, when FBI agents finally raided the place. They found moaning women covered in blood-stained blankets and jars with severed fetus feet, according to the 281-page grand jury report.
The grand jury report that lays out allegations against Gosnell has an entire section called “How did this go on so long?” The simple answer is politics.
Pennsylvania’s health department stopped routine inspections of abortion facilities in the state after Tom Ridge, a pro-choice Republican, became governor in 1995.
Health department lawyers “changed their legal opinions and advice to suit the policy preferences of different governors,” health department official Janet Staloski said in grand jury testimony. In this case, she said the state didn’t want to be “putting a barrier up to women” who wanted abortions.
In 1999, high-level Pennsylvania officials met to consider starting up regular inspections again but decided not to, state lawyer Kenneth Brody testified, according to the grand jury report. He told the grand jury that officials were concerns that abortion clinics wouldn’t meet inspection standards and then there “would be less abortion facilities.”
To the so-called GOP “moderates” who rule the consultant and D.C. political classes, and to the licentious libertarians who want to scrub all morality and basic humanity from the public square while simultaneously enabling evil – shame on you!
Thanks to an unconstitutional decision erroneously rendered by the Supreme Court, abortion is not only legal in the USA, but the federal government can and does force taxpayers to fund it — to the tune of $542 million to Planned Parenthood alone in 2011. Given that financially supporting an organization founded by a racist/eugenicist is mandatory for law-abiding, taxpaying Americans, it is not only entirely reasonable but essential that there be strict oversight of all abortion clinics receiving taxpayer dollars. So even if you believe abortion is the taking of innocent human life, your hard-earned income is partially used to keep the abortion mill churning.
And to all of the anti-war libertarians who side with the Left on matters of national security, here’s a little reminder about the US Constitution: among the limited duties it ascribes to the federal government protection from foreign and domestic enemies is one. War is hell. War sucks. So does the reality that there are evil nations and people who want to harm us. Thus, sometimes war is justified to protect Americans, American interests and our allies. That is quite different from nation-building, which I fundamentally reject.
What’s not enshrined in the US Constitution? The right to taxpayer-funded abortions.
#GOP, Libertarians how far does “truce” on social issues go? Dead babies and mothers at #Gosnell clinic no biggie in the name of moderation?
While I’m on the topic of hypocrisy, where are all of the so-called feminists who care so much about women, especially poor, vulnerable women? Nowhere to be found in the case of Kermit Gosnell. As I tweeted earlier:
Feminists: “Government out of the bedroom! Except to force taxpayers to fund birth control & #abortion, even evil #Gosnell.”
We can rightfully call out the massive genocide of tyrants like Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot, but when you get right down to it, the most horrific, widespread slaughter of human beings is abortion. The fact that it’s even legal in a country like the United States of America is an absolute travesty and disgrace. We can also chastise China for its forced abortions and one-child policy but that too rings hollow coming from a country that claims to be founded upon the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
You know what else rings hollow? The squishy GOP and self-centered libertarian rallying cries to sweep social issues under the carpet. Our culture of abortion has wrought near irreparable damage to this once great nation, by design. Are we as constitutional conservatives and people of faith going to sit down and shut up when it comes to calling out the evils of abortion and monsters like Gosnell? Or are we going to fight for the heart and soul of this country?
As my good friend Michael Fanelli pointed out on Facebook, the devil never rests. Can he count on us to be passive accomplices in the destruction of all that is good about the USA?
Finally, to those who don’t believe in God I would add that even if you are ok with abortion to some degree, if you’re not viscerally horrified by the Gosnell story you might want to check and see if you have a heart. How any decent American could turn a blind eye to this is further proof of the success of the Communist Agenda.