font-family: 'Arizonia', cursive; Michael Stichauf - "As I understand it now...'til it changes": 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What The Recent Polls Show About How Americans Are Feeling About Our Politicians

ABC News/New York Times released their most recent Republican nomination poll and the numbers are still astounding, and very revealing, about the way Americans are feeling about their "professional politicians".

If you've been paying attention to the news today, undoubtedly, you've heard about the recent release of the latest poll that has Donald Trump gaining even more percentage points since the last set of polls. In the poll released by "ABC News/New York Times", Donald Trump has gained three more percentage points over the course of the last three days, bringing him up to 27%. Yet, what's even more astounding is the surge in popularity for Ben Carson. In the same three days, Carson has gained seventeen percentage points, bringing him to 23%! Now, you may be saying to yourself, "27%! That's hardly a number to be happy about!" It is a number to be happy about when you are running in a field that has umpteen numbers of other candidates. Here is the most recent ABC News/New York Times poll;

"Which one of these candidates would you like to see the Republican Party nominate for president in 2016: [see below]?"
9/9-13/157/29 -
Donald Trump
Ben Carson

Donald Trump has been in the lead for quite a while now and Ben Carson has also been gaining for some time, also. What makes these two individuals so interesting to the Republican voters? Why are the two people with little to no experience in running for office so compelling for such a conservative group of voters, especially after suffering eight years of what they have been calling a fraudulent, socialist, far left-wing administration under Barak Obama? It seems to me that the only reason for this is that they are tired of the "professional politicians" who've been running this country for decades now.

Clinton and Gingrich 

It's no secret that Americans have been fed-up with the way their country has been governed for some time now. In my view, this really started with some seriousness after Bill Clinton was elected President and the Republican Party felt that they needed to oppose him at every turn. Newt Gingrich, after gaining the Speakership of the House, really started the process of negative actions in regards to the politics of this nation. It really hit its stride when he shut the government down and that's when the public started to see that politics had become personal- but personal to the politicians. It wasn't personal for the rest of the country, they just wanted their politicians to govern and when the government shutdown occurred, the country realized that their politicians didn't care about what that was going to do to the rest of the country. This was the beginning of the end for Gingrich because the country realized that it was Gingrich who was the leading politician in that fiasco and his fellow Republicans realized that he was toxic, also.

Ever since this affair, the politics of our country has become a battlefield which has pitted Democrats against Republicans. No longer were the days when Tip O'Neill and his Democrats would go to dinner with President Reagan at the White House and hash out deals that they knew were going to help the country. Sure, not everything that happened back then was perfect but the politicians worked TOGETHER, despite their party affiliation. They knew that it was good for the country and good for their careers. Unfortunately, ever since the early 90s, politics has become a zero sum game. I'm not just going to bash the Republicans here, there's plenty of blame to go around. Both parties have been involved in this winner take all atmosphere that the public has just grown totally frustrated over. 

An American First

In 2008, America did something that the world, as well as the rest of America, didn't think would happen for decades to come. America elected an African-American President. There were many of us who felt that we had taken a huge stride ahead with that election. But, it wasn't too long before we realized that the Republicans weren't going to stand for Obama's election. What is so frustrating is that the people who we are supposed to put our trust in to run and govern our country are the same people who are exhibiting these ridiculous, deny at any cost, views and actions. Usually, these actions are characteristics of stupid, ignorant people but now we are seeing these characteristics in our politicians in regards to the man who was elected to run our country. This, I believe is a big reason why many Republicans have turned to being interested in two guys who are not "professional politicians". I'm not saying that the Republican voters felt that Obama deserved to be President. What I am saying is that they are tired of this "no holds barred" opposition to running our country. It's not just the Republican voters who want a change though, it's the Democratic ones, also. I'm a firm believer that a good example of the Democrats wanting a change from the "professional politician" is the election of Barak Obama as President. Obama was only a one-term Senator when he ran for the Presidency and he showed a promise of change as he campaigned. Change, the very thing that all the voters are looking for.

As Obama represented change for the Democratic voters, Trump and Carson are representing that change for the Republican voters. Many voters are tired of the same old campaign rhetoric and the same old campaign styles that have been solidified and carved in stone for many generations now. They are looking for someone different, someone that will surprise them. They are looking for someone who will "tell it like it is" and with Donald Trump, they've got their man. As we all know, by now, Trump isn't anyone's "professional politician", by anyone's standard. Trump has no filter so, consequently, he says things that make people say, "Oh no, he didn't just say that, did he"? He pooh-poohs political correctness and he has ticked many people off! Yet, his numbers keep rising. It seems that Trump's frankness is refreshing for people these days. His opinions on immigration, as rude and confronting as they are, are what many people believe is needed to finally getting a resolution on the issue and finally putting it to an end. 

Ben Carson, now, is the complete opposite of Donald Trump. He's a somewhat soft-spoken man. He doesn't have the bombastic personality of Trump and when you look at the last debate, he hardly got a word in edgewise. Yet, he's a smart man who, again, isn't your "professional politician". So far, with Carson, we haven't seen your typical attack ads that every politician produces. But, he's still an unknown. We still don't know what many of his political beliefs are. So far, though, it hasn't mattered to the electorate. His poll numbers are still rising.

Still Early In The Campaign 

As interesting a time as this is in the coming election, it's also early. As in many elections, there is a "shake-down" period. Early in elections, people like to explore and consider new ideas and views. What may be happening  is that people are thinking to themselves, "Boy, I really like this guy's freshness" and thinking that they still have time before the elections. Years ago, Ross Perot gained much support early on in the campaign contest and because of his newness to the political scene, got many of the top poll spots. But, as the campaign wore on, Perot started to wear on the voters. So, what may be happening is that right now, while voters don't actually have to vote when they are asked who they'd vote for if the election was today, are answering with their emotions because they know that it isn't a real vote (the poll answer). It seems that the American voter, when it finally comes time to vote, resorts back to the safety of "the norm". Although they really like one candidate, they tend to vote for the guy who has been there before because things haven't fallen apart completely. Jimmy Carter is a perfect example of why voters may vote in this fashion. After the fiasco of Nixon, Carter was a fresh, new face on the national level. Yet, many people then thought, after Carter's first term, that he was a failure as President. They saw how the "professional politicians" gave Carter abuse through-out his time in office and realized that it may be too hard for a new face to be President. 

Taking Chances

This is another election cycle, though. The business of our government is at a turning point in the sense that our Congress is really not working for the average citizen. People are frustrated and it may be the right time to really start to make some changes and the Republican voters, now, have a chance to act on that feeling that many people in our country are having. Even the Democrats have a chance to vote for a maverick. Although Bernie Sanders has been a public office holder since 1991, he's not your typical "professional politician" like the rest. He, too, is tired of the "gridlock" that has become the norm in the Congress and he's wanting to make the changes that need to be made for the other "99%" and that's what's been lacking in our government for a long time now. What really needs to happen is for the American voter to take a chance and vote for that new face that has really sparked their interest instead of, when push comes to shove, shrinking back and voting for the norm. Because, if they vote for the norm, they'll get just that... the norm. Nothing will change. But, if they vote for a Trump or a Carson or a Sanders, they'll see that the whole thing just might turn out for the better and then they'll be ready to take a chance with the rest of our other "professional politicians" and vote them out of office.   

Saturday, August 8, 2015

150 Years After it's End, the Civil War is Still Being Fought in the Public Discourse

When will the "Lost Cause"

theory stop being cover for racist, hateful rhetoric and actions?

Since the recent confrontation over the Confederate flag in South Carolina, I've really come to realize that a great many of us are still fighting the Civil War in this country. With the one hundred fifty year anniversary of the war, the controversy over its causes has come out of the shadows and become part of our public discourse. There are those from the South, along with their sympathizers, who still believe in this thing called, the "Lost Cause". It's this "Lost Cause" belief which baffles all sound-minded individuals whenever they run across these, "true believers".

You don't need to go too far to see that the Civil War (as well as its cause) has become a popular topic of discussion. It's written about in magazine articles and academic journals and we see many of our most distinguished professors and scholars doing lecture tours and book tours to promote their most recent publications. The best evidence that it has entered into the public discourse are the periodic "dust-ups" which occur in regards to the Confederate flag- for example; the flag at the South Carolina State House. In fact, the Civil War has become such a controversial topic of discussion that people who aren't happy with the recent discoveries and recent reviews of old theories, which they hold dear to their hearts, have resorted to calling the new theories, "Revisionist History". Their disgust is so intense that they utter that phrase in such a derogatory way that the "ist" in "Revisionist" is left dripping from their lips. The most divisive of these arguments, though, are the ones put forth by the proponents of that old standby, "The Lost Cause". So incredibly ridiculous is this theory and its advocates that they actually stretch the bounds of sincerity when you listen to them.

The "Lost Cause" theory and today's "true believer"

Today's "True Believers"
The "Lost Cause" belief is one held by White Southerners and their sympathizers who refuse to admit that the South started the Civil War because they wanted to preserve slavery. They will tell you that the South seceded because of "States Rights" or tariffs (or any number of other reasons) and when asked why they fought they will tell you, "... it's because "Billy Yank" was over here" (the South). The "Antebellum South" was a region, they'll tell you, that was built upon chivalry and honor. When you ask them about that nasty habit they had of owning other human beings they tell you that, back then, it was for their (the slaves') own good. They'll tell you that, back then, the slave system was one of benevolence and paternalism. They'll also tell you that, back then, their slaves were faithful and knew they needed the white man's oversight! My emphasis on the phrase, "back then", is because even the "Lost Cause" believers of today know that they need to be careful to try and hide their racism. Sure, maybe some of them aren't racists. In their arrogance, they may even admit to themselves that in this day and age, there's no way around African-Americans having equal rights as the white man. Yet, when you talk to them, their expressions while espousing these thoughts tend to stretch the bounds of belief. When you think about the fact that these are people who are "Lost Cause" believers, you can't be blamed for making this deduction.

The earliest use of the theory

Jubal Early

As best as we can tell, the earliest use of the phrase, the "Lost Cause" was in the title of a book written in 1866 by historian, Edward A. Pollard, "The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates". Yet, it was two of "The Confederate States of America's" favorite sons, General Jubal Early and its President, Jefferson Davis who solidify the "Lost Cause" belief in the memory of every Southern, "true believer". Early's articles in
Jefferson Davis
the 1870s and Davis' 1881 book, "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" gave every beaten and dishonored Antebellum Southern citizen a reason to feel that they had no choice but to fight and that they upheld their honor and their Southern way of life, no matter that the Northern Yankee wouldn't allow them to hold on to that traditional way of life.

Southern Honor 

Honor was a major tenet in the Antebellum, White-Supremacist South. Being superior to the black race was a part of that honor and the institution of slavery was that honor's outward expression. An "honorable gentleman" was a gentleman who took care of those inferior to him. Just as it is today in a man's idea and conception of himself; a man (honorable gentleman) is one who takes care of his children. In the Antebellum South, an "honorable gentleman" owned slaves and provided them food and clothing and discipline because those inferior "children" he owned, needed that help. Honor, slavery and the other ideas that made-up the backbone of the Antebellum South's identity are a tangled web of lies, half-truths and misconceptions, crafted in such a way as to give them an air of legitimacy. This identity needed to be crafted in this fashion in order for them to embrace a brutal and immoral practice, such as slavery, as the basis for their existence- as well as the basis for their secession! 

South Carolina Secession Statement

Right from the start, the first state to secede from the Union, South Carolina, stated in its "Secession Statement" that its reason for secession was;
"The Constitution of the United States, in it's fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."
The statement continues;
"For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.
"Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation."
Plainly put, because many of the non-slaveholding states had decided
not to return escaped slaves and abide by Article Four of the Constitution, South Carolina was taking its ball and going home! It's right there in South Carolina's "Secessionist Statement"- because the laws that protected slavery wouldn't be administered, wholeheartedly by many of the Northern States, South Carolina WAS SECEDING! It's this particular fact that really causes me and many of my like-minded friends to scratch our heads when we hear people deny the fact that slavery was the cause of the Civil War! "Slavery" is verbatim, what the South Carolinians stated when they gave notice to the "Government of the United States of America", as to why they were seceding!

More "Lost Cause" Theory 

Lost Cause Propaganda

What the "Lost Cause" theory does is give every Southerner a reason to feel good about a calamity that took place at the behest of a minority class of citizen who had no regard for the rest of the Southern citizen's well-being. It tells every Southerner that they seceded and fought their war because the North was violating their "States Rights", their ability to decide their own destiny and their own laws. It also gives the South a reason as to why they lost that war. It tells them that they were simply out-numbered by the amount of men that the North was able to muster under arms and that, despite their far superior officers and soldiers, there were just too many Yankees in too many Southern areas. Nowhere is there any mention of slavery.

This is what the South
fought to preserve-
As many of my readers know, I'm not one of the masses who fell victim to the propaganda put forth, over the years, that the Civil War was fought over states' rights, tariffs and that all too convenient "Lost Cause" theory. As the years went on and I came to meet people from other regions of the country, I realized that not everyone believed the War was about slavery. I don't know how many of my readers have run into this realization but after all the scholarship, lectures and book reviews that I've encountered in the last few years, my perception of the war being about slavery has only strengthened and I simply can't understand how anyone who is being honest with himself can view it in any other fashion. 

Information, learning and this generation

Since the start of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, C-span has aired a series in order to chronicle the War in a timeline fashion. For instance, over the weekend of April 12, 2011, C-span aired shows and lectures that dealt with the firing on Fort Sumter which occurred on April 12, 1861. This C-span series has been an incredible adventure for me and many of my Civil War friends. As far as we are concerned, this series has done more for educating individuals about the War than all the writers and professors combined could have done on their own. Earlier, I mentioned the phrase, "revisionist history" as being used as a derogatory label that "Lost Cause" supporters have slapped on anyone and anything that believe that states' rights and tariffs were just smoke screens to shield the true reason behind the war- slavery! Personally, I don't believe that this phrase needs to be viewed in a derogatory fashion. History, and the study of it, thrives when there are new interpretations of the events and the individuals who were a part of them. Each generation of historians and academicians owe it to their students, and the public at large, to give our history a fresh review through objective scholarship and study. We live in unprecedented
times with the internet and cable TV. Never, in our history, have so many individuals had access to the amount of information that we have access to today. Never, in our history, have so many individuals had access to the amount of television channels that we have access to today. These television channels, essentially, function as classrooms or places of learning, which the previous generations didn't have access to. C-span is one such channel. On weekends and holidays, C-span becomes a virtual classroom and it's through channels such as C-span that more people than ever before turn to for their learning of history. Being of the generation which spans the time before the internet and cable TV, and after, I know there is a definite difference in my educational experiences pre-internet and cable and post-internet and cable. I believe that today we are the most informed and the smartest generation than ever before. 

Our access to information is one of the reasons that I have a problem with the "Lost Cause" theory. I believe that this "theory" perpetuates the belief, especially in our young people who are just learning about the War, that it was a gallant and noble effort worth all the thousands of deaths and injuries that it caused. In order for the sympathizers of this theory to be able to look at themselves in the mirror and tell themselves that all these tragedies were worth it, they need to be able to give their cause a righteous and moral backbone. After all, maybe only the most hardened racists can say, with a straight face, that the continuation of slavery was a very fine reason to secede from the Union and start a civil war between two different sections of a nation. Yet, there are a majority of these "true believers" who know that to say that slavery was a gallant reason to cause the war just isn't something they can do, not in this day and age! Even they know that a cause based on immoral and unjustifiable reasons will not hold up to the scrutiny of history and be taken seriously. It's information that will eventually eat away at and erode the "Lost Cause" theory. No longer will the students in the South be secluded in their learning experiences and be taught that their state's decision to secede from the Union was one based on the fact that the United States' federal government was imposing punishing tariffs on them or that it was because their state's rights were being violated. Information is power and over time, even being taught about the "Lost Cause" theory, Southern students will have access to all the information that they need to make an informed decision. This is why having this issue fought in the public discourse isn't a bad thing. Bringing an issue like this into the light of the day, keeps it from being perpetuated in the darkness of ignorance.

The "Neo-Confederate" Movement

Unfortunately, the access to information does give individuals, who are looking to feed their hatred, the ability to connect with like-minded ideology. Today, "Lost Cause" believers and their sympathizers have a number of websites and publications they can turn to in order to learn what they need to learn to fight their ideological wars. These organizations are generally referred to as "Neo-Confederate" and it has really turned into a movement. Here are a couple of the more popular publications and websites;


The "Lost Cause" as a reunifying instrument

Doing my research for this piece I've come across a few opinions about the "Lost Cause" which suggest that it was also instrumental to helping repair and reunite the two sections of our country, the North and the South. Historian Caroline Janney says;
Providing a sense of relief to white Southerners who feared being dishonored by defeat, the "Lost Cause" was largely accepted in the years following the war by white Americans who found it to be a useful tool in reconciling North and South.
Considering the fact that "Reconstruction" helped to further alienate the South from the North (yet, it needed to be done), it might be safe to say that this "theory" was a much needed tool for a reconciliation- at least initially. And maybe, initially, it did help to bring the two sides closer together again. Unfortunately, as time went on, the South continued to propagate the "theory" and it eventually became a totally divisive instrument throughout the years.

The "Lost Cause continues the White-Supremacist attitude 

Because the theory doesn't do anything to repudiate the institution of
United Daughters of the Confederacy
slavery, the "Lost Cause" has allowed the continuation of the whole "white supremacist" attitude which continues to this day with many of the people of the South. By the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the "Lost Cause" theory went from, what Yale Professor Roland Osterweiss said, was "... a mostly literary expression of the despair of a bitter, defeated people over a lost identity" to a dearly held belief which allowed them to regain their honor and their place in the new South. Associations such as the "United Daughters of the Confederacy", "United Confederate Veterans" and the "Confederate Memorial Literary Society", which founded the "Confederate Museum", were greatly responsible for solidifying the "Lost Cause" in the minds of future Southern generations. In fact, the "Confederate Museum" portrayed slavery, in its exhibits, as a benevolent institution. It is expressions such as the museum's which gave rise to, and acceptance of, the "Jim Crow" laws which were so dominating in the South until the late 1960s! 

The "KKK" and "The Birth of a Nation"

The "Lost Cause" also helped to allow the beginning of the "Ku Klux Klan" (KKK) in this country as well as a movie called "The Birth of a Nation". A movie with the racist "overtones" that this one has could never be made today. For your interest, I've provided the movie below, in its entirety;

The movie, "The Birth of a Nation" and "Jim Crow" laws were just two more reasons why the "Lost Cause" theory became a divisive issue instead of a reconciling one for the people of the South. "Jim Crow" laws were instrumental in actually recreating the institution of slavery in many of the Southern states in the 20th century. Many African-Americans were unjustly arrested, convicted and imprisoned based on these laws. While they were imprisoned, their labor was hired out to anyone or any institution that was willing to pay for it. Over time, it became one of the biggest industries in the South. It wasn't until late in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's tenure in the White House that any governmental institution tried to do anything about it. Even then, it was a waste of time for our federal government and all attempts at fixing the system were dropped!

The "Lost Cause" and America's racial divide

The "Lost Cause" theory, as I've attempted to show in my post, has been at the forefront of the huge racial divide we've experienced in this country for over a century and a half, now. Racism and hatred of African-Americans goes as far back as the early 1700s so it's been a part of this country forever. Yet, when the Civil War ended, we had a chance to make a beginning on starting to heal these deep wounds between the races which we caused by our own ignorance. I understand that even the Northern people and the "United States Government" weren't exactly the pillars of tolerance that we'd hoped they'd have been but "Reconstruction" made an attempt at giving the African-Americans a start at equality that they'd never had. For decades, the innocent children of the South were taught hatred and prejudice through their schools and their families and the "Lost Cause" was what was pounded into their heads on a daily basis. Children aren't born as racists and haters. Those are feelings that they are taught. Although the "Lost Cause" doesn't actually mention slavery when it's taught, its mere teaching that it is the reason for the Civil War and the reason that the "Confederacy" lost, allowed for the continuation of a "White-Supremacist" attitude which I explained earlier. 

Progress and the "New South"

Obviously, great strides have been made in the last 40- 50 years. The fact that the killer of Martin Luther King, Jr., James Earl Ray, was brought to justice, was a beginning. Everyone remembers the case of the murders of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner by some hateful, arrogant Mississippi "coppers" and how Cecil Price and his minions were found "not guilty" by a jury of their peers. But this kind of progress was slow to come by. It took thirty years for Byron De La Beckwith to finally be convicted of murder for killing Medgar Evers. In 1964, he was twice tried for the murder and twice, an all-white jury couldn't (or wouldn't) reach a verdict. It wasn't until a new generation Southern prosecutor, who wasn't prejudiced and wanted to show that
De La Beckwith-
not everyone in Mississippi was a racist, had the guts to re-try Beckwith, that he was finally convicted. It's people such as this prosecutor, fresh with new evidence that the "honorable", Antebellum, White-Supremacist "Lost Cause" belief is all "hogwash" who are going to help bring the rest of the South, the people who still want that "Confederate" flag to fly over the state houses of the South, into the 21st century. It's these people who are going to tell those racists, "NO MORE HATRED" in my country! 

The "Lost Cause" is the last bastion for those people bent on continuing the feelings of hatred and racism in this country. I see this "theory" as just a cover for those who don't have the courage to come right out and say that they are racists. Sure, like I said earlier in my piece, there are a small amount of people who believe this theory who aren't prejudiced and full of hate. A small amount only, though. We saw, in the short period of time after the senseless murders by a nut-job, 21 year old racist, who killed nine people at the Baptist church in South Carolina, that some communities can come together racially. Unfortunately, we had those people who, when the controversy over the "Confederate" flag at the South Carolina State house flared up, picketed and protested that the flag that, we all know stood for a nation built on slavery, born out of it's protection of slavery and brought down because the Northern Nation decided that it was time to end slavery, really didn't represent slavery, bigotry, racism and hatred... really, cross our hearts and hope to die, it didn't represent slavery! That's what they tried to tell us. It seems that they were the only ones who believed that theory, for it wasn't too long after the controversy started that their representatives at their State house decided that it was time for that flag to come down! 

My hopes are that we can finally end this "Lost Cause" theory as the cause of the Civil War because, when all is said and done, it's much larger in its importance than just a lesson in a history book. It's become a core belief for Southerners and their sympathizers who want to continue the old, Antebellum, White-Supremacist ways that make them feel superior all because of their ignorance. And it's ignorance, pure and simple, which keeps beliefs such as this one alive and well in this great country of ours. I truly believe in the old saying, "I may not like what you have to say but I'll die for your right to say it". Hopefully, though, not too many more people will have to die for this "Lost Cause" theory to finally die, itself!

And that's, "As I understand it now... 'til it changes".
Thanks for your time,
Michael K. Stichauf.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Hope Solo's Example

Like it or not Hope Solo, you are a role model. You are a role model for those little girls and young women who love the game of soccer and who watch every move you make on and off the field! Yes, yes, I know Sir Charles Barkley told everyone years ago that he's not a role model just because he's in the public spotlight as a premier basketball player and that kids and adults shouldn't expect him to be one. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way. 

Last year on June 21, 2014, Hope Solo, the goalie for America's women's soccer team was arrested on domestic violence charges. Reading the police report,  I'll try to piece together what happened that night from the statements of Solo's half-sister, Terresa Obert and the officers of the Kirkland Police Department who were on the scene. Also involved in this fiasco was the 17 year old son of Terresa Obert. After giving the side of the four police officers and Ms. Terresa Obert, I'll give Ms. Hope Solo's side of the story, along with a video of her being interviewed by Robin Roberts of "Good Morning America".

Hope Solo Bond Hearing

Apparently, Ms. Obert, her son and some other family members had been out to eat dinner earlier in the evening. When they arrived back at Ms. Obert's house, Hope Solo (real name- Hope Stevens) was sitting in her SUV in front of Obert's house, crying. Ms. Obert invited Hope into the house so she could calm down. Apparently, Solo's husband wouldn't take her to the airport to catch a flight because she had a game the next day. Consequently, she missed the flight and was mad and crying about him being a "jerk" for not taking her and because of this incident, he had left her for the night. According to the report, the other family members stayed around for a while and during this period, Ms. Solo calmed down. After a period of time, the other family members eventually departed, leaving only Ms. Obert, her son, Hope Solo and Ms. Obert's husband at the house. For some unexplained reason, Ms. Obert's husband wasn't around for the following incident. 

After the rest of the family left, Ms. Obert told officers that she had poured another glass of wine for Solo and then needed to use the bathroom. When she got out of the bathroom, she found Solo "was punching my son on his head". As Obert tried to pull Solo off of her son, she stated that, "my sister then punched me in the face several times". Just what was it that provoked this incident? For that information, we have to refer to the reports of a couple of the other officers who interviewed Ms. Obert and her son. Obert's son is not named and his name is redacted in the reports because he is a minor at the age of seventeen.

Officer Voss states in his report that after he arrived on the scene, he started to interview Ms. Obert's son who was initially talking with Officer Pierce. He told Voss that Hope Solo had "appeared to have been drinking when she arrived" and that when the other members of the family had left, "Hope and Terresa (his Mother) continued to drink". From Voss's report, Obert's son tells of his conversation with Solo beginning to become contentious as time went on. I'm sure the alcohol wasn't much help. This conversation seems to have begun while Ms. Obert was in the bathroom. According to other reports in the news, Obert's son is six foot nine and well over 200 pounds. As he and Solo were talking about plays that the young man had been performing in, he mentioned that he "believes in order to be a good actor, you have to have an 'athletic state of mind'." This apparently irritated Solo and her nephew said that she "told him he would never be athletic, that he was too fat and overweight and crazy to ever be an athlete" (according to Obert, her son has Bipolar disorder). As the young man became irritated with this attack on his physical looks and his anxiety disorder, he yelled at Solo to get out of the house and went into another room and called for his Mother to help him out. Well, that didn't help matters much because once he called for his Mother for help, Solo followed him into the room that he tried to escape to and called him a "pussy" because he asked his Mother for help. To instigate more, she again called him "crazy"! 

Wow Hope, you would think that with all the issues young women are struggling with in regards to "body image" and self-esteem, you would understand that "shaming" someone like that is destructive and abusive. Yes, I said, "abusive". We can no longer take the view that someone being told things such as these should just quit being a baby and suck it up! We now know just how much words like these damage young psychies whether they are males or females. If you want to be a soccer star and enjoy the fame and fortune which come along with that status, you need to understand that your every word and actions will be scrutinized and analysed by anyone and everyone who hears and sees them. I'm sure, considering the state that you were in, being drunk, you never expected that your words, spoken in what you assumed was a private setting, would ever become public but, lo and behold, they certainly did become public! They became public in a big way!  

Solo's actions are classic actions seen in all domestic violence perpetrators. Before the physical violence begins, the perpetrators start with emotional and mental abuse to stoke the fire. As many people familiar with these situations will tell you, the victims are told to extricate themselves from the situation as soon as possible. The preferred action is to leave the house to de-escalate the whole thing but many victims don't have that ability, as seen in this situation. Many times, victims don't have a way to get away from a situation but more times than not, the perpetrator won't allow the victim to leave!  According to one of the officers, as the nephew tried to get away from the abuse, Solo followed him into another room that he chose as his getaway in order to call him a "pussy" and "crazy". Domestic violence perpetrators are controlling, manipulative individuals and not allowing their victims to leave is paramount to their plan. Let's continue with the rest of the incident.

The police report mentions that Solo was punching her seventeen year old nephew, as well as her half-sister Terresa. At some point, her nephew decided that he needed to defend himself and his Mother and hit Solo over the head with a broom handle or some kind of stick-like object that was referred to as a handle of something, in other reports. He also threatened Solo with the butt end of, what was described as, a broken BB gun. That's how out of hand this situation got. 

Talking with police officers, in domestic violence situations, they are told to arrest the individual who happens to have marks or bruises on their hands and/or knuckles- obviously indicating that they were the aggressors. The individual or individuals who have marks or bruises are, in most cases, the victims. This situation was no different! In pictures taken by the police and included in the police report, Terresa Obert has bruises and scratches on her neck and left cheekbone. In officer Voss' report, he states that Solo's seventeen year old nephew's "t-shirt was ripped and that his face had red marks on it." Further on in his report, Voss noted that the nephew's "nose and left jawbone area were red. His t-shirt was torn on the left side from underarm area to the bottom seam. He had a bleeding cut on the bottom of his left ear, just above the earlobe. His arms were bright red and had scratch marks on it." Need I go further? Well, yes, I do. 

I don't need to give you anymore of the physical damage that was done to these two individuals. Yet, I do want to talk about the emotional and mental stress that followed. In Voss' report, he states that the nephew "was crying and stated that 'we just let her back into our lives'." Voss also stated that Terresa "was highly emotional throughout our contact with her and kept hugging her (son) and asking him if he was o.k. She also apologized to (her son) for letting Hope back into their lives..." What a shame! The fact that this woman has to apologize to her own son because she feels guilty for what her own sister has done to her son is a trajedy! Yet, these are all the effects of domestic abuse. This poor woman, Terresa, has had to exclude her sister, Solo, from their lives because of her ridiculous domestic abuse. Yet, this is an all too familiar scene in many, many homes today.

Okay, okay Hope! Don't worry, I'm giving your side right now! 

Unfortunately, there isn't much that the officers wrote (in their reports) about what Solo said in her defense.In fact, Solo was standoffish and argumentative. One report states that Sgt. Goguen had spoken with Solo and he said the Solo said "that she did not assault or touch anyone, but had been struck in the head with a broomstick by (her nephew) after she had called him fat and unathletic." The Sgt. stated that he observed no visible marks on Solo and she refused to let him inspect her head. Goguen also stated that when he was talking with her, her speech was slurred and he could smell alcohol. But, here comes the manipulative nature of an individual who is a bully and a domestic abuser; Goguen states that Solo started to cry and "pulled her legs up to her chest..." as she grabbed the top of her head and said that her head hurt. It's the act of curling up into a fetal position to try and make people feel sorry for her. He asked her again what had happened to her head and she said "(her nephew) had struck her with a stick." He then states that she "told me that (her nephew) was a scary person and she was protecting herself." Yet, when Goguen asks again if he can see her injuries he says "Stevens (Solo) adamantly declined." He ends the paragraph with the statement, "I did not observe any other obvious signs of injuries to Stevens." 

Just with this statement from Goguen, you can see Solo starting to try to shape the narrative. She begins to make it seem as if she was the one who should be considered the victim- the crying, pulling her legs up to simulate a fetal position and the statement, "(her nephew) is a scary person" are all attempts to start to swing things in her favor. Abusers will always try to blame the victim(s) for everything they do. It's classic. 

Very quickly, though, Solo becomes agitated and when they tell her she is under arrest she gets very upset. From this point on things go downhill for Solo. Because she isn't getting her way and people aren't giving her a break, she became combative and argumentative. This behaviour continued, even after she was in the police station.

This isn't the end of the "Hope Solo Show", though. No, soon enough, she is interviewed on T.V. where she continues the "poor me" act and the "I'm the victim" act. Watch this video and I'll continue;

Right off the bat she starts with the act. After Robin Roberts asks her, with some kind of ridiculous compassion, how she's doing, Solo gives us the old, "It's still very hard to talk about it" line. Her attitude, of course, is one of, "I just can't believe those people did that to me!" Again, she's playing the victim here. Just like any good abuser. BUT, here comes the kicker- her next line is just outrageous! She says,"I was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of my nephew". WHAT?!?! Just ending my commentary on this video and Solo's side of the story at that comment is enough for me and hopefully my readers. This woman is clearly in denial about her problem and with her soccer career on the line, she's doing everything she can to blame the victims and take no responsibility herself! 

Now, in fairness to Solo, her case has been dropped but it was dropped on procedural problems. The case didn't go to trial. Apparently, the prosecutors are looking into trying to bring the case back again but, let's face it, no matter the outcome of the case, this woman needs to address this issue before she continues to hurt others! 

The other issue here is the fact that Solo is a woman in the public eye and whether she likes it or not, she is a role model for scores of young girls and women and they deserve to see better out of their idols. U.S. Soccer didn't suspend Solo and I/we should be asking the question, "WHY?" Is it because she is a woman and that domestic violence really isn't domestic violence if it's perpetrated by a woman? What's any different than what Solo did compared to Ray Rice or any other man. There shouldn't be any double standard here. This woman should be suspended by U.S. Soccer for a period of time and she needs to be in some kind of treatment. Apparently, this isn't the first time this has happened. Terresa Obert said to the police that they just started to let Solo back into their lives. Why was she out of their lives? Obviously because she has been a problem before! 

America has a huge problem with this issue. As the years go on and issues such as this start to become less of a "dirty family secret" we understand just how destructive it is. Abusers are manipulative and controlling. They change the people who they abuse and if they have children who they abuse, they shape the kind of individual that that child will become. That child will be someone with no self-esteem who is afraid of life. I know each of my readers have seen those people who go around life with their heads down and their eyes averted. They don't look others in the eyes and they rarely say anything. Hundred to one odds are those individuals had an abusive parent or are in an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, this issue goes further than just an abuser who bullies their victim. Every week we see stories on the news or in the papers about an abuser who has just killed their victim because that victim finally tried to get out! 

Yes folks, every week we see these stories. This is a huge problem in America and we need to address it. It doesn't matter whether the abuser is a man or a woman. The effects are the same. Ruined, miserable victims and ruined miserable abusers! Yet, Hope Solo could help make a start in the right direction. Being a celebrity she could help others who might be impressed with her position in life. She might be that one person who some woman sees talking about domestic violence and the fact that it's wrong and that she can get help if she is a victim or an abuser herself. Unfortunately, Hope Solo has chosen NOT to be that person who helps. No, she's going to continue the lie. She's going to continue to insist that she is the victim of domestic violence, not the perpetrator. She's going to be the one to set that WRONG example... and continue the lie! 

Way to go Hope Solo... way to go!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Atlanta Teachers Scandal

In March of 2013, thirty five educators from the Atlanta area were indicted after a two year investigation by the Fulton County district attorney's office. The investigation was started after an Atlanta Journal- Constitution article stated that the recent test scores of the students were improbable, statistically. After hundreds of interviews with teachers, administrators, parents and students the investigators realized that they were looking at a pattern of cheating and of fixing test scores that encompassed at least 44 schools in the area that went back as far as 2005! Wednesday, April 1, after a six month trial (August 2014- February 2015), eleven of the twelve individuals who went on trial, were found guilty of racketeering charges. The twelfth was found not guilty of all charges. 

That is the background of this astounding case and it's a shocker. Yet, here comes the most shocking part of the case; after the verdict was read, the Judge, Jerry Baxter ordered the guilty persons handcuffed and taken into custody until sentencing! He justified this action by saying, "I don't like to send anyone to jail. It's not one of the things that I get a kick out of, but they've made their bed, and they're going to have to lie in it, and it starts today." Only one of the eleven were allowed free until sentencing and that's because she is expecting a baby. These eleven individuals now face up to 20 years in prison. A ridiculous fact, as far as I'm concerned, made possible because of the charges they were indicted on- the RICO statute. RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations act. That's right, the very statute that was designed and instituted for such wonderful people as John Gotti and Carlo Gambino! I don't care that these educators were guilty of ridiculous acts such as cheating (nothing I condone), the RICO act is the most ridiculous charge that they could have used for these people. Nothing that they've done warrants them possibly going to jail for 20 years. Now, we all know that they won't go to jail for that long but to use this statute to convict these teachers and educators is complete overkill! It's just another attempt by an arrogant, self-serving public prosecutor to label himself as "tough on crime".

I'm just dumbfounded over the results of this scandal! Obviously, I DO NOT condone cheating- it does NO ONE ANY GOOD! Yet, I'm NOT surprised that this is happening. For years now, in some areas, teachers' employment has been linked to their students' progress. If students prosper and get good test scores... teachers prosper! If students don't prosper, fail and get terrible test scores... teachers lose their jobs!! WHAT?!?! Is anyone surprised that things finally came to this? Again, I'm not saying this is right, I'm saying that these educators do not deserve to go to jail for a policy that all but forced them into this situation. That's right, I said, "all but forced them into this situation". There is no way that any teacher would have committed these acts if it wasn't because their jobs were in the hands of children, many of which have no intention of learning. I know that's one hell of an indictment on these students but tell me I'm wrong. You can't. The state that so many of the families in our inner cities AND other areas are in makes it extremely hard for children to get the attitude of a good education ingrained into them by their parents. For reason too numerous to state now, families in so many areas have disintegrated and have lost their abilities to influence their children. Yet, education policy makers have seen to it that the livelihoods of teachers are based on how these students do, whether their teachers are good or not. I'm sure there are plenty of terrific teachers who have lost their jobs solely based upon how students, who had no intention of learning, did on their test scores. It's a flawed policy and it needs to be over-hauled! 

I understand that if you try to connect this to America's capitalist thinking (I'm a supporter of capitalism) it sounds like this; If a company has a product that doesn't flourish and prosper ie., sell well, then that company goes out of business. That's simple. But, comparing our teachers to a company which sells a product and subjecting them to the same consequences that company would suffer if their product doesn't sell is ridiculous!! Look, I understand that we have some horrendous teachers out there, we've all had our share of them in our educational experiences. When I was in school, from the late 60s to the early 80s, the teachers were graded by the principals and if they were deemed, "NO GOOD", they were fired. It isn't that hard. Nowadays, they've taken the decision of whether a teacher is fired or not, out of the hands of the principles and put it INTO THE HANDS OF THE STUDENTS! I'm sorry but I don't see how this is fair. I don't see how you can entrust a person's livelihood to a child who DOESN'T WANT TO LEARN. Yes, there are many children who DO NOT want to learn and their teacher's livelihood SHOULD NOT depend upon their inability to comprehend what that means to their future and the future of their teachers. 

Unfortunately, there might be some good that comes out of this case. It's a shame that these educators have had to suffer the wrath of the County of Fulton but maybe policy makers will see that this is a failed policy. I'm sure a small minority of teachers actually worked harder to come up with innovative ideas to get the students who they taught (the ones who could care less about learning) to become more engaged but that's probably the extent of it- a small minority. What seems to be what a lot of teachers did was to teach to the tests. Look, if you make someone else the total arbiter of an individual's livelihood, they are going to do whatever they need to do to please that arbiter. Plain and simple. Scandals like this were bound to happen once a policy of students' test scores became the benchmark for whether a teacher was going to be able to feed their family. If my livelihood depended on this, you bet I'd make sure that these kids were taught what the test was going to ask. This doesn't mean that out and out cheating is acceptable, it just means that it was inevitable! It seems that that's what a lot of other people felt, also. Hopefully, policy makers will start to focus on the fact that putting a teacher's job in the hands of students isn't the way to get better teaching out of these teachers. 

I'm not an educator and I'm not a policymaker, I'm just a citizen worried about the young people in our country. Every year we hear that America's students are falling more and more behind countries like China. This has got to stop! We have the resources and the money to make the necessary changes that need to be changed. We've also got the teachers who have the abilities to make these changes happen and work! Let's allow them to do their jobs!

And that's, "As I understand it now... 'til it changes"
Thanks for reading,
Michael K. Stichauf. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Mandatory Trans-vaginal ultrasound debate

As a man, I get apprehensive about writing pieces which deal with women's issues, especially women's reproductive issues. I know there are feelings and experiences, attached to these issues, that I could never begin to understand. That being said, because of my position on these issues, I'm hoping that women won't have a problem with my expressing and espousing these very positions. My goal is to promote, what I feel is, every woman's right to have the decision to do what they want with their own bodies. For too long, the Congress of the United States of America and just about every other politician, male or female, have thought that it's their job to tell a woman just what it is that she is allowed to do with her very own body! In January of this year, our "esteemed" (?!?!) politicians were at it again!

On January 22, 2015, House Republican, Jeff Duncan (R-
Rep. Duncan (R-S.C.)
So.Car.), along with ten other Republican men, introduced a bill which would make it mandatory for women, who are seeking an abortion, to go through an extremely intrusive ultrasound procedure before they would be allowed (?!) to have that abortion. The implications are easy to understand; NO intrusive ultrasound, NO abortion! Here is just another attempt by the Republican party to get another step closer to making abortion impossible for women. Now, Republicans will probably say, "This bill isn't framed to stop women from getting an abortion. Quite the contrary, in fact! The bill is intended to give women the best care possible with the best available equipment." On it's face, that comment would seem to be correct and genuine. The bill does state that the ultrasound must be performed with the best possible technology available. These days, that means the ultrasound must be a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Here's the rub, though; Making these trans-vaginal ultrasounds "mandatory", is bad medicine. As I'll talk about later, the majority of abortion cases never need a transvaginal ultrasound. That is- the majority of them don't. So, if that's the case, why are the Republicans trying to make them mandatory? The Republicans want to cloak the forcing of their moral and religious beliefs on women in language that sounds like they care for the health of the woman seeking the abortion. While I'm sure they don't want to see harm come to these women, they care more about forcing their beliefs on them. Also, o
ne of the consequences of this intrusive procedure is that it raises the cost of the whole abortion process to the point where most middle to lower income women can't afford it. More on that later, also.

Two Different Ultrasound Procedures

In prenatal medical care, there are two different kinds of ultrasound procedures. The most common one is the "topical" ultrasound. The other one is called a "trans-vaginal" ultrasound. 

Trans-Vaginal probe,left - Topical Ultrasound, right

Web MD describes ultrasounds as such;

"A prenatal ultrasound test uses high-frequency sound waves, inaudible to the human ear, that are transmitted through the abdomen via a device called a transducer to look at the inside of the abdomen. With prenatal ultrasound, the echoes are recorded and transformed into video or photographic images of your baby. The ultrasound can be used during pregnancy to show images of the baby, amniotic sac, placenta, and ovaries. Major anatomical abnormalities or birth defects are visible on an ultrasound. An ultrasound is generally performed for all pregnant women around 20 weeks into her pregnancy. During this ultrasound, the doctor will confirm that the placenta is healthy and that your baby is growing properly in the uterus. The baby's heartbeat and movement of its body, arms and legs can also be seen on the ultrasound."

Next, they describe trans-vaginal ultrasound;

"Most prenatal ultrasound procedures are performed topically, or on the surface of the skin, using a gel as a conductive medium to aid in the image quality. However, a transvaginal ultrasound is an alternative procedure in which a tubular probe is inserted into the vaginal canal. This method of ultrasound produces an image quality that is greatly enhanced, but it is not a common prenatal procedure. However, it may be used early in pregnancy to get a clearer view of the uterus or ovaries if a problem is suspected. It may also be used early in pregnancy to determine how far along you are in your pregnancy (gestational age)."

Over the years, ultrasounds have been used as a normal procedure for prenatal care. For years they have been using the "topical" form, meaning on the surface of the skin. Recently, trans-vaginal ultrasounds have been used because the picture they provide doctors and healthcare professionals is, hands-down, a better quality picture. No one doubts that. No one also doubts that, when necessary, a woman will agree to the trans-vaginal ultrasound when their doctor tells them that it is a needed medical procedure (NOT a mandated one), because he/she can't get the image that they need from a topical ultrasound. From the information that I've read, the "necessary need" for a trans-vaginal ultrasound is rather rare, although it is "needed" for some things. 

The Heart of the Debate

The Conservatives

The issue at the heart of this debate is the unnecessary mandating of trans-vaginal ultrasounds by the "state". It calls to mind the "Big Brother" image that our state and federal governments have been pushing on us for decades now! Slowly but surely, government has decided that they know what's best for our citizenry. With the appointments of certain judges to the supreme court, the chances that laws which end up governing the human body and what we can do with our own bodies, are not likely to be overturned! We are entering a dangerous period in "Democratic" governing if "we", as citizens of the United States, won't stand-up and tell our government that we won't allow them to dictate what kind of control we have over our bodies. Without sounding like some "fringe nut-job" we aren't a far cry away from, for example, our government, fearing that our population may be expanding at too great a rate, to start to propose "population control" laws such as the "one child law" that Communist China had enacted in 1979 and still exists today! Now, I don't believe we have a population problem but it's an example of what governments are capable of doing once they think that they've got their citizens in the palm of their hand. I understand that this kind of thinking is extreme but with the legislation that the Republicans have suggested here, it is a slippery slope that we find ourselves on. Don't forget, it was only twelve to thirteen years ago when "Dubya" (our previous, "Grand Leader") enacted the current laws that were initially supposed to be used ONLY for spying on terrorists. Now we've come to realize that those very laws are being used to spy on our own people. I'm sure no one thought that domestic spying would be allowed to flourish, AGAIN, in our country after the fiasco that was uncovered by the Church Committee of the 70s. Ladies and gentlemen, once your government takes something away from you, you will NEVER get it back! These "spying" laws and the

infringements on our civil rights that we were told were only to last as long as the war on terror existed, will never be reversed! We have permanently lost some of our freedom and we've laid down and let the government do it to us! My point to this little digression is that if we let the Republicans get away with deciding that it's their right to tell women what they can and cannot do with their body, that slippery slope we find ourselves on now, turns to a sheet of ice! 

Some Insights and Consequences on the Bill

The Republican sponsored bill mandates that abortion clinics must have their patient view an ultrasound of their baby, as well as listen to the baby's heartbeat, prior to allowing her to have the abortion. It also stipulates that the ultrasound must be performed with the best possible technology available. Hence, the trans-vaginal ultrasound mandate. Trans-vaginal ultrasounds are much better
Fetal Ultrasound
quality procedures than the topical kind. Next, this all must occur 24 hours prior to the abortion and it must be performed by the very same doctor who is performing the abortion, requiring the doctor to be at the clinic two days in a row. 

Using the language, "the ultrasound must be performed with the best possible technology available" is rather disingenuous. While it promotes an air of making sure the woman gets the best possible treatment devices available, making the Republicans look good, it's really an underhanded way of forcing a woman to undergo a procedure that is very intrusive and uncomfortable, in order for the Republicans to force their morals and beliefs upon the women of our society. The Republicans believe that forcing a woman to see and hear their baby's heartbeat will make them reconsider their choice of having an abortion. To date, there still isn't conclusive data that this approach will force a woman to decide not to have the abortion. Some doctors have actually said that in some cases, it has strengthened a woman's resolve to continue with the abortion. Still, an approach such as this is a reprehensible act for what used to be a distinguished American political party. 

$431.00 California Welfare Check

Another consequence to this legislation will be the rise in the cost of an abortion. Having the procedure the day before the abortion, by the same doctor doing the abortion, forces the doctor to be at the clinic two days in a row which drives up the cost to the woman seeking the abortion. Usually the procedure itself is performed by a technician who is capable of doing the procedure, which doesn't force the doctor to be at the clinic when it is administered. Another way that the cost is driven up is by the mere fact that in most cases, a trans-vaginal ultrasound is never needed in prenatal care prior to an abortion. With the average cost of an abortion running between $5oo - $1000, the cost can quickly jump to $750 - $1250. That's more than some poverty level women make in a month, requiring them to take the money from some other area of their expenses, like food or rent. Government and insurance companies have been complaining for years about the rise in the cost of health care and here the government goes and automatically drives up the cost for an abortion with the mandating of this procedure. Nevermind that it's all because of their hidden moral agenda directed at the women of America, it's bad medicine!

The "Males Know Best "Club
House Republican Leadership
People in general get resentful when their decisions about their own health care are taken out of their hands. What makes this so egregious is the fact that these male-chauvinist Republicans are so arrogant as to think that they, and only they, know what's right for a women to be doing with her health care and her body! Don't forget, this "males know best" attitude is what started the women's movement in the first place and for the Republicans to be proposing a bill such as this, at this particular time, is just another instance of their blind hubris and arrogance. They act as if they have no clue that they've already lost women in America! 

Medical Rape

Women and women's groups are referring to this as "medical rape" and I can see why they feel that way. Just so we understand- rape; "the crime... of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse... against their will" (Oxford Dictionaries). Although many consider this example as extreme, it's certainly understandable why it's being used. Obviously, the operative phrase here is, "against their will". This legislation is being proposed by congress and eleven men who are trying to enact it, "against the will of women". There hasn't been a single woman representative, Republican or Democrat, willing to sign on as a sponsor and that's a very telling piece of information. Why is it that a bill that is put forth as legislation, which will end up governing the bodies of women, doesn't have a single woman sponsoring it? It's because it's an archaic proposal which has no place on our law books! Archaic because it harkens back to the bad old "paternalistic" attitudes of our U.S. Congress and their condescending view of women. It is against the will of women! It is also considered "medical rape" because, in a more literal manner, the mandating of a trans-vaginal ultrasound without a woman's consent is the forcing of a probe, into the vagina of a woman, without her consent; i.e., "the forcing of another person to have sexual intercourse... against their will"! Now, I know there will be people saying that this is just too extreme of an example but, is it really? Let's face it folks, women are fighting a bill that could amount to turning back the clock forty years in the history of women's medicine. I'm not sure that anything is too extreme for this fight!

There is Hope

I do have some bright news, though! The outrage has begun over this legislation. Women are not willing to let a congress go back to their old-time, paternalistic, arrogant ways. It's not just women, though. There are many groups willing to get involved because this particular legislation could stand as a sort of precedent for the congress to pass laws governing the bodies of women and men. Action has already begun and one group is circulating a petition to send to congress to get them to drop the "forced ultrasound bill". Ultraviolet is a "community of people from all walks of life mobilized to fight sexism and expand women’s rights, from politics and government to media and pop culture." If you are as outraged as others are over this legislation, you can go to this website to sign their petition; "Tell congress to drop the forced ultrasound bill"

Let's all get behind this campaign to end the proposal of this particular bill. Even if the "medical rape" example is too extreme for you, the fact that there are numerous other reasons that make this bill unacceptable should be enough for you to make sure it shouldn't even see the light of day. When this particular medical procedure is needed, let it be because a doctor is requesting it because there is a medical need for his request. When this procedure is needed, let's make sure it's because a doctor says it's needed, because the doctor explains the legitimate reason as to why it's needed! When this is done in the confines of a doctor's office or clinic, with a woman knowing she has the right to refuse, it's a whole different situation. Under those circumstances, most women would agree to the procedure... or maybe most women wouldn't agree to the situation. Either way, a woman would have a choice in the matter. That's the way it should be. That's the way women have been demanding that it should be! Women have fought for this respect for a long time now and they deserve it! Yet, when politicians make a trans-vaginal ultrasound mandatory, and in this case all the sponsors are men, they trigger memories of decades of arrogance and disdain which women suffered under from the medical profession and politicians alike. Again, women would have someone other than themselves telling them what they can and can not do with their bodies. It's been just over forty years now since the legalization of abortion, enough time for almost two generations of women to have control of their bodies when it comes to abortion and their health care. Let's not set "Women's Heath Care" back to the old days when men, not women, were in charge of a woman's body.

And that's, "As I understand it now... 'til it changes".
Thanks for reading.
Michael K. Stichauf.