The featured photo was taken on April 24, 1997, when I was still a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. From October 1996 until August 1997, I lived just across the street from Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian Genocide Memorial, in Yerevan, Armenia.
I think today’s post will be somewhat short. I’m getting a late start today, and there are still some things I’d like to do that don’t involve blogging. I did want to take a few minutes, though, to recognize Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. This is a holiday that occurs in the Republic of Armenia every April 24th, as thousands of Armenians travel to the capital city of Yerevan and make their way up a hillside to pay their respects to people who died in the Armenian Genocide.
As regular readers know, I was a member of the third group of Peace Corps Volunteers to serve in Armenia. I was assigned the to capital city of Yerevan. It’s my understanding that Volunteers are no longer placed in Yerevan, because it’s gotten to be so modern and “nice” (and no doubt, more expensive). In my days as a Volunteer, Yerevan was “up and coming”, and I got to see it change a lot in just two years. When we arrived in 1995, Yerevan was pretty rough, but by the time we left, businesses were coming in and expanding. The powers that be had already decided that no more Volunteers would serve there, but would instead be sent out to the regions.
If I had to do it over again, I think I would have preferred an assignment outside of the capital city. However, I did end up having a “real” Peace Corps experience, and Armenia is one of those places where a huge portion of the population lives near the capital. So, there’s a lot of action there…
I taught at a school that, when I was a Volunteer, offered all ten “forms”. One of my former students, from a tenth form class during my second year, now works at Peace Corps/Armenia. I think the school where I taught now only handles kids in the early years of their educations. I also think the system has changed since I was a Volunteer, from 1995-97.
My school was named after a poet named Ruben Sevak, who was one of a million Armenians killed in the Genocide in 1915. Back in 1995, Sevak’s daughter, who was then in her 80s and living in France, came to visit the school. I got to meet her. I wrote more about Ruben Sevak here. He was a fascinating man who died much too young. And it was all because of hatred and a basic lack of respect by people for other people, same as any horrendous human rights violation is. Hitler was reportedly inspired by the Armenian Genocide when he came up with his “Final Solution”.
Isn’t it interesting that I now live in Germany, where there are reminders everywhere about the horrors of the past? Except this time, I live in the place where the perpetrators mostly came from, rather than the place where the victims lived. I’ve learned a lot from living in both places, and I’m very grateful that I’ve the opportunities that I’ve had to see and be influenced by both places. I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have these experiences, since I know that most Americans don’t get to travel abroad, let alone live abroad several times, courtesy of the U.S. government.
Anyway… today, I will try especially hard to take a moment to ponder the biggest lessons that came from the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust. It really disturbs me to see that same trend happening in the United States now. I’ve noticed a lot of negativity in the United States, especially in the era of Trump and the completely bastardized version of the Republican Party that we have now. I just hope it doesn’t come down to the horrors of the past repeating themselves, although given the gun violence problems we have now, maybe things are already heading in that direction.
Well, that’s about it for today’s post. Gotta take Noyzi for a walk and have some lunch… and then, maybe plow through more of my latest book, so I can post a new review. Catch you all later.
Amazon.com tells me that I purchased Kate Clifford Larson’s book, Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter on October 25, 2015. It was originally published on October 6th of that year, and I believe I bought it based on recommendations from Alexis, who was my #1 reader and commenter for years. I’m sorry it’s taken me almost eight years to finally get around to reading Kate Clifford Larson’s fascinating book about Rosemary Kennedy, and the very dysfunctional Kennedy family. I’m glad I finally sat down and read the book, because it was surprisingly compelling in many “soap opera-ish” ways.
I’ll admit that before I read Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, I knew almost nothing about the Kennedy clan, other than the fact that they were a very rich and politically powerful Irish Catholic family from Massachusetts, and they seemed to be cursed by many tragedies. I never knew just how many tragedies there were until I finally read this book that’s been sitting in my Kindle queue for so long. My mind is blown on many levels.
Who was Rosemary Kennedy?
Rose Marie “Rosemary” Kennedy was born in her parents’ home on September 13, 1918 in Brookline, Massachusetts. She was the third child and eldest daughter of Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Her older brothers, Joe and Jack, were perfectly normal boys, born to wealthy and prestigious parents. Joe and Rose Kennedy would go on to have a total of nine children, eight of whom were healthy, strong, intelligent, and high achieving. Rosemary might have been completely normal, too, except for a terrible decision that was made as she was being born.
On the day of Rosemary’s birth, Rose’s doctor was not immediately available to deliver her, on account of a severe breakout of Spanish flu. The doctor had to be in attendance when the baby was born in order to collect his fee. Consequently, the nurse who was tending to Mrs. Kennedy told her to keep her legs closed and actually pushed Rosemary back into the birth canal. Because of those unfortunate decisions, Rosemary was kept in the birth canal for two hours without adequate oxygen. When the baby was born, she appeared to be healthy and normal, but as she grew, her parents realized that she was not developing as her brothers, and later, her younger siblings, did.
Soon, it became clear to her family that Rosemary had significant intellectual and mental delays. However, because the Kennedys were so rich, powerful, and ambitious, they kept Rosemary’s condition carefully hidden from most people. She was apparently beloved by her family, yet she was also an object of shame for them. Her parents– especially her father, Joe– took great pains to keep Rosemary’s difficulties out of the public eye.
When she was still a child, it wasn’t impossible to hide Rosemary’s condition from the public; but as she grew older, stronger, and wanting more independence, figuring out what to do with Rosemary, and hiding her disabilities from the public, became much harder for her parents. Complicating matters was the fact that physically, Rosemary was very attractive and flirtatious. She enjoyed the company of men, and they liked her, too. The Kennedys were concerned that Rosemary would end up falling into a disreputable lifestyle that would put her in danger or, seemingly worse to them, somehow embarrass the family.
Rose Fitzgerald was a favorite daughter of John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, a very politically powerful Irish Catholic man from Boston, Massachusetts who had served as a Massachusetts State Senator, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Mayor of Boston. Rose met her future husband, Joseph Kennedy, when she was a teenager vacationing in Maine. John Fitzgerald hadn’t really liked Joseph Kennedy and discouraged Rose from being involved with him. But Rose didn’t listen to her father; the couple were wed October 7, 1914, when Rose was 24 years old.
Joseph Kennedy was quite wealthy, and his wife and children wanted for nothing materially. However, he was very unfaithful and had many affairs, to which Rose turned a blind eye. As I read this book, I learned that Joseph was also very image conscious and ambitious, and he expected his family to present the proper look. Rose Kennedy was also very image conscious and obsessed over her children’s bodies. She weighed them every week, and according to Larson’s book, both parents relentlessly fat shamed poor Rosemary, who had a tendency to gain weight.
Because of her intellectual disabilities, Rosemary Kennedy did very poorly in school. Her reading ability never rose past a fourth grade level. She had terrible penmanship and spelling, even though she apparently enjoyed writing letters. She also had trouble counting.
Although Rosemary was basically sweet and loving, she often had what today we might call “meltdowns”. Because she had trouble regulating her emotions and could not seem to grasp basic educational concepts, she went through a whole lot of different schools. Her younger siblings’ scholastic achievements soon surpassed Rosemary’s, as Rose Kennedy was constantly searching for the right boarding schools for her children. Though the other children were bright, competitive, habitual winners, Rosemary was constantly the subject of anguished letters from harried teachers and headmasters who didn’t know what to do with her.
The family experienced a brief hiatus in their scholastic drama when they moved to England in 1938. Joseph Kennedy was then serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain, so the family was temporarily based in London. Rosemary was placed at a Catholic boarding school called Belmont House, where she thrived. Unfortunately, the Kennedys had to move back to the United States due to Nazi Germany’s attack on Europe. Although Joseph and Rose kept Rosemary in England for as long as they could, it was too unsafe to allow her to stay there permanently. She moved back to the United States and then seemed to enter a negative spiral. All of the gains she had made at Belmont House quickly vanished as Rosemary became even less manageable.
Another tragic decision– Lobotomy…
Rose and Joseph Kennedy kept trying to find a suitable place for Rosemary. They failed repeatedly. Rosemary’s behavior grew more erratic and unpredictable. While her parents were apparently genuinely worried about her well-being, they also worried about how public knowledge of Rosemary’s condition might affect their political status and business standing.
Joseph Kennedy had heard about a new psychosurgical procedure being offered at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC. Psychiatrist Dr. Walter Freeman, and his associate, surgeon Dr. James W. Watts, were developing a technique that supposedly made “difficult” people like Rosemary more compliant and calm. The procedure was called “lobotomy”, and it involved numbing, and then boring small holes at the top and on either side of the patient’s head while they were awake and restrained. Although the vast majority of patients who had lobotomies did not experience good outcomes, Joseph Kennedy was apparently so eager to solve his issues with Rosemary that he eagerly signed her up for the operation. He did not tell Rose or his other children that Rosemary had the surgery until after it was completed in November 1941.
Like most of the other patients who had served as human guinea pigs for Freeman’s and Watts’ research, Rosemary Kennedy had devastating results after the lobotomy. She temporarily lost the ability to walk and talk, and became even more significantly intellectually delayed. Rosemary eventually learned how to walk again, but did so with a limp. She never regained her ability to speak clearly, and her arm was left palsied.
Heartbreakingly, after the lobotomy, Rosemary’s family basically abandoned her to the care of psychiatric facilities and, later, nuns. She very rarely saw her family for over twenty years, until Joseph Kennedy’s death in 1969. At that time, her family began bringing her back into the family circle. In spite of her intellectual and mental health issues, Rosemary Kennedy was very physically strong and healthy. She died of natural causes on January 7, 2005, in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. She was 86 years old.
My thoughts on the book…
It may seem like I’ve given away a lot of Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter in this review, but actually, I’ve just scratched the surface of this incredible story. Kate Clifford Larson did an excellent job researching this book, and writing a compelling explanation of the Kennedy family. I’ve barely mentioned Rosemary’s siblings, three of whom died tragically young, nor have I shared some of the more shocking and outrageous aspects of this story. I definitely came away with an opinion of Rose and Joseph Kennedy, who gave birth to remarkable children who would shape and influence America, yet showed such crass and callous disregard for Rosemary. Yes, it’s true that some of their actions had a lot to do with the mores of the time period, but a lot of it was also just very cold-hearted and cruel, not just to Rosemary, but also to the people who were tasked with helping her.
I do think that this book is profoundly sad, and parts of it are pretty infuriating on many levels. However, it’s also fascinating, given the historical importance of the Kennedy family and the events that were going on at the time. If you’re interested in American and world history, this book may be a page turner for that alone, as it offers glimpses of the current events of the time, and touches on business, politics, health, and mental health care.
While I definitely think the way Rosemary was treated was cruel, I also realize that there were very limited options for people like her when she was coming of age. That was a time when “defectives” (as they were sometimes called then) were forcibly hospitalized or otherwise locked up, sterilized, and/or kept out of society, and away from their families. Rosemary Kennedy was both blessed and cursed by having such a wealthy family. They could afford to send her to different camps, schools, and hospitals, but they were also ashamed of her, and didn’t want her to “ruin” their financial and political successes.
The Kennedy family was also very deeply entrenched in religion. Larson touches on how Rose Kennedy’s deep devotion to Catholicism caused huge rifts with her children, as she insisted that they adhere to her strict beliefs. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might already know how I feel about religion, and parents insisting that their children adhere to their religious beliefs. Rose Kennedy’s use of Catholicism in her attempt to try to control her adult children is bad enough, but Joseph Kennedy’s disastrous decisions made solely to protect his image and career were especially reprehensible. Moreover, both Rose and Joseph Kennedy treated some of the people who helped Rosemary with contempt and a true lack of consideration.
Kate Clifford Larson includes extensive footnotes, photographs, and a detailed bibliography. Some reviewers complained that there were too many resources included, and too little text. Personally, I didn’t have that complaint, but then to me, this book included information I didn’t know. People who already know a lot about the Kennedys may find this book to be repetitive. Some even stated that they felt it was a waste of time to read it. Again– this is my review, and it wasn’t a waste of time for me. It does make me think I might want to read more about the Kennedys, however.
I’m glad I read Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson. I would recommend it to history and political science buffs, but also to anyone who enjoys true stories. However, I would caution readers that this story is pretty sad and infuriating in some parts. Also, I would caution that this book is not strictly about Rosemary Kennedy, but is more from the perspective of her family. You won’t be reading much about what life was like from Rosemary’s perspective, as Larson doesn’t seem to do a lot of original research.
If I had known more about the Kennedys before I read this book, I might have had a more negative opinion of it. But, since I learned new things by reading it, I honestly don’t think of it as a poor effort. Some Amazon reviewers who obviously know more about the Kennedys than I do did take issue with the fact that the book is more about the Kennedy parents and, to a lesser extent, their children, than Rosemary herself.
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I had an interesting Thursday, and not just because it was my day to vacuum the house. It was interesting because I did some thinking, and even became a little inspired. My Aunt Gayle sent an email containing a document written by my Granny years ago. The fifteenth anniversary of her death is approaching next week, so Gayle sent out “Granny’s notes”, which was basically a brief history of Granny’s long and fascinating life. Granny was born near Natural Bridge, Virginia and spent most of her life there, though she did have some brief sojourns to other places. She was the fifth of ten children, and the last of the children to die, at almost 101 years of age. Had she lived just 54 more days, she would have made it. But it was time for Granny to go, as she had obviously witnessed a whole lot in her life. I can’t imagine what she would think of what’s happening today.
My grandmother was born at a time when women couldn’t vote, and were thought of as little more than property to their fathers and husbands. She died in the age of the Internet. In her lifetime, she bore nine children, and outlived two of them. She saw a man walk on the moon. She watched cars take over horses and buggies. She traveled to England to visit my parents, my sisters, and me, stopping in Scotland and Ireland, to walk on land where her ancestors lived. What would she think about the way women’s rights are being rolled back today? Granny was a conservative lady, but she was always very smart and practical, and she had a sharp mind until the bitter end of her life. I don’t know what she thought of topics like homosexuality or abortion. I suspect she was more progressive than some people would have liked to have given her credit for being. I say that, knowing that she was born and raised in Rockbridge County, which is a very red part of Virginia.
When I got my aunt’s email last night, I thought of a woman I “met” on 23andMe. She and I are first cousins twice removed. It turns out my Granny’s brother, Ed, had a fling with a young woman who had come from Longwood University (then known as the State Teachers College) to Natural Bridge to teach school. Ed and the young woman conceived a baby girl, whom they surrendered for adoption in Roanoke, Virginia. The girl was adopted by a couple from Roanoke and grew up there, while Ed went on to marry another woman and have a son. I seem to remember hearing that Ed’s son died when he was still in his 20s, although that happened when I was still a glint in my dad’s eye. Ed died a few years before I was born.
The woman I “met” is the daughter of Ed’s “illegitimate” daughter (to use an antiquated term), who was given up for adoption. She is in her 70s now, and has a half sister. They live in Maryland. I hadn’t been chatting with her lately, mainly because after we exchanged information, there wasn’t much else to say. But Granny’s notes changed everything. I immediately contacted her on 23andMe and told her about the document, and asked her if she’d like me to send it to her, since Granny had written about her parents and grandparents– and they were also kin to her. She enthusiastically agreed, so I forwarded the document to her.
Then I thought about the rest of this woman’s incredible DNA story. Her mother had grown up in Roanoke, apparently unaware that she had been adopted from a couple in Rockbridge County. When she became an adult, she moved to Washington, DC to work, and there she met a young, dark haired man who worked for the Ecuadorian Embassy. They had a fling, and sure enough, she got pregnant. When she told her mother, her mother snapped “Just like your real mother!” That’s when she found out she wasn’t her mother’s natural child.
Unlike her biological parents, to include my great uncle and his girlfriend, my cousin’s mom chose not to give her daughter with the “Ecuadorian” up for adoption. So she grew up not knowing her dad, but assumed she was half Ecuadorian, since that was where he was from, and he definitely looked and acted the part. Many years later, when she took her DNA test, it turned out that actually, he was Ashkenazi Jewish! I guess his family had moved out of Germany to Ecuador as a means of avoiding Hitler.
Of course, it’s not lost on me that had this all happened years later, Ed’s girlfriend could have chosen to have an abortion, and I wouldn’t have this novel worthy story to tell. And the truth is, I don’t cheer for abortions. Personally, I like the idea of choosing life over an abortion. But I am against forcing women to give birth, because there are simply too many reasons why having a baby might be the worst decision. And so, I read stories about women who made that tough choice and agonized over it, or even laughed about it, as Alison Leiby has, having written a comedy show about her choice to have an abortion before Roe v Wade was overturned, and women’s rights became even more threatened than they already were.
Yesterday, I wrote about Alison Leiby’s op-ed in The New York Times titled “Please Laugh About My Abortion With Me”. I still think it’s an article well worth reading. I found it very thought provoking, and I think she’s very BRAVE to have written it, given how completely horrible and closed-minded some people are about this topic. For those who missed yesterday’s post and don’t want to read it, here’s another link to the unlocked article.
I noticed that a lot of people on Facebook were commenting on Leiby’s op-ed, but it appeared that very few had bothered to read it. It was behind a paywall, so that’s to be expected. Still, it’s disappointing when someone writes a piece that is thoughtful and interesting, and the masses– who can’t or don’t want to pay for a subscription– feel the need to make irrelevant comments about it. So I posted that I thought Alison Leiby’s excellent op-ed was “thought provoking”, and it’s a shame that few people appeared to have read it. Others who had read it gave me likes, while a few obvious pro-birthers gave me laughter.
Naturally, it wasn’t long before a guy named Steve decided to engage me. He immediately wrote a mocking post to me, asking what part of Leiby’s post I thought was thought provoking. His comment was full of the usual tripe about how Leiby is obviously an uncaring, irresponsible woman who made a poor choice in sexual partners and then cold-heartedly KILLED her baby. I laughed at that and wrote, “Didn’t read the article, huh?” Because I knew that if he had, he would find out that the piece was not about Alison’s decision to have an abortion, but rather how she had processed the experience, the difficulty of discussing abortion with others… and yes, LAUGHING about it. She’s a comedian, so tackling difficult topics with humor is literally what she does for work.
Steve came back at me with more hostility, accusing me of not having read the article, which I actually did. And then he demanded that I defend my pro-choice opinions to him, which I don’t have to do even when people ask me politely, let alone make demands. But I decided I wouldn’t be engaging him at all, when I noticed that in his snarky retort, he referred to me as a “chick”. Imagine that. I’m 50 fucking years old, and this “pro-life” man, who doesn’t even know me, just called me a CHICK! I’m not even a fellow human being to him. I’m a baby chicken who happens to have a uterus (for now, anyway). My Granny used to take care of “chicks” on her family’s farm. And then he expects me to have a thoughtful discussion with him about a topic as complicated as abortion is? I don’t think so.
My response was more or less, “I can answer the questions, but I am choosing not to, because it’s obvious to me that you just want to judge this woman’s very personal decisions. The fact that you just referred to me as a ‘chick’ gives me a pretty good idea about what you think of women. I couldn’t be less interested in interacting with you. Please leave me alone.”
To his credit, he did stop tagging me. It’s a good thing he did that, because if he hadn’t, I could have commented on the fact that not only does he dismiss and dehumanize women by calling them “chicks” when they’re being serious, he also doesn’t respect them when they say “no”. And this overbearing habit that some men have of not hearing the word “no” when a woman says it, is precisely why a lot of women need to seek abortions in the first place!
Fortunately for Steve, he did hear me when I asked him to leave him alone, and he complied with my wishes. Not every guy offline or on social media is even that respectful, so I guess I should be grateful that he knocked it off when I requested it. But it was quite clear to me that he hadn’t read the essay and was betting that I hadn’t, either. Then he had the nerve to try to demand that I interact with him. I wonder if he was ever like that on his dates.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on ol’ Steve, though. It probably didn’t occur to him that calling me “chick” would trip him up on his path to the idyllic Land of Mansplaining Sanctimony. Like a lot of people, he failed to think ahead. Failure to think or plan ahead, is another reason why some women want or need to have abortions. It’s natural that this happens, and as Steve has proven, it’s not just the women who have this issue.
It occurs to me that Granny, who was a very strong, intelligent, wise, and hardworking woman who bore nine kids, probably had to deal with that kind of shit from men all the time. I know she had to deal with my grandfather, whom she had said was the “nicest man” when he wasn’t drinking. The trouble is, he was “always” drinking, and had a legendary temper. Or so I was told by his son, who was my dad. By contrast, Granny wrote in her notes that her own father was very quiet and gentle. Being married to “Pappy” must have been quite different to her, just as being married to my gentle husband is different for me. Like Pappy, my father was often very nice and kind, but he was also a severe alcoholic who could be brutal. Thankfully, he wasn’t physically abusive very often, although it was often enough.
I think about women who are still, even in 2022, when we have laws against domestic violence, trapped in horrific relationships with men who won’t take no for an answer. I think about women who are on their way to financial freedom, or finally have the achievement of a lifelong dream in their sights, or maybe can’t keep any food down because they have severe hyperemesis gravidarum, or any other medical issue, just wanting to make their own private decision about whether or not to be pregnant. If I had gotten pregnant with Bill’s baby, I would have been very happy about it. But if I had gotten pregnant after being date raped at a fraternity party, not so much (and no, that never happened to me, but it could have). Likewise, I served in the Peace Corps, where female Volunteers have been known to be sexually assaulted. I personally knew of one person who was raped when I was serving in Armenia. She didn’t get pregnant, but if she had, she would have been required to get an abortion at her own expense, or leave the Peace Corps.
And guys like Steve want to frame a narrative about how anyone who wants or needs an abortion is just some loose, slutty woman with no heart or morals, who “got herself pregnant” because she was “irresponsible”. Same guy wants to call me a “chick”, as he demands that I engage with him. I’ll bet he was expecting me to write something coherent and sensible, too, even though he degraded me by calling me a slang barnyard term for a young woman. It’s crazy! Why should anyone waste the time or energy?
#NEW: Documents confirm a 10-year-old girl received an abortion in Indianapolis on June 30. Reason for abortion was listed as “abuse.” Pregnancy termination report was filed on July 2 which means @drcaitbernard reported it to the state within 3 days as required by Indiana law. pic.twitter.com/UeUTGVxer8
I’ll bet that jerk, Rokita, hasn’t even apologized for his mistake, and decision to smear the good doctor’s name. She did a great compassionate service to a CHILD who was raped, not once, but TWICE! No ten year old is, in any way, prepared to have a baby! But Rokita isn’t about to humble himself. Instead, he’s “gathering evidence” to see if he can still nail Dr. Bernard for doing something that was obviously medically indicated. Guys like Rokita just want to put doctors and nurses in prison, don’t they? Misogyny is still alive and well in our country. I wish there was more empathy and decency!
At least in Ohio, some of the politicians are showing some remorse for their mistakes, having initially cast doubt on the girl’s story. But you know how remorse is, when it comes from a politician. It’s often pretty hollow. And Ohio is a state where a MALE legislator wanted to make properly treating ectopic pregnancies ILLEGAL. He wanted to plug and play non-viable embryos– technology that doesn’t exist. What makes me especially sick is that these dumbasses aren’t even learning from their mistakes. Ohio’s MALE attorney general, Dave Yost, was among those who doubted that a ten year old could get pregnant. Yes, they can, and this is one major reason WHY abortion should be allowed… and frankly, kept PRIVATE. There’s no reason why the whole world should have to know about this girl’s hellish torment, even if she is anonymous (for now). This is something that should have been kept confidential and dealt with by medical personnel, social workers, and law enforcement. It should not be a political football. And for Christ’s sake, she should not have had to go to another state to get an abortion done! Way to prolong and increase her pain, Ohio!
Some people, unbelievably, think that poor baby should have been FORCED to birth— and they have even said they would have “hoped” she would come to understand why birthing her rapist’s baby, when she’s ten years old, is the right thing to do. Naturally, it was a MALE lawyer named Jim Bopp who said that. That shit regularly happens in developing countries, not the United States! And even those countries are reevaluating their draconian positions on abortion.
So, you see, we still have a long way to go… in spite of the great wisdom in Granny’s notes and the great progress she personally witnessed in almost 101 years of living. I truly do wonder what she would think of how things are today. Reversing Roe v Wade has opened a huge Pandora’s Box. I really hope we can get this mess straightened out for the women of the future. But at least I know it won’t affect me personally. I haven’t had a period in about two months. I think very soon, Aunt Flow will finally become a guest from my past. And I thank God for that on so many levels.
In other news… Ivana Trump suddenly died yesterday in what appears to be very suspicious circumstances. It was curiously announced by her most famous ex husband, Trump, who disseminated the news on Truth Social, his very own social media platform. It seems curious that she died so suddenly, weeks before Trump is expected to announce another run at the presidency. But I’m sure the details will come out soon enough. Maybe it’s a coincidence, like Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide was. I know that many idiots will still happily vote for Trump, even though it’s very obvious that he’s a liar, a cheat, and unhinged to the nth degree. I think the people who keep supporting him will eventually find themselves on the wrong side of history. I think if he wins again, it will be a disaster. Hopefully, the saner people in the Republican Party will keep him from running for the Republicans. They already know he can’t be controlled… and I’ll bet he’s paid for MANY abortions.
This post has more language in it than usual… proceed with caution.
Bill and I had a really beautiful day yesterday. You can read about it on my travel blog. I love that we still have beautiful days, and that I live in a country where I don’t have to worry about gun violence. I love that I don’t have to worry about the government butting into my private healthcare decisions. I love that I’m 50, and I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. I love that I don’t have to be around creepy MAGA conservatives who seem to be hellbent on controlling women. I feel very fortunate to be where I am right now… but I worry about the future. I’m not a German citizen. I’m not even an ordinary resident.
I used to love my country. When I lived in Armenia, I missed the United States. When I lived in Germany the first time, I missed it less, but was still proud of being an American, where I believed I was “free”. I’m sad to say, I’m not so proud of being American today. I don’t feel like I would be “free” in the United States anymore. And I can’t stand how polarized people are now. There’s no more civility or empathy or decency. There’s just violence and wicked insanity perpetrated by people who care more about money, religion, and power than they do human beings. I’ve watched as some people I used to know as “decent” and kind, are now more concerned about high gas prices than they are the well-being of their friends and neighbors.
In the eight years since I last lived there, I’ve watched the United States gradually turning into a dystopian hellhole, where a pregnant 10 year old rape victim was forced to go to an adjoining state for an abortion. She was lucky enough to be able to get the very necessary procedure done in Indiana. If this had happened a few weeks from now, the Ohio child who got pregnant because of some depraved pervert, probably would have had to go even further away than Indiana to get an abortion. Indiana politicians want to force women to birth, too. They just didn’t have a trigger ban law against abortion, like Ohio does. In Ohio, there’s no right to abortion in cases of rape and incest. It’s just so cruel and infuriating… I think the people who denied this poor baby an abortion are the vilest sorts of people who belong in the deepest parts of Hell! There’s no way a ten year old CHILD is prepared to give birth on ANY LEVEL! Cases like this are why abortion must be legal and safe.
My heart breaks for that girl, and all of the other girls who are going to be forced to stay pregnant because of some sick MALE politician! It’s absolutely SICK to me to read that women who have ectopic pregnancies are being forced to wait until they’re near death before a doctor will do anything to save them. It makes me so angry! And it makes me sad. Women will die, and they don’t care.
In Texas, there’s a proposal to stop teaching children about enslaved people. Instead, the powers that be want to change the language to people who were subjected to “involuntary relocation”. Why? Because some geniuses are afraid of making White children feel badly about their heritage. Last year, Texas passed a law to eliminate topics in school that would make children “feel discomfort”. I don’t think it’s the kids who feel uncomfortable. It’s the privileged White MALE adults who feel that way. They can’t stand to see Confederate statues coming down, and buildings being renamed… So they try to change the culture to one that favors them… as if it were 1950 again, only worse. In 1950, there was a veneer of respectability and civility. Or, at least that’s how it seems to me when I look at footage from that era. But it was really only respectable for White MALES. America was NEVER great for anyone but White MEN. This policy, on its surface, may not seem to relate to forced birthing… but I think if we look deeper, it relates very well. Basically, what these MAGA fuckheads are trying to do, is enslave women and force them back into the home. They are desperately trying to stay relevant.
I’ve been reading about how the mostly MEN in the religious far right are wanting to make abortion even less possible to get, even for people who really need it for their health. They want to make women slaves. They want to pass laws that restrict women’s movements. They want abortion to be banned nationally. They don’t care that women will die because of this. From the Washington Post:
Just moments after the Supreme Court released its decision on Friday, Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) wrote to Gov. Ron DeSantis, urging the Republican to call a special session that would allow the legislature to pass a six-week abortion ban.
The 15-week ban that DeSantis signed into law in April, which allows more than 90 percent of abortions to continue, does not go far enough, Sabatini said.
“The problem is not the governor … it’s cowards in the Republican legislature who have been blocking [the six-week ban],” said Sabatini. Now that Roe has fallen, he added, he is hopeful that the governor and the legislature will “respond to pressure.” (A DeSantis spokesman pointed toward the governor’s statement on Friday pledging to “expand pro-life protections.”)
I HATE these people. I feel nothing but rage and contempt toward the MALES who dare to take privacy and rights away from women. I don’t want to feel this way. It’s not natural or normal for me to feel this toward others. But I am absolutely appalled and offended by the extreme arrogance of these MALES… and I wish I had gone to law school, so I could be a part of the group of feminist lawyers who will make them dearly pay for this stunt. In Missouri, according to the Washington Post:
In Missouri, where abortion was banned almost immediately after the decision came down, state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R) worries that the state Supreme Court may find protections for abortion in the Missouri Constitution, as other state courts across the country have done in recent years. On abortion-related issues, Coleman said, the state courts are out of step with the legislature, with a history of blocking legislation to defund Planned Parenthood facilities.
Right now, Coleman said, her priority is passing a constitutional amendment — by way of a statewide referendum — that makes clear there is no right to abortion in Missouri.
Coleman is also eager to restrict abortion across state lines, an idea she surfaced in legislation earlier this year and is now being discussed by antiabortion lawmakers across the country. The issue is particularly pertinent in Coleman’s home state of Missouri, where, even before Roe fell, thousands of people streamed across the Missouri-Illinois border for abortion care every year.
Coleman’s bill, which failed to pass in the 2022 legislative session, would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident access abortion outside the state, using the novel legal strategy behind the Texas abortion ban, which empowers private citizens to enforce the law through civil litigation. (Mary Elizabeth Coleman should be deeply ashamed of herself. She needs to be drop kicked out of politics.)
Even some younger women are eager to screw over other women by denying them privacy and essential healthcare. Also from the Washington Post:
Kristan Hawkins, president of the national antiabortion organization Students for Life,said she has been in talks with legislators in Missouri, and plans to bring a similar idea to a conference she’s hosting in D.C. this weekend, where over 200 antiabortion leaders will gather to discuss their post-Roe plans.
“I think we can say, ‘Look, if you travel out of state for an abortion, that abortionist can be held liable,’ ” Hawkins said. (Fuck you, Kristan Hawkins! You are a traitor to women!)
I hope that the businesses who have vowed to help their employees access abortion services will put their money where their mouths are, and move the fuck out of these hellhole states where women are becoming second class citizens. That is the only thing that will make these Republican motherfuckers listen to reason. And I hope women of childbearing age who are as angry about this as I am stop having sex with these MALES who want to force them to bear children they don’t want. Either that, or they take the motherfuckers to court as soon as they get pregnant and FORCE them to PAY. How dare they?!
I would expect this kind of thing to be happening in some third world hellhole. I would never expect it in the so-called “land of the free”. But the United States’ MAGA group of misogynistic fuckheads isn’t alone in their campaign against women. In Brazil, a pregnant ten year old was taken away from her family to protect the fetus, after a FEMALE judge failed to convince her to stay pregnant voluntarily. Fortunately, good sense eventually prevailed, and the girl got an abortion a month later. I hope that girl gets the hell out of Brazil someday and lives somewhere more humane.
I’m glad that the Fourth of July is not a holiday in Germany. There’s nothing to celebrate in the United States tomorrow. Our country is getting more and more ridiculous by the day. I don’t think I want to go back there. I know I’ll probably have to, though… and that makes me feel scared. The United States is turning into Gilead. God help us.
Sex Kills (Joni Mitchell)
I pulled up behind a Cadillac We were waiting for the light And I took a look at his license plate It said, “just ice” Is justice just ice? Governed by greed and lust? Just the strong doing what they can And the weak suffering what they must? Oh, and the gas leaks And the oil spills And sex sells everything Sex kills
Doctors’ pills give you brand new ills And the bills bury you like an avalanche And lawyers haven’t been this popular Since Robespierre slaughtered half of France! And Indian chiefs with their old beliefs know The balance is undone, crazy ions You can feel it out in traffic Everyone hates everyone And the gas leaks And the oil spills And sex sells everything Sex kills
All these jack-offs at the office The rapist in the pool Oh, and the tragedies in the nurseries Little kids packin’ guns to school The ulcerated ozone These tumors of the skin This hostile sun beating down on Massive mess we’re in And the gas leaks And the oil spills And sex sells everything And sex kills Sex kills Sex kills Oh, sex kills Sex kills
The past few days have been pretty wild, and I’m still kind of trying to process them. But sometimes, things happen to remind me of the simpler things in life. Yesterday, as I was watching Cassidy Hutchinson testify about how completely unhinged Donald Trump is, I got a private message from Meg, the woman who rescued Noyzi when he was a tiny puppy in Kosovo. She was going to be in our vicinity and wanted to know if she could come visit her long lost dog. Bill and I agreed that it would be alright for her to visit, so she came over with her little black dog, Little Guy.
We put Noyzi and Arran in the backyard, and Meg and Little Guy walked through the house to where the boys were. When Noyzi saw Meg, he immediately went crazy with excitement and unbridled joy. I didn’t even get the best part of their reunion on video, but I did get part of it. Noyzi knew exactly who she was and he was absolutely DELIGHTED to see her. It was probably the happiest we’ve ever seen him.
Then, after about an hour of catching up with Meg, Noyzi came over to me. It was as if he was saying how happy he was to see his old friend, and reassuring her that he was doing great. He obviously appreciated so much what she did for him when he was a tiny puppy. And now he has a home that he doesn’t want to leave. That’s a good thing, because Meg lives in a small apartment now, and Noyzi is a big guy.
I think that visit was healing for all of us. Noyzi was ecstatic to see Meg and Little Guy again. Arran was happy to meet Little Guy and get to know Meg. Meg was happy to see Noyzi, and determine for herself that he’s healthy, safe, and much loved. And we were reassured that Noyzi has bonded with us and is happy to be where he is. When Meg’s visit was over, Noyzi said goodbye and went back to his bed. He didn’t stand at the door, pining for Meg. This is an excellent outcome for a dog rescue. I got a dozen pictures of Noyzi looking absolutely delirious with joy, with a big grin on his face. I also got video footage that will always remind us of how happy we made this one canine soul, who by all rights, should have died on the streets of Pristina when he was a baby. And yet, by fate’s twists and turns, he wound up living with Americans in Germany.
I noticed one other thing as I was watching the scene unfold. I legitimately didn’t feel jealous or possessive when I was watching my dog reunite with the woman who saved his life. Maybe this is a strange thing to notice or mention in this post, but if you’ve been following me for any time whatsoever, you know that Bill and I have had a lot of dealings with narcissists. Bill’s ex wife is a very jealous, insecure person. She was so insecure that she couldn’t allow her kids to know their fathers or me. Her kids probably didn’t dare talk about how much they loved or missed Bill, or were curious about me. Talking about loving Bill would have caused a narcissistic injury, and there would have been terrible consequences. If Ex were Noyzi’s “mom”, she would have been jealous of Meg. But I am Noyzi’s “mom”, and I was really moved to see how much he loves Meg. So at least I know I’m not like Ex in that way.
A narcissistic person would not have been happy to see Noyzi so glad to see his rescuer. They would have felt threatened, unloved, betrayed, discarded… maybe they would have seen Noyzi as a traitor. Narcissists can’t share love, attention, or allegiances. They are very selfish. I often worry that I might be narcissistic, even as I know that wondering or worrying about such a thing in myself is a clear sign that I’m not a narcissist. Narcissists don’t think anything is wrong with them. They don’t check their behavior. A scene involving a rescue dog joyfully reuniting with a rescuer would send echoes of terror and betrayal into the depths of their very souls.
I didn’t experience any of those negative feelings yesterday. You can hear me on the video sounding amazed, happy, elated that our dog was so excited and delighted to see his beloved rescuer again. He remembered her, and obviously adored her, and it was a beautiful thing to see! I hope we can see it again soon. And I know it’s strange to bring up Ex in this… since it doesn’t directly involve her. I guess I mention it because Ex, like Trump, is kind of like a stubborn disease that infiltrates everything. She has the ability to inflict deep wounds and scars. She makes people doubtful and unsure of themselves. But dogs and other animals, who have pure hearts and souls, make people see what’s real.
Last night, I had a weird dream about dogs. It was a mostly pleasant dream that involved the old 80s video game, Q*bert. I think Q*bert invaded my dreams because yesterday morning, as I was barely awake and doing my morning routine, I mentioned something about the game… or, I think I did. I don’t really remember. Bill went off on a very energetic tangent about Q binary coding. I didn’t know what the fuck he was on about, and didn’t care, as I was trying to shit. Sorry, I know that’s too much information, but that’s what I was doing as Bill was crowing like a rooster. He really is a morning person and that’s the best time for him to do almost anything. I am kind of a morning person too, but not as much of one as he is, so I’m often left befuddled by Bill’s sheer energy in the morning. He practically glows when the sun is rising. When it sets, he’s barely coherent.
I somehow mentioned Q*bert, a game Bill didn’t play when he was young, because he was a legal adult circa 1982 and didn’t have the time, money, or inclination to play video games. I haven’t thought of Q*bert in literal decades. Now I want to play it again. I had a dream about it this morning… and my dogs… and a couple of lesbians. I don’t know what that was about. Maybe it’s because I read a hateful tweet from some misogynistic jackass who said his favorite part of the overturning of Roe v. Wade was that it happened during gay pride.
I’ve read a lot of very disturbing comments from men this week… hateful, mean spirited, homophobic and misogynistic comments from men who are gleeful at this new opportunity to oppress, control, and mansplain to women. They diminish and discount our valid concerns about what will happen in the future, as babies are born to women who don’t want them. And I’ve read some equally hateful responses from women, some of whom are really going to fuck up the worlds of some of these men who think they’ve got us by the pubes. It will be a huge letdown when the consequences of this decision come to light… lots of men will be paying a lot of child support and some of them will go to prison for rape. Other men will be left wanting when women don’t want to have sex with them because they don’t want to risk pregnancy. I think men should be afraid. There are some vindictive women out there who will make them sorry they championed taking away their rights.
I’ll bet Donald Trump never thought a beautiful young woman named Cassidy would be the person who instigated his downfall… and I do think her testimony is going to cause Trump to fall. Donald Trump is a narcissist, and his actions and comments on January 6 prove it. Most narcissists have a pretty horrible downfall when they finally fuck up the wrong thing. January 6 was probably Trump’s biggest fuck up in life. It may be the thing that brings him down… and a lot of otherwise decent people will be left on the wrong side of history. I can see that a lot of people don’t want to admit that they were duped, but there will be a day when Trump supporters will be as ashamed as many of Hitler’s supporters eventually were.
Speaking out against Trump so bravely will cost Cassidy Hutchinson, and I hope she is being protected. The world is watching her, and she delivered, but there are going to be people who will want her to pay for being outspoken. She would be right to be fearful right now, although the world owes her a debt of gratitude for her bravery. I hope that witnessing what she did in the White House will help her realize that she should choose her heroes with much care.
I notice that besides being intelligent and well-spoken, Cassidy is also a very attractive woman. If she had been plainer, she probably wouldn’t have been chosen for her role in Trump’s White House. I know that sounds insulting, but if you look at most of the women in Trump’s domain, they are almost all easy on the eyes… and most of them use that to their advantage. Cassidy Hutchinson obviously has good character to go with her brains and beauty. She’ll go far… if she manages to survive this chapter. I don’t blame her for being a Republican. I was one too, when I was her age… and as she is a graduate of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, which is close to where I grew up, I can understand why being a Republican would appeal to her. Most people in that area are conservative.
I sure would like to see a government that is more centrist and interested in actually getting things done that benefit everyone and don’t get undone in subsequent administrations. Everything has been such a mess in the past few years, and although Bill and I have fared well, it makes me really worry about the future. But it makes me feel good to know that there are still decent people in the Republican Party, like Cassidy Hutchinson. I would be so happy if we could just get rid of Trump’s version of the Republicans. Maybe it’s a pipe dream. Trump is like an unusually recalcitrant sexually transmitted infection that can’t be cured with the usual drugs.
Anyway… I read a very good opinion piece in the New York Times yesterday that brought up some consequences of allowing states to decide about abortion that I hadn’t considered. I will probably write about it later today or tomorrow, if I am so moved. I would like to get those ideas down right now, but this post isn’t the place to do it. This post is a hodgepodge of weird stuff and random thoughts. So it’s time I closed it and got on with the day… It’s Thursday, so that means I have to vacuum. Blech.
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