The featured photo is of Bill wearing a t-shirt that says in German, “Life is too short to drink shitty beer…” If only that was our biggest problem!
Last night, I had a rather strained chat with Bill. I was feeling kind of fed up and put out, as he told me when his next week long business trip is planned. After twenty years of this, you’d think I’d be used to hanging out alone in big houses. But, to be honest, the older I get, the harder it seems to be for me. I think Arran’s cancer and COVID-19 have made me more eager to get out and do things. I used to be quite content to do things by myself. Not anymore.
Lately, I’ve been thinking that maybe I should take some solo trips. I hate the idea of wasting all this time in Europe, sitting at home with my proverbial thumb up my ass, waiting until we can do stuff together. Sometimes, it really feels like life is passing me by. I was trying to have this conversation with Bill. I could tell he was conflicted. He says he’d worry about my “safety”. Never mind that for thirty years, I pretty much did most things on my own. My own parents didn’t worry very much about my safety.
There was a time when this would be a non-issue. Twenty-one years ago, Bill put me on a plane to Jamaica so I could sing at my sister’s wedding. I got around just fine on my own, and came back safe and sound. But, since we became an official couple, it’s been a rare thing for me to do stuff alone. I know I’m capable and have the time, and we have the money. Maybe he’d like it more if I traveled with a friend, but I don’t have any local friends I want to travel with. The older I get, the more set in my ways I am.
So, we ended the chat without resolving anything. As I was about to fall asleep, I noticed a former co-worker had shared disturbing news out of South Carolina. I looked at the familiar photo of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, where I had once jogged regularly. Twenty-one representatives have sponsored a bill in South Carolina that would classify abortion as murder and make anyone who has an abortion eligible for the death penalty.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why people who are supposedly “pro-life” would want to execute other people for having abortions. It’s absolutely batshit nuts to me. Even more crazy is the fact that this bill was authored by Rep. Rob Harris, who is a fucking registered NURSE!!!!! Mr. Harris is also a member of the so-called “Freedom Caucus”– freedom for whom? Probably white, Southern, Protestant Christian, men who aren’t poor.
According to Rolling Stone:
The “South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023” would amend the state’s code of laws, redefining “person” to include a fertilized egg at the point of conception, affording that zygote “equal protection under the homicide laws of the state” — up to and including the ultimate punishment: death.
I went to graduate school at the University of South Carolina. I earned master’s degrees in public health and social work at that university, and worked for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control as a graduate assistant, both in healthcare policy and maternal and child health, and for the Bureau of Epidemiology. Twenty-two years ago, I didn’t get the impression that politics in South Carolina were that batshit crazy. I mean, yes, in the first job I had as a G.A., it was my job to track healthcare legislation.
I remember the controversies being about abstinence education, kangaroo meat (as in it was illegal), and chelation therapy. South Carolina had a big problem with teen pregnancy, as well as child abuse. One of my internships was working with Healthy Families South Carolina, part of Prevent Child Abuse. Because there were a lot of young people having babies they weren’t ready for, there was a big problem with child abuse, and other social ills.
And yet, this idiot Republican Representative Harris wants to put women to death for exercising dominion over their own bodies! It defies logic! And do we really need to imprison more Americans? Will that help them be able to stand on their own feet and pay their own bills in the long run? Will it be helpful for their children? And the answer, of course, is a resounding “NO”!
I don’t think Mr. Harris has a fucking clue about his constituents and what they face, his nursing degree notwithstanding. Not to mention the fact that making people who have abortions eligible for the death penalty will cost a lot of taxpayer money and back up the court system. We don’t even put disgusting child predators like Josh Duggar and Jared Fogle to death for their crimes, but Harris wants to execute women who might want an abortion because of rape or incest or some other, totally private reason? What a sick, misogynistic bastard he is! How in the hell did he go into nursing? ETA: I see that Mr. Harris has just an Associate’s degree. Well, that explains a lot.
I am glad to see that at least Rep. Nancy Mace, who is a Republican, is intelligent enough to speak out against this disturbing trend of criminalizing women for seeking abortion care. I lived in South Carolina, and I know of some of the issues there that its children face. I think Rob Harris needs his head examined and his ass kicked out of politics… and maybe the nursing profession, too. What a colossal anti-woman asshole he is!
I pondered those thoughts as I drifted off to sleep for a couple of hours. Then, this morning, I woke up and watched a video by Jessica Kent, who has a very popular YouTube channel. Jessica Kent famously had a baby while she was incarcerated in an Arkansas prison. She now makes a living producing videos on YouTube, Tik Tok, and the like about her experiences as a prisoner.
This morning, I listened to Jessica talk about a new idea that was proposed within a recent bill in Massachusetts. Lawmakers there have evidently determined that one way to deal with the shortage of donated organs, bone marrow, and human tissues is to offer prison inmates the opportunity to donate theirs in exchange for time off their prison sentences.
On the surface, maybe this seems like a good idea… until you realize that people in prison are already exploited and basically enslaved. And some of those people are also innocent. Should we really be encouraging/coercing them to be living organ donors? Especially since they may not have the best environments for recovering from donating?
Besides the potential health risks and ethical dilemmas of such an idea, there’s also a side that I didn’t hear Jessica talk so much about. She says most people in prison aren’t absolutely terrible humans… but there are incarcerated people who are, in fact, very dangerous and belong behind bars. Is it really a good idea to make such a person the reason why another person lives? Can you just imagine what might happen in such a situation? A very manipulative person with no scruples gives up an organ for someone, and then, once they are released, proceeds to find them and manipulate, threaten, and harass them for personal gain. I can see it.
But I think it’s more likely that the opposite will more frequently happen. Someone who is desperate to get out of prison will donate just so they can get out and go home. And there may be significant repercussions for making that decision. I don’t have a problem with allowing inmates to donate organs if it’s their idea, and it’s something they sincerely want to do for humanitarian reasons. Politicians offering a carrot on a stick to them to fix organ shortages and overcrowded prison conditions is something else altogether, and decidedly not right, in my opinion. I think that idea could potentially lead to disaster.
Besides… it appears that the time off the sentence isn’t enough to warrant the donation. There would be no financial incentive, of course, since that’s illegal. And the time off would be at least 60 days, but no more than a year. I think someone’s kidney or part of their liver is worth much more than that. Especially when we consider that, in the future, the people who donate may be very sorry they did so. What happens if the person’s other kidney, for instance, fails or is injured in an accident? What if they get shot or stabbed in the healthy kidney? It’s America, folks. That could really happen.
Then… after I watched Jessica’s video, I realized that my problems are pretty small and not very earth shattering. Yes, I hate sitting here alone for weeks on end, but at least I don’t have to worry about needing an abortion in South Carolina. And I am not, nor are any of my loved ones or friends, sitting in a prison cell anywhere… Even in liberal Massachusetts, prisoners are treated as less than human. And, even though my dog has cancer, and I watch him nervously every day to see if he’s suffering, at this point, he’s still happy to be with us. I don’t have any matters of life or death facing me, at this point in time. Bill will be home tomorrow, too.
So… I guess I’ll end this rant and get on with the day. Practicing guitar is less disturbing than reading the news is.