Other Feminists Talk Gardening

By the time you read this, I hope to be up to my elbows in dirt, planting my front beds, and trying to determine who is already eating my parsley.  Grr.

But all kinds of folks are talking about gardening today.

Over at Pandagon, The Kitchen Table, Shapely Prose, and Feministing, and I am linking to them all because I want to.

An Open Letter to Lowe Finney, Who Sold Us Out

Dear Senator Finney,

Just tell me this.  The next time a 12 year old girl in Carroll, Gibson, or Madison Counties gets raped and impregnated by her step-dad, will you be willing to look her in the face and tell her she has to carry her rapist’s baby to term?  Or what about the mother of two in Carrol, Gibson, or Madison Counties who desperately wants another child, but is carrying an ectopic pregnancy?  Are you going to look her in the face and say you don’t think she has the right to abort that pregnancy, but needs to just let it run its course, even though it means certain fetal death and likely the loss of her ability to reproduce?  What about the man who is sitting in a doctor’s office listening to the doctor tell his pregnant wife the she needs to start cancer treatments immediately if there’s any hope of her living out the year?  Are you going to tell him that those treatments have to wait?  What about the mother who’s pregnant with triplets and the doctor says that she isn’t able to carry all three babies to term?  Do you feel like you have the right to say to her that it’s better for her to lose all three babies than to give one the best shot she can?

I mean, frankly, just who the hell do you think you are?  Would you like it if I drove over there and followed you around and found the worst, most terrible moments of your life and then encouraged my state senator to get involved with passing a constitutional amendment establishing that you don’t really have the right to make your own decision in that moment?  I bet not.

Listen, trumping a policy that establishes that women have no constitutional right to make our own difficult decisions and especially no right to make them without considering what you, a stranger, might think is best might win you votes.

But it is wrong.

And, frankly, I think you know it.

Which makes it worse.  If you aren’t going to stand up in front of your voters and say, “You know, I think abortion is wrong, but I’m not going to go to Nashville and let them pass laws that say I know better than you your personal business” then why are you a Democrat?  If you can’t have principled disagreement with your constituents, then you aren’t a leader.

I was going to dog on you for not bothering to submit one piece of legislation that would make ordinary women’s lives easier–nothing that helps us get the prenatal care we might need, that helps us get time off from work, that helps us afford to take kids to the doctor’s, that expands sex education in schools, etc.–that does anything to help women choose not to have abortions and to end up with kids in good homes.  But then I saw the chunk of legislation you did submit all aided to help prosecute child abusers and I am dumbfounded.

You know.

You know what shitty parents can do to a kid.  You want to protect kids from shitty parents who abuse them and their other parent and then try to claim “parental alienation syndrome” during the divorce.  You want to redefine “serious bodily injury” to include broken bones in kids 8 years old or younger.  In fact, you’re doing a ton to increase the severity of punishment for child abusers.

So, you know.

You know that some people should never bring a child into this world.  You know that they aren’t going to have a baby and then give it up for adoption.  You know that when a woman like that finds out she’s pregnant, if she carries that pregnancy to term, that kid is in for Hell on earth.

You know.

How do you reconcile that with your vote on SJR127?

The next time someone in your area kills their kid, are you going to look in the mirror and say that was a better outcome than if they’d just never had the kid to begin with?

Disappointedly yours,

Aunt B.

Okay, So What If You’re the Tail End of the Two-Headed Dog?

One of y’all wrote to me and asked ” how a single individual can contribute to the Democratic cause here in Tennessee.”

And, frankly, I don’t know.  I mean, I became an internet curmudgeon, but I can’t say that that’s been a very appreciated, or even noticed, contribution to the Democratic cause.

But, I think we’re starting at square one here.  And since we’re starting at square one, we can ask ourselves some very basic questions.

1.  Why are we Democrats?  What is it about the Democrats that appeals to me?  In other words, what do I stand for politically and why do the Democrats in general provide the best fit for me?

2.  Are there places where I’m willing to compromise?  For me, I could support a pro-gun candidate without thinking twice.  But frankly, I find Democrats who oppose gay rights to be too cowardly for my taste.  We live in a state where people who don’t seem like “normal” heterosexual people get beat up and killed.  If you can’t stand before your constituents and say that everyone who lives in Tennessee has the right to live here free from harassment and threat of bodily injury even if you yourself are uncomfortable with what kinds of people they are, then fuck you.  Don’t get me wrong.  I believe in full equality and gay marriage and the whole scary liberal shebang, but I live in a state where we’re still fighting over whether people who don’t meet some heteronormative standard have the right to exist and have their existence acknowledged.  And I want even conservative Democrats to be willing to say “Yes, all the different kinds of people in Tennessee do actually exist and have the right to do so free from harm.”

That should not be too radical for any Democrat.

And don’t even get me started on women’s rights.  God.

You may have some other standard.

3.  Are there candidates that best represent my values?  What can I do for those individual candidates?

And then, and only then,

4.  What are the goals of the State party?  How are they meeting them?  What can I do to help?

I don’t know.  Like Rachel Maddow says, talk me down.  But I feel like any effort by a regular person to try to understand and make a difference right now at a state level, unless you already know all the players and have a score card, can’t be done.  I barely understand it and I try to follow it pretty closely.  The ground is constantly shifting and knowing where to put your foot takes skills most folks don’t have.

It’d be nice if a politician in this state had a “D” after his or her name for some other reason than that there was already a full field of “R”s.  It’d be nice if all those Democrats worked together towards common Democratic goals.  And it’d be nice if they shared resources and strategies.

But from the outside, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

So, what then?

I honestly don’t know.  It is my belief, and I could be wrong–like I said yesterday, the more I learn, the less I realize I know–, that for many Tennessee Democrats, they are Democrats because they are.  Not because they believe in any mutual goals or subscribe to a broad, similar philosophy, but just because.  So, I’m not sure what being a Democrat in Tennessee means.

I’m not sure anyone does.

And, frankly, that problem runs much deeper than the Governor or Chip Forrester or whoever.  Fighting about which one of them has fucked up worse is a distraction from that fundimental problem.

What does it mean to say that you’re a Democrat in Tennessee?

The Tiller

Apparently, the way to meet your neighbors here in Whites Creek is to try to find someone who can till your garden.  Shoot, I’ve talked to more folks who live around here in the past 48 hours than I have in the entire time I’ve lived here.  And none of them seem to have any better an idea than I do about who might have a tiller and who would till my garden.

Even the Joelton Shopper is silent on the matter!  Which everyone I talked to just about could not believe.

On the other hand, Bates Nursery has mushroom soil–basically the shit they grow mushrooms in, literally–for $5.99 a 20 quart bag.  And I will be picking some of that up for my garden, should I ever get it tilled.

Folks, one guy even offered to come over and break ground by hand!  All I could think was trying to explain to his family and my insurance how trying to move Mudblob killed him.

Anyway, I’m still not quite sure what to do.  But it’s turned into one of those hilariously charming things, so I had to share it.