Dear Army of God, Dear Operation Rescue:
Dear Army of God, Dear Operation Rescue:
Marrit Ingman's memoir on postpartum depression, Inconsolable: How I Threw My Mental Health Out with the Diapers, is on the shelves now. The book is smart, funny, and groundbreaking. She writes honestly about her struggle to effectively parent her high-needs child when all she wanted to do was drive off a highway overpass.
Fortunately, most people who have met my son can look past the labels and see what a beautiful, charming, and mischievous little boy he is. We can only keep friendships with people who are truly interested and respectful of him, friends who embrace him as Ulysses and not as Down syndrome. Since we cannot befriend the whole world and help them to understand that there is no tragedy in having a child with Down syndrome, or any perceived 'disability' for that matter, I have devoted my time and efforts towards work that will educate the general public. In joint efforts with other organizations, we can extend this education and change in conventional wisdom to the rest of the world. I hope that by the time that my son is an adult, he will live in a liberated society that does not impose limitations on him based on his appearance and perceived 'learning differences.'
How Can They Make History So Boring? Emma Goldman, May Day, and The American Experience
by Gordon Edgar
The women portrayed in the article are certainly decent people who care about the generation of kids they are raising. Mothers who work outside the home care just as much. Neither group represents a vanguard of social change; instead, most of us embody the compromise of an ideal. Setting up false divisions between people who have the same basic goal (raising kids) splinters any ability that we might have to form coalitions and address inequities. Historically, the most truly revolutionary social reforms are derived from a combination of upper class benevolence, lower class radical agitation, and a healthy dose of middle class pragmatism. We should stop arguing and start planning. Our kids deserve better choices than what we were offered.
In 1988, Soha Bechara bought some Jane Fonda workout tapes in preparation for her new job as personal aerobics instructor to the wife of Antoine Lahad, chief of militia in charge of Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon, a job Bechara took with the clandestine intention of assassinating her boss's husband. The image of this twenty-year-old Lebanese revolutionary, revolver in her purse, using a mixture of French and Arabic to talk about building the abdominal muscles while Hanoi Jane does jumping jacks in the background has to be one of the most compelling -- if bizarre -- representations of war, occupation, and the surrealism of postcolonialism to emerge in the last decade. Eventually Bechara would put two bullets in Lahad's chest. He lived, but her act earned her ten years in a Lebanese prison. Bechara's autobiography, Resistance: My Life For Lebanon (Soft Skull Press, 2003) works on many levels. It's an accessible introduction to the mess that was Lebanon during the civil war. It's an insider's guide to making revolution. It's an expose of Khiam, a prison in southern Lebanon created by the Israelis and then left to be managed by the South Lebanon Army (SLA), their proxy in the region. Mostly, though, it's an autobiography that explains how a girl born in 1967 goes from attending family weddings and watching television with her friends to becoming a would-be assassin.
I pass for a Stanford student if I try. Which is good, because I am a Stanford student. I keep handing Hank all the good things that I needed when I was traveling and homeless. I'm persuading Hank to take the fresh vegetables, milk, organic whole wheat bread, and cheese. He just wants the meat. I'm hoping that I can improve his diet. Maybe get him to eat something that has nutrients and calories in it. He just wants the meat.
Not so very long ago girl power ruled. Sisterhood was powerful and Girls Kicked ASS! Well, we still might mouth the words but we've forgotten the tune. The Spice Girls vanished into tales of eating disorders, rumors of sapphic love and custody battles. The usual tabloid fodder, which, perversely enough, is closer to the realities of most ordinary girl's lives.
The stigma still exists. The saying remains among black folks that we do not see therapists. "Chile only needs a kick in the ass. That should straighten her up!" "There's nothing wrong with her. Should just quit acting a fool!" There is a saying that black folks do not have nervous breakdowns, that we are not entitled to have them. Our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers did not have them, neither should we. Look at our history. They have been though more than you ever will. Bullshit.
I attend a peace rally in Sylvester Park on Wednesday afternoon and I am joined by a bunch of Catholics with ashes on their foreheads. I decided to join the rally at the last minute. Baby Tate still has boysenberry jam on his face from his afternoon snack. It looks as though it will rain so we have bundled up in fleece, long johns, gloves and snow hats. A woman walks toward us. She is wearing a white t-shirt with a large fluorescent orange peace symbol on the front. The shirt reads, "Don't kill innocent babies".