Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Crumbling Difference Between Wrong And Right

On no morning since the hysterectomy did I wake up thinking, 'Man...I really miss my uterus.'

In the universe, we are small and know so little. Even our largest problems can be seen from all sides, and from distances where they vanish into microscopic oblivion. In his book Local Knowledge, anthropologist Clifford Geertz cited an account by an earlier specialist of a man's funeral and the journeys of his three wives to the funeral pyre. The early author's opinion of what he had seen lacked ambivalence: three women had made themselves beautiful, walked to the ends of diving boards, leaped and burned to death. Geertz was not so sure: in their culture, this critical turning point in their eternities would make the journey into the afterlife easier and Geertz couldn't say this belief was any more or less valid than any other.

As a modern American woman raised by hippies, hairdressers and opera singers, all of which fear flammable conditions, I can throw up my hands and say I don't know what really happened there. Maybe those women died agonizing deaths for no reason. Maybe that was their ticket to a Heaven in which their hairstyles never budged. I don't know but since I am mostly on the earthly side of Here And Now/Fluffy Cloud Afterlife line, I am inclined to say that anything increasing the amount of pain in which the living find themselves is utterly out of the question. The point is: my opinion on the matter doesn't matter a whit, not one, because an objective reality is unavailable to me. Some people believe that after death, we understand everything. That's just more speculation. Geertz was wise to say he didn't know even if he were pretty creeped out by the horror of suttee. We, in our mortal forms, can only guess at what is really what. People who espouse certainty are simply not seeing how uncertain they should be.

Last week, money made an end-run around certainty.
Buffett told Fortune that he decided to start giving his money away now because he has been impressed with Bill and Melinda Gates and the work they've done through their foundation. And he decided it would be easier to give to a large foundation instead of trying to expand his own foundation.

"What can be more logical, in whatever you want done, than finding someone better equipped than you are to do it?" Buffett told the magazine. "Who wouldn't select Tiger Woods to take his place in a high-stakes golf game? That's how I feel about this decision about my money."

That's amazing. One of the richest men in the world said, "I don't know, but I trust you. Here's the biggest wad of cash in the history of charitable giving. Like, ever." No, really:
The 75-year-old Berkshire chairman and CEO had been expected to leave his vast holdings of Berkshire stock largely to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, begun by Buffett and his late wife. That foundation has given millions of dollars to hospitals, universities and teachers, as well as to Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups.

Buffett said he plans to give away 12,050,000 Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the foundations, but he will have to convert some of his 474,998 Class A shares to complete the gifts. One Class A share, which sold for $92,100 on Friday, can be converted into 30 Class B shares, which sold for $3,071 Friday.

The gifts would be worth nearly $37 billion based on Friday's closing share price.

Hot damn, I love it when rich people give it away, give it away, give it away now - not the evening-gowned charity event horseshit. I coudn't find that more repulsive. I like when people consider themselves part of the fabric of problems and solutions and act without fanfare. Ironically, this gift would have been much more exciting if I'd never heard of it, but I have and the villagers rejoice - wheeeeeeeeeeee! - right? Not universally, no.
Gates and wife have been at the forefront of murdering children in females' wombs. Now the Buffet donation will enhance all the more the abortuaries. In other words, more humans without self-defense will be discarded, their souls making their ways into the loving arms of Jesus.

The Gates Foundation has given the Planned Parenthood Federation of America almost $12.5 million since 1998, including funds to persuade teens to support abortion and to lobby the United Nations to advance pro-abortion proposals, reported

The foundation also has given nearly $21 million to International Planned Parenthood over the last seven years, where funds have been used to promote abortions in third-world nations and to set up pro-abortion family planning centers in South America, Africa and Eastern Europe.

Buffet[sic], whose wealth is second only to Gates', has announced he will leave about 80 percent of his estate to the Gates Foundation.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life women's network Susan B. Anthony List lamented Buffett's decision.

"It's tragic that much of Warren Buffett's billion-dollar attempt to improve the lives of people around the world is actually going to fund organizations that take the lives of unborn children and encourage others to do the same," said Dannenfelser.

This particular online "news" source is about as reputable as a whorehouse blackmailer, but people read and believe it. So we have to regard it and see clearly what it's saying.
"The tragedy of Bill Gates' support of abortion and population control is that technology leads to development," said Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, according to

"Unfortunately, the developing world will grow old before it develops because of population control. Gates, in supporting population control, is out of step with other great minds who have viewed people as humanity's greatest resource," Mosher said.

At Microsoft's 2003 annual shareholders meeting, Mosher's group failed to win approval for a motion to stop Microsoft from directly contributing to charities, citing its support for Planned Parenthood.

I don't like to think of myself as naive, but that takes my breath away. Steven Mosher sought to block Microsoft from donating to charities because he and his group don't like what Planned Parenthood does. He is unable to see good works through his repressive ideology. Ladies and gentleman, I hope he doesn't own a dog - and I hope he gets a better idea of what is worth doing in this life because unchecked his actions will cause nothing but suffering, principally to women.

So far, I have seen no response to these protests from the Gateses or Buffett. The blogosphere buzzed with snark and indignation. In general I think it's well beyond time we started seeing short, sweet press releases like this.

Attention: Anti-Abortion Activists:
For decades, you have bullied, blasted and murdered decent medical professionals and frightened women with whom you have a difference of opinion, no matter what else you'd like to call it. I'm supporting reproductive freedom, and you can feel free to boycott me however you wish or protest my actions within the limits of the law. I don't care. It's my money, and I will spend it as I wish. If you're offended that's your problem. Go home and feed those homeless people you're afraid ruin your property values.

In closing, I'd like to say it's downright peachy that
Buffett rhymes with Stuff it!

I could write these all day - and someone should because this past week, after decades as a politically active person, I became truly frightened by the escalation of rancor in our political lives. There is no excuse - no excuse whatever - for the Rovian decimation tactics pundits are applying to one another. There is no excuse for such barbarism as printing the personal information of activists because you dislike their politics. There is no reason whatsoever to shout "FIRE!" when the theater isn't burning, and I'm truly sick of unbridled cruelty and whimpering cowardice passing for political discourse.

Because it isn't.

Politics has never been a mannerly business, no matter what anyone who wants you to sit down and shut up says. To antagonize opponents, the Right is fond of the words "the angry Left." After a lifetime of being patted on the head by old white men who still insist I can't make my own decisions about my "female's womb" you're goddam right I'm angry, and if I weren't angry, I'd be unconscious. In some cases, anger is a healthy response. In this case it means I'm not internalizing that paternalistic bullshit. And good for me!

Even so, anger will not advance conversation. In fact, I've come to the conclusion that shouting back is a big waste of time. Nobody's listening. Nobody cares. Nobody cares about anything other than winning debates, even if it means losing one's soul. As much as I would like to break every bone in Bill O'Reilly's face because I knew Jeremy Glick when he lived in New Brunswick, that anger and that impulse helps no one. I propose the Good Granny Method of Diplomacy.

Has anyone tried sitting knee to knee with Ann Coulter when she's screeching that hateful invective, looking her dead in the eye, holding her hand and saying very firmly, slowly and with compassion, "Sweetheart: no"?

Blabbity blab blabbity neener neener neener what about my money -

"Ann, no. You are hurting people. No."

This method is not for the weak because it means actually touching terrible and nearly psychopathic people and sometimes that is quite icky. Listen, Grannies everywhere touch sticky children. It can be done! Someone somewhere has the magical power to look in Sean Hannity's eyes and see a little boy who needs a time-out in the worst way. And about John Bolton - well, that's a non-violent foxtrot for Gandhi-level dancers.

Maybe this is not for you. Maybe you aren't ready to see past your own feelings to the Greater Good. I am uncertain I could do it. I am ready to try - maybe not near Bill O'Reilly. But maybe someday, when I see a more objective reality.

There's more to it than my idle fantasies about how to treat bullies and relentless attention seekers. Anti-choice activists and neocons have forgotten something very significant about the United States of America - in fact, the thing that makes it unique in all the world. Our Founding Fathers - the very ones people who skipped history class refer to as Christians - knew the early settlers fled religious persecution in Europe then turned around and persecuted each other. A few generations later, before and during the Revolutionary War, colonists with differences of opinion did shit to each other that made the Manson Family rampages look like a PTA bake sale. The writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were very much aware of a human desire for authoritarian control over each other. Our Founding Fathers intended to protect minority opinions, religions and lifestyles from the tyranny of the majority. What anti-choice activists choose not to observe is that most Americans want to be left alone to make these decisions for themselves - in fact, most people want to make decisions about their own lives without interference. The bullies outside clinics are a distinct minority. As much as I must tolerate their opinions and lifestyles they must tolerate mine, which in this case is Uterus-Free And Loving It! Mutual toleration is not just decent and mannerly. It's the American Way.

Crossposted at Running Scared.


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