- Cynical Indulgence - (Shmeng is not a Gothic site)Oct 19, 2017 - 04:39 PM  
Welcome to  Shmeng
 Home | Articles | Galleries | Forums | Site Info | Web Links | Reviews | Register 
Articles Section

Eye Candy
Newest Pic:
Fire yummy.
DragonSchizo

Random Pic:
Looks like kitty is medidtating in some sort of manner... orrrr just taking and cat nap hehe... with a.... Ankh O.o hrm.
Sigh


Who's Online
Currently no members online:)

You are an anonymous user. You can register for free by clicking here
We have 2 guests online !

   User ID:  Pass:        Forgot Password? click here or  Join here
Feature: The Cotton Badge of Courage
Posted by Maranda on Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 11:37 AM PST

Politics
The girl ahead of me in line at the restaurant was about 20, short, pretty, with long brown hair and a couple of earrings in each ear. She looked like a thousand other college students in my town who frequent this place because the food and coffee are cheap and the staff won't throw you out quickly. Of course, the staff there never does anything quickly. As the line at the cash register grew longer, we all muttered impatiently, hoping to attract an employee's attention.







Finally, the cashier noticed the growing line of customers trying to pay for breakfast, and approached the register with the halfhearted "service smile" that all restaurant employees seem to have on Sunday mornings. As she reached for the brown-haired girl's check, she began, "And how was..." and her face suddenly froze into a shocked, hateful expression. She rang up the girl's meal in total silence.

As she turned to leave, I saw what made the cashier cringe. The girl was wearing a T-shirt that said in large plain letters, "I had an abortion."

I have seen people do genuinely daring things, and I have seen a lot more make cheap "statements" that cost them nothing and accomplish as much (like covering their cars with bumper stickers), but that girl's T-shirt was in its own league. By wearing it publicly, she was throwing her image, her reputation, and her face and body, like gasoline, onto one of the hottest cultural fires of our time. On a Sunday morning, no less, right in the middle of the post-church breakfast rush.

I have an opinion about abortion - most people do - but what struck me at that moment was not "The Abortion Debate." It was this girl's courage in lending her face to such an explosive issue. Look at me, she seemed to be saying. I am the person that Operation Save America has declared war on. I am the person that Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women claim to serve. I could be your sister, your roommate, your girlfriend, or the sorority girl you screwed at last month's frat party. This issue affects real people. Look at me; I'm one of them.

I wanted to ask her about the shirt. Certainly she expected some attention - why else would she have worn it? - but the line was moving, and the customers behind me were grumbling. As she left I said a quick prayer for her safety. That slogan looked rather like a target.

Back home, I did some research. Apparently, the shirts are being sold by Planned Parenthood to humanize the abortion debate. They are intended as a way for women who have had abortions to send the message that pregnancy termination is not shameful. By putting real womens' faces on the issue, they hope to raise public consciousness of just how common abortion really is. They want the public to understand that women who choose this option are not lowlife baby-killing scum: they are mothers, students, professionals, and even churchgoers, who faced a hard decision and made the choice they deemed best. The first shirts appeared at pro-choice rallies and protests. Recently, a few pro-life women have begun wearing them to initiate conversations about how they regret their abortions, and why they now feel that the procedure should be outlawed. You can read more about the shirts here.

Declaring a side in a raging culture-war battle is never easy. Ask an out-of-the-closet gay person, or a medical marijuana advocate, or anyone fighting a school board over a controversial curriculum. You don't usually get to calmly explain your opinions. You get insulted, threatened, and possibly fired. Your tires get slashed. Your family gets harassed. Your parents and your community often shun you because they can't handle the embarassment. This is hard enough with a host of fellow believers backing you up, but this girl was alone, going about her business in a town full of strangers. Whatever one thinks of abortion, that takes guts.

Why she was doing this? I knew nothing about her, or the reasons for her abortion, or even if she really had an abortion. Maybe she wore the shirt as a psychology class experiment. Maybe it was purely for shock value. Maybe she lost a bet. Maybe it was a sorority hazing ritual. Who knows. But taking her statement at face value - that she did, in fact, have an abortion - I still knew nothing. How did she feel about it? Her shirt didn't say, "I had an abortion and I regret it," or "I had an abortion and I'd do it again." It simply put a face - her face - on an issue that most people think of only in the abstract. It's easy to wave crusading flags when you aren't looking at the all-too-human faces of those you crusade against.

Perhaps that was her real statement. There's a dangerous trend in this country of reducing every nuanced social issue to black-and-white, for-or-against, right-and-wrong sparring. There are people who feel that abortion is never wrong or always wrong, and they are entitled to their opinions. But there are many more who haven't truly considered how they feel because society forces them to pick a side. If that was what this girl was protesting, she picked a noble battle indeed.

I once worked with a man who announced his intention to vote for a political candidate who stood for everything I thought he opposed. I asked him why. "He's pro-choice," my co-worker explained, and went on to clarify. His wife once had an abortion. After a life-threatening first pregnancy during which she and her baby almost died, her doctor cautioned her against getting pregnant again. Shortly afterward, she developed more health problems. When their method of birth control failed and their Catholic health insurer would not cover abortion services, they headed to Planned Parenthood. My co-worker walked his wife through the protesters, and after the first God-fearing Christian father threw fake blood at the mother of his son and called her a baby-killing whore, he started voting pro-choice. One can hardly blame him.

I will never know the story behind this girl's abortion. Did her birth control fail? Was she raped? Is she too selfish to deal with the inconvenience of a child? Does she have a hereditary disease that she refused to inflict on a baby? Is she an incest victim? Does she already have two children and can't afford any more? I don't know. Nobody ever truly knows. That's what makes us-versus-them, lines-in-the-sand reasoning so dangerous.

I was reminded of this last year during the gay marriage debate. I live in a state that recently passed a ban on same-sex unions. The proposal was sold with romantic commercials featuring brides and grooms and churches, suggesting that this referendum was merely a way to tell our lawmakers that we want a wholesome, family-friendly state, with no moral depravity. Don't worry, they all said; it's purely symbolic. It doesn't affect real lives.

Well, actually, it does. The house I rent is owned by a lesbian couple. Thanks to this law, it can only be owned by one-half of that couple, and the woman who holds the deed is very sick. If she dies, her relatives will inherit the property, not her partner. Those relatives could give us 30 days to pack up and move out. I am completely heterosexual and this law directly affects me. I did not vote on a symbolic line in the sand. I voted against a law that screws with real human lives. But the values crowd is still waving their victory flags. They must not know any real live gay people.

That girl in the abortion T-shirt was an inspiration. Not to "pro-choice Americans," but to anyone who is sick to death of having to wear metaphorical team jerseys to discuss important issues. When we reduce complex problems to dueling abstractions, we callously throw away our ability to think for ourselves. That girl was not "The Abortion Debate." She was not "the culture wars." She was a person who made a hard choice and wanted the world to know about it. Perhaps she will inspire a few people to examine their opinions about abortion. Perhaps those same people will go on to examine their opinions on gay marriage, the Iraq war, welfare reform, sex education, and the environment - and ask themselves how they formed those opinions, whether by conscious belief or because someone forced them to pick a side and told them what to think.

One would hope.




Related links

Rate article
Average Rating : 5.0
Total ratings : 3

5 star


The Cotton Badge of Courage | Login/Create an account | 9 Comments
Threshold
Comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.
Re: The Cotton Badge of Courage
by firefly7 on Feb 09, 2005 - 06:06 PM
(User info | Send a Message)
Wow, that was really... Thought pervoking, nice work... Thank you.


Re: The Cotton Badge of Courage
by Jesi on Feb 10, 2005 - 05:14 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://
I'll be accompanying a friend of mine to an abortion clinic on friday. No one knows she's going to have an abortion because she fears she will be shunned and labeled a 'baby-killing whore' by her social circle and family. Her family is strongly against abortion and feels that women who have abortions are immoral and evil; they'd disown her if they ever find out what she's going to do. Surprisingly to me, I've encountered lots of people that share my friend's parents' mindset...even though I live in Los Angeles...a fairly liberal place.
I applaud the girl who wore that t-shirt. I feel...something...not sure what...for those who have to suffer with their choices in silence and feel shame for their decision to have an abortion. They are people who feel too.


Re: The Cotton Badge of Courage
by W0rmW00d (allchaka@hotmail.com)
on Feb 10, 2005 - 09:24 PM
(User info | Send a Message)
That was a fantastic article.
I disagree however over the ambiguity of her statement. I feel that it is more likely that in wearing such a tee-shirt she is openly declaring war on anti-abortionists. It seems to me that to wear a tee-shirt sporting such a slogan over this most furious of debates is to invite an attempt at retribution from the 'baby-killer' school of belief, and in becoming such a target becomes, in effect a spokesperson against them. Just look at the 'hateful' expression her server gave her. She must surely have expected that, and can anyone seriously say that they would tolerate such hatred in neutrality? It isn't even a case of 'the enemy of my enemy...' or 'the friend of my friend...' it is a direct attack at the girl in the shirt, however passive.
Of course there is ambiguity over the exact circumstances which led her to wear such a tee-shirt. Maybe she didn't put nearly so much thought into it as we have. But you have caused me to rethink those tee-shirts, which I hated when I first saw them (and this is from a totally pro-choice standpoint).


Re: The Cotton Badge of Courage
by Starlight (elenmea@hotmail.com)
on Feb 11, 2005 - 03:45 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://www.geocities.com/nony_one/index.html
This is a very well-written article that really gets one to thinking just how many sides to the issue there really is. It's interesting to think what can lead to a division and changing of sides on such an issue as well.

That young woman in the T-shirt made a statement that could cause so many reactions, some potentially violent, from people she might meet on the street and all because of just a statement on a T-shirt.

I have a bumper sticker on my wall, because I can't take the chance of putting it on my car at this time. It says, "Keep Abortion Legal". Placing it on my car, in a small town such as mine, might result in my tires being slashed. As I can't afford the expense of such an action, I can't express my point of view on my vehicle. I express my point of view if the subject comes up in conversation, but to put it on a vehicle seems to bring out different emotions in people than a statement in a conversation.

I applaud her for her courage to openly display such a controversial statement, whatever her reasons behind it might be.


Re: The Cotton Badge of Courage
by EyeCandyRayce on Feb 14, 2005 - 10:10 PM
(User info | Send a Message) http://www.raycedesign.com/eyecandy/
This is an extremely thought provoking article. The sad thing is that people see her in that shirt and all their negative opinions on the subject keep them from thinking as open mindedly as you and I.


Re: The Cotton Badge of Courage
by darkone (samhain@rochester.rr.com)
on Feb 18, 2005 - 02:02 PM
(User info | Send a Message)
What a great job you did on this. That girl had alot of courage to put her face on such a tough issue. Very enlightening article. Thank you.


 Home | Articles | Galleries | Forums | Site Info | Web Links | Reviews | Register 
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, the rest 2001 by VibeChild.com Add shmeng_syn to your Live Journal Friends List. If you have a website check the webmasters section - You can get this site on your Palm Pilot using This link - By using this website, you are agreeing to abide by our Terms of Use. If you are a bot thinking of spamming members, get your email addresses here
Buy Viagra Without Prescription
Buy Vigra Without Prescription
Buy Viarga Without Prescription
Buy Cialis Without Prescription
Buy Clomid Without Prescription
Buy Levitra Without Prescription
Buy Propecia Without Prescription
Buy Kamagra Without Prescription
Buy Accutane Without Prescription
Buy Zithromax Without Prescription
Buy Amoxil Without Prescription
Buy Zovirax Without Prescription
Buy Deltasone Without Prescription
Buy Topamax Without Prescription
Buy Lexapro Without Prescription
Buy Flomax Without Prescription
Buy Flagyl Without Prescription
Buy Synthroid Without Prescription
Buy Inderal Without Prescription
Buy Tenormin Without Prescription
Buy Keflex Without Prescription
Buy Diflucan Without Prescription
Buy Lasix Without Prescription
Buy Celebrex Without Prescription
Buy Doxycycline Without Prescription
Buy Zocor Without Prescription
Buy Premarin Without Prescription
Buy Celexa Without Prescription
Buy Norvasc Without Prescription
Buy Hydrochlorothiazide Without Prescription
Buy Nexium Without Prescription
Buy Cytotec Without Prescription
Buy Misoprostol Without Prescription
Buy Neurontin Without Prescription
Buy Levaquin Without Prescription
Buy Zyprexa Without Prescription
Buy Astelin Without Prescription
Buy Zetia Without Prescription
Buy Diclofenac Without Prescription
Buy Antabuse Without Prescription
Buy Arimidex Without Prescription
Buy Phenergan Without Prescription
Buy Paxil Without Prescription
Buy Differin Without Prescription
Buy Nizoral Without Prescription
Buy Valtrex Without Prescription
Buy Plan B Without Prescription
Buy Fosamax Without Prescription
Buy Diovan Without Prescription
Buy Betapace Without Prescription
Buy Reglan Without Prescription
Buy Rhinocort Without Prescription
Buy Cozaar Without Prescription
Buy Accupril Without Prescription
Buy Septilin Without Prescription
Buy Zyrtec Without Prescription
Buy Aldactone Without Prescription
Buy Benicar Without Prescription
Buy Flonase Without Prescription
Buy Atacand Without Prescription
Buy Hytrin Without Prescription
Buy Ditropan Without Prescription
Buy Rumalaya Without Prescription
Buy Prinivil Without Prescription
Buy Medrol Without Prescription
Buy Revia Without Prescription
Buy Naltrexone Without Prescription
Buy Parlodel Without Prescription
Buy Atrovent Without Prescription
Buy Aciphex Without Prescription
Buy Zelnorm Without Prescription
Buy Motrin Without Prescription
Buy Avandia Without Prescription
Buy Tetracycline Without Prescription
Buy Epivir Without Prescription
Buy Lamisil Without Prescription
Buy Sinequan Without Prescription
Buy Levlen Without Prescription
Buy Levonorgestrel Without Prescription
Buy Anafranil Without Prescription
Buy Seroquel Without Prescription
Buy Acai Without Prescription
Buy Micardis Without Prescription
Buy Aleve Without Prescription
Buy Claritin Without Prescription
Buy Nimotop Without Prescription
Buy Toprol Without Prescription
Buy Colchicine Without Prescription
Buy Cipro Without Prescription
Buy Tofranil Without Prescription
Buy Zanaflex Without Prescription
Buy Tizanidine Without Prescription
Buy Remeron Without Prescription
Buy Cardura Without Prescription
Buy Femara Without Prescription
Buy Provera Without Prescription
Buy Desyrel Without Prescription
Buy Imitrex Without Prescription
Buy Famvir Without Prescription
Buy Clarinex Without Prescription
Buy Buspar Without Prescription
Buy Lotensin Without Prescription
Buy Exelon Without Prescription
Buy Combivent Without Prescription
Buy Ventolin Without Prescription
Buy Diabecon Without Prescription
Buy Cymbalta Without Prescription
Buy Prilosec Without Prescription
Buy Omeprazole Without Prescription
Buy Flovent Without Prescription
Buy Noroxin Without Prescription
Buy Glucotrol Without Prescription
Buy Plavix Without Prescription
Buy Glucophage Without Prescription
Buy Bactrim Without Prescription
Buy Myambutol Without Prescription
Buy Dostinex Without Prescription
Buy Aricept Without Prescription
Buy Actos Without Prescription
Buy Lukol Without Prescription
Buy Rogaine Without Prescription
Buy Ampicillin Without Prescription
Buy Lamictal Without Prescription
Buy Retin Without Prescription
Buy Lipitor Without Prescription
Buy Chloroquine Without Prescription
Buy Arava Without Prescription
Buy Adalat Without Prescription
Buy Strattera Without Prescription
Buy Cleocin Without Prescription
Buy Relafen Without Prescription
Buy Crestor Without Prescription
Buy Maxalt Without Prescription
Buy Singulair Without Prescription
Buy Allegra Without Prescription
Buy Protonix Without Prescription
Buy Vermox Without Prescription
Buy Estrace Without Prescription
Buy Coumadin Without Prescription
Buy Advair Without Prescription
Buy Diamox Without Prescription
Buy Coreg Without Prescription
Buy Avapro Without Prescription
Buy Leukeran Without Prescription
Buy Prevacid Without Prescription
Buy Requip Without Prescription
Buy Zantac Without Prescription
Buy Erythromycin Without Prescription
Buy Zyvox Without Prescription
Buy Prednisolone Without Prescription
Buy Amaryl Without Prescription
Buy Actonel Without Prescription
Buy Evista Without Prescription
Buy Vantin Without Prescription
Buy Starlix Without Prescription
Buy Luvox Without Prescription
Buy Abilify Without Prescription
Buy Depakote Without Prescription
Buy Lozol Without Prescription
Buy Xenical Without Prescription
Buy Lotrisone Without Prescription
Buy Betnovate Without Prescription
Buy Risperdal Without Prescription
Buy Methotrexate Without Prescription
Buy Wellbutrin Without Prescription
Buy Mobic Without Prescription
Buy Altace Without Prescription
Buy Augmentin Without Prescription
Buy Effexor Without Prescription
Buy Nolvadex Without Prescription
Buy Biaxin Without Prescription
Buy Detrol Without Prescription
Buy Zyban Without Prescription
Buy Elavil Without Prescription
Buy Lioresal Without Prescription
Buy Allopurinol Without Prescription
Buy Lanoxin Without Prescription
Viagra pills canadian
Buy cheap viagra online now
Buy viagra usa
Buy viagra online no prescription
Canada viagra generic
Canadian women viagra
Viagra online without a prescription
Overnight viagra
Cheap viagra usa
Cheap viagra 100mg
Cheap viagra onaline
Viagra 50 mg
Cheap viagra no prescription
Best price viagra
Buy cheap online viagra
Viagra canada
Cheapest prices viagra
Generic viagra online
Viagra pfizer online
Viagra pills
Lowest price viagra
Viagra for sale
Canada no prescription viagra
Buy viagra in usa
Viagra generic
How can i buy viagra online
Buy viagra in canada
Buy viagra no prescription
Canadian viagra online
Overnight canadian viagra
Buy viagra online
Female viagra pills
Discount viagra online
Canadian generic viagra
Generic viagra canada
Cheap canadian viagra
Viagra low price
Viagra canada online pharmacy
Buy viagra online now
Viagra price comparison dosage
How get viagra
Generic viagra overnight
Viagra buy online
Generic viagra price
Viagra how fast does it work
Buy discount viagra
Viagra buy viagra online order viagra
Viagra online
Cost viagra online
Viagra in canada
Viagra online deals
Purchase viagra
Purchase viagra overnight delivery
Viagra for women
Cheap viagra now
Buy viagra
Viagra price
Cost of daily viagra
Viagra brand online
Viagra tablet weight
Viagra buy
Buy viagra on line
Viagra paypal
Viagra no prescriptions
Buy viagra online canada
Viagra online canada
Cheap viagra without a prescription
Buy cheap viagra
Viagra delivered overnight
Buy viagra online usa
Viagra soft tabs online
Buy viagra uk
Cheap viagra pills
Viagra drug
Viagra online no prescription
Generic viagra professional
Order generic viagra
Natural viagra
Buy viagra online wthout prescription
original brand viagra
Buy viagra professional
Low price viagra
Best viagra price
Buy cheap canadian viagra
Next day viagra
What is viagra professional
Viagra from canada
Levitra vs viagra
Buy cheap viagra usa
Viagra lowest price
Generic cialis canada
Cialis generic
Cheap canadian cialis
Cialis 100 mg
Cialis low price
Canadian generic cialis
Cialis pills
Best price cialis
Cialis canada online pharmacy
Cheap cialis usa
Buy cialis 20mg
Buy cialis online now
Cialis price comparison dosage
Canadian women cialis
How get cialis
Generic cialis overnight
Cialis buy online
Generic cialis price
Cialis how fast does it work
Buy discount cialis
Cialis buy cialis online order cialis
Cialis online
Cost cialis online
Cialis in canada
Cialis online deals
Buy cialis online no prescription
Purchase cialis
Purchase cialis overnight delivery
Cialis for women
Cheap cialis now
Discount cialis online
Buy cialis
Cialis 5 mg
Cialis 50 mg
Cialis price
Cost of daily cialis
Cialis brand online
Cialis tablet weight
Cialis buy
Buy cialis on line
Cialis paypal
Cialis no prescriptions
Buy cialis online canada
Cialis online canada
Cheap cialis without a prescription
Buy cheap cialis
Cialis delivered overnight
Buy cialis online usa
Cialis soft tabs online
Buy cialis uk
Cheap cialis pills
cialis drug
Cialis online no prescription
Generic cialis professional
Order generic cialis
Natural cialis
Buy cialis online wthout prescription
Buy cheap online cialis
original brand cialis
Buy cialis professional
Low price cialis
Best cialis price
Buy cheap canadian cialis
Next day cialis
What is cialis professional
Cialis from canada
Levitra vs cialis
Buy cheap cialis usa
cialis lowest price
Buy cialis online
Cialis pills canadian
Buy cheap cialis online now
Buy cialis usa
Canada cialis generic
Cialis online without a prescription
Overnight cialis
Cheap cialis onaline
Cheap cialis no prescription
Cialis canada
Cheapest prices cialis
Generic cialis online
Cialis pfizer online
Lowest price cialis
Cialis for sale
Canada no prescription cialis
Buy cialis in usa
How can i buy cialis online
Buy cialis in canada
Buy cialis no prescription
Canadian cialis online
Overnight canadian cialis
Female cialis pills