It’s my state, too

In the last few days, my state has passed a wide variety of extremely conservative measures. First, we became a right-to-work state. Despite the massive protests from those of use who support unions, legislation was jammed through in five days, and Snyder signed the bill behind closed doors. Later, he claimed the bill would actually make unions more effective.

Then, they repassed emergency manager legislation that contains key aspects of the previous law that voters overturned a month ago; a massive anti-choice bill that was too controversial to pass before elections and that will make Michigan one of the most extremely restrictive state in the nation; a concealed-carry law that will allow people to take concealed weapons into day care centers, churches, schools, and stadiums despite the large amount of gun violence we see already; finally, they repealed the personal property tax, which will give businesses almost a $600 per year tax break—yes, this in the state that has slashed tax breaks for low- and middle-class citizens (EIC, a child tax credit…). All these bills are expected to be signed by Snyder, though he promised us once that he was about making the touch business decisions, not about gutting social rights.

“Take the state back,” people say on the right. “We need to take the state [and the country] back.” But my question here is always: “Back from whom?” Liberals aren’t holding the people hostage; we are outsiders who have come to crush American ideals. We live here too, and our ideals promote peace, unity, justice, fairness—and I’m pretty sure all of those are American ideals.

In the last few days, my state has begun to feel like a hostile place. I was happy to move back here after graduating from my MFA program. I was proud to say I was from Michigan. I love my state. So much so, in fact, that I was willing to make a one-day sacrifice for my own goals and dreams and stay here instead.

You see, I want to teach creative writing. Ideally at a graduate level, but undergrad would be good, too. Except, until now, I’ve always seen that dream as fairly far-fetched. I didn’t want to leave Michigan, didn’t want to leave the Lansing-area, despite the fact that I would almost certainly have to move, one day, for the job I want. Until now, my love of Michigan—my home—and my career goals were too close in importance to call. But now…

But now, I think I’d be—perhaps not glad but rather content to leave. This isn’t the type of threat people make after each presidential election (“I’m moving to Canada!”). I plan to be in Michigan for many years to come still while I finish writing and then sell my first book. I don’t hate it here, but in many ways, I don’t feel welcome here. My voice is not, and will not, be heard. Too many are determined to have it their way or no way, and that, definitely, is not an American ideal.

What I like (and don’t like) about the ACA


  • I will no longer pay higher premiums for being a woman.
  • My migraines will no longer exempt me from buying my own coverage because they are pre-existing.
  • I will no longer have to pay premiums on preventative coverage, which means money will not prevent me from working to stay healthy.
  • I will no longer have to pay a copay for birth control, saving me over $25o per year.
  • Our country will no longer be the only “rich” country to not have comprehensive health coverage.
  • I will actually have health care all year—not just from January through May.


  • Yes—I, and others, will probably see increased premiums.
  • But—I believe this is due to the fact that insurance companies are still most concerned with making huge profits rather than with helping people. And so comes my second con—the ACA is not universal health coverage.
  • With the requirement that I buy insurance, and the stupid reality of my semester-by-semester contract, I will have to change insurance twice each year.
  • The Republicans now have another crazy thing encouraging them to get out and vote in November. I can only hope they have memory spans as short as the rest of the country. Although short memory spans are letting Romney get away with so much crap, so much hypocrisy, and so many downright lies. “I heard it on Fox News! It must be true!” (Seriously. It isn’t that hard to fact check.)

That said, I was very pleased with yesterday’s SCOTUS outcome, though I do worry about the proportion of the court that dissented on (what was to me) radical grounds. With such a polarized issue, however, I suppose I couldn’t be surprised that some people voted based on whether or not they agreed with the law rather than on its Constitutional merit, which has 200 years of precedence, and who were ready to strike the entire law based on one provision.

Still, I believe health care should be a right, not a privilege, but some people love Capitalism so much that they honestly believe if you can’t pay for something (like medical care, or education) then you don’t deserve it.


ANOTHER CRAZY REPUBLICAN THING (I only picked one, to spare you—and me)

Why you shouldn’t sign the Caylee’s Law petition

The outrage at the Anthony acquittal has gone to the Internet (though, I suppose, it’s been there for a very, very long time). A petition now exists, calling on Obama and Congress to pass a law to “make it a felony for parents to fail to notify police within 24 hours of a child’s disappearance or within an hour of a child’s death.”

This law, as being proposed, is a Very Bad Idea.

This petition is the product of public outrage. Thousands of people wouldn’t be signing the petition each hour if this hadn’t been such a high profile case, if they weren’t angry. And for starters, just to get this out of the way, I don’t understand either the fascination with this case or the insane degree of outrage. Why this case, I wonder, and not others? (Though, again to admit, I have some theories.) Why are we so free with judgment when we don’t know all the facts? Why are we so set, as a collective, on vengeance?

To be clear: This law would not have prevented Caylee’s death. It’s about revenge, it’s about being able to punish a woman for something because people don’t feel like her punishment is enough for her crime. And, to the public collective, that crime right now seems to be mainly being a bad mother. We can’t prove murder, so now people want to take another course, find another way to punish. Not Casey, but the next mother to neglect a child.

Except, while the law intends to protect children, that’s not actually what it would mainly do. Yes, it would hasten the return of some children. But at the expense of what? Has Crowder (or any of the others who have attached their name to the petition) thought about the consequences of this idea becoming law? Because here’s what I think will happen: More innocents will be harmed than actual good will be done. What about parents who call to report a missing child and are told to wait a bit because their child has a history of running away, or fits the profile for a delinquent? What about parents who assume their child ran away (or know) and assume the child will be back soon, as he or she has done before? What about the parents of a child with SID who don’t check on their child until two hours later than usual because they’re so pleased to see their child sleeping? Or, to simplify that even more, what about the same child, that the parents check on as usual, but the child died four or five hours previously? What about the parent of a suicide victim? What about the parent who just wants some time to grieve?

Some states have started to pass laws that carry heavy sentences for non-authorized abortions and require women to report all fetal deaths. But instead of getting people who go through the unsafe procedure of a self-induced or back alley abortion, women are being prosecuted for miscarriages and their grief is compounded.

What this law really does is set legal standards for good parenting. It might make some of us nauseous, but being happy after the death of a child is not a crime. There is no right way to act, no set time to grieve. But this is what we want to punish this woman for, this is what made so many people so upset, so convinced of Casey’s guilt. And, I think, they understand that they can’t legislate a required mourning period, so this is what they do instead, not bothering to think about the consequences. Anger has gotten in the way.

Wish that things could have been better for the child who is dead—all the children who are dead or missing or abused—but don’t point so many fingers at the woman who the law has been unable to prove as anyone other than a liar. I really don’t understand why people waste so much time on judgment. Judgment accomplishes nothing here. Anger won’t change what has happened. Instead, maybe we should spend more time on things that might make a difference in the lives of the children—in good situations and bad—rather than focusing so much on punishment. If you can’t think of any ways to do this on your own, a quick trip online or through your phone book will probably reveal organizations that are already doing just that, ones that could use your help.

Getting bit by the hand that feeds you

I’m no fan of Sarah Palin’s—not what I (seem) to know about her as a person, politician, or product. I’m just waiting patiently (okay, maybe not all that patiently) for the day she disappears from the public life. I think she’s disrespectful and hypocritical, but this doesn’t change the fact that I feel she’s had to endure quite a lot of disrespect herself. First, there was the hockey game where she was booed, which would have been fine in my eyes were it not for the fact that her kids were with her, though, on the flip side, maybe she shouldn’t have brought her kids to a political event or used them as a means to political points (anyone ever notice how, when she gave speeches, Bristol was usually in the background of the shot?). So yeah, I didn’t really approve, but I’m willing to let that one slide at least a bit.

But recently I feel like she’s just been slammed with disrespect—from her own party as well as (though it pains me to say this) from feminists.

Sarah Palin does not represent women. She stands against many issues that help women and so many (most?) feminists cannot stand her, but lately I feel they (we) have been too quick to dismiss the oppression she faces because they disagree with her.

First, there was the issue of Rahm Emanuel’s use of the word retarded. I can’t fault her for calling him out on this, and I actually feel like she stands for this issue due to something deeper than politics. But then, when Rush Limbaugh used the same language, she was strangely reticent in her criticism, saying that she agreed with him.

This is some of the hypocrisy I’m talking about, but I want to take this issue one step further, into the realm of speculation, since I have no hard evidence to back up this thought: Sarah Palin can’t afford to offend Limbaugh. Ultimately, she’s still a woman in a party that is predominately interested in representing (upper-class, white) men. It’s a party (and a political environment) where it is completely acceptable to criticize women based on appearance instead of policy, that has only 21 female representatives in congress compared to 71 female democrats, that supports a politician who believes women not work outside of the home, that holds anti-feminism bake sales and catch an illegal immigrant days. It’s a party that believes that a century after gaining the right to vote, women still need others to make voting decisions for them. Palin supports a party that will use her when it’s convenient (gotta get all those Hillary voters who are so uneducated they will vote for anyone with a vagina) but silence her quickly if she steps out of her place.

And calling out Limbaugh would have been stepping out of her place.

And Palin knows this.

But when she didn’t speak out forcefully against Limbaugh, or against the legislator who said disabled children are god’s punishment for previous abortions, the main feminist response seemed to be one criticizing her hypocrisy. And yeah, it is hypocritical. But where’s the deeper examination? Where’s the look into what might have caused her to call out a democrat but not a republican? You could argue that she put herself in this situation, that she chose to be a republican, but that sounds to me an awful lot like saying the rape victim is partially responsible because she chose to wear a short skirt, or chose to have a few drinks.

That’s not my feminism. Sort of like the symbol of the American flag represents the same laws that allow dissenters to burn it, I try to extend my beliefs to all, even those who seem dead set on working against them. I still don’t like Sarah Palin and I can’t imagine that will ever change, but I have been feeling for her a bit these past few weeks, because even if she chooses to ignore the lessened state of women in our culture, it affects her. Even if she chooses to work against the rights I believe all women should have, it affects her. So I may disagree with her, but I don’t believe that changes the fact that she deserves to live in an environment that doesn’t treat her as she seems so set on treating others.