Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Two sides?

There are always two sides to every story. At least that’s the rumor. For example, when friends get divorced and you hear about the horrible treatment of one, there is always someone around who will remind you that there are two sides to the story. That someone if often totally off base but clearly the disturbed partner did a good sales job. Eventually you believe one side ot the other and that's where you chose to remain connected.

When you hear about an accident and you think you understand what happened, you are often surprised when you find out that there were different versions of the event. I often try to understand that about political or social issues. For example, when I hear the debate about abortion I try to figure out why elected officials want to insert themselves in a conversation in which they do not belong. I despise the term pro-life because I don’t know anyone who is not in favor of life. And I think the term pro-choice has to mean more then a discussion about abortion, afterall, who is not in favor of having a choice. I always wonder what would happen if the conversation was about the reproductive or sexual choices men make, rather than women. If men were forbidden to use birth control, forced to have a vasectomy or impregnated a woman and then were forced to support the child who resulted from that sex act, how fast would opinions change. But this blob is not about abortion.

I guess I feel the same way about Title IX conversations. That was the law that required that girls have the same athletic opportunities as boys. The two sides two that issue are always framed as, if you give something t girls you take it away from boys. As a woman who never had a team sports activity available to her, I can tell you that it was a great loss. Team sports help to form different attitudes and strengths and so many of us missed that. Or as parents of girls we know that they deserve, or should have the right to participate in the same way as boys. If one male team is under funded because there should be a girls team so be it, but that happens with no great frequency. What always surprises me is when women oppose opportunity for other women or girls. I can only think they are not well informed—or they are incredibly stupid. Title IX not only changed attitudes about female ability it changed the attitudes girls had about themselves. But this blob is not about Title IX.

Last week the Senate overwhelmingly decided not to have a timetable to bring the troops home. The republicans yelled and screamed about how the democrats were putting the troops in harms way even to have the discussion. They did not want to debate the two sides of the issue. Then suddenly, the very next day the big important General in charge of the war decided to issue a timetable for withdrawal of the troops. So there was never a discussion about the two sides of the issue but there was certainly agreement with the democratic side disguised as a different view – the pentagon view. I don’t pretend to understand all the sides of this issue. I’m a simple Jersey girl. But here’s what I know. We are in a war because the President and his cronies wanted to be there. The two sides were; there are weapons of mass destruction and we should go invade a country or, it was a lie, there aren’t any WMD’s. We’re already there so we can’t leave because then the terrorists will attack the US, the people will hate us, democracy will not exist. Duh, have you seen any great Iraqi-US love fests. Quite the contrary. We aren’t safer, we didn’t free anyone and as far as most Iraqi’s are concerned we are the terrorists. Where are the two sides to that argument. Sure there are tales about voting and school openings but what about water, electricity and sanitary services—for which we have paid big bucks to big companies who happen to be friends or former employers of key government officials, and have made billions while not fulfilling their contracts to the people of Iraq or the US. What are the two sides to that argument? It is certainly possible to support the troops and despise the war. These young men and women are our children, serving our country, sent into harms way by old men who didn’t have the courage to serve when the country called them in their youth. Where are the two sides to that argument. What I don’t get is why the mothers of those troops aren’t on the street screaming about bringing their kids home. There is no disgrace in using your voice to save the life of your child. There simply aren’t two sides to that argument. Sometimes the two sides are life and death. I know which I would choose for my kid. We’re just

3 comments:

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Marla

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