Thank You Great Feminist Leader
Below is a response I wrote to an article by Betty Rollin featured in the AARP magazine. In her original missive, Rollin, once a vaunted leader of the 60's great failed feminist leaders, laments that she never had children. She laments a whole bunch of other stuff, stuff about HER and HER life.
Below, I take her on. Because it wasn't only HER life that was affected. As, hopefully, will become self-evident with the reading.
Dear Betty Rollin,
I read with great interest your article titled "Baby Blues" in the June 2003 issue of AARP magazine. Only the keen interest with which I read your well-written and thoughtful essay was generated from a pool of bitterness.
Betty Rollin. Germaine Greer. Ms. Magazine. Wow. The memories! But you Ms. Rollin, do not get a free pass with your pensive piece re the regrets you have over your decision not to have children. For it was I, and many like me, who followed your preaching with the righteousness of Don Quixote. I listened astutely when the liberated women scorned the concept of motherhood and were horrified at the notion of being "just" a wife and mother. My baby was left, at five weeks of age, with a caregiver. While I struggled mightily with being "just" a wife and mother, as well as an earnest employee. It wasn't a nice life but thanks to folks like you Ms. Rollin (who really loves her husband, by the way, whatever happened to male-chauvinists?), I convinced myself it was the best of all worlds.
It wasn't a bad life, do not misconstrue. And such as finances do tend to get in the way of intuitive decision making. Yet as I look back in that manner of the middle-aged, I know that I could have stayed home with my child until she was of school age. Yes I realize that with a little effort and ingenuity, financially our family could have made it on my husband's salary. It was however, never an option. I'd struggled to get a college education and by golly I was going to show the world that I could do it all.
Of course this was my decision, let me not lead anyone astray that my own personal actions as regards raising my child was decided based upon popular causes or public policy. Still, an argument could be made that one President Jimmy Carter presided over the government during a time when interest rates to purchase houses soared to 17%. Women HAD to work outside of the home to ever hope to own a house. The liberal Mr. Carter was the darling of the women's movement. Since the fiscal chaos of his presidency required two wage earners, it was then upon his supporters such as NOW to convince us silly females that working ten hours a day at a stressful job to end that day dealing with the daily stress of family life, was daring, brave and brainy. Okay, it's a paranoid concept at worst, mean-spirited at best, suggestion. But it's out there.
It wasn't a peaceful life, Ms. Rollin. It was tiresome. My child? And yes, I did have a child in a moment of lunacy when I left the company line to answer my own natural call. Yes, the child survived. In fact, she is expecting her first child and is sacrificing greatly so that she will be with that child for the precious formative years.
"Melissa," I responded to her first offering of this quaint notion, "do whatever you have to do. But spend those first five or so years with your child and be there as often as you can. You will benefit. Society will benefit. The child will benefit."
The words surprised me. Sure middle-age has left me mellowed and susceptible to the rose-color of memory. But my response was the first time I'd ever expressed such a sentiment. Or with such vehemence.
Because my sentiment is the truth, Ms. Rollin. The truth is simply that a child should have a continuous bonding period with a parent spanning the first five or more years of life. Preferably the female parent. I realize clearly now that the many scrapes and troubles that Melissa had through the years would have been avoided had I simply been more available.
What the hell did you know about bringing home the bacon while minding the home fire? Your entire article is about your regret over a long ago decision not to have a child. How could you possibly have known the struggle of carting an infant to a babysitter before the sun had risen? Yet you and your ilk preached from the pulpits of your glossy magazines and were fed by the wave of liberalism then sweeping the country.
I didn't read Phylis Schafly, that conservative voice NOW loved to mock, Ms. Rollin. I read Gloria Steinham. I read Betty Frieden. I read you, Ms. Rollin. And I believed.
You were wrong, Ms. Rollin. You were plain wrong in that silly decision not to have a child for whatever crazy reason you had that convinced you. You were plain wrong that men were but yolks and oppressors of modern women everywhere. By your own admission, the lack of a child in your life is a source of regret. You tell the reader often enough what a great guy your husband is and I bet he is. Men are really great, Ms. Rollin, thanks for getting around to telling us this.
You may call me a Neo-Conservative, or whatever the pop term is for the bitter ex-liberal. You see, we really did listen to the cry of the culture. Women needed to be free from the burden of motherhood, the culture cried. This woman threw down the gauntlet and wishes she'd listened to the instinct within rather than the rallying cry from without.
Your article was insightful, Ms. Rollin, and rest assured your words came across with a shining sincerity. I too regret your decision not to have a child, Ms. Rollin. There's nothing in the world like having your own child. Nothing. Sometimes there is no choice. Often enough not to be considered insane, a decision not to have children occurs that results in no later regret. More often than not, Ms. Rollin, women who sailed right through their child bearing years regret it. As you have.
I now read Phylis Schafly every day, Ms. Rollin. I wish I had heeded her words back when you and the rest of the NOW gang were drowning her out.
Please read the following comment
I think this is a wonderful article, but if the family of Bobbie Jo is asking you to remove it, you should. Please do not jeopardize the chance for justice to be done to Lisa Montgomery. Thank you!!
And the following:
Some people will do anything to thrust themselves in the spotlight, to make themselves feel important or needed. Your story has proven it by far. I seriously doubt you received any permission to take the picture you have posted. You imply and write things which you truly have little to no knowledge. Your blatant disregard for the Stinnett family, for the Montgomery family and for all of the friends and aquaintenances involved is beyond belief. How you can go to sleep at night with a clear concious I don't understand.
One of the commenters attempts to be nice; the other is a blatant silly retort with no basis in fact. Both seem to be telling me that I should stop posting about the Stinnetts, Montgomerys or any of the other cast of characters in the Bobbie Jo Stinnett murder.
Neither of which has any bearing on my little rant but provide fodder for what I am about to say soundly and firmly.
Let any reader know that the comments feature of this Blog are open and freely available for anyone of a mind to use. In fact, I mine those comments frequently for article updates and ideas. But I will NEVER be intimidated into pulling anything down from this Blog by any comment, no matter how nasty or nice the commenter approaches the notion.
It's simply the most asinine, head-in-the-sand, dense and thick-headed notion in the universe that -I- am somehow going to affect a fair trial by entries on this Blog. Bobbie Jo Stinnett's family did NOT ask me to remove anything but even if they did I would not. As for having permission to take any pictures I posted, snort, snort, I NEVER took a picture of any of those posted on the Montgomery posts. Every picture on those threads has been copied from pictures SOMEWHERE else on the Internet.
As for any comments, missives, narratives and such that I personally write, how loud should I sing "GOD BLESS AMERICA" and praise my free speech for you folks?
Blogging is the freest form of Democracy on earth. The writer has no gatekeeper to block his/her words. The reader has any number of keys such as delete, back arrow, stop loading, that will pass them right over the words of the Blogger that so offends them.
Trying to shut up a Blogger is about as stupid and useless an endeavor on the planet.
Commenters may or may not be wasting their time when posting brickbats as to my brains, quality of education, ability to write, content of the narratives, etc. Yon readers, it's a complete waste of time to tell me to shut up. If you can't find the delete key, ask a co-worker or perhaps your IT guru.
I used to shake my head ruefully at those who would advance the notion that there are certain people on this planet "not ready" for democracy; that a certain intellect is required to desire freedom of thought and mind; that some are simply to stupid to handle complete independence. I used to think such thought an elitism that smelled to high heaven.
I look at comments telling me to pull down my humble Blog posts and I start to comprehend. There really are people who don't want freedom because...well, hey, they can't handle it. I don't know why.
Perhaps a cough in the evolutionary cycle I suppose.
The World, Ladies and Germs, Cannot Have Enough Joe Biden
As we have learned here in my fine home state of Delaware. Thus we shall share this wonderful man that you may cast your vote for the same blowhard bloviating he is inflicted on this tiny state.
For Joe Biden intends to run for President of the United States and his son, Beau, will, if God is in His heaven, run for senate from Delaware that we not be denied the man's wonderful presence.
With Delaware's three electoral votes to propel him onward, ole Hairplugs, as indicated by his recent comment-below-will run for this country's highest office.
Something he has absolutely no chance in the world of winning and guess what? The Wise I thinks ole Joe has to say this sort of thing so that he can continue to get his valued face time on the talk shows when Joe hog ties Russert or Blitzer, vowing not to let them go until they point the camera directly in his face.
When he can, you understand, call the President a moron, belittle the nominated Secretary of State or cover for yet another John Kerry verbal gaffe.
It's what Biden does. For God's sake, it's why the man got hairplugs in the first place!
HERSHEY, Pa. -- Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., told a well-wisher at a labor gathering Tuesday that he may run for president in 2008.
Following Biden's address at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO's biennial legislative conference, a conventioneer asked Biden, "When are you going to run for President?" "I think next time I will," Biden responded.