Archive | Politics RSS feed for this section

Ruby Talks Politics

18 Oct

Ruby was SO excited to receive her Romney onesie today she had to put it on right away.

This inspired her to share her thoughts on the election.

Link

Letter to Jay

5 Oct

Last Thursday one of my absolute favorite political writers, Jay Nordlinger of National Review, wrote a column in which he touched on women in combat.  I decided to write him a letter about my experience as a female naval officer and Iraq war veteran.  A few hours later I got a text from my friend William asking if that was me that Jay had quoted in The Corner (nationalreview.com’s blog).  It turns out he did quote me, quite extensively.  I was super excited and very honored.

Here is a link to his original article, and here is the relevant section:

I must say, I find it very hard to argue about women in combat. This is bad news, because I’m supposed to be an opinion journalist, whose business is persuasion, right? But either you find the idea of women in combat appalling or you don’t.

Many regard the issue as a matter of women’s rights, even civil rights. To them, a woman in combat is like a black citizen in a voting booth. Hurray, progress!

Other people think that women in combat represent some kind of civilizational breakdown: Our mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, aunts, and nieces in combat? What kind of monsters are we? It runs against nature, it cuts some kind of vital cord.

As I say, I find it hard to argue about women in combat. Either you feel its wrongness in your stomach or you don’t. I know a conservative intellectual who said, “The day they try to draft my daughters is the day I divorce my country and take to the hills.”

(The matter of individual choice — “Do you want to serve in the Army, miss? Would you like to serve in combat?” — comes up in this discussion too, of course.)

Here is my entire letter:

Dear Jay,

Loved your column today, as always.  I would like to comment briefly on women in combat, if you would be so kind as to indulge me.

I graduated from the United States Naval Academy with the great class of 2005.  In plebe (freshman) Western Civilization we discussed women in combat.  I was the only girl in the class (a common occurrence) and the professor put me on the spot.  I hadn’t given it much thought but rather lamely defended the idea.  I don’t remember my exact argument, but I do remember one of my classmates, who was also in my company and a close friend, saying that he was against the idea.  As a chivalrous southerner, he just could not fathom the thought of my suffering at the hands of the enemy, and would go to extraordinary measures to protect me.

Fast-forward almost seven years.  I am now the navigator  on a guided missile cruiser, and my ship gets tasked with providing an officer to spend nine months in Iraq augmenting the Army as an electronic warfare officer.  Immediately I volunteer because I feel compelled–called, really–to go.  Nobody else volunteers.  Not one of the men.  They are all extremely happy to let a girl go in their place.

I get stationed at COB Speicher in Tikrit with the 101st Airborne.  The closest I ever come to combat is when the convoy I am traveling with is targeted by a very small IED.  No one is hurt and we just keep rolling along through the Iraqi countryside.  I serve my time (July 2008-April 2009, so we may have overlapped), come home safely, get married, and have a baby girl of my own.

Surprisingly this is one political issue that I just do not feel passionately about, one way or the other.  In theory I contend that women being mangled, killed, or taken prisoner in combat is particularly terrible, not because our lives are worth any more than those of our make counterparts, but because it goes against our most primal instincts as human beings.  However, in practice, I think that it is becoming a necessity.  Women are still barred from infantry or special warfare, but we do operate with those units as support personnel, and in many other capacities that put us in harm’s way, and have for years.

Here is the rub: who else will do it?  In general, men of my generation are not chivalrous and many are too lazy to work, let alone serve in the military.  Most simply do not care who defends their right to live in their parents’ basement and play video games all day.  My chivalrous southern classmate is far and away the exception rather than the rule.  Our society has changed so quickly in such a short time that those basic primal instincts are being drummed out with political correctness and this issue is becoming obsolete.

This was less brief than I had intended, but your writing always inspires me to think more deeply, and for that I thank you.

Cheers,
Sarah Shellock

This is the link to his blog post.  Here is what he said specifically about my letter:

We could talk about this all day, but I’d like to cite one more letter, from an American veteran, a woman, who served in Iraq. It’s a fascinating letter. I’ll give you some of the beginning and some of the end. She says,

“I graduated from the United States Naval Academy with the great class of 2005. In plebe (freshman) Western Civilization we discussed women in combat. I was the only girl in the class (a common occurrence) and the professor put me on the spot. I hadn’t given it much thought but rather lamely defended the idea. I don’t remember my exact argument, but I do remember one of my classmates, who was also in my company and a close friend, saying that he was against the idea. As a chivalrous southerner, he just could not fathom the thought of my suffering at the hands of the enemy, and would go to extraordinary measures to protect me.”

By the way, don’t you love that she used the word “girl”? Anyway, after graduation, she went to Iraq. And she discovered some things there. One of those discoveries was that the men were perfectly happy to have the women do dangerous work, including in their stead. At the end of her letter, she writes,

“Here’s the rub: Who else will do it? In general, men of my generation are not chivalrous and many are too lazy to work, let alone serve in the military. Most simply do not care who defends their right to live in their parents’ basement and play video games all day. My chivalrous southern classmate is far and away the exception rather than the rule. Our society has changed so quickly that those primal instincts are being drummed out with political correctness and this issue [women in combat] is becoming obsolete.”

Hard to talk about, women in combat, at least in my experience. Either you feel it in your stomach — or you don’t.

So there it is: my brief moment of conservative fame!

Backyard Take 2

11 Aug

All of Matty’s hard work laying sod in our little backyard a few months ago turned out to be in vain. The sod didn’t quite take root and we ended up with dead grass. Today Matty decided to try a new approach–he ripped up the sod and spread out rubber mulch. The yard looks so much better and the mulch will be a nice cushiony place for Ruby if she happens to take a tumble.

Here is Ruby in the yard mid-project:

20120811-211605.jpg
A lovely new home for Ruby’s “wee!”

20120811-211720.jpg

20120811-211729.jpg
This afternoon we all went to the Irish Festival in Old Town, where I volunteered at the Republican booth. Of course Ruby was a huge hit in her cute clover dress.

20120811-211952.jpg

Super Saturday

4 Aug

Republicans across the country came out today in support of Mitt Romney and state and local candidates. Ruby and I went door-to-door in Old Town conducting a quick survey to gage support and distribute information. This was my first time and it went well. There was only one really hostile man but we remained friendly.

Of course Ruby was a huge hit with everyone (except the hostile guy). She was a trooper but it was HOT and she ended up taking a nap in the stroller.

20120804-211316.jpg

20120804-211334.jpg

All Politics is Local…

2 Aug

…so I decided to get involved! Tonight I attended my first meeting of the Alexandria Republican City Committee, and it was very interesting. I met tons of people, including city council members and candidates for local and state-wide office. Now I have plenty of events lined up to keep me busy over the next month and a few new bumper stickers for my Subaru. I’m even more excited for the upcoming election now!

Of course I still got a few pictures of Ruby earlier in the day. It’s a good thing she is so cute because she’s been just about climbing the walls recently!

20120802-213409.jpg

20120802-213425.jpg

Ridiculous

6 Mar

Birth control.

Until the not-so-distant past (like a few weeks ago), birth control was a little-discussed topic in political circles and on the news.  The pill was first approved for use in 1960 and has been used by millions of women world-wide since, with very little controversy in my lifetime.  What sparked the current debate is the Health and Human Services rule that under Obamacare all health insurance plans will have to provide birth control to all women who wish to use it, free of charge.  This includes health insurance plans provided by institutions of the Catholic Church, who fundamentally oppose birth control, and up until now have not been required to provide it.

Catholics are outraged.  Feminists are outraged at their outrage.  Cries of indignation that the Republican Party is trying to restrict access to birth control are all over the news and social media.  Sandra Flukes, a law student at Georgetown (a Catholic university) testified before congress that birth control is prohibitively expensive for grad students like her, and that her school insurance should provide it free of charge.  Rush Limbaugh called her a slut and a prostitute because she wants other people to subsidize her sex life.  He later apologized but she didn’t accept, and the damage had been done already.  Now Rush’s words are being used as proof of the GOP’s war on women.

Let me be clear.  I do not agree with Rush Limbaugh’s choice of words.  I just wrote a post about the current tone in our politics, which I despise.  He was wrong to call a young woman he does not know, who was testifying before Congress, a slut and a prostitute.  Even though he apologized you simply cannot un-ring that bell.  He was wrong wrong wrong.

But this entire debate has been hijacked.

HIJACKED.

It is RIDICULOUS how far it has devolved.

No one is trying to restrict access to birth control.  No one.  Not Congressional Republicans, not the presidential candidates.  Not even Rush Limbaugh, although as a broadcaster he is not in any position to do so anyway.

The debate is about the federal government trying to force religious institutions to pay for a product that they deem to be immoral.  The Catholic Church has a long and documented history of opposition to birth control.  This is not some new-fangled position that the Pope dreamed up to oppress women.  The Church has never provided birth control for it’s employees.  This is not a God-given right that is now, all of a sudden, being threatened.

This is about religious liberty, and also about the federal government intruding farther and farther into our lives.    Whatever happened to the government staying out of our bedrooms?  If the government can mandate that insurance pay for birth control, it can also mandate that insurance not pay for birth control.  I, personally, do not want my government to have that sort of power.

So can we discuss that, please, instead of what Sandra Fluke said and what Rush Limbaugh said and if there were any women testifying at a hearing on religious liberty?

This issue is simply too important to be distracted by sideshows.

Contentious

1 Mar

I’m considering quitting facebook.

Really, I am.  Hear me out.

I love seeing pictures of my friends and their families.  I love reconnecting with long-lost friends from elementary school in Virginia, or youth group in Honduras, or prep school in New Mexico. I really love being able to eaves-drop on my sister Rachel’s life in Australia–seeing events she is going to, weddings she has been in, and posts from her friends in Australia and here in the US make her seem a little bit closer than half a world away.  But I am tired of logging onto facebook and seeing that some of my friends think that I am an ignorant, hateful bigot.  Or worse.

I am a registered Republican.  My views are best described as conservative-libertarian (think Ron Paul for all things domestic but less isolationism with regards to foriegn policy).  I am also a Christian.  I am staunchly pro-life and also pro-contraceptives (is that a thing now?), for people who wish to use them.  I believe in free markets and free people.  I do not believe in “free” health insurance (somebody, somewhere, somehow is paying for it).  I passionately believe in compassion on a personal level–I think that churches, private charities, families and individuals provide the best helping hands.

I am not a racist.  Or a bigot.  Or a homophobe.  I did not vote for President Obama and I will not vote for him in November.  This has nothing to do with his skin color and everything to do with his policies.  We disagree on fundamental issues and I would rather have a president whose views and vision for this country are more similar to mine.  I do not agree with any of the Republican nominees on every issue, but I do agree with all of them more than I agree with our current president.

Many of my best friends are liberal Democrats.  Some are even Socialists.  I love passionate, informed discussions with people from all different backgrounds and points of view.  I despise broad generalizations and straw men.  Obviously I think that my opinions are right and true or they wouldn’t be my opinions, but I also realize that there is plenty of room for disagreement.  I do not think that people who disagree with me are all evil or stupid.

I really wish that my friends could afford me the same respect.  It is so disheartening to log onto facebook in the morning and see, among the baby pictures and engagement announcements and silly youtube videos, crass and sometimes hateful comments generalizing all conservatives and/or Republicans (or liberal Democrats for that matter, from my conservative bretheren) as dumb or malevolant, or both.  It makes me miss the days of face-to-face discussions, when instead of generalizing that only men who can never get pregnant are anti-abortion, you had to look me in the face and realize that I am a woman who has had a child and I am also the face of the pro-life movement.  Or the fact that just because I disagree with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act I do not want people to die for lack of health insurance.

So please, before you post, realize that probably all 1,000 people on your friend list do not agree with you, and some may be offended by your tone.  If you want to start a rational discussion, without hateful, contentious rhetoric, go ahead–important conversations about public policy are vital for our democracy to thrive!  Please, I beg of you, just be respectful. 

Because I want to see pictures from your Alaskan vacation and know when you get that big promotion at work.

And I promise to be respectful too.