Sandra Fluke does not speak for all women

Recently, Georgetown grad student Sandra Fluke grabbed America’s attention by insisting that contraceptives be covered by the insurance policies of all privately owned businesses and universities. Since then I’ve repeatedly found myself raising an eyebrow at my countrymen’s behavior.

Allow me to state up front that not all of my disappointment lies on Ms. Fluke’s shoulders. It is also on the men of seemingly mature age, who have used their public forums to call Ms. Fluke cruel and unnecessary names. It is both embarrassing and tragic when folks such as Rush Limbaugh use their wide-reaching platforms not to engage in dialogue, but to obnoxiously demean those with whom they disagree.

Back to Ms. Fluke, who initiated this firestorm. According to her March 13 op-ed for CNN, what she wants is this:

To be clear, through programs such as Medicaid, the government already does and should fund contraception coverage for the poorest women in our country.

But, despite the misinformation being spread, the regulation under discussion has absolutely nothing to do with government funding: It is all about the insurance policies provided by private employers and universities that are financed by individual workers, students and their families — not taxpayers.

I am talking about women who, despite paying their own premiums, cannot obtain coverage of contraception on their private insurance, even when their employer or university contributes nothing to that insurance.

Here we have a woman using her First Amendment right of free speech in the attempt to disable the freedom of others. While it may not be her intention, she is essentially lobbying for the dismissal of certain religious freedoms that are entitled to Americans–ironically–also through the First Amendment.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I fail to see how forcing religious institutions and business owners to supply contraception–which their faith may deem immoral–is not a violation of the First Amendment.

Ms. Fluke sounds off as though the lack of coverage on contraception is a matter of life or death.  Last time I checked, sex was still a voluntary activity that can be done with or without birth control. Perhaps if private insurers should be required to cover contraception to women partaking in sexual relations, they should also be made to insure vibrators for the sexual gratification of any single ladies they also insure.

It is my belief that if a woman is mature enough to engage in sexual activity, she should also be mature enough to accept her personal responsibility in acquiring whatever protection she deems appropriate. Perhaps that involves budgeting it in, or asking her partner to share the financial cost of their mutual pleasure.

Ultimately, if the lack of coverage on contraceptives is going to be a deal breaker for you, it may be something to take up with the folks who write your private university or work place’s insurance policies. Maybe consider taking your academic endeavors to a non-religious university.

And while I would never dream of telling a girlfriend that sexual pleasure is not her God-given right, I might suggest that arming herself against pregnancy or STDs isn’t.

Not to mention, sometimes the best things in life are not always free.

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When should I have my coming out party?

Indeed, something I never thought would occur within me has begun to take root, and it makes me feel a little something like this:

Perhaps it’s a long time coming.  Maybe Winston Churchill was right when he said, “Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.”

Never one to partake in right-of-center politics,most of my days have been spent further to the left end of the spectrum, much like the majority of my family.  Recent years, however, have left me feeling disenchanted with our political system, as well  as many of the politicians running it.  Or trying to run it.  Seems to me the folks over in DC are more into tail-chasing and semantics than anything else.

Maybe it’s the bold disposition maintained by some of our American journalists who hold court further to the right.  I try to imagine where Donald Woods, my South African journalistic hero, would lie within our American standards, and I feel that he may have been considered in some respects a Libertarian.

Who knows?  Ultimately, I doubt the solutions to our country’s problems lie within a single party’s realm of reason.  Perhaps, though, we would all do well to hear the other side out.

Writing Ourselves and Our Futures

History is an intense thing.

History is not some dry and overwith experience found inside of a text book.  Regardless of whether you think you’ve heard the story or not, there will always be another side.  Not only that, but each side inevitably contains a wealth of emotions.

Never before have I been so thankful for the preservation of historical documents, as recently I began researching wartime correspondence.  As it turns out, there are entire foundations whose sole purpose revolves around the preservation of documents created during our American wars.

The Legacy Project, established in 1998, seeks to preserve letters written by American servicemen throughout the years.  Their website provides instructions on how to preserve documents of varying age and condition, and also encourages the owners of letters and e-mails to send copies to the foundation.

With the help of several thousand volunteers, The Legacy Project has been able to publish four books, each filled with letters covering a different aspect of life for the deployed servicemen.  Letters and photos also go on to be featured in museums or memorials, where visitors can glimpse for themselves the words and sentiments of heroes long gone by.

The Love Letters Project, created by the Missouri History Museum, is another beautiful endeavor honoring a Union soldier and his wife.  When James E. Love enlisted during the Civil War, he kept correspondence with his wife Molly.  The Love Letters Project aims to publish each of James’ letters 150 years to the date he penned them.

Having come across these collections of letters has inspired me to include a similar endeavor here at Room for Patience.  From this point on, Fridays will be reserved for excerpts and photos of wartime correspondence between service members and their loved ones at home.

How can there ever be enough recognition for this brand of communication?  Living between each word is the sort of emotion that can only be found in a person who has discovered just how much they have to live for.  Receiving such a letter injects its addressee with the sort of feeling that leaves them wondering if that unopened envelope can actually be real.

I consider it a gift that over 200 years after the first American war letters were written, that today we get to read them, preserve them, and we get to share them.

To end, please allow me to share an excerpt from James Love’s letter dated December 3 or 4, 1861.

I hope all is for the best. I wish to have a long conversation with you when I return. I’ve had many things to say for some time but in the unsettled not to say worse state in which I & all were in I could not begin did not know where to begin – while I seemed so much on the downward grade

My dearest girl I write in much haste & with sincerest love & esteem

I am
Ever yours
James E. Love

 

Out On A Limb

Recently as I sat in on a key spouse meeting, I was told to be at the ready to help out a woman whose husband is deployed.  At the moment she is on our squadron’s do not contact list, but  recently found herself calling one of our colonels to help get her to the emergency room.  Much to our relief, she is going to be okay.

In instances like these I’m so thankful to be part of a squadron that is tight knit enough that people can feel comfortable enough to approach at least one person in their times of need.  Still, I’m left wondering what made this woman decide to put herself on the do not contact list in the first place.

Has she had negative experience with a prior squadron?  With our squadron?  Is she shy, or feel that she is better off going it alone, instead of bothering someone?

Whatever her reasoning, I can only hope that in time she’ll consider accepting the invite to be cared for by others within the squadron. We may not all come here knowing one another, but this is a world wherein the help of a previously unknown face can be what gets us through the day.

Choosing military life can set one up for a lonely experience.  There is little to no room for reclusiveness if we are to thrive under our unique circumstances.  Sometimes the only thing keeping us from being truly friendless is our willingness to let others in, even when every internal fiber wants nothing more than to resist an offer for help, or to turn down that slightly awkward invite for coffee.

Keep in mind that that slightly awkward invite for coffee stemmed from someone putting herself out there.

Do yourself a favor, and take it.  Take a chance to move past your comfort zone, and the most you lose is an hour or two of your time.

What you have to gain is substantially more.

Room for Patience

Military moves are nothing if not interesting.  Frantic pets.  Rambunctious children.  Eagle-eyed adults who, despite their best efforts, still end up with a dirty litter box on the moving truck.
No matter your family make-up, living the military lifestyle is something one adapts to.  While that lifestyle may look different from one family to the next, there are still several factors they all have in common.
It is learned that cross-country moves are not cause to put life on hold.  Instead there is planning and research that allow for future career, volunteer, or academic endeavors to be seamlessly pursued from one PCS to another.  Thankfully, PCSing also grants the opportunity to start anew, and perhaps slow down for a time.
Personal touches hold dual purpose of memory-keeping and beautifying even the most outdated of base housing.  The idea of home becomes less dependent on the house or the things in it, but more about the lives of the people who occupy it.
Creating and keeping traditions–both for one’s self and the family–becomes ever more important when the promise of deployment hangs over everyone’s heads.
All of the aforementioned may sound persevering and heartwarming.  And it is.  Alas, familial bonding and being active in the community does not happen overnight.  Nor does such strength and bliss seem apparent all the time.  Like anything else worth having in life, it requires all the internal energy a person has.  Communication, empathy, understanding, creativity, flexibility, and perhaps the toughest of all…  Patience.
At the end of the day, the military family finds itself handling the same everyday grind, garnished with a little something more.  It requires service members to leave their loved ones for months at a time, sometimes with little to no notice.  It teaches spouses to confirm that all the paperwork–bills, power of attorney, orders, the wills–are kept safe and current.  It keeps children wondering how easy it will be at the next base to make new friends.
Being a military wife, these are circumstances I have signed on for.  From the beginning, the ups and downs have not always been clear to me, but I am choosing to embrace it as we go along.  As a wife, mother, and journalist, I’ll be using this blog as an outlet to further delve into and explore what military life has to offer.
With no decisive end to our military life in sight, I am choosing to embrace and explore, in doing so leaving certain aspects of my once-rigid life plan aside.  While it may not always be easy, it has always been worth it, and I refuse to believe that this whimsical, somewhat transient life has to bethat hard.
That is why regardless of where the military decides to plant us, it is always best to make room for patience.

Room for Patience

Military moves are nothing if not interesting.  Frantic pets.  Rambunctious children.  Eagle-eyed adults who, despite their best efforts, still end up with a dirty litter box on the moving truck.

No matter your family make-up, living the military lifestyle is something one adapts to.  While that lifestyle may look different from one family to the next, there are still several factors they all have in common.

It is learned that cross-country moves are not cause to put life on hold.  Instead there is planning and research that allow for future career, volunteer, or academic endeavors to be seamlessly pursued from one PCS to another.  Thankfully, PCSing also grants the opportunity to start anew, and perhaps slow down for a time.

Personal touches hold dual purpose of memory-keeping and beautifying even the most outdated of base housing.  The idea of home becomes less dependent on the house or the things in it, but more about the lives of the people who occupy it.

Creating and keeping traditions–both for one’s self and the family–becomes ever more important when the promise of deployment hangs over everyone’s heads.

All of the aforementioned may sound persevering and heartwarming.  And it is.  Alas, familial bonding and being active in the community does not happen overnight.  Nor does such strength and bliss seem apparent all the time.  Like anything else worth having in life, it requires all the internal energy a person has.  Communication, empathy, understanding, creativity, flexibility, and perhaps the toughest of all…  Patience.

At the end of the day, the military family finds itself handling the same everyday grind, garnished with a little something more.  It requires service members to leave their loved ones for months at a time, sometimes with little to no notice.  It teaches spouses to confirm that all the paperwork–bills, power of attorney, orders, the wills–are kept safe and current.  It keeps children wondering how easy it will be at the next base to make new friends.

Being a military wife, these are circumstances I have signed on for.  From the beginning, the ups and downs have not always been clear to me, but I am choosing to embrace it as we go along.  As a wife, mother, and journalist, I’ll be using this blog as an outlet to further delve into and explore what military life has to offer.

With no decisive end to our military life in sight, I am choosing to embrace and explore, in doing so leaving certain aspects of my once-rigid life plan aside.  While it may not always be easy, it has always been worth it, and I refuse to believe that this whimsical, somewhat transient life has to be that hard.

That is why regardless of where the military decides to plant us, it is always best to make room for patience.