This is another reason so many writers feel the need to impersonate someone wise or in possession of some marketable truth: it’s a function of insecurity, of fear. If we don’t assume some sort of expertise, why, exactly, should anyone bother reading us, let alone buy our books or invite us to appear on “Fresh Air”? The one thing no editorialist or commentator in any media is ever supposed to say is I don’t know: that they’re too ignorant about the science of climate change to have an informed opinion; that they frankly have no idea what to do about gun violence in this country; or that they’ve just never quite understood the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in all honesty they’re sick of hearing about it. To admit to ignorance, uncertainty or ambivalence is to cede your place on the masthead, your slot on the program, and allow all the coveted eyeballs to turn instead to the next hack who’s more than happy to sell them all the answers.
BUT, when we prioritize being witnesses for the ideology over being good feminists (or Christians), we end up in a place where we quash discourse, where the appearance of presenting a united front is more important than actually sorting out what it means to be alive. We end up prizing conversion to the ideology over and above a discussion of what that ideology looks like. We end up prioritizing the appearance of being good people over being actual good people.
The NY Times calls it a “stain” on America, and wrote: “The prison should have never been opened. It was nothing more than Mr. Bush’s attempt to evade accountability by placing prisoners in another country.” And in 2009 Obama promised to close it. Now, in 2013, it is still open and the prisoners are being held indefinitely without a trial. It is reported, that some of them were farmers taken by mistake in the countrywide sweeps (the US offered a bounty of $5000 per prisoner). One of them was Adnan Latif, who spent more than 10 years in Guantanamo without ever being charged. He was a poet, father, and husband – suffered severe beatings and died in prison. He was cleared for release four separate times yet continued to remain in the prison. On September 8, 2012 – Adnan died. Some of his last words were: “Where is the world to save us?” Another prisoner is Shaker Aamer, the sole UK citizen still at Guantanamo. Shaker recently pleaded, “I hope I do not die in this awful place. I want to hug my children.” He was cleared for release 6 years ago, but continues to wait to hug his kids. Now a total of 9 prisoners have died. Three of those were suicides, and there have been dozens of other attempted suicides as prisoners seek to end the brutal life at Guantanamo.
It may be that the advantages of homeschool so drastically outweigh the benefits of public school that it’s an easy decision for you, but please own that. It may be that homeschooling your kid would be so difficult, stressful, or such an impediment for a good relationship with your child that it’s not worth it. Please own that, too. In other words, if you’ve settled your family’s schooling decision in your own mind, slamming somebody else’s choice will not make your choice more right. It may hurt someone who really needs your support. It also may make you look like a jerk.
You know this situation:
Banning abortion does not actually affect abortion rates. I was could not have been more shocked. I learned that all banning abortion does is make abortion illegal – and unsafe. I found that almost 50,000 women worldwide die each year from unsafe abortions, and that many more experience serious injury or infertility. These deaths happen almost entirely in countries where abortion is illegal – and thus clandestine. In fact, when abortion was made legal in South Africa, the number of abortion related deaths fell by over 90%.
The healing in this story is not that I have wholly accepted my body or that I will never again attempt to change it. It is that now when rejection rises in me against my body — how it looks, how it feels — I have a fuller answer. I can call up the sounds, smells, movements, scars, wrinkles and dimples of my dear ones and look at myself through the lens of that incomparable beauty. This gives me access to a programming deeper than my culture that reminds me that my being here in this world in a body matters. The touch of my hand on a shoulder, my hug, the soothing sound of my voice and the warmth in my eyes are irreplaceable to those who carry me in their hearts. Our physical presence here matters, no matter its shape.
For instance, how often do most adults encounter a situation in which they need to solve a quadratic equation? Do they need to know what constitutes a “group of transformations” or a “complex number”? Of course professional mathematicians, physicists and engineers need to know all this, but most citizens would be better served by studying how mortgages are priced, how computers are programmed and how the statistical results of a medical trial are to be understood.
You’re not a perfect mom. No matter how you try, no matter what you do. You will never be a perfect mom. And maybe that haunts you. Or maybe you’ve made peace with it. Or maybe it was never a problem to begin with. No matter how much you do, there is always more. No matter how little you do, when the day is over, your children are still loved. They still smile at you, believing you have magical powers to fix almost anything. No matter what happened at work, or at school, or in playgroup, you have still done everything in your power to ensure that the next morning will dawn and your children will be as happy, healthy, and wise as could possibly be hoped.