Friday, November 21, 2008

Dear Alex

I am thinking of you today. In my mind, you are still 3, tiny hands and feet, impish smile. The last time I saw you, your beautiful hair was all shaved off, but in my mind I see the blonde curls. In my mind, I guess, you are still three. It is hard to believe that you would be turning 12 soon. I try to imagine what you would be like, but my mind is stuck, you will be forever 3, I guess.
Your brother is 13 already, big and strong. He plays football, and I often wonder if you would have joined him out there, though I doubt it. I imagine you as an artist, or curled up under the covers reading Harry Potter with a flashlight. Jesse doesn't talk about you much anymore. He remembers driving home from your funeral and asking me where you were, if you were with God. I can still hear his little voice, and see his stubby finger pointing at the sky, "I see Alex and his gang on that cloud, Mom." I ache for him, because I see his desire for a little brother in every little boy that comes through our lives.
I know with all of me that you and Ciarra would still be close. She is big now, this little sprite of a girl you called "my baby". She is ten. Alex, do you know she still talks about you all the time? She asked me the other day what your favorite song was. I laugh and cry at the same time, remembering you screaming out the words to "Who Let The Dogs Out". That is your song, you are stuck with it, buddy. Ciarra seems to have a connection with you that will never break, and I wonder how on Earth she can still remember. She was only 2 when you left us. But she remembers, there is no doubt about it.
Kristin talks about you a lot more now. She has been begging us to let her get a tattoo on her wrist. She wants it to be your name and your dates or birth and death. I worry that having the pain of you so close will be hard on her. I suppose it is no harder than what she already feels. She was old enough to remember it all, and to feel guilt and grief in the way only preteens can. I know she understands, but I also know that your loss changed her forever. She is going to be 20 soon. I imagine she would do the same with you she does with Jesse, harrass and laugh, tease and love with everything in her. They have discovered they like each other, finally, and I know you would be right in the middle of that, complaining and laughing all at once.
Andrea is a mother now. She has a beautiful baby girl. She talks about you often, too. At Halloween we laughed and laughed remembering you going to the patio door when you heard a knock one Halloween when you were small, and screaming your silly head off when she walked in in an alien costume. You were so scared. I have never seen anyone so scared. Sorry we laughed, but I am glad we have that memory. Andrea loves you, and I know she will read this, and Andrea..he loved you too kid. Rob and Wendy have a little boy too now, Hunter. They moved away, they live in Florida now. We will get to see them next week, we are going to visit Grammy and Papa. Grammy made me a photo quilt, and I was so happy to see that you were not left off it. So many people forget to include you, or they dont want to mention it. I am always happy to see your little face peeking out at me from it. I may have 3 kids now, but in my heart, the answer is always "I have 4". You are not forgotten, baby, you never will be.
Daddy doesnt talk about you much, not ever, really. A few months ago, I asked him why, and he started to cry. That was answer enough.
Alex, I visit your tree a couple times a year. On your birthday, and on the days you left us, the day I last held you, the day your spirit went to Heaven, and the day your body did. Christmas is coming, and I will drive to the tree and decorate it again. Last year, when I went back on your Birthday in Jan, others had added deocrations too. I think your teachers maybe go there, too. Your tree is so big now. Sometimes I see how tall it is, and it is hard. When the leaves are coming alive in the Spring, you are not, and that is always hard to see. But I love watching it grow. I just wish it could be you I am watching, instead. But this is what we have now, and I will be grateful for it.
I wrote to you today because I realized how long it has been since I found a toy you once played with, or a sock that somehow still pops up in the laundry room. I havent seen the box with your clothes in it in awhile. But I dont forget you. You are in my mind often, when I hear a song, or see a little boy that reminds me of you, or a picture. We love you, Alex, every one of us that knew you. Even when we dont say your name every day. Even when it is too hard to talk about you. Dont ever forget that.

" I wouldn't want to live like...that"

Many times as Ciarra's mom, I have talked to people who would oppose kids with Down syndrome ever even being born. Moms who have aborted, Doctors who think it is somehow an ethical duty to rid the world of kids like mine. Sometimes it is hard to view the world without rose-colored glasses, because taking them off means seeing that society as a whole deems kids like Ciarra less-than, undesirable, disposable.

New tests to detect it in utero are being fast tracked to the world, the race to be the first with a 100% effective tool for detection and elimination is on. Soon, kids like her, with their gently slanted eyes and their supple and soft little bodies, will be rare. Sure, many folks will continue to choose life for their babies. But society seems to think the best thing to do is be rid of them, and how long will it be until we hear "We can't help you, you CHOSE this for your child"? I suspect not long. That we could have prevented these incredibly special lives from ever seeing the light of day ("it's painless" "just a blood test" "no risk of losing a normal baby!") will be seen as poor parenting, or worse.

I have lived long enough now to have seen some of the worst the world can offer to those born "different" or made different by some travesty in their lives.

Baby Doe, starved to death because he happened to be born with Down syndrome and a 100% repairable feeding issue his parents chose not to treat. His life was seen as not worth living, but his death gave us new laws that granted some care and oversight to those born disabled and needing care.

U.S.C.A. TITLE 42, CHAPTER 67, Sec. 5106a. Grants to States for child abuse and neglect prevention and treatment programs:

(B) an assurance that the State has in place procedures for responding to the reporting of medical neglect (including instances of withholding of medically indicated treatment from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions), procedures or programs, or both (within the State child protective services system), to provide for--
(i) coordination and consultation with individuals designated by and within appropriate health-care facilities;
(ii) prompt notification by individuals designated by and within appropriate health-care facilities of cases of suspected medical neglect (including instances of withholding of medically indicated treatment from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions); and
(iii) authority, under State law, for the State child protective services system to pursue any legal remedies, including the authority to initiate legal proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction, as may be necessary to prevent the withholding of medically indicated treatment from disabled infants with life threatening conditions;

Terri Schiavo, whose agonizing death captured the nation for 14 days, and made us all silent witnesses to court-sanctioned discrimination, if not murder. Why? Because despite her smiles, despite her seeming reactions to the mother who adored her, her husband and the state decided her life was not worth living.

And then there is the case of Haleigh Poutre, a beautiful little girl whose stepfather beat her so severely she was brain-damaged and seen as being in a vegetative state. The courts ordered her life support removed, too, but Haleigh fooled them all. Her will to live kicked in the week before life support was due to be taken off, and her recovery since has been miraculous, although she will likely never walk again, and her brain damage has done so much damage that many people would procliam they "wouldn't want to live like that." Apparently Haleigh wants to, she seems to enjoy her life, and is making steady gains. That she will never be a college professor or Rhoades scholar is sad, but then, how many of us will be, either? Haleigh's life is just that, Haleigh's.

Who are we to decide whose life is "worth living"? Stephen Hawking lives his days in a body ravaged by ALS, and yet he is seen as a scholar and brilliant mind. He, according to society, is deemed "good enough".

Is it because he has a mind still sharp as a tack, that he never suffered from being less smart, just less able? Why do we allow this judgement to pervade our thinking, that smart is everything?

I cannot fathom a world without the Haleigh's, the Terri's, the Ciarra's, and the Stephen's. We would be the lessor for it. Their need for us to be tolerant, sensitive and able to see their higher graces despite their struggles makes us a better people. We all need to remember that we are a heartbeat or a breath away from being in their shoes, and treat them as we ourselves would want to be treated. With dignity, respect, and kindness. Because God let them live, just "like that". And that is plenty good enough for me.

Monday, November 03, 2008

"electic bills will necessarily skyrocket"

MY bill is already extremely high, we have hydro power here, plus extreme temps. HOW can anyone believe this man is right for us?

Redemption in a blog.

I have seen a lot of people who I have long respected make arguments for why Obama is so good for us, why it is ok to vote for him, and I have sat by and watched. I have not been able to articulate my own thoughts well enough, I guess. My overriding feeling is that abortion IS a big enough issue to not vote for him. But I was thinking maybe that was just me, that maybe it isnt a good idea to marginalize myself, be a "one isue voter". Well, today I read this article, and every word rang true to me. I am quoting part of the article. I know what the Bible says, and THAT is what I am voting. Not a man, not a party, but the BIBLE, God's word. Moral equivalance aside. It really is ok to take a stand.

Forget the words of men, forget the media coverage of the presidential race. Just think about these words of Almighty God:

If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech…I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him… (Leviticus 20:1-5)

Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the LORD your God is giving you as your inheritance, and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed. (Deuteronomy 19:10)

He sent them to destroy Judah…Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive. (2 Kings 24:2-4)

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood… (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will give you over to bloodshed and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you. (Ezekiel 35:6)

Every Christian should take these teachings seriously. Is the unborn an innocent human being? If you claim to be prolife in the historical meaning of the word, then your answer is yes. Is abortion the shedding of innocent blood, the taking of human life created in the image of God? If you say you are prolife, your answer must be yes. (Please do not redefine the meaning of the word prolife and say "I'm prolife" if you're really not.)

So, is the candidate’s stand on the issue of shedding innocent blood important enough to disqualify him as a candidate? Yes. While a single issue can’t qualify a candidate, it can disqualify him. In my opinion, this issue clearly disqualifies Barack Obama, just as it disqualified Republican Rudy Giuliani.

I don’t think someone is a good candidate just because he is prolife. But he cannot be a good candidate unless he is prolife. Personally, if he is committed to legalized child-killing, as a matter of conscience I must vote against him.

John Piper takes this same position in an article he wrote about one-issue politics.

Now, when someone says, "But still, abortion isn't the only issue," I agree. I care very much about the poor and racial equality. That's why if John McCain was committed to legalizing the killing of the poor and the killing of ethnic minorities, I would not vote for him either.

But suppose you have two candidates, one who has promised to defend and further the legalized killing of one group of people (any group: women, minorities, disabled, unborn, poor.) You disagree with the other candidate in areas that in their own right might be important, but do not involve the merciless slaughter of millions of people. Furthermore, the second candidate—whom you consider boring and disagreeable—believes that same group of people has the right to live, and he says he will defend their rights, and appoint judges who will defend it. Now, which candidate should you vote for?

If neither candidate were committed to the legalized killing of people, any people, then I would say, by all means weigh and measure those other important issues and make your choice. But can you seriously argue that these other issues trump the killing of millions of innocent children, not just now, but in the decades to come under a proabortion Supreme Court that could have been a prolife Supreme Court?

Don't you believe that though there were other issues in Nazi Germany besides the killing of Jews, Gypsies and the disabled, that all those other issues were trumped by that one? If Lincoln's platform involved ending slavery yet you agreed with Douglas (who wanted slavery to remain legal) in lots of other areas, would you feel right voting for Douglas, knowing you were voting for slavery?

So I say OF COURSE THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES. I don't minimize them. All I can say is the differences between the candidates on those issues don't stack up, even cumulatively, to the legalized killing of human beings. It's a matter of relative importance, not just a number of issues. A man who is a good husband in most respects, but who beats his wife, is not a good husband. That issue outweighs all the others.

In a previous blog comment, someone said they wouldn't vote for McCain due to his failures in his first marriage. I too am troubled by John McCain's treatment of his first wife. He has said it was a failure on his part, but whether he has repented, I don't know. This is one of several things I don't like about John McCain. But his past failure in marriage is not comparable to Obama taking a present stand for the legalized killing of children.

I am not excited about John McCain in every area. But when I compare him to Barack Obama in the overriding issue of our day, the right of preborn children to live, there is a stark and radical difference. In America right now, the rights of Jews to live and slaves to be free are not on the table. The right of unborn children to live is on the table. The killing of the unborn is the holocaust of our day. Where do you want to have stood on this issue? Where do you want the man you vote for to have stood on it? If your grandchildren ask you one day whether you voted for or against the right of children to live, what will you say?

Yesterday someone else left a comment saying, Hurry and compose a blog to the under 30's Christians who are planning to vote for a 3rd party candidate in hopes of "sending a message" to the RNC! FOCA could very well be the last nail in the coffin.

I sympathize with wanting to send a message to the Republican Party. I have done this both in state elections and once on the presidential level. One year I wrote in a third party candidate Alan Keyes, an African American who has boldly stood up for unborn children. There is a time to do this.

But is this the time, when failing to vote for McCain could ultimately remove hundreds of laws limiting abortion at the statewide level—informed consent and parental consent and late term abortion measures? As a physician commenting on my last blog said, prolife physicians and nurses and hospitals could find themselves with a federal mandate to perform abortions, and lose their licenses if they refuse. The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama promised Planned Parenthood he will sign if elected president (my previous blog has this on video), could ultimately do all this and more. It may also make life very difficult for Pregnancy Resource Centers.

Would John McCain be a great president? I don't know. Maybe he wouldn't even be a good president. There are so many claims by both candidates that their words seem like wind to me. I don't feel like I know a lot. But I do know for certain that one candidate defends the right of the unborn to live, and the other is utterly committed to be sure that it remains legal to kill them. And on THAT issue I know what God says is right and wrong.

Yes, I realize Obama is cool. As I said two blogs ago, I really wanted to vote for him, so I could be cool too. John McCain is not so cool. And he's a Republican at a time where being a Republican definitely isn't cool. The question isn't whether I'd like the Republican Party to change. (I would.) I'm not voting for the Republican Party. In one sense I'm not voting mainly for John McCain. I am voting for McCain because it's my only way in this election to vote for the right of unborn children to live rather than die.

Now, if you think that's an overstatement, that the difference between the candidates isn't that great, or they will not influence the future of abortion in this country, I challenge you to look at Obama's dogged commitment to the legalized killing of unborn children, backed up by his 100% proabortion voting record. And look at McCain's repeatedly stated commitment, also demonstrated by his voting record, to oppose the legalized killing of children. If you think your presidential vote is not for or against unborn children, you don't understand the significance of the Freedom of Choice Act or the significance of the balance of power of the Supreme Court with the Obama judges who are certain to be pro-legal-abortion and the McCain judges who are virtually certain to be anti-legal-abortion.

My conversations with fellow Christians who are prolife but are voting for Obama have common themes these days. They always emphasize "Obama is prochoice, not proabortion." To which I respond, "actually he is pro-legalized-abortion." This is emphatically true, based on his own words and 100% consistent voting record. It shouldn't be considered a matter for debate. What politician in the country is more strongly committed to legalized abortion than Obama is? Every radical proabortion group knows this, and everyone of them have been working tirelessly to get him elected.