ICYMI Abortions Made Public

Original post from by Irin Carmon at Salon

http://www.salon.com/2012/05/10/abortions_made_public/

It was an “anonymous informant,” Operation Rescue claimed last week, after someone slipped them the April records of 86 women who were treated at Central Family Medical. The clinic’s lawyer was blunter. “It certainly appears to me that a crime was committed,” Cheryl Pilate told the Kansas City Star. Though the clinic (which performs abortions) had already reported a break-in to a locked dumpster, Pilate said it wouldn’t have contained patient records, which are shredded. The “informant” must have gotten the documents – containing names, addresses and details of procedures – another way.

“Our concern is for the privacy of these women and for their health and safety, for which Central Family Planning has shown very little regard,” said Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman – while posting photographs of the documents, partially redacted in black marker, online.

Antiabortion activists want to create the impression that one way or another, a woman’s decision to have an abortion will be discovered and exposed. The Central Family Medical incident is only the latest skirmish in a decades-long effort to undermine the privacy of abortion patients and harass doctors. In the early ’90s, for example, at least one group of clinic protesters printed on their signs the names of women seeking abortions that day, alongside “don’t kill your baby.” Such actions, while failing to make abortion illegal, have nevertheless managed to cloak it in a stigma that belies the fact that one in three women will have an abortion before the age of 45. Now, activists are seeking new ways to shame women who seek abortions, from requiring them to hand over personal information to actually hacking into their medical records.

Kansas has been ground zero for this: Last year, the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys recommended that former Attorney General Phill Kline, a hero to Operation Rescue, have his legal license suspended indefinitely for mishandling the records from murdered abortion provider George Tiller’s clinic. (The Kansas Supreme Court will make the final call.) But the zeal to keep, and sometimes steal, abortion records casts a wide net.

In Texas, the state Department of Health is trying to implement a failed legislative measure that would require abortion clinics to report far more information about their patients to the state. In Florida, voters will weigh in on a ballot measure that would exempt abortion from the privacy clause in the state constitution, with the short-term aim being to strip minors of a right to privacy that would preclude parental consent. The U.K. recently jailed a hacker who stole and intended to publish the records of 10,000 women who visited the country’s largest abortion provider.

“It promotes the idea that abortion – or your privacy, if you have any – is not safe,” says Katie Stack, a graduate student and activist who spoke out about her abortion on an MTV special, “No Easy Decision.” That put her in close contact with the “online ministry” – the name antiabortion activists have given their efforts to reach women considering abortions through the Internet.

This has been the unstated goal of many activists in the antiabortion movement — and, sometimes, the stated one. “This might sound a little strange,” said antiabortion activist Lila Rose at the Value Voters Summit in 2009, but “if I could insist, as long as they are legal in our nation, abortions would be done in the public square, until we were so sick and tired of seeing them that we would do away with the injustice altogether … maybe then we might hear angels singing when we ponder the glory of conception.”

Rose won’t get her wish any time soon, but antiabortion activists are trying to use the Internet to have a similar effect. Rose was recently on a panel at the International Pro-Life Youth Conference about social media and pro-life activism, where topics includedtargeting women who are seeking information about abortion online, whether through Yahoo Answers or YouTube commenters – including figuring out where they live and recommending a crisis pregnancy center nearby.

“Privacy is very important to women who have abortions,” says Kate Cockrill, program director of the Social and Emotional Aspects of Abortion project, at the University of California, San Francisco. She points out that abortion is traditionally underreported even in confidential surveys, “which is a good indication that women don’t want to be associated with abortion experience in the eyes of someone who’s gathering data, even if it’s anonymous.”

Cockrill recently conducted a survey, as yet unpublished, that seeks to measure the impact of social stigma on women who’ve had abortions. It asked 641 women who had had abortions about 61 items, including questions about the fear people would gossip about you, judge you or hurt you, or the fear that you would lose an important relationship.

So far, she’s found that the women who experienced the most stigma were worried about being judged more than they were about being hurt or harmed, that they feared loss of social status and the ruining of their public identity, that they felt isolated and guilty, and that they feared community condemnation.

But as with other abortion restrictions, which create extra burdens in the supposed service of changing women’s minds, it’s not clear that anyone’s mind is being changed.

“Lots of women who feel a lot of stigma about abortions have abortion anyway,” Cockrill says. “If it’s not doing what antiabortion people want it to do, which is reducing the number of abortions, is it doing something on the other end, [after the fact]?”

Cockrill and her team are going to be using their scale in a study next year to look at the relationship between stigma and poor coping after abortion. Given that antiabortion activists have added to their obsessions the alleged harm abortion causes to women, there’s reason to believe that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Women who have abortions, Cockrill says, “have a huge range of political views.” In fact, in her survey, only 62 percent of the women identified as pro-choice. (Seven percent identified as prolife, and 18 percent described their position as “mixed or neither.”)

“A lot of women don’t experience their abortions as a political act,” Cockrill says, partly an extension of the fact that they don’t see it as constitutive of their identity.

Whether it’s political rhetoric or individual ambivalence, these women are highly sensitive about whom they tell they had abortions. Sixty-four percent of the women in the study said they’d “withheld information about my abortion to someone I’m close to,” and 45 percent said they’d “lied to someone I’m close to about my abortion.”

They may not see it as political, but that silence functions as a vicious circle that antiabortion activists happily seize upon and promote. Cockrill says, “Some people say, ‘We need to have more people come out about their abortions.’ But it’s impossible to get more women to talk about their abortions if they don’t feel supported. And it needs to be on women’s own terms.”

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16 and Loved

On Tuesday MTV will air a new episode of their hit reality tv show, 16 & Pregnant. While the show has often been accused of glamorizing teen pregnancy and criticised for ignoring the complexity of teen abortion, it seems to have struck a chord with it’s audience. Since my own interaction with the 16 & Pregnant staff and crew filming No Easy Decision, I gained a new respect for 16&P and the difficulty of portraying teen pregnancy in an ethical way. Still, I couldn’t help but be a little dismayed by the fact that only abortion-related discussion on the show aired at 11pm in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve – not exactly peek viewing hours. 

My hope is that this week’s episode will bring some much needed attention to the abortion option, within the context of other parenting decisions. 

Briana’s story will primarily be focused on her decision to continue a teen pregnancy and her struggle with life, love and her new daughter. Certainly the focus is on Briana, as it should be – the show is called 16 & Pregnant after all. However, within Briana’s story is the story of her older sister Brittany, who also finds herself facing an unplanned pregnancy. Through Brittany’s abortion took place without the cameras, her experience remains a factor in the family dynamic. 

Sound familiar? 

The story is shockingly similar to the circumstances of my own abortion – which took place the day my 18 year old sister brought my nephew home from the hospital. Apparently the producers at MTV thought so too, which is why they put Brittany and I in contact with each other so we could chat before the show. 

We did, and much of what she had to say resonated with my own abortion experience. 

She explained that, more than anything, she wanted viewers to understand that her abortion decision wasn’t something that she did for herself, but that it was something that she did for her family and because of the context of her pregnancy. She chose to share her experience alongside her sister’s story because she wants to be able to help other people. 

And she will. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s there sharing your abortion story can be an incredibly profound thing, and that it can bring a lot of comfort to women that you’ll never meet. 

Every day I receive emails and comments from women and girls who have had or who will be having an abortion. Hearing someone else’s story helps them to feel not alone, and affirms and validates their feelings – feelings that are so often silenced and stigmatized in today’s pro-choice vs. pro-life world. 

Brittany (and Briana) may not know it yet, but by sharing their stories they are helping countless people feel affirmed in their own experiences, validated in their own struggles and hopeful for their own healing. 

Unfortunately,we know that those who are opposed to abortion are ruthless, and that they often turn to harassment and cruelty in order to silence those who speak out in favor of the option of abortion. In order to counteract that, and to provide support for Brittany, Briana and their family, I’ve resurrected the hashtag #16andloved

Please use it when tweeting about the show, to share your comments or to provide messages of support to Brittany and her family. You can also post comments here. 

 

The show will air Tuesday April 3rd at 10pm/9c on MTV

 

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Looking for Abortion Stories!

If you’ve had an abortion and faced any opposition to receiving the care you needed, we want to hear from you! A national organization is seeking these stories. They can be anonymous if desired. If your access to abortion care was hindered by laws, lack of resource, and anti-abortion groups, please send me an email at itskatie73@gmail.com 

 

Thanks!

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Facebook Censors Safe Abortions

Today Facebook removed one of Rebecca Gomperts’ pictures.

 

The image consisted of text instructions of how to safely induce an abortion using medication.

Dr. Gomperts is a well-known abortion rights activist and the Director of Women on Waves – a charitable organization focused on women’s health and human rights. Its mission is to protect maternal health by preventing unsafe abortions. Women on Waves sails a ship to countries where abortion is illegal.

On board the ship the medical staff provides sexual education and healthcare services. Early medical abortion (up to 6 1/2 weeks of pregnancy) can be provided safely, professionally and legally.

Applicability of national penal legislation, and also abortion law, extends only to territorial  waters. Outside that 12-mile radius it is Dutch law that applies on board a ship under that Dutch flag, which means that all Women on Waves activities are legal.

Women on Waves efforts draw much needed public attention to the consequences of unwanted pregnancy and unsafe, illegal abortion.

To date the ship has sailed to Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

Women on Waves also supported the launch of  safe abortion hotlines in South Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

In 2005 it founded Women on Web, a telemedicine abortion service that provides medical abortions to women in countries where there is no access to safe abortion.

http://www.womenonwaves.org

http://www.womenonweb.org

By removing the picture, Facebook is in gross violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Facebook has a social responsibility to guarantee human rights.

Dr. Gomperts reposted the screenshot of the Facebook censorship message with the picture.

She is asking all Facebook users that support abortion rights to repost the message on their page.

 

 

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Personhood USA Talks Presidential Politics

Tonight the organization Personhood USA hosted a Presidential Forum via teleconference. Only the candidates who have signed the Pro-Life Pledge were in attendance – Romney and Huntsman were not. To be sure, this wasn’t the first right wing teleconference that I have listened in on and in keeping with what I had heard on others, my expectations were low. But this one was particularly pathetic. No new views, opinions or ideas were expressed and for the most part the candidates seemed to be unenthusiastic about the topic. They simply reiterated the same talking points and reinforced the false claim that this movement is “youth-driven.”

Perhaps the only interesting thing that I took away from this discussion was the sense that the entire pro-life side of the debate is significantly more concerned about religion than about fetuses. While science was brought up a few times, the majority of the discussion pivoted on the idea that pro-life is the Christian position, and that an attack on pro-life ideology is an attack on Christianity. Now, I’ve heard the personhood movement described by anti-choicers as a culture war before, but it was a bit shocking to hear potential Republican nominees discuss it in that manner.

The event opened with Lila Rose who, as usual, sounded more like a preacher than an activist. She used a lot of hyperbole to talk about her experience crafting hoax videos to try to make Planned Parenthood (the largest abortion chain in American – as Rose always adds) look bad. She didn’t say anything that she hasn’t already said. I swear, this girl has one speech memorized and she just repeats it! Still, I find it interesting that they include her, as she been so discredited publicly. It’s probably just because she’s young and they’re really trying to promote the idea that young people support the personhood concept – even though they overwhelmingly do not.

Ron Paul 

Is a pro-life libertarian. You would think that that’s a bit oxymoronic, but apparently it’s not. My dad told me this evening that today Rush Limbaugh was saying that he thinks Paul is really a socialist who was planted by the Democrats. Makes sense. Anyway, Paul used to deliver babies so he’s really quite fond of them. Apparently he needs to brush up on his medical terminology though – it’s a fetus, not a baby. He thinks life is super important, and he also knows that the Republican base cares about it. So, he recently launched a new pro-life ad. Frankly, I’m more interested to see how his libertarian followers justify this particular position than I am about what Paul thinks about it.

Rick Perry

Generally sounded like he was in pain. He was slow, off topic and didn’t really have a whole lot to say. I really think he has concluded his campaign, which is a shame because he’s adorable just like W. In his typical rambling style Perry stated that he supports a Personhood Amendment. He was asked about his former support for allowing exceptions for victims of rape or incest. No more! Apparently, after meeting with a woman who was conceived in rape he decided that it would be best that all women be forced to carry their abuser’s children to term. Also, Christmas strengthened this view for him. How sweet… He then took the opportunity to remind listeners of just how very Christian he is – God has been working on his heart! What? To remove it?

Michele Bachmann 

At first she wasn’t on the call, which gave the hosts the opportunity to talk more about God and how important it is for Christians to be pro-life, and to force it on everyone else as well. But once on, Bachmann took the opportunity to differentiate herself from the other candidates. According to Bachmann, she’s not just pro-life politically, but being pro-life is the core of her conviction. Now, for those of us who recognize that the pro-life position is all about controlling women, this statement basically read “I’m really anti-woman.” But hey, maybe it played better to the intended audience. She also chose to talk about religion here – making the claim that God is pro-life. Yeah yeah, God is a misogynist. We get it. Oh, and our Declaration of Independence is super pro-life, and although the Constitution arguably grants the right to privacy (which the Supreme Court decided meant even about medical stuff- like pregnancy) it’s super pro-life too. Obviously, as they were handed down to the founding fathers from God…or something.

Bachmann talked about how she was going to repeal Obamacare a lot. She also conflated medical abortions and emergency contraception, and argued that Obamacare meant that both would be sold in the bubble gum aisle of stores. Where is this store that has a whole aisle devoted to bubble gum? Is it in Minnesota? Because most the stores I go to sell it in the check out lane…

Oh, and in case you didn’t know – Bachmann has 5 kids and has had 23 foster kids. Which means it’s totally legit for her to take away women’s rights with a Personhood Amendment (which she supports). Mother knows best.

Rick Santorum 

Actually sounded like he might be a presidential candidate. But then he got a little bit distracted and started lecturing. Have you ever tried to listen to him? It’s really hard. He urged listeners to stop saying that they “believe” in things that are obviously fact. Like that God exists, is pro-life and wants to you caucus for Rick Santorum. Or that life begins at conception. Or that fetuses are more important than women. You don’t believe these things. They are facts.

Santorum really hates the trimester framework for thinking about abortion as established by the SCOTUS ruling of Roe v. Wade. For him, a 1 week old embryo is the exact same as an 8 month old fetus. He doesn’t believe this. This is fact.

Additionally, it is fact that “all God’s creatures should be protected.” Is Santorum vegan? Because if not I think he misspoke… And on the God note, Ricky went on to talk about how there’s this huge difference between the freedom of religion and the freedom of worship. He thinks that the freedom to worship is protected in the US, but not so much the freedom of religion. Because apparently the Christian religion is all about forcing Christian views on everyone, and here in America the government is a huge bully and doesn’t let Christians do their Christian thing.

Newt Gingrich 

Took this opportunity to remind everyone that he’s a historian. And to promote his website. And to remind people that he writes stuff and that you can read it on his website. He wants to pass a Personhood Amendment to the Constitution and make it very, very hard to remove. Or pass other legislation that’s very difficult to repeal. Basically, he wants to pounce on this faux-personhood movement to put something in law for everyone forever.

He’s also rabidly opposed to Planned Parenthood. Instead of helping women prevent pregnancy, he wants to use that money to push poor and young women to give their children up for adoption. You know, so wealthy, white Christian parents can raise them – as God intended. He also wants to cut reproductive health funds to foreign countries. You hear that Africa? No more aid for fighting HIV/AIDS! He also thinks victims of rape or incest should toughen up, do the Christian thing and give birth to the offspring of their abusers. It’s what Jesus would do! Oh, and if you didn’t know, Newt is a historian and you can learn more about that on his website.

The forum ended with the host remarking that he felt that the candidates “did the best they can.” And if that’s true than these people have pretty low expectations. There was a bit more talk about the importance of Christian voters, a lot of talk about God and I even heard these white guys drop a couple “brothas.” Truthfully, the whole thing seemed a lot more like a youth group meeting than any type of political discussion. Then again, this is the Christian right we’re talking about.

And if you’ve never had the privilege to go to an evangelical youth event, they’re much like the video below – without the hilarious Jewish girl. 

 

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In Defense of Iowa

Early this week former University of Iowa professor Stephen Bloom published a rather derogatory piece about Iowa in the Atlantic- essentially claiming that, as whole, my home state amounts to little more than every bad stereotype that has even been uttered about “fly over country” and that we therefore have no right to host the nation’s first caucus.

While I may agree with him on that last point – and would also argue that it’s time we have a frank discussion about the value of our electoral processes entirely – the manner is which he went about making said point was just a tiny bit tasteless. Oh yeah, and totally untrue. And ridiculous.

Bloom managed to use just enough anecdotal “evidence” to string together a slew of stereotypes and make them seem like a legitimate story. In truth, anyone who has spent any time in Iowa knows that his “insight” is about as accurate as one of those “You Know You’re An Iowan If…” chain mails that we all used to receive in the 90s. And although I’ve been an Iowan for the majority of my life, I can’t really relate. Seriously, I’ve never driven a tractor and I didn’t grow up on a farm.

But maybe I don’t really count as an “Iowan.” After all, my entire extended family lives on the east coast. My dad was born and raised just south of the Canadian border – my mother just south of the Mason-Dixon line. I was born in Boston.

Since moving to Iowa when I was seven years old, my family has dealt with our fair share of Iowa-based stereotypes. Trips to visit relatives always involved lots of questions from cousins – “What do ya’ll do for fun out there?” And teasing from aunts and uncles – “Wait? Do you even know how to use a fork?” But at the end of the day I have to admit, I felt a bit smug about my Iowa upbringing when I compared it to my relatives in Virginia. There was no doubt that my public education was better than theirs, that my group of friends was more diverse, or that an Iowan “accent” just sounds more intelligent than a Southern one. Or a Boston one for that matter.

So yeah, I suppose I’m pretty proud to be an Iowan. In fact, after spending my summer driving across the country I was pretty thrilled to be home. People are just generally nice and reasonable here. In fact, after spending the past two years in Minnesota I have to say that there’s little difference between the two. Are we vanilla? Sure, but everyone loves vanilla. And it goes with just about anything.

I’ll concede that Bloom does get one thing right – his depiction of Iowa as a state divided is pretty spot on. For the most part the eastern portion of the state is intensely progressive, the west intensely conservative. And yes, there are lots of Asian students at the University of Iowa – but please provide me with an example of one major state university where this isn’t the case.

I guess my biggest beef with this article is that while Bloom claims to be making generalizations about the state as a whole, most of his “examples” are more representative of the rural areas of the state (Bloom worked and lived in Iowa City, so I’m going to guess that his first-hand experiences with the “hicks” of Iowa are more imaginings than real lived experiences) and I can’t help but feel like they’re more his musings on what these people would actually be like than what they actually are.

Finally, I have to say that the points that Bloom brings up to demonstrate why Iowa is a worthless, disgusting plot of land are exactly why we are the perfect place to host the nation’s first primary contest. We’re moderate!

We have a little bit of everything. We’re not extreme.

I mean, have you even looked at the shape of Iowa? It’s like a mini USA, and it’s right in the center…

Below I’ve addressed a few of the most particularly annoying stereotypes the Bloom harps on in his piece.

Go ahead and read the real thing if you feel so inclined:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/12/observations-from-20-years-of-iowa-life/249401/1/

1.) We’re not all farmers.

Most of Bloom’s comments (and his more humorous one-liners) are centered around the assumption – and in his case assertion – that all Iowans are farmers, know farmers, or are in some way involved in “farm culture.” In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Had I not ridden horses (which I did for sport, mind you, not for transportation purposes as Bloom would probably suggest) I would probably had as much interaction with farmland as someone from any metropolitian area.

Additionally:

I’ve never been on a tractor.

I have no idea what a Tractor Pull or Combine Demolition Derby is.

I first heard of Future Farmers of America in college.

I’ve never hunted anything and to my knowledge I don’t know anyone who hunts.

I was a junior in college the first time I tasted deer meat. It was from a friend who lived in Minnesota.

2) Laid-off factory workers exist…um, everywhere.

Aren’t you teaching in Michigan now, Bloom? Enough said.

But seriously, how does this make us any different from any other state?

3) Immigrants aren’t an “Iowa-thing”

But maybe tolerance is.

The fact that Iowa has a sizable population of immigrant workers would seem to fly in the face of Bloom’s there’s – no – diversity – in – Iowa – anywhere and they’re – totally – isolated – from – any – of – the – issues – that – most – states – face arguments, but apparently he didn’t quite piece that together.

As an undergraduate at my tiny, insignificant Cedar Rapids-area college I did work in Postville, IA to help local businesses better cater to their new Spanish-only speaking neighbors. But you know – Iowans are bitter, ignorant hicks who hate diversity. These small town inbreds (as Bloom would characterize them) may not have known how to speak Spanish, but they weren’t clinging to their “English-only” ideals either.

4) Religion is the same everywhere.

I was raised Catholic. Most of my friends were born-again Evangelicals or Lutherans.  We all went to church with each other and I don’t think anyone really ever saw much of a difference.  There’s a mosque down the street from my parent’s house. I had a good friend in middle school who was Hindu (he later when the Catholic high school and we lost touch). My first ever soccer coach was a Jew from Poland.

I’m not saying that diversity is prevalent in Iowa, but it’s there. And not in the we – have – Jews – in – the – classroom – so – let’s – talk – about – their – holiday – to – humor – them sort of way, but in the we’re – going – to – learn – about – this – so – you’re – not – a – ignorant -fuck – when – you’re – exposed – to – it kind.

In fact, it was was my Iowa-native public school teachers who taught me about the hegemonic presence of Christianity in our society and who encouraged me to think critically about it.

Sure, we have the usual “Pray for an End to Abortion” billboards, but I can assure you that they exist along just about every highway in the country.

In fact, I would have to say that in terms of religious fundamentalism Iowa is pretty moderate. Have you been anywhere in the South? My guess is probably not…

5.) We’re an agricultural state…

I’m not really sure what Bloom’s problem is with the fact that Iowa isn’t Los Angeles – but apparently it’s just that. Among his more ridiculous complaints are things like:

We don’t have smog (What? Good clean air for breathing? The horror!)

A lot of the corn we grow goes to feed animals, not people (Do you eat meat? Shut up)

We have a low crime rate (I know. I hate the fact that I can trust my neighbors too)

We are polite drivers (Road rage is apparently as American as…smog?)

In short, because we aren’t reminiscent of a big city, we suck. Even if the things that make us different actually make our quality of life a tiny bit better too.

6.) We eat like Americans.

Except that unlike most other areas of the country, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Actually, Iowa is one of the few states in the country where it’s plausible to eat an entirely vegan diet of locally grown, organic produce.

But you know, apparently Iowans are all about the pork and deer – and that’s it. And for the record – I’ve only ever tasted either. Contrary to Bloom’s belief, I don’t think my mother has ever served us pulled-pork, and I can’t recall ever eating it.

Bloom concludes his article with a cute little story that I’m going to go ahead and call complete bullshit.

In summary, he went out and bought his kid a yellow lab because “every boy needs a dog” (nice one, you sexist, gender-sterotyping fuck). Then because his kid wasn’t actually responsible enough to take care of it, he was forced to walk it.

I’d just like to point out, for the record, that this little Iowan has always walked her own damn dog. You know, because my hick-Iowa parents taught me about this hick-Iowa thing called responsibility, but I digress…

Bloom’s ultimate complaint, the self-described “crucible” of his problem with Iowa, is that people asked him if he hunted with the dog.

The yellow labrador.

The dog that, according to the AKC, was designed and bred to retrieve game.

THE AUDACITY OF SOME PEOPLE!

You mean Iowans shouldn’t be the first primary state because people are able to see a hunting dog and make the connection and maybe it’s used for hunting?

Idiots.

Let me guess, you had a neon orange hunting collar on her too? 

But, the fact that he bought a hunting dog aside, I’m going to have to go ahead and doubt this story. In part because for 3 years I walked an English Springer Spaniel every day (also a hunting dog) and nobody ever asked me if I hunted with him.

Plenty of my non-hunting friends have labs and they’ve never complained about this.

In all likelihood what happened is that some nice, friendly, Iowan saw a dude walking a labrador and wanted to make conversation. You know, because we’re nice people and all. And instead of going for the generic weather comment, he thought he would compliment his neighbor’s dog. But instead of just saying – pretty dog – friendly-Iowa-neighbor added a question to the end to invite conversation. And what came to his mind when he saw some dude walking a dog that was bred for hunting?

Do you hunt with it?

Bloom concludes with the following:

To me, it summed up Iowa. You’d never get a dog because you might just want to walk with the dog or to throw a ball for her to fetch. No, that’s not a reason to own a dog in Iowa. You get a dog to track and bag animals that you want to stuff, mount, or eat.

That’s the place that may very well determine the next U.S. president.

As stated perviously. I don’t believe his little dog anecdote. Mostly because I’m a dog lover, and I know that most Iowans don’t hunt with their dogs. In fact, I’ve only known one person who does. Even in the tiny town of Algona, IA most people don’t hunt with their pets. I’ve shown dogs, I’ve trained them for  agility and confirmation shows. All of which are pretty common here. Most people don’t hunt with their dogs, and that’s hardly ever assumed.

That being said, I have to ask, what difference does it make?

The reason people don’t hunt in say, New York City, is because there’s nothing to hunt.

Iowa, with its land and agriculture and *gasp* hunting, is just as “American” as anywhere else.

Bloom’s article does little more than play into the argument that there are certain parts of the country that are more legitimate and “American” than others.

That somehow being friendly and moderate means you aren’t qualified to have the first say in who the next presidential candidates should be.

In the end, Bloom’s commentary serves as an unfortunate reminder of just how ignorant and small-minded too many Americans are. It’s a demonstration of that which divides us most.

And finally, it’s a testament to just how bitchy and bitter someone can get when their program is cut from a university and they’re forced to move.

 

Correction: To clarify, the Department of Journalism and Communications and still alive and well at the University of Iowa. My last comment was based purely on rumors that Dr. Bloom took up the opportunity to visit Michigan after the U of I’s undergraduate department lost accreditation last year.

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When I Needed Help, I Got Propaganda

Check out my latest piece, which was published today in the New York Times!

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/06/opinion/crisis-pregnancy-centers-and-propaganda.html?_r=1&ref=contributors

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