Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Review of "The Agitator's Daughter" in honor of Sheria who lost her mother September 15...

This book was written by Sheryll Cashin, an African American who also had an Irish ancestor. She is a professor of law at Georgetown University who also writes about racism. As does Sheria whose blog is "The Examined Life" taken from a quote from Socrates--her link is: http://theexaminedlife-sheria.blogspot.com/ I, too, believe in the examined life.
This book is a very honest book that is mostly focused on the author's father, 'the agitator', Dr. John Cashin who was a firebrand when it came to civil rights. He was fighting for civil rights in the days when Martin Luther King was murdered as were 4 little black girls in a Birmingham church, killed by pure racism in its most evil form. Her mother, who followed along in her husband's footsteps, was jailed for her attempts to desegregate so much of what was segregated in those days. I remember being so affected by the murders of men like Medger Evans who were putting themselves out there on the line of fire to free their people from bondage freeing the slaves had generated, suppression in many forms. Dr. Cashin and his wife helped desegregate schools, housing developments, restaurants, they helped people get past all the barriers that had been erected to stop their progress in the reconstruction to vote. Just plain vote as racists had cut back the numbers of black people voting to almost none in some places. Oh there was so much to fight for still, even after a terrible civil war.
Now Sheria is talking about how excited she and her mother were to have Obama win as the democratic nominee. In her latest post she explains her objections to people who are not going to vote for Obama because of their fears of what he is, what will happen to the country which she believes are racist reasons.
With increasing sorrow, I have had to conclude that the one reason I could not support Obama was because he is the nominee of the democratic party which has come to be the party of legalized abortion. I have to explain that I think legalized abortion had its origins in racism. I became almost complete disabled because of my childhood and my decision to become an activist in college and I had to go on welfare in my forties, with 2 children still needing support.
There I encountered over and over the virulent hatred many people had for those on welfare. I would hear white men castigating the lazy ne'er do wells who did not want to work, never admitting that minorities in this country had no chance to land good paying jobs because of racial prejudice. The job situation has improved, but racial prejudice has not ended by any means. Hated worst of all was how they spawned a child every year to keep from working who would then end up on welfare, knowing nothing else, the most worthless of human beings.
I am still trying to explain to some people what disability means and that it is real, and I also believe that if you throw too many obstacles in anyone's path it will eventually affect their very will to live and be a good responsible member of society.
It is not a very big leap from hating children on welfare to coming up with legalized abortion that would entice these women to stop having so many children for society to take care of. You might say women who aborted their children were patted on their heads by approving welfare reformers, the ruthless who thought the earth was getting far too populated with the ignorant offspring of the minorities or poor white trash like myself.
What was most insidious was how legalized abortion was tied to the better educated, which was one way the higher institutions of learning got to be so distrusted by the students during the sixties. I was simply a forerunner of those protesting students. I knew there could be corruption in high places like universities just because there was so much to be gained with a degree. A degree very often does not measure the most elusive aspects of integrity.
Which was how highly educated women came to be some of our most articulate and determined abortion advocates. Now remember, I was down on welfare, living in one of the most violent neighborhoods one can imagine, with constant gun fire, murders, gang wars. There are worst ghettoes, but not many. My neighbors in my HUD complex were mostly Mexican and black, no whites that I recall. I did not have a degree. I was taken from my university, under guard, thrown into a psych ward, and would have been given electric shock (they all got it) had I not nearly died first. I recieved a degree all right, in student activism. I could never have gotten a degree at that university because I made a pledge to myself to speak the truth in my classes.
You don't speak the truth in your classes as I found out, or you will be thought mad. You go along. You give the professors what they want. That happens all too often with higher education, which is why I hardly trust anybody.
Nobody can convince me with a degree, they have to convince me with their actions.
If black people recognize that one of the big reasons people became such believers in legalized abortion is they saw it as a solution to curbing the irresponsible births among minorities then perhaps they could accept why I am against it. I experienced the discrimination accorded to white trash on welfare, too. I don't know how many times I have been taken to task for having my children who were born out of wedlock who eventually had to be taken care of by society. My parents were married, which did not stop either one of them from doing bad things. I saw marriage as a trap that could be used against me, because of the terrible difficulty I had in leaving my first husband before he murdered me I was married to him, so I owed him as many years of abuse as I could survive. I wanted the children and I loved them. Then I was simply a forerunner of another rebellion of young people against the fixed notion of marriage. The sanctity of marriage no matter what evils it hid was used against people so they rebelled against the whole idea of marriage.
But anything to cut down the numbers on welfare, even murder? But what if it is explained by highly educated people skilled at spinning fancy words that this is not really killing, well, so on and so forth, I have read all sorts of propaganda created to make women think there is nothing wrong in legalized abortion.
Jane Fonda spoke at the Arizona State University the other day to young women on the subject of pregnancy. This event was sponsored by Planned Parenthood. I can just about guess what kind of sophisticated spin she put on abortion for these women. She and I probably could not disagree more. She has been married to a leftist university radical and was indoctrinated in those years as to how communists control their burgeoning populations. Leftist thinking professors could hardly get fired at a university no matter what they taught if they just had tenure. Which is why you can get corruption anywhere, even at a university. No, you do have to examine everything in life to get at the whole truth.


Jeannette said...

A very interesting and thought-provoking posting.

Sheria said...

Gerry, I appreciate the thoughtfulness behind your post a great deal.

I'm afraid that I don't completely share your views on abortion. I am not pro-abortion, quite frankly, I've never met anyone who was. What I do believe is that the decision to have or not have an abortion is a moral choice to be made by the woman who is pregnant and not by the government. I think that religius institutions are well within their rights to advocate against what they consider to be a morally abhorrent choice. I would hope that those who speak out against abortion are equally willing to speak up for subsidized child care, and free health care for low-income pregnant women and for the children that they choose to have. I have serious problems with the consrvative right because while they speak loudly against a woman's right to choose what to do with her body, they are silent when it comes to advocating for social welfare programs to take care of those women and their children should they choose to have them.

Senator Obama does not support abortion; however he does support current law which places the decision to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy in the hands of the woman who is carrying the child. It is perhaps not the best solution but the other position disturbs me more. Whom am I or anyone else to tell a woman that she must carry a child to term unless I am also willing to say, and when your child is born, I will be there to provide moral and financial support until that child reaches adulthood? Pro-choice is not the same thing as pro-abortion, and there are some things that may be worse than choosing not to have a child. Having a child that you cannot afford to feed or clothe is not a gift to that child.

If as a society we want to wipe out abortions, then we need to commit to creating a society that truly practices being our brother's and our sister's keepers. Concern for the unborn doesn't end at birth, it's just beginning and we need to step up and commit to providing for any child that as a society we want to tell a woman that she must bear.

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