Tuesday, August 8, 2017

There Is No Star Trek

So this has become a thing. 
You've probably noticed that I've pulled back over the last few months. I'm around less and less, and engage less and less when I am here. Part of that, of course, is just real life stepping in... rebuilding one's entire life from scratch takes a lot of attention. Part of it, honestly, is the lack of a need to blow off real-life frustrations by redirecting my anger at more acceptable – and safer – targets. It's hard to sustain anger when you're genuinely happy in your life.

But the largest part of it, by far, is simply that I can no longer see the point. 
There is a huge brick wall of ingrained, bedrock-solid attitude that lies in between the issues I fight for, and the goal I so badly wanted to reach. I've slowly come to realize that it's not something I can fix. Once that wall has been reached, there is no way to get past it. There's no gate, no tunnel, no ladder over the top. It simply is, and always will be, and nothing can change that mindset once it's in place.

I'm tired of trying.

I'm tired of crying.

I'm tired of being tired. 
And I'm out. 
At least for the foreseeable future, I'm taking a break. From all of it. No more SJW crusades, on any front. 
Because when even those who claim to be on your own side are willing to concede, to allow the opposition to claim the “moral high ground”, and thus give them the attendant “right” to grant or withhold services pending their determination as to whether the person asking for access deserves them... 
The battle has been lost. 
The way I see it, the pendulum has swung too far to be stopped. The regressive, limiting, controlling policies that were once considered too extreme to be seriously entertained are now fully accepted and put in place. The most basic progressive ideals have been pushed to the fringe, are ridiculed. 
Are called “too extreme”. 
By the very people who once fought for them. 
How do I fight that? How do I fight my own comrades-in-arms? 
I can't. And I won't. I will no longer spend my time trying to explain to people that we should not deny others food, or shelter, because they didn't do “X”. Or marriage, or jobs, or the simple right to live their lives with who they choose, because they didn't choose “Y”. Or a full range of legal options because they were foolish enough to choose to do “Z”. It was barely worth it when I was arguing against people who had some justification, however weak, for not understanding the damage they were inflicting upon others. I flat fucking refuse to waste my time when those arguments are taking place with people who do understand, people who have themselves suffered the damage caused by those views. 
So, if you don't mind, I'm just going to stand back for a while and watch that pendulum swing. And when it reaches the end of that swing, and everything falls down, I'll roll my sleeves back up and start rebuilding from scratch. 
Because lately, that's what I do. 
But I won't continue destroying my peace of mind by fighting those I love and respect. There aren't any winners in that battle. 
Peace out, guys. Take care of yourselves. Know that I love you. And I'll catch you on the flipside... always.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Who They Love

One of the greatest parts of my new life is that I now spend my time with a woman who is so incredibly, amazingly intelligent. The conversations in this house... especially the just-starting-to-wake-up coffee conversations...

Just yum. So much fun. 
Today's started out on movies... segued to religion... and then to the Girl Scouts. I really wanted to join the Girl Scouts as a child, but somehow, it never happened. There never seemed to be a group around when I was growing up. I suspect now that this claim was put forth by parents who were worried that actually allowing their incredibly socially inept, outcast of a daughter into a group of young girls would have the effect of destroying whatever tiny shred of self-worth I still had. And they likely weren't wrong. Because during that conversation today, when I expressed my regret, she responded with, “just another way to gather a group of girls together so they can exclude some other girl.”

Patton Oswalt recently became engaged. 
That's not a random tangent. It's really not. 
You see, Patton lost his wife fairly recently. He hasn't been dating his new fiancee for very long. And the fact that they have announced a very public commitment to each other has a lot of people very fired up. And the vast majority of those condemning their behavior are... 
They are reacting as though he is somehow betraying his wife, hell, basically cheating on her, despite the fact that she's been dead for over a year. They imply that he is a bad father for exposing his child to this sordid behavior. In essence, they're acting as though his new love is “the other woman”... and, as such, by definition amoral, manipulative, surely a gold-digger, definitely a slut. 
Because here's the thing: from childhood on, and the Girl Scouts and groups like it are a big part of this, women are taught to police their own. 
Here on the hard drive of this machine I'm typing on, there is a folder labeled “Screenies”. My past-time for the last few years has been “debating” on posts concerning reproductive rights, heavily focusing on the topic of abortion in particular. The screenshots in that folder are a collection of some of the worst responses I've been given by abortion opponents. As is common when you dare disagree with certain groups on the internet, they're liberally peppered with rape threats, threats of violence, and dearly-held hopes for my eventual maiming and/or death as a sort of karmic revenge for holding these “unacceptable” views. There's a pretty good cross-section of types represented – men, women, religious adherents, atheists, rich, poor, white and POC. But the largest group, and without any doubt and by far the most vicious, is the women. Their attacks are no-holds-barred in a way the men don't even begin to match. 
Because folks, we police our own. Any woman who dares to step outside the bounds of what is considered “acceptable behavior” by the majority of brainwashed, rock-ribbed, ”traditional values” women, risks being shredded by the claws and teeth of her so-called sisters. 
In my head, this behavior always reminded me of the “bucket of crabs” trope. It's said that if you put crabs in a bucket, and one of them climbs high enough to possibly escape the plastic prison, its peers will pull it back down to prevent it from doing so. I'm not actually sure I buy that... it seems to me that crabs are probably not capable of such complicated thought processes. I believe it's far more likely they're simply trying to use the jail-breaker as a sort of ladder, and inadvertently foiling their own escape in the process. But, as an analogy, it works nicely. 
Especially in this context. 
It seems as though any woman who tries to step outside of the box that society has created for us is immediately met by a group of her own peers who are bound and determined to make sure she remains in that box. They will clamp on, scratch and claw, and pull her down until she is safely trapped in the teeming masses of those who share her prison.
I'm not really sure what motivates us to do this to each other. I think it's likely a combination of things. Part of it seems to be simple jealousy... we can't stand to see someone else have something that we can't. Or to see someone risking their “safe” position to reach for something better, when we ourselves can't muster up that kind of courage. 
Some seem to be driven by a need to tear down others to make themselves, by extension, rise higher. “You are doing a wrong thing,” they seem to say. “And I am a better, more moral person than you are because I would never do such a thing.” 
Some seem to be actually fearful of the consequences of such behavior by others. They are convinced that somehow, if this kind of thing is allowed to continue, perhaps even be accepted, our entire societal structure will collapse, and anarchy will reign supreme and destroy all they've worked for. 
And some of them... and I believe this includes the vast majority of my own gallery of haters... are simply what we call “mean girls”. They get joy out of hurting others, love the power rush they feel when they upset someone and cause them pain. 
Regardless of what motivates them, however, the basic point is this: we have been taught, hell, trained, from earliest childhood, to treat each other is this way. We're encouraged to call out our friends, our families, even complete strangers, for violating the arbitrary standards of “acceptable female behavior”, to show no mercy as we deride them, shame them into meekly rejoining the fold, never to stray again...

Or exclude them completely, banish them from our society as “bad influences”.

And we need to stop doing this. We need to turn this around. 
When it comes down to it, the situation I mentioned above, Patton's engagement, is about nothing more or less than two people's choice to love each other, and make a public announcement and commitment to each other and the love that they share. 
And it's not acceptable... it's not fucking fair... to turn around and tell someone that they have to turn their backs on what they feel for someone else... because someone with no skin in the game has decided that they should have the final say in who this person loves. Or when they love. Or how they love. 
It applies in the arena of reproductive rights... where we literally tell our sisters that they shouldn't share a physical relationship with the person they love unless they are willing to give up their bodies for most of a year, their health or even their lives, and their futures as a consequence for sharing that aspect of their love for someone else. 
It applies in the area of LGBTQ rights, which are solely about who someone chooses to love, and how. 
Love... is love. 
And if you're not personally involved with any individual in a consenting adult relationship... you should have no right whatsoever to judge their behavior or their choices. 
Stop. Just stop. There is no feeling in the world greater than being with the person you love – it makes even seemingly boring pastimes like conversations over morning coffee take on a beautiful light of their own. We should be encouraging it, not twisting it into something to be ashamed of, something we shouldn't be doing. And here's the thing: maybe, just maybe, if you stop piling hate on those who love outside of your boundaries of “acceptable behavior”? 
Maybe you might learn how good it feels to simply love the people you share this world with, instead of wasting your time dragging them back into the bucket to die alongside you.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


In my last post, talking about how society refuses to honor the word “no” when it comes from a woman, I said this:

(T)he real magic of this entire situation, the absolute master stroke of sadistic irony, is this:

We are constantly, endlessly told that the entire responsibility for anything that happens to us hinges on our saying no... and making it stick.”

I'm sitting here right now with those words playing over and over in my head. One of the areas in which I've been particularly active lately is the subject of domestic violence. Understandably so, given that I'm five months out of an abusive marriage – one that lasted thirty years. 
One of the worst aspects of being on the other side of such a situation is the “why” question. Specifically, the one you're most often asked by others – “why didn't you leave?” 
Or, to put it another way... “why didn't you say no?”

One of the first things you learn when you leave your abuser is that to a really large part of the population, you are absolutely at fault for, in a way actually participated in, your own abuse. 
Because you didn't say no, or say it loudly enough, or fight back physically, you bear the brunt of the responsibility for what happened to you. 
Because you didn't make your “no” stick. 
They're not entirely wrong, of course. You could have said no. You did, after all... here you are, half a country away, building a new life. And it's by far the most terrible part of what comes after the escape, because for the first time, you can look back and see all your “reasons” for the bullshit, cowardly smoke screen they always were. You can finally see not just the terrible things he did, but the way you excused them, minimized them, pretended they weren't what they really were. 
You had the ability to walk away the entire time. You chose not to. 
But did you choose? Did you really?

I've spent a lot of time since I left hammering myself for being such an idiot, hell, such a coward. Who could ever have so little self-respect for themselves that they would allow someone to treat them this way? Why did I let him get away with it, again and again?
Why the FUCK didn't I just... say... no?

As I mentioned in my last installment, “no” wasn't exactly the most powerful tool I had. I learned early that a “no” was only as good as the intentions of the person being told no. I wasn't good at delivering them, and I was worse at making them stick, because I always more than half-expected they would be ignored, no matter what I said or did. 
He knew this from the start, of course. And he took advantage of it. But he was after more than that. He didn't just want someone who would let him ignore a “no”. He wanted someone who wouldn't say no at all, someone who would never have the courage to take a stand and walk away. 
One of the first ways an abuser gains power over their victim is to isolate them. The biggest reason they do this is so that they can create a manipulated reality for their victim. In their world, everything they do is done to show you how much they love you – and if they should do anything wrong, it's in response to some expectation you failed to meet. By keeping you isolated, they make sure no one has a chance to see what's going on and point out that you're being played. 
They don't want you to work, because that means money of your own... people you talk to when you're not under his eye... and a sense of personal accomplishment, which can't be allowed, lest you figure out you're capable of doing anything without him. 
They do everything in their power to take away all your options. They strip you of resources, they constantly tell you you're not capable of doing X, sabotage you when you try, then point at the failure and tell you they told you so. They continually change their “expectations”, so you never do anything quite to their satisfaction... and then, again, they tell you it's your fault, that it just proves you can't function without them. 
And they never, ever, let you hear a voice that tells you different. 
Your entire life becomes an endless drone of “can't, mustn't, have to”, and by the time you realize this is more than a little fucked up, you're dead sure that leaving would end in utter disaster, because you can't do anything right anyway, and everything you try blows up in your face. 
And besides, you have nowhere to go. 
And then... on top of all of that... 
You have to consider that if you do go, you're going to be the bad guy. Because you broke up the family, took the kids away from their (assumed to be) loving father, and you didn't do this because he cheated on you or something, you did it because you were “unhappy”. You put yourself in front of everyone else, and that makes you selfish and petty and wrong. 
Because society hates that “no” just as much as any abuser does. 
And just like the abuser, they too often believe you deserved it. Because you stayed. Even though they think you'd be wrong to leave, and happily tell you so. 
And here's the thing: I did say no. I said it over and over again. Every time I talked to my family, made a friend, wrote a poem, tried to improve my life in some way, I said no. And every time, I got slapped down.

It's not my fault he didn't listen to my noes. I shouldn't have to scream them, or throw things. 
It's not my fault I spent all those years believing I had no way out. The only voice in my life constantly told me I didn't, and all the voices around his echoed the same message. All the evidence pointed to the same message.

It's not a fucking coincidence that the moment I finally chose to leave was the same moment that someone who knew me before I met him... someone who knew who I used to be... happened to show up. For the first time in decades, I heard someone tell me I could do anything I tried... and said it with complete confidence, because she knew the girl who could
And thank all the fucking gods, I believed her. 
And here I am. I'm out. And I'm broken as fuck, and I have only the shadowiest idea what a healthy relationship looks like, and I fuck things up on a daily basis. But I'm trying. I'm learning. And I am, I really am, getting better, a little bit at a time. And I'm going to keep on getting better, because I can. 
For the first time in thirty years, I'm hearing “yes” in my head. I'm hearing “you can”. And I'm hearing that I did the right thing. That I deserve this, and that I'm not selfish for wanting to be something more than his property. 
I stayed. But I did so because I never heard anyone tell me it was okay, or even possible, to leave. I truly believed, with all my heart, that staying was the only “acceptable” option I had. I was wrong, gods was I wrong. But at the time, I thought I was right. 
Please, the next time you think about asking a woman “that” question, before you blame her, or judge her for not doing what you so clearly see as the “right” thing to do... think for a minute. Do you think she's not already just as disgusted with herself as you are? Do you think she might already be kicking herself for wasting so much time with someone so wrong? Do you think she feels like an ass, and maybe more than a little guilty, for getting herself into this mess to begin with? Do you think that reminding her that she could have, and should have, done this a long time ago is going to make her feel better about herself, or make her feel like even more of a failure?

Are you really going to hold her fully responsible because someone else didn't listen when she said no... ever... and you weren't there to confirm it was loud enough, or forceful enough, or whatever enough to be worthy of being listened to?

Think about it. Take all the time you need.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Two letters, indicating a negative. I don't want to, I don't have, I can't do. Simple. Easily understood. And crystal clear. 
Unless you're a woman. 
For women, this simple, immutable word is never taken at face value. It's a starting point for negotiations, at best. It's assumed that no woman ever really means “no”. She simply wants to be convinced to say yes. 
And if she insists upon remaining unconvinced, it's perfectly okay to override her “no” anyway. Because even if she doesn't change her answer, her “no” holds no power. It doesn't have to be acknowledged, much less honored. Because her “no” is not as important as someone else's “yes”.

A week or two ago, I stumbled across a Facebook post in which the poster stated that a married woman had an obligation to accommodate her husband's sexual needs, regardless of her own desire to have sex. That her answer should be yes, always, no excuses. And, of course, it wasn't enough that she was willing to rescind her own right to say no. She wanted all women to follow her example. 
Over the next few days, the theme kept popping up. The Cosby verdict, in which a woman who clearly said no, in a life situation in which “yes” would have been so out of character as to be absurd, whose accused attacker openly admitted to performing the actions he was accused of – under oath, no less – still resulted in a mistrial, a hopelessly deadlocked jury.
Because half, a full half of the people sitting in that jury box were completely incapable of believing in that woman's “no.”

That was followed up by a story highlighting North Carolina's law that outright states that a woman has no right to change a “yes” to a “no”, even in the face of actual violence being inflicted upon her. 
This morning, it was a story about a young woman in Alabama, who not only had her rapist's case thrown out on the grounds that she didn't physically fight him, but was actually charged for taking his handgun and three dollars out of his wallet, before she escaped his locked bedroom through a window. 
She committed suicide. By the way. The one “no” they can't take away from us.

The refusal to hear “no” is not limited to sex, of course. It shows itself every time a woman states that she doesn't want children. “You'll change your mind.” “You're too young to be sure of that right now.” “How can you be so selfish?!” 
It's why women are routinely denied permanent contraceptive options, if they don't meet a certain set of conditions – usually multiple children and more than halfway through their fertile life. It's why they're denied abortions. 
And the real magic of this entire situation, the absolute master stroke of sadistic irony, is this:

We are constantly, endlessly told that the entire responsibility for anything that happens to us hinges on our saying no... and making it stick. 
The game is quite literally rigged in such a way that if you don't say no... you lose.

If you don't say it loudly enough... you lose. 
If you don't back it up with physical violence... you lose.

If you do back it up with physical violence, you are guilty of a crime... and you lose.

If you say it, fight back, scream, break things, and it's ignored anyway...

You lose. 
There is no way to win the game. None. Advantage always goes to the house.
All of this has come at a time where I am finally seeing clearly just how deeply this phenomenon has affected, and directed, my entire life. I learned very early that my “no” was powerless, that it wouldn't be listened to, or honored. As a result, I spent years twisting myself into knots to try to meet everyone's expectations without ever saying “no” to anyone. 
It was a miserable way to live. 
I'm tired of watching us live like this. I'm tired of a game rigged to make one entire half of the population the only ones who are ever at fault for anything that happens to them.
For the first time in my life, I'm in a relationship in which my “no” is valid. It's listened to, it's honored. It's the most terrifying, disconcerting, anxiety-inducing thing I've ever dealt with... but it's also wonderful, and amazing, and it feels so good. 
I wish I'd figured this out a lot earlier. I will never give it up. And more than anything, I want everyone to feel like this. 
It's time to take back our no. We can't stand back and let this ridiculous game continue. We need to call out those who would minimize and dismiss our refusals, those who would demonize them, and us for daring to speak them. 
This is your life, and it's the only one you'll ever get.

Take it back. Make it your own.

Say NO.

Monday, July 3, 2017


I love words. All words. I've loved words since I was a very small child, worshipped them even before I could decipher them. Words are instruments of power – everyone knows this. They can create worlds, tear them down, reshape them in reality and in our perception of reality. 
Today's word is “precedent.” 
Dictionary.com defines precedent as follows:
1. Law. a legal decision or form of proceeding serving as an authoritative rule or pattern in future similar or analogous cases.
2. any act, decision, or case that serves as a guide or justification for subsequent situations. 
This piece was originally going to be about the Texas Supreme Court's recent unanimous ruling in Pidgeon v. Houston. I planned to point out that withholding spousal benefits from one group, but not others, violated the precedent set in Loving v. Virginia. We have already visited this issue, I planned to say we have already determined that when it comes to the legal contract of marriage, and all the rights and responsibilities that contract confers, you can deny certain aspects to all -- but if you only deny them to some, based upon specific criteria, you are performing an act of discrimination and are therefore in violation of law. 
While I was researching the case in preparation for this piece, I pulled up the original court filings. And it was there that my focus suddenly changed. Because this isn't, was never, about spousal health benefits being extended to a small group of Houston's city employees, and certainly not about denying them to the even smaller group that make up those who are in legally recognized same-sex marriages. 
It's about precedent. And it becomes obvious when you read these words:

On June 27, 2016, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S.Ct. 2292(2016)(App. C), and held that a Texas law that protects the safety of abortion patients must give way to a court-created right to abortion that cannot be found anywhere in the Constitution. See John Hart Ely, The Wages of Crying Wolf: A Comment on Roe v. Wade, 82 Yale L.J. 920 (1973). The Supreme Court also disregarded the rules of res judicata and refused to enforce a severability clause in the state’s abortion law, even though the Court’s precedents had held emphatically that severability was a matter of state law that binds the federal courts. See Dorchy v. Kansas, 264 U.S. 286, 290 (1924)(holding that a state court’s “decision as to the severability of a provision is conclusive upon this Court”); Virginia v. Hicks, 539 U.S. 113, 121 (2003)(“Severab[ility]is of course a matter of state law. See Leavitt v. Jane L.,518 U.S. 137, 139 (1996)9(per curiam)”). It is clear that the current Supreme Court will continue to use its power to advance the ideology of the sexual revolution until there is a change of membership. And that makes it all the more urgent for this Court to narrowly construe the Obergefell ruling and provide clarity for Texans and Texas court to avoid disrespect of the Constitution and the rule of law.”

Let me say it again: this is about precedent. 
They want to ensure that they, the state of Texas, have the right to simply ignore any federal law they disagree with, for any reason. They want to be free to impose their morality upon the personal lives of every citizen of their state, in the form of legislation that restricts certain behaviors they find unacceptable. 
They want to punish people for the choices they make as concerns their relationships, and the fruits of those relationships, by withholding benefits, funding, medical treatment, state services. 
They want to be free to refuse even basic necessities like public toilet facilities. 
And they want that right extended to every state in the nation.

Because “precedent”.

If this case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court next, they may get just that. Any state would have the ability to restrict the rights of those they find “immoral” or “undeserving” of basic rights. And far too many states would take full advantage. 
It's a small case, affecting a very small number of people. It seems unimportant. But as I said when I started... words have power. Precedent is one of the tools built by words. And with this ruling, they've turned it into a bulldozer that could tear down the entire foundation this country was built upon. 
Under pressure from Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and other high-ranking Republicans, the Texas Supreme Court are trying to set a precedent that goes against everything we stand for. We cannot let this stand. 
We are all equal in the eyes of the Constitution. 
Let's keep it that way.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Her Life Mattered

I've spent the majority of my day so far over at a Facebook post concerning Ava Barrin... a seventeen year old trans girl who was killed in Athens, Georgia. She is the 14th trans woman of color killed this year, and the page the post is on is an inclusive feminist page that has been sharing these incidents to raise awareness. 
I stepped into the thread because a trans friend of mine had commented on it, in reply to someone else's comment. The comment he was replying to asked how many cis women were murdered by their spouses this year. 
Because the best way to honor and show respect for a dead little trans girl is, of course, to completely wipe her existence from the conversation and make it all about your own existence, your own issues, and your own voice. 
I've been watching this behavior escalate for the past few years, and escalate exponentially over the last few months in particular. It seems as though, for some, any discussion that focuses on a subject that doesn't directly impact them, personally, must be turned around until they are, once again, the only people being talked about, the only ones with problems, the only ones being oppressed, beaten down, disrespected, the only ones who matter
It's the basic premise of “All Lives Matter.”

It's the basic premise of “Men's Right's Matter.”

It's the basic premise of, in this case, “Cis Women Murdered By Their Spouses Matter.”

And they seem incapable of seeing what it is they're actually saying.

All Lives Matter... but white lives matter more than those belonging to people of color, so we want to stop discussing their lives and focus on our white lives instead.”

Men's Rights Matter... because we believe we are far more oppressed than women, and any discussion where the girls are whining about being raped or beaten should be shut down because our injuries are more important than theirs.”

Cis Women Murdered By Their Spouses Matter... so much so, that we aren't willing to let dead little girls be mourned without diminishing them and elevating our own losses.”

I am so sick of this behavior. 
I am fed up with a world in which so many people are determined to become the center of the universe, to make every single word they read apply to them, only to them, and never ever ever under any circumstances stray off into other areas in which they themselves are not the only topic under discussion. The mot important topic. The only one we should be fighting for. 
Fix this first”, they scream, “look over here, they wail. “I'm the one who's hurt! I'm the one being shit on! They don't matter, their pain, their actual deaths aren't important when compared to the horrible, agonizing life I am forced to lead in this world where bad things only happen to me!”

I'm sorry... but I'm calling bullshit. 
I've had enough. 
I am one tiny little entity in a world packed with billions of other tiny little entities. I matter no more... and no less... than any single one of my fellow human beings. My pain matters, Their pain matters. My life matters, their lives matter. 
Equally. Full stop. 
Honoring a dead little trans girl does not make my life insignificant. The only real difference between us is that I'm still breathing... and she's not. She is getting attention because of that difference. Not because she's “better” than me. Not because she's more “important” than me. 
Honoring her does not erase me, my life, my experiences, my problems, from the equation. They're still there, they still matter, we are still fighting to make them better. We are simply taking a moment out of our day to highlight someone else's struggle, their loss, their tragedy. And once we've done that, we'll get back to work fixing the other things.
If you aren't willing to allow anyone else to be the center of attention, ever... you're not fighting for everyone's rights. You're fighting for your own, to the exclusion of all others.
And if that's what being a “feminist” means to you... well, I hate to burst your bubble, but you've picked the wrong label. 
You're not a feminist. You're selfish. Nothing more, nothing less. At least have the honesty to own it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Statement On the Upcoming Election

This one goes out to all those I have seen recently who have been stating that they will not vote for the "lesser of two evils". That they will "follow their conscience" and throw their support to a candidate that cannot, and will not, win the Presidency.

I, too, plan to vote my conscience this coming election. In the twenty-eight years I've been casting a vote in Presidential elections, I have only voted major party twice - for Dukakis in my first, and for Obama in my last. Every other vote I've cast, every single one, has been for a third-party candidate.

Not this time.

There is currently one Supreme Court vacancy. There will absolutely be at least one other, and perhaps more, over the next few years. And put simply, I categorically refuse to allow any Republican the opportunity to appoint, and sit, a judge who will not uphold the current laws as outlined in Roe v Wade at a bare minimum. Lest you forget, RvW already has restrictions on late-term abortions. Not once have I seen HRC state a position on the subject that in any way implies that she is willing to extend the restrictions already in place. Nor do I believe she will nominate a judge who will.

I've also seen a fair amount of accusations about those who rely on their privilege to justify their decision to throw their vote away... and make no mistake, it will be a throw-away vote, accomplishing exactly nothing. As much as I hate the system we currently live under, that hatred does not change the simple fact that there are not even close to enough voters out there to make any third-party candidate electable. But again... your right, one I myself utilized for decades. Have at it.

But as far as those accusations of privilege go... every one of you deserves to be called out, hard, for the actions you take that are, absolutely, based upon your certainty that any adverse consequences will not affect you in any major way. It won't be your head on the chopping block, you tell yourself - and as long as you can be fairly confident that you will walk away with nothing more than a few bumps and bruises, it's all good.

I don't have that luxury. I haven't had that luxury since the day I lay on a delivery table, bleeding out, defibrillator paddles slapped to my chest to restart my stopped heart. Not since the day my fatally deformed daughter was delivered dead on arrival, and nearly took me with her.

Because of exactly those people who stand to make those vital appointments to our Supreme Court, who fully intend to alter the makeup enough to further tighten the restrictions that already have enough power to allow a hospital to neglect my care in favor of "saving" a fetus who could not, in any world, be saved.

No, I do not have your privilege. I bled and died for the principles I stand for now. I cannot, in good conscience, allow a single, solitary human being to risk what I did. And for the record, that includes those commenting who, by virtue of their innate biology, do risk that situation, whether they are willing to believe it or not.

I'm not going to waste my time begging you to change your minds. You have every right to vote however you choose, and that includes throwing your vote away for the satisfaction of throwing a big middle finger to the establishment. Enjoy it... no one knows better than I what a wonderful feeling it is, for those few short moments. And quite honestly, I'm really not that worried about your votes anyway. I don't actually believe you make a significant enough percentage to have any real bearing on the outcome of this election.

I, however, will vote my conscience. And if I'm wrong, if it's you who tip the balance and put people in office who stack the courts, and cause the preventable deaths of wives and mothers by the tens of thousands over the next twenty, thirty, forty years...

I will be the one with the clear conscience. It won't be of much consolation, as I mourn those who pay for your intransigence...

But it will be at least one straw I can cling to, and for me, that's enough.