Domestic Terrorism

A bomb was planned at the Planned Parenthood of Grand Chute, WI. For those of you who don’t know, that’s about 5 minutes from where I live.

How can a person even respond to this kind of violence that would target poor and working class women who are trying to get their health needs met in a difficult economy? How do you explain to people who would bomb a health clinic that PP clinics don’t offer abortion services in the first place? How do you respond to a group that would plan bombs and kill innocent people – theoretically, even the fetuses they say they’re protecting – and who call themselves “pro life”?

How do you respond at all?

I am at the point now where anyone who apologizes for the inflaming and incendiary rhetoric aimed at Roe v. Wade & at a woman’s right to choose is not my friend, my family, or even someone I can talk to. I understand objections to abortion; I was raised Catholic after all, & am the youngest of 6. But this language around choice, the “army of God” mentality that’s been fed to people is so hurtful, so entirely wrong and beside the point.

When will those of you who vote Republican start telling your leadership that you will not vote for them until they stop with this rhetoric and these policies that target poor women especially?

This Planned Parenthood is so easily a place I might speak at or have a student intern at. The women who go there and work there could be friends.

I don’t understand violence as a response to what is sold as a moral objection. It just doesn’t make sense.

WI Prison Law & GID

A while back, a federal judge here in Wisconsin ruled that the 2005 Sex Change Prevention Act (really? was that necessary?) was deemed unconstitutional because it represents:

“deliberate indifference to the plaintiffs’ serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment,” because it denies hormone therapy without regard to those needs or doctors’ judgments.

The U.S. 7th District Court of Appeals upheld his ruling last year, and just this week, the Supreme Court turned it down for review.

Which means, overall, that trans prison inmates in WI, IL, and IN can get medical care for their transition while in prison.


There’s a “group” here in Appleton called Appleton Taxpayers United who have filed a formal complaint against the city’s common council president because she brought donuts to otherwise unpaid poll workers. Her name was not on the ballot, mind you, and apparently this is an old tradition here.

& No, no one much is taking it seriously here, except the people who have to, as well as a couple of blowhards.

But the comments section is hysterical.

If you’re wondering if things are really all that cool & groovy in Appleton that the city has time to waste on bullshit like this. it isn’t. I mean, it is a pretty quiet city, all told, but it’s not like there aren’t better things for everyone to do.

Local Politics

I will honestly say I’m flabbergasted. There is a local election coming up for the city’s Aldermen, and one of the men running, Tom Van Susteren, posted this on his Facebook page, which is public:

How on earth this could be considered appropriate for any politician’s Facebook page is beyond me. Really, I’m staggered by the bad judgment, the treatment of violence against women as funny, and the violence against a public figure as funny, plus torture as funny.

I understand that someone out there finds this entertaining, which horrifies me even more.

Christmas Present: Radical Inclusion

This letter from local clergy in Appleton is pretty much the best Christmas present I didn’t even imagine getting:

Jesus not only preached about but a lived a message of radical inclusion. He saw God’s realm as including everyone — and especially those who were despised or downtrodden or oppressed.

That’s why we and many other Christians believe that our values are best expressed when all people and all families are treated with fairness and loving support.

It was written in response to a letter from Appleton Taxpayers United which appeared a few weeks ago, which I won’t honor by quoting. It’s lovely to read Christians who sound like Christians.

Recall Update

The good news is that the recall of WI Gov. Scott Walker is on its way, with 500,000 signatures collected from every county in WI.

I may not actually be in Wisconsin right now, but I’m happy to see some good reports coming out of the recall effort, like this one, about where the signatures – and donations – are actually coming from.

People drove up to sign petitions who had actually voted for Walker in the 2010 election; but seeing the effects of his policies on their neighbors, the loss of jobs, and the power he now holds, felt compelled to sign the petition. One woman, signing with her adult daughter, stated ”…this isn’t what I voted for.”

These stories are being repeated all over the county, and indeed, the state. They are being told by a community of people who understand, whether Republican or Democrat, that as a society we have an obligation not only to the people we see every day – but to the strangers who may be the weakest and neediest among us. The word-of-mouth stories from neighbor to neighbor are becoming the most powerful message in the recall battle. No amount of money can overcome a factual accounting of the negative impact Scott Walker is having when conveyed by a familiar and trusted friend.

It looks like they will have more than enough signatures to withstand the scrutiny these petitions will receive, too.

Tonight in Appleton

Tonight, progressives in Appleton faced the possibility that the position of Diversity Coordinator and the Diversity program would be cut or not funded. Also, there was a possibility that the domestic partner benefits for Appleton city employees might not make it through the budget process, too.

But tonight we kept a priority on diversity and equality.

And while I’m pleased – this is the 4th time (?) I’ve testified before Appleton’s Common Council, and I’m sure they’re tired of me by now – it was pretty rough sitting and listening to a bunch of people who don’t know me call me a moral stain and tell me I’m going to hell. It’s not something I haven’t heard before – as a feminist, as a green, as a queer – but there is something particularly painful to me when I hear that kind of rhetoric coming from Christians, and who say those things because they’re Christians.

It makes me wonder if I missed the part about the Good Samaritan asking first if the guy was gay.

I also wonder – when I hear haters stand behind their status as tax payers – if it ever occurs to homophobic types that LGBTQ people pay taxes too, and into a government that doesn’t treat them as equals. I wonder how well that would sit with people who don’t understand but who – for other reasons – are of a more libertarian stripe.

I pointed that latter piece out tonight, because I think that’s at least some of who I’m talking to here in Appleton.

But “moral stain” I really can’t get past. There’s something so dehumanizing and miserable about that one.

My other bit of wonder is how it is that people who think homosexuality is immoral – and they’re free to think it is – somehow think that justifies treating LGBTQ people as less than citizens. I mean, it’s not like queers have the corner on immorality, right? So do we stop paying health insurance for the partner of a man who commits adultery? I mean, which sins count, exactly, when it comes to citizenship? Which morality matters?

Eh, the whole process makes me sad, but I’m thankful for the other progressives who came tonight, and other nights, to speak truth to power. I’m thankful to all the common council members who are still there, at midnight, wrestling with a budget for this city I live in. I feel thankful that I’ve been given at least some skills to fight for justice.