Thursday, June 15, 2006

Kids

I'm not sure I've ever posted about E's & my "Childless by Choice" (or Child"free," as one of her colleagues puts it) existence, before, but it's something I feel strongly about.

Not that I feel that everyone should be child-free, or even that I'm positive we should, but I certainly think it's something that everyone should consider. The bottom line is that kids shouldn't be the default; they should be a choice made by people who really want them.

That's exactly why we announced my vasectomy in a Christmas card a few years ago ('99, I think):
But that's [Slim, Atticus, WhoopyCat, Denali] enough of a family, we thinks;
A recent procedure insures we'll stay DINKs.
Well, that announcement didn't go over as well as I'd hoped. Mom was pissed, not, according to her, at the decision to have the operation, but at the decision to "herald" it, never mind the fact that we didn't send that announcement to too many folks. My mom had always been my partner in relative progressiveness, until then. Now she uses her apparent "liberalness" as a license to correct me on my shallowness as a thinker, such as about gay marriage.

Well, E & I talk about this a lot. I had my procedure at 29, when friends told me no doctor would do it if I didn't have kids. I can say that I haven't regretted it for a day. That's not to say I don't see the benefits of offspring, but I don't think it's worth it FOR ME.

Shortly, here's why we didn't do it:
For E: She raised her bro and sis (10 and 13 years younger) while her mom was doing "her own thing" and knows that's it's a 24-hour job she's not into.
Pour Me': There are enough people around, that I don't need to add to the masses; plus, I likes my stuff.

So why am I bringing this up? Well, published an incredibly annoying piece this week on childlessness. I've about had it with Slate. They've been awful in their Katrina coverage, and they seem to get off on bucking the traditional liberal points, even though Kinsley founded it as a progressive mag.

My issue with Yoffee is that she could've told her questioner, "Say that right now you're not planning on having kids at all."

We made the decision for the procedure because we wanted to explicitly be intentional about our decision, not just put it off til it was too late. And it's been the best thing for us. For us. Love the nieces and godkids, but we're doing just fine. The smugness of people with kids is really tiresome. Fortunately for all of us, human nature (and dissonance reduction responses) lead us to justify our decisions and be happy with them. But it goes both ways. Chances are, E and I are going to think about all the great things about not having kids, and people with them will focus on all the great things about them. I know they're there. I know it's different when it's your own; I don't doubt that for a minute. But to have a kid, you should earnestly want to, and we don't.

2 Down, 24 To Go

I just checked the hurricane maps, and nothing's brewing so far, so we're about 7.7% done with hurricane season and are still standing. Does G-d favor us, or is it just too early? Hmmm...

Geez, More on Marriage

Here's the text of a letter I wrote to the paper today. Of course they won't publish it.

Senator Vitter had me, then he lost me. As a “liberal” (he used the term 4 times in his diatribe against Stephanie Grace), I didn’t vote for him. Still, I’ve admitted to fellow liberal friends that I’ve been impressed with his work for the state following Katrina. In fact, I’ve sometimes wondered whether he got the memo that Republicans aren’t allowed to question the president and his handling of the situation.

But he’s back to form attacking the straw man of “radical” (he used that term twice) redefinition of marriage. If he’s so concerned about Ms. Grace’s alleged intellectual dishonesty, then maybe he should acknowledge a bit of his own.

Like many people who oppose gay marriage, he alleges the impending breakdown in values. He’s right that values, and their transmission, are not trivial, but nothing in the union of two people of the same sex inherently jeopardizes those values. What does jeopardize those values is treating some people in our society differently from others.

Vitter cites how we raise children, meet each other’s emotional needs, and transmit values as central to his motivation for his position. Those are fine motivations, but not for opposing gay marriage. Most gay couples I know would agree with his priorities, but not their outcome. Do gay couples who’ve been together for 40 years do a worse job transmitting positive values than the conservative heterosexuals who cheat or discard spouses for matters of convenience?

I suspect that Vitter’s real issue is either one of emotion—the idea gives him the creeps—or of expediency—he knows that the issue will score needed points in the midterm elections. I’m not sure which it is, but he doesn’t need to blame Stephanie Grace for pointing out that there are indeed far more pressing issues for our society and that his statement is an insult to the suffering people of our region.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Military Strikes

I'm not a complete pacifist, but I'd like to be. I like the idea of being completely arms-free, but there are too many questions I can't answer and situations that have no other solution that I can see. That said, I think W takes it all waaaay too lightly.

Now, we just killed Al Zarqawi. I guess that's good, since he was a dangerous man, but from what I've been reading, he was dangerous because of us. Here's what I'm surmising: W wanted to attack Iraq, 9/11 provided the window, but even he knew we needed a connection, so we portrayed Al Zarqawi as the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. So that gave AZ more power than he had before, and he played it up. Then when we killed him, we can say we killed this dangerous man.

Another case of the US creating a problem because it has the solution. Reminds me of the headline from Our Dumb Century by the Onion: Listerine Co. Invents, Cures Halitosis.