Friday, November 25, 2011
“Hattie, my fifteen year old grandbaby is pregnant and I don’t know how it happened.”
Over the years I’ve heard some version of this sentence coming out of the mouths of far too many of my friends and acquaintances, and lately I’ve noticed that it’s only getting worse. You can fill in the blank on what relative it is having the baby, but the results are always the same. Someone who is too young and totally unprepared to bring a human life into the world is about to do so.
Most of the people who break the news to me throw the “I don’t know how it happened” into the sentence not because they’re ignorant of the process. What they mean is that the young person in question has been raised in a Christian household where they attended Sunday services and Sunday school on a weekly basis and were well acquainted with the Word of the Lord, and it still happened. Of course we all know that being acquainted with rules and following them is another story—even divine rules. So when I read an article in a Christian magazine titled “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It”, I wasn’t shocked or surprised by the information that it provided.
According to a 2009 study conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, “80% of unmarried evangelical young adults (18-29) said that they have had sex—slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults…” Now that’s only counting the young people of age, and that’s in a two year old study. The numbers are probably off the chart by now. Sex sells, and having sex could make you rich. At least that’s what my grandchildren seem to think. It’s my understanding that one of the biggest reality stars today is a young woman who became famous because of a sex tape. What a role model she must be.
I thank God every day that neither my son nor my daughter had any babies before they got married. Were they virgins when they married? I’d rather not know the answer to that, so I don’t think about it; but the article did give me something to think about. It said that in the days when the scripture about abstinence was written, marriages were arranged and folks could be as young as 13 when they married. That gave them less time for temptation when it came to sex. These days there are Christians in their 30s, 40s, 50s and up, who remain unmarried, and many may never get married. That’s a long time to avoid temptation, much longer than in the old days.
I’m not going to lie, before reading that I was too quick to condemn any Christian who came into our church with a big belly and who wasn’t married. Pregnancy was the living proof of what they had been doing. Of course, there’s never be any need in denying that there were plenty of folks in the church who were doing the same thing and hadn’t been caught. Much too often we Christians choose to ignore facts.
The bottom line is that the social rules and mores in this country about virginity seemed to have changed. For someone of my generation it’s confusing, especially when the rules of the Bible have been the ones that I’ve been taught to follow. Yet, even the church seems to be faced with a dilemma that it doesn’t quite know how to solve. The article concluded with the following questions: “So what should a Christian parent or youth pastor do? How do they convince more young Christians to wait until marriage, or should they stop trying?”
Should we give up trying to expect moral behavior? Uh, I don’t think so, but until someone wiser than me comes up with a solution, I guess we’ll all have to muse on it. Meanwhile, the unplanned pregnancies and the increase in HIV/AIDS cases as well as other sexually transmitted diseases will be the price that we’ll have to pay for our indecision.
Friday, November 18, 2011
This is Connie writing this week, and when I was trying to think of something to write about for some reason the word liberal kept coming to mind. Maybe it was all of the political talk on TV that got me to thinking about it. We just had an election here in our city and the words liberal and conservative were tossed around a lot. Although I’ve been described by my friends as the “liberal” one in our group, quite frankly I’m always been skeptical of the true meaning behind both words and of the people who claim them.
Yes, I’m a woman in her sixties who is seeing a younger man. I don’t see why that’s supposed to be so liberal. Personally, I’ve found that a younger man can fulfill my needs a little better than a man my age or older. Hell! That’s just practical as far as I’m concerned.
I participated in the Occupy Wall Street protest here in our city and I didn’t see that as being liberal either. To me that was common sense. Why wouldn’t I protest other people controlling my destiny? I was a foot soldier during the Civil Rights Movement, why would I be any less now? Anybody who believes that the wealthiest people in the United States don’t hold most of the power in this country is fooling themselves. It’s always been that way. I don’t remember reading a thing about the poorest men in the Colonies signing the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution when the United States was formed. Protesting is a right.
My friends tell me that I’ll go along with almost any radical thing that comes along. I don’t agree with that. I’ve got my limits, but yes, there are a lot of things that I don’t have a problem with in my life.
I was always for Women’s Lib long before it had a name and I still am! I was married for three decades and I was my husband’s equal in every way, and I knew it—so did he. If you’re a woman don’t come sniffling around me talking about walking ten steps behind some man. You’ll get no sympathy from me. Eve was made from Adam’s rib and that’s on the side of the body. Gay rights! Why not? It’s not my place to judge the lifestyle of others. There’s only one judge and jury at life’s end and it’s not me or anybody else I know on this earth.
Politically, I think of myself as an independent. I’ve voted Democrat, Republican, Libertarian and I’ve written names in that weren’t established candidates. If I like a candidate, he or she has my vote.
So, am I a liberal? I decided to look both words up to see how Webster’s New World Dictionary defined them. The two definitions of liberal that I liked were “not restricted” and “giving freely”. The definitions for the word conservative that caught my eye were “conserving or tending to conserve; preservative, and tending to preserve established traditions or institutions and to resist or oppose any changes in these.”
Oh! Oh! “Tending to preserve established traditions or institutions and to resist or oppose any changes in these?” I don’t like that. Change is a constant and if Connie Palmer is anything she’s constant when it comes to change.
I guess my friends are right. Maybe I do have liberal leanings. Guess I’ll take some time and muse on that.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Yesterday, I couldn’t find my keys. I said to myself, “Bea Bell, you’d lose your head if it wasn’t attached.” Well, I haven’t lost my head yet but I’m about to lose my mind because people just never cease to amaze me. I don’t mean that in a good way.
The other day, during the GOP debates, Texas Governor Rick Perry stumbled when trying to name the three agencies he would cut if elected president. The agency he could not remember was the Department of Energy, and the crowd went wild—at least the media crowd. The lead story for almost every news program that night, and for the days following, was Perry’s memory lapse. On the television news show, Nightline, Political Director Amy Walter lamented, “Cats get nine lives…I don’t know that candidates get that many.”
I just don’t get it. Have you ever tried to introduce someone you’ve known for years but your mind is a total blank when you start to say their name? Who hasn’t walked into a room and suddenly can’t remember why you walked in? I don’t understand this need to have a president or a presidential candidate appear “presidential” or flawless. Of course, there are moral and ethical boundaries for everyone whether they’re running for president or not, but to get fired up over a slip of memory is silly.
Herman Cain made a joke by asking, “How do you beat Obama? You beat him with a Cain!” Some bright reporter asked him to clarify as to whether this could be interpreted as promoting violence. Cain got testy, and rightly so, as he answered, “Herman Cain, C-A-I-N. Do I have to connect all the dots for you?"
These are the kind of things that drive me crazy. There are plenty of hard issues to focus on but we’ve become so pretentious that the slightest slip of the tongue is not only newsworthy, but could mean political death for a candidate.
I went to sleep last night and had the worst nightmare of my life caused either by those thoughts or the slice of Godfather’s pizza I ate just before going to bed. I dreamed that it was 2012. The Republican and Democratic conventions were over. The candidates had been chosen and their running mates had been picked. Toward the middle and slightly to the left stood Barack Obama and Joe Bidden for the Democrats. Several steps from center and off to the right were Rick Perry and Herman Cain for the Republican Tea Party! Here’s the nightmare part.
Perry and Cain won the presidential election (sob)! There was no particular strategy. Perry couldn’t remember what platform he was running on, but he did recall the applause he got when defending the state of Texas as having executed 234 people, more than any other state in this nation. He also changed his campaign slogan to HANG ‘EM HIGH! Of course Perry could empathize with Herman Cain’s inability to remember the sexual harassments accusations against him, that’s why he picked him as a running mate.
Perry managed to shift voter attention from jobs and the economy (how stupid) to the death penalty and smaller government. Naturally, the whole point of picking Cain was to siphon votes from Barrack Obama. It worked. Presto, the country wound up with 666 and the 999 plan! That woke me up.
After thinking about the dream, I promised myself three things: I’ll never eat pizza before going to bed again, I’ll never... Damn! I can’t remember the second or the third thing—oops!
Friday, November 4, 2011
It’s Hattie writing this week and I wanted to comment on something that has been bothering me. Recently I saw Mrs. Bernie Madoff being interviewed on TV and my first impression of her as she was talking was that she wasn’t too bright. I kept wondering how she could live with a man for fifty years and not have any idea about his business dealings. Didn’t she ever question him about his business, especially since they were living high off the hog on his wealth? Both my heart and my mind were closed to what she was saying. Yet as I kept listening I realized that she was answering my question as she spoke. No, she had no idea what was going on with her husband’s business, and I believe her.
From what she was saying, she married young, at eighteen years old, and she was a stay at home mother who worked for her husband briefly when he first started his business. He was the bread winner of the family and that being the case, she probably saw no need to ask questions about where the bread came from as long as he kept bringing home bigger and bigger loaves. Quite frankly, she probably wouldn’t have understood what he had to say anyway unless she was familiar with the stock market and its jargon. Besides, from what she and her son were saying Bernie Madoff was the domineering type and Mrs. Madoff seemed passive, and there lies the problem.
Her age lets me know that she’s a woman of my generation, and the majority of us were trained to be wives and mothers, who listened politely to our husbands when they talked about their jobs, but we really didn’t know much about what they did on the job, so our questions were few. I also married young, and I was a housewife and mother to our two children while my husband worked in an automobile factory. We lived comfortably off of his income and I didn’t have any complaints. He told me that he installed brake linings all day on the assembly line. It sounded boring, but it paid well. I did listen to his comments and complaints about management, his fellow workers and his foreman, but I really had no clue what he did at work. If I had ever had to take over his job I would have been lost. But what I did understand was money, and as a woman with two children I understood the absolute necessity of having some money of my own.
I took care of all of the household expenses with the money that my husband would give me every pay day, and unknown to him I made sure that I always stashed some away for unexpected expenses that might crop up. You know, things like bills that you depended on your mate to pay but he didn’t and suddenly there is a disconnect notice for the utilities; or maybe the rent or mortgage that wasn’t paid and now you have an eviction notice. Of course there might be the need for some money if your husband decides to stray and leave you and your children for another woman, and money is always good to have if your husband goes crazy and starts beating on you and you have to run for your life.
Some people might view stashing emergency cash away as sneaky or dishonest, but I consider it common sense. How many women are left stranded with their children to feed by men who they thought would never abandon them? Shoot, my late husband was a good man, who I loved dearly and he loved me until death did us part, but a woman never knows when unexpected expenses might arise, so I was never going to be caught unaware and broke, that’s stupid.
It’s hard for me to understand women as wealthy as Mrs. Madoff who find themselves with nothing when something happens to their marriages. It seems to me it would be especially easy to stow it away when you have so much that he can’t keep up with it. Lord have mercy! It would take the CIA and the FBI to find the hiding places for all of the cash that I would have stashed.
I’m sure that my friends are surprised to hear how resourceful I can be, especially since one of them seems to think that I worry too much about what people think of me. Others might be reading this and thinking that I was sneaky or deceitful, or that I didn’t have faith in my husband, especially since I’m a woman who tries to follow the Word. Yet, I haven’t read anything in the Good Book that says you’re not supposed to have common sense.
It seems that Mrs. Madoff came out all right. She was able to keep two million dollars of her husband’s ill gotten gains, and that ain’t chicken feed. So I’m not wasting any tears on her when it comes to money. I’m saving my sympathy for the women who don’t have sense enough to plan ahead in case they might be left to take care of their kids alone. If a woman is lucky enough to find a prince charming good for them, but what I was looking for in a mate was a man who could be true to his word and true to me because I know that fairy tales are in story books.
So muse on that.