1. pettin’ in the park
The other day, Peter of Plastic Bubble World shared this blog post from a self-proclaimed “scientist turned homemaker and joyful convert to Catholicism.” Here’s the executive summary: She’s seen a little same-sex PDA at her community pool and local park, and she’s terrified, because how will she protect her children’s innocence now? What is she supposed to tell her daughter when she befriends a child with two “mommies.” (Her quotation marks probably irk me more than anything. If you care for a child, you are a parent. Period.)
Oh, and she’s also not down with the fact that her tax dollars fund “contraception, abortion, and IVF” and that an undocumented immigrant killed a child while driving drunk. I know a South Park fan who got a DUI, so I’m thinking South Park fans might be a danger to society too.
Also, I would like the number of whatever government department or free clinic funds IVF, because maybe I can file some paperwork and get reimbursed.*
Sorry. I did have a point here, and it’s not that this woman is crazy. She and her supportive commenters** actually seem disturbingly well educated, except for the obvious ways in which they’re not. My point is about the “right to protect my children’s innocence” part.
The religious right has a history of playing—and twisting—the persecuted minority card. The pro-Prop. 8ers talk a lot about the “people’s right” to amend the state constitution, i.e. some people’s right to oppress other people.
Catholic Mom closes her post by saying, “But that just adds to everything else I'm being asked to tolerate. Seriously, is this freedom?”
“Freedom” does not mean getting to do everything you want to do. The notion that it does is very privileged and very American. I get it, though, because hey, I’m privileged and American and I also want to do the things I want to do. I want to be a mommy, or a “mommy,” as much as I’ve ever wanted anything. I sort of think it’s my right. Except it isn’t. It’s just a wonderful thing that might or might not happen.
So, Catholic Mom, you don’t have a right to protect your children’s innocence at the expense of other people’s actual, listed-in-the-Constitution rights.
2. all cats go to heaven, and some go too soon
Temecula is the most outgoing of our three cats. She quickly won the hearts of our next-door neighbor Jennifer and her three-year-old daughter Claudia. I love puttering around the yard and hearing Claudia exclaim, delightedly, “Mecula!”
The other day, Jennifer emailed AK and I: “Yesterday when we were getting out of the car I noticed that a very loving, very sweet Temecula had one very large paw that seemed to cause her to limp. We were really concerned, especially my littlest daughter. Is it anything serious? Hope she's okay.”
We explained that T-Mec has cancer, and I thought, Wow, now Jennifer has to explain illness and death to her daughters. They’re not even in kindergarten.
Of course, she could just say that T-Mec is trying to popularize a new dance craze, just as Catholic Mom can tell her kids that their new friend’s mommies are holding hands because they’re playing a two-person game of Red Rover.
But eventually, all children lose their innocence. Yes, if it happens too soon it can be traumatizing. But merely learning about the existence of certain worldly truths doesn’t fall into that category. Gay people are real. Death is real. (I’m sure Catholic Mom would be glad I’m putting them in the same category.) Someday, if I’m lucky, I’ll have to teach my children that people like Catholic Mom are real. I’m not looking forward to it, but I know my job isn’t to preserve my children’s innocence—it’s to give them the strength to face the world as it is, not as I wish it was.
*For the record, I don’t think the government should fund IVF. I was unsure about funding my own IVF. I think the government should offer lots of resources and incentives to help people adopt with minimal hoop-jumping.
**Since the post went viral, a number of people have left pro-gay-rights comments as well. So when I read this comment—
“Homosexuals spent centuries hiding in the closet. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the American Psychiatric Associating and the American Medical Associating decided homosexuality wasn’t a mental disorder. Now that the vast majority of our doctors, educators, and scientists all agree that homosexuality is ‘normal’ and ‘natural,’ they’re asking for equal marriage RIGHTS on top of it?! Give a homo an inch and he wants a mile! Isn’t it good enough that they’re not considered mentally disturbed deviants anymore??”
--I assumed it was from a queer employing irony, the folk art of our people. But nope, as I scrolled down it became clear that this commenter was absolutely sincere.