The Power of Words

Disclaimer: The Cafe in the Woods usually do not serve posts of a political nature unless something has pissed off the owner so much, she will drag a soapbox to the middle of the cafe and force the patrons to listen to her rant while waving a serving ladle in a wagging, nagging manner. This only happens on occasion. You need not fear the ladle. But do fear the hot pumpkin soup that’s being flung off–oh, and the rant that follows.

This past Sunday at church, we received voting guides from the Family Research Council. It’s usually standard practice; in fact, I never really thought about it. I always felt that it was good to know where candidates stood and how they were seen from a Christian point of view. These had questions and charts, complete with footnotes and sources, so I was pretty sure that the information they had gathered was from a reliable source.

Then I reached the last page. It just had a grid with a question on top: “Where do the Presidential Candidates Stand on Abortion?” Then it listed several categories, like “Taxpayer funding of Abortion” and “Provide Care to babies who are born alive after an abortion”. In the boxes next to these categories, they had a column for McCain and one for Obama, showing if they supported or opposed the category. That’s it. Nothing else. No footnotes, no source. Just “OPPOSES” or “SUPPORTS”.

Naturally, McCain was show to be against anything to do with abortion, while Obama was shown to support it.

What was interesting though was “Provide Care to babies who are born alive after an abortion”. It shows Obama opposing it. Now, it just so happened that a couple of weeks before, I was reading a “Reality Check” article that dealt with this very issue. Quoting from the article (you can read the whole thing here) from a television ad:

The ad says: “Sen. Obama, why did you vote against protecting infants that survived late term abortions, not once but four times?”

This needs clarification, a WISC-TV analysis found. First, people need to know what he was actually voting on.

In 2001 and 2003, the Illinois state Senate debated a so-called “born alive” bill three times. The measure was meant to provide extra protection to babies who survived a rare type of abortion.

The bill defined infants born at any stage of development as humans if they could breathe or had a heart beat and said a doctor would be required to make efforts to save them. Obama voted against the bill twice in committee, twice on the floor, on a total of three bills.

He explained to senators he believed the wording of the bill could undermine Roe v. Wade, “essentially barring abortions.”

The article goes on to add that later on, Obama signed onto the “Freedom of Choice” act, which aim was “not to completely roll back the ban on partial birth abortions but to allow them only if the health of the mother was in jeopardy.” Oddly enough, on the FRC guide, it gives the aim of the “Freedom of Choice Act” as it “overturns most state right-to-life laws”.

The same Act. Two different meanings altogether.

Now, obviously, Obama and I have very different views on abortion. But in knowing what I know from that article, it puts the wording that the FRC guide used in a completely different light. Suddenly, everything in that guide was suspect. Are they telling the whole truth, or are they twisting and bending words to present candidates in the way they want people to see them?

But why should I be upset? This happens all the time. The candidates do it. Organizations do it. Hell, the news do it. Nothing’s really unbiased. Why I am so ticked off about it?

I’ll tell you why. Because they’re sending crap like this to the church.

It’s something that’s being preached in all pulpits. “Be educated.” “Know what the candidates stand for.” “Do your homework before you go to the polls.” And then they distribute crap like this, expecting that this is the answer key that you need. Anything that has “Family” or “Values” in it must be right. It’s most likely that many Christians will take guides like the ‘FRC’ to the polls with them, blindly accepting what’s in them as truth.

Oh wait. Many Christians did take guides like this to the polls. Four years ago. And look what happened.

What really ticks me off about this is that these guides pass themselves off as “Christian”. And they’re the ones who are undermining Christian ministries who genuinely serve those people whom those guides rail against. Instead of using reason, wisdom, and love to have people make honest decisions, these guides use fear-mongering, deception, and sly twists on words to force Christians into run blindly to the polls, and you better vote their way or else the country will fall into death, despair and flames and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT!

Recently, a friend of mine let me know about a letter that was put out by the Focus on the Family Action called “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America”. I read it, thought about it, then sat down to write this post.

On the one hand, I don’t deny that our country is heading down a slippery slope. There’s no question about that.

But on the other hand, to offer something like that and blame it all on Obama and a “Far-Left” Democratic government? It’s not only wrong, but it’s downright hypocritical. What exactly is the writer trying to gain from this? For people to stop and think? To get people to start boarding up their windows and doors? And what makes him think that a 2012 McCain America would be much better? I’d like to see a letter from that period, just to see what it’s like.

Oh wait. We happen to be living a McCain America at this very moment.

So to all those “Christian Family” organizations that are supposed to have “my” best interests at heart: watch your words. All the hate and fear-mongering you’re spreading is doing nothing but making the rest of us Christians look like fools. And it’s not going to sit well with you when you give your accounting to the Lord on Judgement Day. If you’re going to reach out to Christians, do it the right way: provide solid facts, and let us decide. No word doctoring. No fact-hiding. No bias spinning. Do your homework so we can do ours. “Wisdom is proved right by her actions.” (Matthew 11:19)

Postclaimer: This has been a political rant by yours truly. The opinions expressed within this rant completely reflects the opinions of the Cafe itself and should be taken as such. Yours truly is now off to tend to her soup before it starts to burn.


A post about how everything sucks (or the joy of experiencing changes in life)

(Disclaimer: the following post contains a lot of moping, groaning and whining about the stresses of putting a house on the market and life changes in general. You have been warned.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about life-altering events these past few days.

Death and tragedy ones, like the shootings what happened in Tinley Park and NIU this past month. Everyone in Chicago are still reeling over those. Sadder ones, like the breakup of a marriage or the end of a close friendship. More joyous ones, like getting married or having a first child.

And then there’s moving.

There’s something sobering about driving from your house one morning and coming back to see a “For Sale” sign sitting on your lawn. Even though I knew in my head it was going to happen, to see the actual sign with my own eyes, sitting on my own lawn, suddenly drove home the fact that this will no longer be my house. Someone else will sit in the backyard and gaze out over the pond. Someone else will wake up in the bedroom and paddle barefoot to the kitchen to put on a teakettle. In fact, that someone else probably won’t even drink tea; they’ll have a coffeepot. A coffeepot in this house!

I lived in this house for almost seven years. I know every creak in the floor (well, not anymore, since we fixed those), every crack in the ceiling (hmm, actually, that’s gone too, now that’s it’s repaired), every smudge and mark Daniel’s put on (which has been cleaned off…and given new paint…)

Actually, I take all of that back. Ever since we’ve done all the renovations to the house, I don’t know it anymore. Oh, the layout’s still the same, and the pond hasn’t gone anywhere, and we still got (most) of our furniture. But it’s not my house anymore. Everything has to be clean and uncluttered, and there’s a lot less furniture than I like, and the color of the walls are not what I would pick, and it looks too much like the inside of a (tasteful) furniture store than an actual lived-in house, clutter and toys and all.

My house looks so pretty. And it’s depressing, because I don’t recognize it anymore.

This past month has been crazy getting the house ready to put on the market. Now that things are slowing down, I find that I can actually take a breather for once and relax. I can say to myself, now things can get back to normal again…

Except, well, there’s no such thing as normal anymore. The last time anything has been “normal” in this household was back in September, when Daniel was going to daycare, I was writing full-time, my hubbie was working full-time, and life was good. In fact, I remember thinking at that time, hey, this is perfect. Everything is going nicely for once. I hope it lasts for a good long time.

And then October came. KA-BOOM!

Today was the first time in weeks that I didn’t have to concentrate on working on the house. Oh, yes, there’s still cleaning and all, but most of the renovations are done. And you know what? I have no idea what to do. I suppose I could write, but what will Daniel do in the meantime? What do I do with a three-year-old in the middle of winter? According to that ‘perfect schedule’ I had in September, Daniel would be in daycare interacting with other kids and I would be working on Willow. Now that we don’t have (nor can we afford at the moment) daycare, Daniel spends his days playing by himself or parked in front of the TV, which is where I’ve been placing him throughout most of the month of January while we were working on the house. I can start taking him to playgroup again, just to get out of the house, but outdoor activities are definitely out, not until we start having weather that’s not in the single digits.

And writing? I can ease back into that, but those days of working four to six hours a day? Gone. At the most, I can do writing after Daniel goes to bed, but usually, I’m so tired, the most I can manage is fifteen minutes worth of writing before calling it quits. Work on Willow has slowed to a crawl, and working on short stories have become non-existent…

You know, I think I’m in mourning. I’m mourning the fact that everything’s changed, and nothing will be the same again. Not my writing time. Not my house. Nothing. It sucks.

Everything sucks.

Maybe I should cheer myself up by listening to Tom Waits.

(Caveat: This post is merely the author’s method of blowing off steam and in no way reflects the philosophy of the Cafe in the Woods–which is to sit back, relax, and have a cup of tea. Yours Truly promises that the next post will be more uplifting. In the meantime, you’ll just have to make do with what you got because the teapot is in the corner, sulking. And the table’s passed out in the corner. And the napkins are debating about the theory of relativity. And the carpet needs a haircut…

…And you can’t find your waitress with a Geiger counter, and she hates you and your friends and you just can’t be served without her. And the box office is drooling and the bar stools are on fire, and the newspapers were fooling, and the ashtrays have retired…cause the piano has been drinking…the piano has been drinking…the piano has been drinking…not me…not me…not me….not me…not me…)