The Alamo is one of the iconic and problematic events in American history. The defeat of the Mexican army by a small band of rebels in Texas is emblematic of the idea of freedom and independence that is the United States. But that does not mean that the story that we know today has been told in its entirety.
Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth was published in June. Written by Bryan Burroughs, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford, the book explores not just the narrative of the battle at the Alamo, but how it has been changed over time. After telling the story as it was experienced by those who were there, the authors delve into how it was reshaped to match the perspective of the majority Caucasian population. The fact that the Americans were aided by Tejano fighters and that the war was about keeping slavery legal when it was outlawed in Mexico was conveniently forgotten.
This book is uncomfortable to read, in a good way. It forces the reader to take a hard look at not just this event, but our history as a whole. Are we being told of the facts or those that are convenient to those in power? A well written chronicle makes the reader think. If nothing else, Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth, starts to turn the wheels and ask questions that have remained unanswered for far too long.
When it comes to abortion, the people who are against it believe in the right to life. They are entitled to their beliefs, but the question I have to ask is whose life is important and within what parameters?
The political spotlight has been in Texas for the past few weeks due to the new anti-abortion law that has galvanized the nation. The sad and disgusting irony is that while the powers that be in that state are concerned with the uterus’s of the female residents, they are ignoring the lives that are being lost due to Covid-19.
Kali Cook died from the virus last week. She was just four years old. Though she was too young to be vaccinated, her mother was not. Covid then passed to the entire family. As of this article, Kali was the only one whose life was taken. Speaking to the press, her mother said the following:
“I was one of the people that was anti, I was against it,” she said. “Now, I wish I never was.”
The question I have to ask Governor Abbott and other lawmakers is how many deaths it will take to open their eyes? The loss of this precious child and the millions of other Americans is on their hands. They know, as we all do, what we need to do to stop this disease and save lives. Instead, they continue on this path that will only lead to more Americans dead and a nation with scars that may never heal.
There is nothing more hypocritical than a politician speaking out of both sides of their mouth.
I wrote about the Texas abortion ban earlier this week. I am not the only one who is outraged by this law. Yesterday, actress and model Brooklyn Decker shared her thoughts via social media. When a state tightly controls women’s bodies, but is lax on gun control, their actions speak louder than any amount of words can. If this is what it means to be “pro-life“, I have to ask what they mean by stating this and whose lives are worthy of protection?
Abortion is more than the control of women’s bodies. It is the control of our destinies. Throughout most of human history, we have been beholden to the men around us. Now that we have been speaking up and taking control of our lives, the reaction by some (both men and women) is to pull us back via the figurative leash.
In Texas today, one of the most restrictive abortion bans became law today. One of the features of this law is that the average person on the street can sue abortion providers and anyone who helped the women (or a pregnant person) obtain the abortion. It does not matter if the person who is behind the lawsuit is any relation or knows either party that is being sued. This is on top of another heartbeat bill, which bans the procedure after six weeks. To add insult to injury, not even cases of rape or incest are given leeway.
This is a diversionary tactic. There is way too much shit going on in this country (Covid-19 being a good chunk of it) to focus on whether or not the decision to abort a pregnancy is made. This is a deeply personal and complicated decision between the woman who is pregnant, their spouse/partner (if there is one), and their doctor(s). I am all for freedom of religion, but that does not give one group the right to impose their beliefs on anyone else.
What is scary is that this bill has the potential truly damage, if not take down completely Roe V. Wade.
We need to focus of taking this nation forward and dealing with our issues. Telling a woman what to do with her body should not be on priority list to begin with.
P.S. We made a big deal about getting out as many women and young girls from Afghanistan over the past few weeks. But when it comes to the women in this country, some people still think that we live in the dark ages.
If there is one thing that defines the United States, it is that our freedom is everything to us. Our founding documents make freedom part and parcel of everything that this nation is built on. But it comes with a cost.
“The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children.”
Governor Abbott has chosen to not only refuse to implement statewide standards, but he is preventing local officials from doing the same.
“Going forward, in Texas, there will not be any government-imposed shutdowns or mask mandates,” Abbott said. “Everyone already knows what to do.”
I will not and cannot deny that parents have the right to make the healthcare decisions for their children. However, school has started or will start soon (depending on where you live). The delta variant has proven to be more deadly than the initial version of the virus. According to a NY Times article on July 20th, 83% of new cases are due to the variant. We also have to take into account that children ages 0-12 are still not eligible for the vaccine, opening the door to an unknown number of new cases in both children and adults.
Freedom is important. But it cannot help you if you are lying comatose on a hospital bed. Nor does it mean anything if you are with your maker because you were too foolish to take a simple life saving shot.
When fighting against injustice, superheroes don’t always wear capes or use fantastic weaponry. Some are just brave enough to stand up and speak their truths.
Earlier this months, recent Texashigh school graduate Paxton Smith stepped up the microphone to give her valedictorian speech. Instead of reading from the text that was approved by the administration, she used her platform to speak out against the heartbeat bill signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott.
The problem with this bill is that it goes into effect before pregnancy is detected, taking away the person’s right to make a decision about their body and their future. The problem with this bill and others like it is that is shortsighted. It does not take into account if the pregnancy comes about via rape, incest, or if it is medically necessary to abort the pregnancy. It also ignores the millions of already existing children who for a variety of reasons, are growing up in less than economically ideal circumstances. Where is the need to help those kids?
We need more young women like Paxton Smith. With future leaders like her, I see a bright future for this country.
During a normal period, abortion is a topic that is nothing if divisive.
But as the corona-virus continues it’s path of destruction across the country and across the world, some anti-abortion politicians and activists took advantage of the lack of a spotlight. In Texas, abortion was labelled as a non-essential medical procedure.
Abortion is an essential procedure. The fact that we are living through a pandemic does not take away a woman’s right to choose. In fact, it is more important than ever that our rights are upheld and not shoved aside due to a crisis.
Shame on those who would take advantage of our current situation to push their agenda. Now is not the time. When we have returned to normal, then we can return to business as usual.
But until then, we cannot allow special interests to use this crisis to their advantage.
School used to be defined by the three R’s-reading, writing and arithmetic. Over the last twenty years or so, an SS need to be added to the three R’s- school shooting.
On Friday morning, Dimitrios Pagourtzis walked into a classroom at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas and starting shooting at classmates. When the shooting finally stopped, eight students and two teacher were dead. 10 more are wounded.
According to news reports, the young man accused of the murders used the guns his father purchased legally.
Once again, the argument comes down to one thing: gun control, Now granted, the weapons belonged to the boy’s father and were purchased through proper legal channels. However, that does not condone that murder of 10 innocent people.
As usual, the message from our government will be the same lip service: thoughts, prayers and empty promises.
How many kids will die before those in power actually do something about gun control? Or will it take a future shooting close to home for our government to actually do something that will once and for all and stop the killing of children who have just begun to live?
The rally in Charlottesville two weeks ago was a shock to America. It revealed not only our differences, but the schisms that are keeping us apart. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a disaster to bring us together. This weekend, that disaster is Hurricane Harvey.
Many of my regular readers know that I am a born and bred New Yorker. I lived through both 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. The thing I remember about both is that we temporarily forgot our differences and remembered that we are all Americans. If we needed a kick in the behind to remind us of this, Hurricane Harvey is that kick.
Whatever our differences are, we need to put those aside and help our fellow citizens. Whether it is a donation to a reputable charity or volunteering to help the victims, please give. Our fellow citizens need us.
For every brand new idea that has come out of Hollywood, there are reboots and revivals that try to present an old idea in a new way. Sometimes, these reboots and revivals are successful. But most of the time, these reboots and revivals fall flat on their faces. Such is the case with Bewitched (2005) and The Stepford Wives (2004).
Based on the 1960’s television series of the same name, this remake stars Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman) is a witch who is determined to live her life without magic. Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) an actor with an ego bigger than the state of Texas, is trying to revive his career. The vehicle to revive his career comes in a remake of Bewitched. Meeting Isabel randomly at a cafe, he offers her the part of Samantha opposite his Darrin. Isabel finds herself attracted to Jack, but Jack sees an unknown actress who can unknowingly play second fiddle to him.
Were the critics wrong? Nora Ephron was the director and co-writer on this movie. Nicole Kidman is an excellent performer, but not in this haphazard, sad attempt of a movie. Will Ferrell is one of the best actors Saturday Night Live has ever had on their stage, but he is not a rom-com leading man material. I will have to side with the critics on this movie.
The Stepford Wives
A modern reboot of the 1975 book and movie of the same name, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick star as Joanna Eberhart and Walter Kresby, a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. Trying to revive their relationship, they move from Manhattan to the suburbs of Connecticut. But the town they move is very odd. The wives are oddly docile and submissive to their husbands. The husbands disappear behind the door of The Stepford Men’s Association.
Were the critics wrong? To be fair, I have never seen the original movie, nor have I read the book. Again, Nicole Kidman is an excellent performer. But she and Matthew Broderick are lacking in the chemistry department. The movie is trying to be a comedic thriller. While the original movie was commenting on the then burgeoning feminist movement, this movie just tries too hard. For the second time, I will have to side with the critics on this movie.