No. of Recommendations: 321
I, for one, am far more fearful of the US government than I am of any terrorists. If you value freedom and civil liberties,
you should be too.

Galeno - I dont want you to take the following personally, but...
You come across to me as a ... tree hugging,

Hey now! On behalf of all tree-huggers everywhere, I say: them's fighting words!

I know that I'm not a regular on this board (I'm a LBYM regular). I found my way here via a post on the "Best Of" board. I haven't even read through this entire thread, so I may well be repeating what others have already stated. I'll apologize in advance if this post intrudes on the RE community, but I did want to respond to Galeno's post.

I'm one of those radical feminist, tree-hugging, Birkinstock-wearing, candle-vigil-holding, demonstration-going women who believes in animal rights (GASP!), environmentalism (SHUDDER!), and the power of psychotherapy to change lives (UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE). However, I also have a deep and abiding love for my country, and a profound sense of gratitude that transcends all of my political complaints, due to one simple, astonishing fact: in this country, someone like me can exist.

Galeno, your post expressed a concern with civil liberties. So let's review some of mine, granted to me by the country in which I reside: I can have as many demonstrations and candlelight vigils as I want, and as long as I and my hairy-legged pals destroy no property, we'll be allowed to peacefully march and sing and clap our hands and hoist our placards until we grow bunions. Pretty amazing, no? And I can have my most radical friends over for dinner any night of the week, and let them sit around my tiny living room ranting about capitalism and corruption and gender politics, and after they leave, I can go to bed secure in the knowledge that no one will come knocking on my door late in the night to take me away, or to ask for the names of my friends.

I am free to write anything I want - anything! can you see how extraordinary this is? - and disseminate it to my friends and colleagues, no matter how reactionary or bizarre my ideas. Right now, I could create a small pamphlet on my computer claiming that aliens carried out the 911 attacks - or that we should all be afraid of the U.S. government due to impending civil rights violations - and it would not even cross my mind to think that I would go to jail for this, or that my family would be harassed, or that my mail would be read, or that my computer would be smashed to bits. You yourself made your post, critical of the U.S., freely and without similar fears.

And if golfwaymore is sitting at work right now, reading this post and wondering where a nice grrl like me got such nutty ideas, I could tell him that it was at college and graduate school, where I was free to apply and enroll. The only limitation to my access to education was my academic merit - if I met entrance requirements, I could attend. Once enrolled, I was free to read any books I wanted, to talk to and associate with any professors I wanted, to write any papers I wanted, and to espouse any theories in which I believed. At times, this freedom was difficult for me to bear - for example, at one University I attended, one of the professors was a virulently anti-semitic Holocaust denier. As an observant Jew, it was acutely painful for me to see him out on the sidewalk in front of his office, holding up his crazy signs and shouting his offensive slogans. But there it is, Galeno, the powerful beauty of this country - that I, a Jew, and he, an anti-semite, could exist on the same campus, in the same town, with extremely divergent beliefs and lifestyles, without ever coming to blows and without one of us ever being silenced by the other.

If SeattlePioneer is sitting at home right now, reading this post and wondering what kind of marriage a grrl like me could possibly have, I could tell him that it's a wonderful marriage, since I was free to choose my DH myself. I was even free to live in sin with him prior to our marriage, and far from getting stoned to death for it, I actually got a couple of nice pots from my mom (thanks, mom). And should my much-adored husband ever decide that he's had enough of all the "Up With Women" and "Save the Little Animals" and "Teach Non-Violence to the Children" crap that goes on in our household, and that he wants to trade me in for a less tree-huggy gal, he will have to wend himself through a court process that is designed (despite its faults) to treat us equally, and to protect my property and financial interests just as much as his.

If others on this board are reading this and wishing that they could crack me up across the side of my head for being such an earth grrl, I can tell them to go ahead, because I have access to the finest medical care in the world - and I rest easy in the knowledge that even if my physician is a Republican, or a fraternity brother, or a logger, he or she will still use all of their skill in stiching my head up, regardless of our divergent political beliefs, simply because that is how we do it here in the U.S. (Of course, I wouldn't recommend that anyone try to mess with me, cuz I take boxing lessons and I lift serious weights, so y'all better stand back and give the grrl her space).

If there is one thing that I know, it's that a woman like me could never, never exist in a country like Afghanistan, where women and girls are executed for wearing make-up, for reading certain books or watching certain movies, for learning to read, for exposing parts of their bodies from underneath the chador, even for being raped. Women in Afghanistan have no access to education, no access to medical care, no right to choose who they marry, no right to self-determination in any sense of the word. Did you know that women in Afghanistan are committing suicide in record numbers? Since they do not have access to guns, the only way for them to kill themselves is to injest lye and other cleaning solutions. It takes, on average, three excruciatingly painful days for them to die. I imagine that they choose this route because, after seeing their mothers and sisters and friends and daughters tortured, raped, beaten, and threatened into mute submission - and after seeing their fathers, husbands, and sons murdered by the Taliban for refusing to fight in the Taliban army, or for articulating disagreement with the Taliban, or simply for holding a valuable home or piece of land - they cannot fathom that life holds any promise, any hope, any chance of decency or peace or simply an end to suffering. Contrast that with me, Galeno, who is hoping to get pregnant soon, secure in the knowledge that my son or daughter will have the opportunity - largely unprecedented in history - to grow up and do, be, say, write, pray, and believe anything that he or she wants.

I hope, of course, that my children understand how unbelievably lucky they are to be born at this moment in time, at this point in history, in this country, even with all of its excesses and faults. How many people, living in other countries right now, can say that? In how many countries could someone like me exist? Not in Afghanistan, where I would have been killed long ago.

So, this has all been a long-winded way of saying: I disagree with you. I'm not afraid of the U.S. government. In fact, I'm grateful for and humbled by the privileges with which I live. And if I have to have some of those privileges taken away in order to ensure that other Americans - as well as citizens of other countries who want desperately to become Americans - can live in safety, then I say: bring it on. I owe this country that much, don't you think?

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