Thursday, August 11, 2022

EVE'S STORIES AGAIN -- READABLE THIS TIME!

 

Dear Bloggelinis: I sent out these stories before. But the text wasn't easily readable because I was taking a shortcut and just using the pdf. My bad -- lazy Blogmistress! Now you can read these powerful stories without straining.

When I talked to other women about the idea of publishing Eve Goldberg's stories, two women who'd had abortions said that they had somehow been silent about their stories, even though they felt no shame. Telling the story of one's abortion is a political act. Every story told both personalizes and normalizes abortion.

Women get pregnant.
Therefore, women must have the right to abortion.
It's that simple.
Please contact the Whole Women's Health Alliance to donate or to find myriad volunteer opportunities for supporting a woman's right to abortion in these perilous post-Roe times.

Thank you, Donna, Linda, and especially Eve for these stories.
_____________________________________________________________

Zero Population Growth Starts Here

The following stories are true. The first two are the memories of friends – which I recorded and edited. The final story is my own. 
                — E.G.


DONNA
When my aunt found out that Aaron was Jewish, she told me to move out of her house. It was 1951. I was working as a probation officer in Cleveland, Ohio. It was my first job after college. I had been dating Aaron, a reporter for the local paper, for about a year. 

After I left my aunt’s house, I rented a room on the second floor of a house nearby where I had my own bathroom and tiny kitchenette.

Then I missed my period. I had been using birth control, a cream called Norform, but my periods were usually very regular, so I was worried. I told Aaron about it and we went to see a doctor who was a friend of his. The doctor gave me a pregnancy test and it came back positive. 

So there I was. I was pregnant, unmarried, and 23.

In that time and place, my friends and family would have considered it shameful if I got pregnant without being married, and also shameful to get married just because I was pregnant. But more to the point, I just plain didn’t want to get married. I wasn’t ready for it. And I definitely didn’t want to have a baby — it was the furthest thing from my mind.  

So we asked Aaron’s doctor friend if he would do an abortion. “Oh, no!” he said. “I’d lose my license.” He did tell us, though, that if a psychiatrist vouched that an abortion was necessary for my mental health it could be done legally. 

I remember the psychiatrist vividly. He was tall and skinny and kind of bent over, and he and wore glasses with thick black rims. He listened while I told him the full story about my relationship with Aaron, that I’m pregnant, and not only did I not want to get married under the gun, I didn’t want a baby. Period. I told him that I didn’t think I could handle having a baby. I remember so well what happened next. This psychiatrist looked at me and said, “I think you can handle it.” And you know what? That’s when I really came into my own. Because it’s true, I probably could have “handled it.” But it wasn’t what I wanted. He didn’t give a flying fuck about me. It made me mad. Really mad.  That’s  when I knew I’d have to get an illegal abortion. 

So Aaron checked around and found a doctor who’d had his license revoked for giving abortions. We made an appointment and drove out to his house which was in a suburb of Cleveland. The street was lined with maple trees, and it was autumn so the trees were full and bright red. The doctor lived in a two-story white house with a deep front porch.

We knocked and the doctor let us in. He was a middle-aged man, probably about 50. There were a couple of chairs set up in the entry area where we sat, and the doctor asked me questions like: Why did I want an abortion? Was I sure about this decision? Things like that. I told him the truth. Aaron stayed in the entry area, while I followed the doctor into a room which might have once been a study. It was set up with one of those high examination tables and stirrups. I was way too nervous to really check it out. I was scared. I wasn’t scared about it being illegal, but I cared about my body. I didn’t want to be hurt or injured. I put my feet in those stirrups, and I remember feeling very vulnerable. I didn’t know what he was going to do. The details after that are a blur. Afterwards, the doctor told me to expect passing some blood clots within the next 24 hours, at which time the abortion would be complete.

The next day nothing happened, no blood clots. I called Aaron that night and told him that nothing was happening, I wasn’t passing anything. So he called the doctor and we went back the next day and he did a second abortion. I was feeling fine, so Aaron dropped me at the place where I was living and he went home. This time, though, I started to cramp and bleed — lots and lots of blood, for hours — so much that I got really scared.  I thought I was going to bleed to death. I felt isolated and afraid. Other than Aaron, I had nobody to talk to about it, nobody to turn to and ask questions. I frantically called Aaron and told him what was happening. He called his doctor friend — the one who did the pregnancy test.  

That doctor came immediately that night to my place. He examined me and gave me a shot and some medicine, it might have been antibiotics, I’m not sure. The profuse bleeding stopped, but I kept spotting for six weeks. I knew I’d better go see to a regular, legal doctor. I went to an ob-gyn. I was nervous about telling him that I’d had an abortion because I didn’t know if he’d report it to the police, or what. But I felt like my health and maybe my life was at stake, so I told him the truth. He examined me and told me I needed a D&C, which would clean out my uterus. He arranged for me to go to a hospital to have it done. 

So I had the D&C in the hospital, and that was finally it. 

The whole abortion ordeal definitely influenced my life.  To cut to the chase, after Aaron and I broke up, I married the next man I dated — Jack. I thought to myself: You sleep with him and you’re going to get pregnant again. Then what are you gonna do? I didn’t want another illegal abortion. And I was also thinking, I need to get married.  All my high school girlfriends were already married. I was the last one. I was 24. So we got married. I never regretted marrying Jack — he was a very sweet and decent person — but there was also that pressure I felt, it was definitely part of the picture. Jack and I had three children, and I was so relieved that they all came out healthy and whole.

For many years, I never told a single person about the abortion, not because I was ashamed but because it was socially frowned upon. The first person I ever told was my second husband, Frank. I fell in love with him, and I told him right away. I wanted him to know everything about me. I said, “I had an abortion.” And he said, “So?” 

That was the right guy for me.



LINDA
I was living underground in New York City when I found out I was pregnant. It was 1970 and I was a member of Weatherman — a radical, anti-imperialist organization. Some of us, including me, were doing anti-war organizing on college campuses. Others of us were making bombs.

We all went underground because of the Townhouse Explosion. Some Weatherman members had been constructing a bomb in the basement of a Greenwich Village townhouse, when the bomb blew up. Three members of Weatherman were killed.  It was huge national news.  Right after that we all went underground. We realized we might be arrested for having an organizational association with the Townhouse Explosion. So we went underground to figure out what to do and to avoid arrest. 

We severed ties with family and friends, got false IDs, and began living under false names.

What I remember about living underground in New York was having a large set of keys with me at all times — keys to the apartments of supporters who were willing to let me crash and hide out at their place. Mobility was important because we never knew when the FBI would come around. I had been living like this for a month or two when I realized I was pregnant. I didn’t know who the father was. I had been in a monogamous relationship with Scott, but there was a “smash monogamy” campaign in Weatherman, so most of the couples had broken up. I didn’t have much sex after that, but I did sleep with someone other than Scott. 

The main thing I knew was that my life was not conducive to raising a child.  I was committed to being a revolutionary, to changing the world. So no matter what, I wasn’t going to have a baby.

I was trying to figure out how to get an abortion, which was illegal at that time, when I was arrested during an undercover FBI sting operation. I was charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines to incite a riot, the riot being the Days of Rage action we had organized in 1969 in Chicago. My parents bailed me out, but a condition of my release pending court was to live with my parents under house arrest. So I went back to their home in Fort Dodge, Iowa. I was 23 years old.

It was very intense to be arrested and pregnant. To be dealing with, oh my god if I don’t get an abortion I’ll have a baby and might be in prison and what would that mean? Would my mother raise this kid? On top of that, I was rebelling against my parents at that point, so it was psychologically very weird to be back at their house again. My parents were conservative Republicans and couldn’t comprehend my politics. They didn’t understand my lifestyle; collective living and not getting married were unheard of to them. Plus, here in Iowa I was isolated from all of my friends and comrades.  I felt a lot of pressure to get the abortion quickly because I knew I might go to prison, for how long I didn’t know. I felt really stressed out and alone. 

Immediately, I told my mom that I was pregnant. She was a very straight, middle-aged, middle-class woman. But she understood that I didn’t want to have a baby and that I couldn’t take care of one, so she was supportive of my decision to get an abortion. It was a big deal for her to say, “Sure, I’ll help you get an illegal abortion.”  We didn’t tell my dad.

Through my attorney I made arrangements to get an abortion while I was in Chicago for a court appearance. I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere without one or both of my parents, so my mother and I flew to Chicago to go to court. After the hearing, she and I walked over to a nearby Woolworths. It was a hot, sticky summer day and I remember sweating through the nice blouse I’d put on for the court appearance.

We entered Woolworths together, and as my mom pretended to shop for thimbles and thread in the notions aisle, I went into the bathroom, then out the back door. A car driven by a man I had never met was waiting for me outside. The man told me to get in back. “Lie down on the seat,” he said. “Don’t get up or look up until I tell you.”

We started to drive through Chicago. With my head pressed sideways against the seat, I could see only light and dark shadows pass by the window. I began to worry. How would the abortion turn out? Would I go to jail or prison? Would I ever see my friends again? I was nervous because the abortion wouldn’t be in a doctor’s office or hospital, but on the other hand I had confidence in my attorney hooking me up with the right network of people to make this all happen.  But what if I was putting this network in danger? I knew that the FBI had been following me prior to my arrest, and I didn’t know if they still were. We had taken precautions to see that we weren’t being followed, but I really didn’t know for sure.  Lying silently on the back seat, my mind was a sea of stress and anxiety.

Finally the car stopped and the driver said I could get out. We were in a neighborhood of old, tall apartment buildings, brick and sandstone. I followed the man into one of the buildings, we went up to the second floor, and he knocked on an apartment door. A black woman in a turban answered. I followed her up many flights of stairs to another apartment where I met the doctor, a white man. This second apartment was completely empty except for the kitchen where an ordinary kitchen table had been modified with medical stirrups. I felt comforted because at least the room was clean and the doctor had on an immaculate white medical smock. He was kind and reassuring. I got up on the table and the doctor did the procedure right there.

After the abortion, we drove back to Woolworths. My mom was still inside, pretending to shop. How she managed to pull off the fake-shopping act for several hours, I don’t know. But there she was in her crisp navy dress with a blue and white scarf around her neck, carefully examining baseball gloves in the sporting goods aisle.

It was such a relief to get the abortion over with. And really what my mother did was quite amazing and brave, doing this clandestine errand with her daughter. We hugged briefly, not wanting to bring attention to ourselves. Then we took a taxi to the airport and flew back to Iowa.



 
EVE
I was pedaling my white ten-speed from our apartment in Santa Monica to UCLA when the nausea hit. By the time I reached campus, the feeling had subsided. The next day the nausea was worse, again occurring while I rode my bike to school. I thought maybe it was caused by the fumes from the trucks and buses and cars that passed. Or maybe it was stomach cancer. Eeks!

That day after class, I biked over to visit my mom at her job on campus. She had gone back to school after raising her kids and was now a post-doc fellow in neuroscience. I locked up my bike and took the elevator up to her lab. We chatted for a while, and then I mentioned the nausea. Without a pause, she said:

“Do you think you’re pregnant?”
Oh. That thought hadn’t crossed my mind. “I guess it’s possible.”
“Well, get yourself a test. Do you have a gynecologist?”
“Of course.” (I didn’t.)
“And let me know if you need anything.”
“Mom, please. David and I can take care of it.”
“I know you can, dear. I’m just offering.”
“Okay. I know. Thanks.”

Yup. Pregnant. I was 20 years old and it was 1974. David and I had been living together for less than a year. He was 29, an assistant professor in Anthropology, with sole custody of his 5-year-old daughter. The three of us lived in an apartment with a view of the ocean, green shag carpet (really!), and rent so low it’s embarrassing. Our life worked and we were basically happy. 
           “What do you want to do?” David asked. “I’m up for another child if you are. We could get married too…uh, if you want.” 

There was only one thought on my mind: How soon can I get the abortion?

The answer was two weeks. Two weeks of morning sickness which, it turns out, yields slightly to Saltine crackers and 7-Up.       

The funny thing is, I don’t remember the actual abortion. I have a memory of going to a doctor’s office in Westwood, and the doctor telling me that she was going to perform a Vacuum Aspiration. She said that I might have some cramping which would feel like menstrual cramps, but that the procedure would be essentially painless and short. My next true and clear memory is being in the passenger seat of David’s VW and saying, “I would really like to eat some meat.”

We drove to Zucky’s, an old-fashioned deli in Santa Monica, where I ordered bratwurst sausage and sauerkraut. I remember this because, while I wasn’t a true vegetarian and did eat fish once in a while, that was it. But this day, right after the abortion, I wanted meat. Like, really wanted it. Like a craving or a need. I wanted to eat something that bled. So we had lunch at Zucky’s and then we went home.

There was no coda to my abortion. No hemorrhaging. No infection. No guilt. If anything, it felt like an initiation. Like getting braces on your teeth in junior high — not something you want or wish for, but once you’re there it’s almost like joining a club. My friend Holly had had an abortion the year before, and just a few months prior to mine I had accompanied my friend Cristina to get one. It was a safe, legal, minor medical procedure. And it saved me from adding more children into a world which I believed already had plenty.

** This essay is dedicated to Norma McCorvey—aka Jane Roe; to the Jane Collective, which from 1969-1973 helped women in the Chicago area get illegal abortions; and to my cousin Katherine Morrison, ob-gyn extraordinaire, who has risked her life and livelihood to provide low-cost, full-choice health care options for women.

Please contact the Whole Women's Health Alliance to donate or to find myriad volunteer opportunities for supporting a woman's right to abortion in these perilous post-Roe times.

Dear Bloggelinis: I hope you were as drawn in as I was. The difference between the first two stories, when abortion was illegal, and the last one -- HUGE!

I think the situation of the middle-class Republican mother, pretending to shop in Woolworth's for hours while her Weatherman daughter gets an illegal abortion, would make a great monolog. I love that she was carefully examining baseball gloves by the time her daughter returned.

Again, thank you, Donna, Linda and especially Eve for these stories! Terry

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

OBITS TO DIE FOR: Nichelle Nichols

 

I have a daily subscription to the PRINT edition of the New York Times, which is no small thing in terms of expense. And the truth is, I'm in it for the obituaries. The New Times is famous for its obituaries. There is even a very fine and fun documentary about the NY Times obituary writers, called OBITHere is a link to the OBIT trailer.

I have long wanted to build blogs around juicy tidbits from obituaries. And I can think of no better way to start the OBITS TO DIE FOR series than with Nichelle Nichols.

Nichelle Nichols played Lieutenant Uhura, the communications officer on the starship U.S.S. Enterprise in STAR TREK, the cult-inspiring space adventure series that was on television in the '60s. According to the NY Times, Uhura was...
...an officer and a highly educated and well-trained technician who maintained a businesslike demeanor while performing her high-minded duties. Ms. Nichols was among the first Black women to have a leading role on network television.
So she was a trailblazer for Black women, particularly because she played such an intelligent, educated character.

From the NY Times: "Grace Dell Nichols was born in Robbins, Ill., on Dec. 28, 1932 (some sources give a later year), and grew up in Chicago. Her father, a chemist, was the mayor of Robbins for a time. At 13 or 14, tired of being called Gracie by her friends, she requested a different name from her mother, who liked Michelle but suggested Nichelle for the alliteration."

Let's unpack this. 1) She doesn't like her name, Gracie. She's 13-14 years old. I can completely understand that. I didn't like my name at that age either. 2) She tells her mother she doesn't like her name. It never crossed my mind to tell my mother, to think I had that kind of autonomy. Here, Nichelle's life and my life part ways. 3) Her mother actually takes her seriously and comes up with a new name for Gracie. 4) Mother thinks up a totally unique name, so her daughter will be the only Nichelle in the world. 5) Nichelle has been validated as a serious, human being. 6) Mom has given her daughter a beautiful gift.


THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO BLAZE TRAILS!

Besides being a great communications officer, Uhura, along with Captain Kirk, were part of the first interracial kiss on network television.
They were FORCED to do it by the inhabitants of a strange planet.

That's how difficult it was to show a Black woman and a White man kissing on television in 1968. They had to be FORCED to do it by space aliens using telekinesis. The episode aired just one year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Loving v. Virginia
decision struck down state laws against interracial marriage. At the time, Gallup polls showed that fewer than 20% of Americans approved of such relationships.

Well, even though they didn't CHOOSE to do it, they DO seem to be enjoying it, don't you think? I'll bet Captain Kirk had been waiting FOREVER to find a planet with space aliens who would force him to kiss Lieutenant Uhura. Nichelle Nichols was an incredibly beautiful and sexy woman.

I begin to see why STAR TREK was and continues to be so beloved. I never watched television, so I knew nothing about the U.S.S. Enterprise or Captain Kirk or Lieutenant Uhura.

(From Wikipedia) The Shatner/Nichols kiss was seen as groundbreaking, even though it was portrayed as having been forced by alien telekinesis. There was some praise and almost no dissent.

During the Comedy Central Roast of Shatner on August 20, 2006, Nichols jokingly referred to the kiss and said, "What do you say, let's make a little more TV history ... and kiss my black ass!"

Where did Nichelle Nichols get the strength to say that?

Truly, I can imagine coming up with the IDEA of saying that at a roast with all those stars. But I cannot image actually SAYING it out loud. I think NIchols' strength came from her wonderful relationship with her mother, who gave her the name she desired.


HEARING THE CALL OF DESTINY IN BEVERLY HILLS

Nichols actually considered being Uhura just a job and a resume-builder, She intended to return to acting on Broadway, her true love. So, after the first season, she submitted her resignation to Gene Roddenberry. He asked her to think about it for a few days. Then she went to a party:
(NYT:) In a story she often told, that Saturday night she was a guest at an event in Beverly Hills, Calif. -- "I believe it was an N.A.A.C.P. fund-raiser," she recalled in the Archive interview -- where the organizer introduced her to someone he described as "your biggest fan."

"He's desperate to meet you," she recalled the organizer saying. The fan, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., introduced himself.

"He said, 'We admire you greatly, you know," Ms. Nichols said, and she thanked him and told him she was about to leave the show. "He said, 'You cannot. You cannot."

Dr. King told her that her role as a dignified, authoritative figure in a popular show was too important to the cause of civil rights for her to forgo. As Ms. Nichols recalled it, he said, "For the first time, we will be seen on television the way we should be seen every day."

On Monday morning, she returned to Roddenberry's office and told him what had happened. "And I said, 'If you still want me to stay, I'll stay. I have to."
So Dr. King ordered her to give up her great passion so that she could continue to help her people.

"You cannot. You cannot."

Of course, she might have had an even MORE trailblazing part on Broadway. But she would have been seen by far fewer people. Nichols felt she was ordered to remain Uhura by someone who had the right to tell her what to do.

"I'll stay. I have to."

What an interesting destiny.

After STAR TREK was cancelled, Nichols created a non-profit, Women in Motion, focussed on science education for girls. In 1977, Nichols gave a speech to the National Space Institute, challenging the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to “come down from your ivory tower of intellectual pursuit, because the next Einstein might have a Black face – and she’s female.” 

NASA responded by asking Nichols to lead a campaign to bring women and people of color to apply for the new Space Shuttle program. Her recruitment videos and speeches throughout the country were directly responsible for recruiting Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, Guion Bluford, the first African American in space, and Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space.

                                   Nichelle Nichols speaks after the Space Shuttle Endeavour 
                             landed at Los Angeles International Airport  in September 2012


In 1967, Nichelle Nichols was given a decent role for a Black woman in a hokey science fiction television series. She wasn't playing a servant or a prostitute or a drug addict. Hallelujah! And from that base, she helped change the world.  


ADDENDUM:

It turns out that Tony Schwally (on the right), the world's sweetest dog-walker, has been a Trekkie his whole life and adored Lieutenant Uhura. He and his partner Dussan attended the 2016 Comic-Con in San Diego specifically to meet Nichols. Tony thought this might be his last chance to see her. He and Dussan stood in line for hours to have a few moments with The Woman Who Was Uhura and have their picture taken with her. When Tony told her that he'd been in love with her since he was 12, she told him that he was cute. She held their hands, as you can see, asked them questions about their lives. She really took some time with Tony and Dussan.

Tony was grief-stricken when he heard that Nichelle Nichols had died. I asked him why he felt so deeply about her. He said, "She was always up, looking to the future. She was a messenger of good will and hope."

My dear Bloggelinis: Acting appropriately is one of your Blogmistress's favorite themes. It is almost always inappropriate to obey others when they tell you to give up your life calling and settle for something less artistically challenging. And it's usually even LESS appropriate when a MAN is telling a WOMAN what to do! BUT there are no absolute rules in real life. In this case, Dr. King had earned the right to tell Nichols what to do. And it was appropriate that she listened and complied. Terry

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

There's More of Us Than There are of Them -- IN KANSAS!!


There's more of us
Who believe in a woman's right to choose
than there are of them.

There's more of us
Who want stricter gun control
than there are of them.

There's more of us
Who want to raise the minimum wage
than there are of them.

There's more of us
Who want to raise taxes on the rich
than there are of them.

Who want to face the challenge of
global warming, even if it hurts

Who want to curb the influence
of money in politics

Who believe the winner of the popular vote should become President.

WHEN YOU GET RIGHT DOWN TO IT,
There's more of us
Who believe in a woman's right to choose
than there are of them --
IN KANSAS!

THE MAJORITY OF AMERICAN VOTERS
DID NOT ELECT BUSH OR TRUMP.
THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE DID THAT.
THE MAJORITY OF AMERICAN VOTERS SUPPORT
ALL THE SOCIAL CHANGES MENTIONED ABOVE.
IN A DEMOCRACY,
THE MAJORITY IS SUPPOSED TO RULE.
BUT THE CONSTITUTION CRIPPLES THE MAJORITY
THROUGH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE,
THE SENATE, & THE SUPREME COURT.
WE MUST CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION
SO THAT IT EMPOWERS US, THE MAJORITY.
UNTIL THEN, LET'S WORK OUR ASSES OFF
TO WIN ELECTIONS -- LIKE THEY DID IN KANSAS.

WE ARE THE MAJORITY.
THERE ARE MORE OF US
THAN THERE ARE OF THEM.
NEVER FORGET: THAT IS OUR POWER.

Monday, August 1, 2022

HOW DEMOCRACY WORKS: HONDURAS

 

I'm sharing with you today a story from the newsletter of the Marin Task Force on the Americas. It moved me deeply to see what democracy means in a small village in the mountains of Honduras.
La Union, Honduras: Election Day Report
by Maria Robinson, TFA board member

In the days leading up to election day I was contacted about violence in the aldeas (villages) of La Union and specific threats to the family of Rigo Matute. Rigo is a coffee farmer and activist whom I met during the Honduras election of 2012. He has since become head of the Consejo Electoral Municipal of La Union, with authority to investigate voting irregularities. Rigo and his family had been threatened when someone tried to break down the door of the bedroom where he and his wife Demi and two young children were sleeping. It was suggested that I accompany Rigo and his family during the election process. La Union is dominated by the Reyes family, prominent in National Party politics. Rigo is known as a LIBRE supporter. He had just been informed of a plan to douse him in gasoline and light him on fire!

On Thanksgiving Day, I flew to San Pedro Sula, where I was met by Demi and was driven for four gut-wrenching hours over mountainous roads in La Union. Staying at their home, I would observe the election from the inside. It was a scary time. Since vote-rigging on election day has been made difficult, the local Nacionalistas were applying pressure before the voting day. In the middle of the night Rigo was called to a nearby aldea where two 4X4s had been driving around with loaded guns in a threatening manner for five days. The locals were meeting them with only rocks, brooms, and machetes.

During election day, I accompanied Rigo to several aldeas. In one heavily Libre area, the election officials slowed down the voting so that the LIBRE area supporters had to wait in the hot sun for hours to vote. Later, an alarmed election observer called to report that the President of the Mesa Electoral (a Nacionalista) was trying to invalidate LIBRE vote-counting by marking ballots with double entries.

The actual vote-counting was slow and very public, each vote being read aloud, held up for all to see, and stamped so it could only be counted once. In the end, the Nacional Party candidate for mayor lost, thus ending the 100-year domination of the Reyes family in La Union.
Wow. This election ended the HUNDRED-YEAR DOMINATION of one family in a remote region of Honduras -- and it was peaceful! That's pretty exciting.

Democracy is not new to Honduras, but it has been interrupted frequently. Honduras was the original "banana republic." The term refers not only to the country's main crop but to the fruit companies from the United States that exerted extraordinary influence over the politics of Honduras and its neighbors. That influence was enthusiastically bolstered by the invasion of U.S. troops in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925.

Throughout the 20th century, Honduras was torn between progressive worker-oriented democracy, conservative business-oriented democracy, right-wing dictatorships supported by the military and just plain old military dictatorships. I'm not going into detail about the involvement of the U.S. during this time. I think seven invasions in 22 years, to support the United Fruit Company, gives you an idea.

Honduras entered the 21st century as a democracy. But in 2009, the army ousted President Zelaya, of the LIBRE party, and flew him into exile in Costa Rica. You know, if those damn Hondurans could learn to vote for the right candidates (that is, pro-business) instead of being seduced by visions of social justice and worker's rights, they could damn well KEEP their democracy! But as it is, the army just has to keep coming in and giving the people the government they really NEED! So in 2009 began for the umpteenth time, the rule of the right-wing Nacionalistas, this time lasting 12 years.

The Nacionalistis finally got their butts kicked at the highest level in November 2021, at the same time as they were defeated in the remote aldea of La Union. Xiomara Castro, ex-President Zelaya's wife and the former First Lady, was elected President. Since her husband was ousted, Castro ran for president in 2013 and vice-president in 2017, before she was finally elected in 2021.
So the people of Honduras have truly fought long and hard for this progressive liberal democracy they achieved in November 2021. Let's hope they can now hold on to it for a while.

I'm not saying that the progressive candidates of the LIBRE Party are pure of
heart or incredibly competent or incapable of being corrupted by power. I mean, I hope they are. But they're human beings and therefore imperfect. I'm saying the majority of Hondurans have wanted the LIBRE Party in charge of the country at least since 2009, and they are entitled to have that!

And I'm saying that no family should dominate the political life of a town for 100 years. I love the description of the vote-counting in La Union. So conscientious that the poll workers held up each ballot to show the voters who had gathered to watch.

Democracy. Ya gotta love it. Or, as Winston Churchill so eloquently said,
"Democracy is the worst form of government –
except for all the others that have been tried.”

And, let me tell you, Honduras has tried quite a few.


Dear Bloggelinis: I've started writing letters for VOTE FORWARD again. They send you the names and addresses of people less likely to vote -- people of color, young people -- and you hand-write a personal letter to each voter, just urging them to vote -- not mentioning any candidate or issue. It has been proven to increase turn-out. And of course we're talking letters to Democrats here. You can start writing letters now. You won't send them until the end of October.

For those of us who enjoy hand-writing, which I don't get much of a chance to do anymore, it's a great way to participate. So CLICK HERE to get started. Terry