Surprise, Surprise

A few things surprised me this year, some positively, some negatively. What do you think?

1. Defunding Planned Parenthood. Some Republican-held states have successfully closed several Planned Parenthood clinics. Long been trusted as a non-political organization benefitting many women, Planned Parenthood educated women on a host of health care and reproductive issues, and provided at no cost to them, lifesaving resources, including access to birth control, mammograms, cervical cancer screening, and more. Despite this, citing religious beliefs, Evangelical zealots pushed through laws in some states barring this long time resource for women’s health care and assistance. Shame on them.

2. Playboy is ditching Playmates (nude centerfolds).Well, that’s a shock. Perhaps the long-held joke about buying the magazine solely for the articles will finally be put to the test. Personally, I’ve long harbored a love/hate relationship with Playboy, along with its ethics, or lack thereof. My own sister was selected by Hef years ago to be both the centerfold (Playmate) as well as the covergirl for the same issue. Many pictorals  followed in subsequent issues, as well as personal appearances, promotions, and TV appearances. While this opportunity afforded her to travel and experience adventures she would likely not have had, she also endured unwanted sexual advances and harassment for years in her private life as a result and as her sister, so too did I.

In those early years of the magazine, its editorial staff was considered cutting edge with provocative interviews with legends like Fidel Castro, Jimmy Carter, Alex Haley, Richard Burton, Gloria Steinem, and Martin Luther King, Jr, just to name a few. Its early focus was on the side of civil rights, and, ironically, sexual freedom for women, if only self-serving. I want to see it succeed for this reason, to champion some of today’s issues, women’s rights, (can you believe we’re actually still fighting about our reproductive rights in 2016?) dangerous right-wing politics, and the LGBT community. I’ll definitely buy the first issue! (for the articles, of course.)

3. The Pope. Though I rarely give much thought to the figurehead of the Catholic Church,  as it has zero relevancy to me,  I had to take note when I heard some of what he recently had to say. He’s leant a more humble and humanitarian side to his role as a church leader. Despite adhering to the Catholic Church’s doctrines, he seems to live in the real world, like the rest of us. Recognizing the scientifically proven threat of climate change, he has embraced those philosophies and advances to implement plans to stop it. And, while he did not formally endorse gay marriage, he did ask how any of us could judge another. That’s a start. He’s actually more liberal than the Republican party. Wow.

4. Donald Trump. I had to wrestle with this one, not being entirely sure I wanted to give my voice in any form to this gasbag. Shocking to me, is the fact that he is even remotely taken seriously. His entire campaign and resulting presidency is a vitriol aimed at just about every minority, including women, and only leaving out old white men. Educated people, obviously know he is a laughable dolt, but he does get his followers by preying on those who allow his misguided rhetoric to stir fear, racism, and bigotry. If he wasn’t such a complete and total nitwit, he might even be dangerous. And now, these few misguided folks have gotten him elected, albeit with the smallest percentage of approval ratings in our history. I suspect impeachment will save the day.

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