Thursday, May 8, 2008

Politics and kids

Episcogranny is getting really involved in this year's greatest reality show, the Race for the President of the United States. Tuesday I was watching TV really, really late.

As as a sideline, she also is getting involved--again (heavy sign)--in the latest attempt by the state of South Dakota to upend the US Constitution, a proposed ban on legal abortion. The backers of this bill know it is unconstitutional but have all kinds of money from out of state promised them to fight the court battles which certainly will ensue. I am not going to write a treatise on abortion, but I will say that for the most part, I think people of good will are able to make very tough decisions for themselves. There are some places where government really should not tread.

Kids--my extended family is dealing with huge crises in the lives of two teens who are four months of age apart. One is my brother's daughter SRE, whom I've mentioned before. The irony of what I'm about to tell you is incredible. I appeared at a press conference on a Tuesday with other progressive women from nine different organizations to present the SD governor a letter asking him to take the lead in reducing unintended pregnancies in SD. I even was on TV as a member of the human bouquet in back of the podium. Three days later, I discovered that SRE is pregnant, at age 16. When I was home in March, she had just gotten her first serious boyfriend. I had a dream that night in which I was beating and biting SRE--I'm pretty angry. She is a very intelligent girl with great promise who unfortunately has very poor impulse control. I can't believe my brother and his wife didn't run her right to the clinic to get her on birth control.

But my brother is being pragmatic, I guess. They live in my parents' basement (they take care of my parents so they don't have to move into assisted living, for which I'm hugely grateful). They have decided to insulate and put dry wall up into a small storage room so they have a place to put the baby when s/he comes. My dad gets very anxious when my grandkids are over there; I'm not sure how he will do with a newborn crying 24/7. The actions of two teens can have far reaching effects on many more people than just the two of them.

An aside: I offered a few years ago to take SRE to Borderlands Ranch here in the Black Hills for a camp aimed at boosting the self esteem of pre teen girls. My brother was not thrilled that it was church related, so it didn't happen. I'm not saying that this would have prevented anything, but I wonder why a lack of hope is so much safer than anything to do with faith?

Anyway, the other child I mentioned is Only Son's half brother, SWA (Only Son is my only child). Three years ago my former spouse spoke proudly of his other son in that he brought all of his friends to the fundamentalist church they attended, went to the jail to witness to the inmates, etc. Now, this same kid is in jail himself for meth. He dropped out of high school as a tenth grader to pursue a life of drugs and petty theft. He's been living on the street for a while as my former husband and his current wife couldn't handle him and threw him out (as they did the other boys in that house, btw). Only Son said SWA was getting really violent due to the drugs so they had to kick him out.

Only Son and his step sister, who both have turned out well, have tried to stop SWA's free fall. They both have spent lots of time separately and together with him to try to encourage him that it isn't too late to turn away from a life of death. But they both live away and both have their own families, so there was only so much time they could give him. Sad. Now SWA has nothing but time.

Please keep both of these youngsters in your prayers. And also remember me, so I can get over some of the anger I feel over the waste of young lives.

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