Aborting Abortion from Politics

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I never thought I'd write a blog about abortion, but here we are.

I was born in 1974, and abortion has been a hot topic my entire life. I’m not here to change anyone’s mind; I’m here to say what’s on mine.

What we’re seeing today is the manifestation of a 1973 ruling that became one of the most politically divisive traps in modern history: Abortion.

Abortion has no place in politics.

There are reasons that reproductive rights are under scrutiny (“strict scrutiny” to be exact) and states like Alabama, Georgia and Missouri are passing off-the-rails legislation.

The U.S. Supreme Court didn’t rule Roe vs. Wade far enough in 1973.

What Alabama is trying to do is usurp control over something the U.S. Supreme Court decided 46 years ago, and it’s time to put this baby to bed twice and for all.

Roe vs. Wade in a Nutshell

Roe vs. Wade is less about abortion than it’s about a woman’s right to privacy and access to legal and safe reproductive control.

It takes us nine months to breathe on our own, but our time on Earth is the real womb. No one makes it out of here alive.

In 1973, Roe vs. Wade set guidelines for state abortion laws. The U.S. Supreme Court segmented their ruling by trimesters, then kicked the entire package back to the states.

In Roe vs. Wade, SCOTUS ruled that states cannot ban abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy. Other than that, they left room for states to customize legislation during the second and third trimesters.

That’s the problem with Roe vs. Wade.

Under Roe vs. Wade, states can ban third trimester abortions unless a woman’s life is at risk, but that’s not what Alabama did. Alabama’s special brand of lawmakers didn’t stop there.

The new Alabama law makes abortions entirely illegal, all trimesters, including instances of incest and rape.

It’s a shitty law, but that’s only a reflection of Alabama.

Roe vs. Wade gave states an inch, and Alabama is coming for the yard.

What Alabama did is in direct conflict with the 1973 SCOTUS ruling in Roe vs. Wade, and any direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade must undergo “strict scrutiny”.

Strict scrutiny is the highest and most stringent standard of judicial review in the United States.

It was bound to happen; this was eventually going to come to a head in the U.S. Supreme Court.

To me, it would make more sense if this happened sooner. Like I said, abortion has been a politicized issue my entire life, but Alabama finally put a stake in the ground in resounding fashion.

Why Do I Care?

It’s a scary time in the United States. We are learning more and more about the problems in this country that are deeply rooted in – and manipulated by – politics.

I’m 44, male, white, and gay. Abortion isn’t an issue that affects me directly because I don’t have a vagina.

What Alabama has brought forth and thrown in our collective face, is a flagrant attack on the health and safety of Americans.

Therefore, I care.

Frankly, whether or not anyone has an abortion is none of my business, but I’ll be damned if I sit quietly in a society whose leadership imposes parameters on anyone’s inalienable rights and their pursuit of happiness.

Let's be honest, nobody gives a crap about unwanted kids after they're born, least of all the parents who don't want to or cannot support them.

Separating Abortion & Politics

Imagine not having to consider abortion when casting a vote!

So long as there are single issue politicians, there will be single issue voters. Certain single issues should be settled at the federal level, and abortion is one of those issues.

A modern day SCOTUS needs to rule whether or not Roe vs. Wade stands. I believe it will, but that’s because people are finally coming out of the woodwork, and speaking up.

Timing is everything and Alabama represents anti-abortion's final strike to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Naturally, it’s worrisome that the U.S. Supreme Court leans conservative, but I feel like I see where this is going.

This is just another issue amplified by endless data and fast technology. Unfortunately, that's how we learn these days. One must weed through the bullshit.

There’s only one way the Supreme Court can go, and that’s to honor a woman’s right to privacy and her access to safe and healthy reproductive services.

They did it once, and they’ll do it again.

And what better way to challenge Roe vs. Wade than with a conservative majority on the Supreme Court that strikes down the state challenging Roe vs. Wade?

Alabama Surprise!

I can’t believe the elderly female governor of Alabama signed a total abortion ban to begin with, much less one that includes instances of rape or incest.

At the highest level, Alabama’s governor is merely a tool.

When Pat Robertson comes out saying your anti-abortion laws are too extreme, you've bitten off more than you can chew.

That’s a whole other issue for Alabama to figure out.

Hey Alabama! Your governor just signed a law obligating a woman to give birth to her sibling in the event her father impregnates her. What the hell Alabama?

That’s literally mom-daughter sisters or mom-son brother/sister relatives. Boy or girl, it’s a weird relative to have.

And you thought gender fluidity was confusing.

Are you going to welcome the new arrival into your family with open arms? Forget Roe vs. Wade, let’s talk about the life of the child. What if they’re gay? I don’t think Alabama thought this through.

Oh yeah, they only care about clumps of molecules and incarcerations.

My Prediction

As if the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe vs. Wade for whatever Alabama’s bringing to the table. It doesn’t make sense, and I don’t see it happening.

Alabama’s trying to make a mockery of the U.S. Supreme Court and SCOTUS needs to come down hard.

If they don't, God help us all.

Roe vs. Wade will not be overturned.

The U.S. supreme court will not overturn a woman’s right to privacy. That’s unconstitutional.

There will be a dissenting opinion from one of the conservatives, but Alabama will be struck down by the conservative leaning SCOTUS, and it won’t be a 5-4 vote.

Then what?

Inalienable rights should not be up for debate in Washington (or any state capital for that matter).

Perhaps politicians can focus on things that belong in politics, items such as foreign relations, fiscal policy, national security, defense, education, veteran services, and healthcare. You know, things that contribute to the overall betterment of society.

Maybe figure out how to be pro-life for the living.

When People Play God

I want politicians who are pro-humanity, not against it, and ones who don’t use religion as a tool to legislate.

The more negatively (and aggressively) anyone infringes on the inalienable rights of others, the worse off they will be, eventually.

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have...

Each of us make decisions on how we handle ourselves when faced with adversity. That’s how we learn where we stand and which battles to hold dear.

Abortion is a deeply personal, inward decision for a woman to make for herself. Nobody, especially lawmakers, has the right to prevent her from making her own decision, I don’t care what church you go to.

To legislate otherwise is unconstitutional, and that’s why abortion has no place in politics.

Abortion has nothing to do with anyone else besides the woman in charge of her own body, health and life.

It’s ok to fundamentally disagree with the concept of abortion. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one. It’s that simple.

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Helpful Hints to Navigate Devilish Smirk

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Devilish Smirk Provides a Unique Journey

Your journey’s dependent on the order you ingest my stories coupled with how well you know me in real life and chances are, you don’t. Devilish Smirk is one hell of a way to get to know me.

My circle of friends is smaller than one of Trump’s hands, but bigger than both ears on Jeff Sessions.

A MAZE ZING!

Devilish Smirk is a maze of word trails, peppered with pieces to a puzzle (without borders) framing the life I’ve lived.

I began writing when I realized all my pieces were out of place, and none of them had straight edges.

It was both liberating and frightening at the same time.

A few things you should know about Devilish Smirk

Travis Garrod, Devilish Smirk

Words are all any of us have. They matter.

The Little Engine That Did!

Being a writer requires an unwavering commitment to telling stories – your own, and others. There’s nothing easy about figuring out life, much less anything worth writing, but something changes after you start.

Writing enabled me to discover who I am at my core. Nobody can know you until you know yourself.

Avoid and ignore anyone who thinks they do. Those people are the most dangerous threat against our ability to coexist productively.

The ship sailed and sunk, but the train only left the station a minute ago and it’s not scheduled to stop.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

Without purpose, you have no business affecting the lives of others. Those who truly love you, will do so unconditionally.

Words matter more than ever.

Keep yours to yourself if you’re a habitual liar. Not everything stays locked in a closet.

Is that milk on the floor? Are those tears in your eyes?

When someone has no idea what others have been through (or only know a fraction of the details), that’s a great time to listen with an open mind, consider the possibilities, and think.

Like money, words don’t grow on trees. However, words form branches. Branches only go so far as they grow. Every branch sprouts from the same tree, and a single tree has many roots.

Sorry seedling. For whatever reason, you’re here. It’s up to you to figure out how organic or inorganic you are.

Nothing – and I mean nothing – in this country is what it seems. The sooner you start questioning what you believe to be true, the better off you’ll be.

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What a Difference a Word Makes

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I was officially banned from a Facebook page today – and called a troll!

Both were firsts for me.

The silly thing is, I agreed with the story on the page and many sentiments expressed in comments, but its followers misunderstood what I posted.

Suddenly, I offended everyone due to a careless, unintentional oversight I didn’t even consider until it was too late.

An overzealous, emotional group misunderstood what I was trying to say and saw me as their enemy. The page admin stepped in, called me a troll, and I was banned without a chance to explain myself.

I saw enough reactions to I understand how my comment went completely off track; all because of one word.

Did I say I agreed with the story and the general sentiments of the page’s community?

The article was about the Colorado Springs shooting at a Planned Parenthood location which left two civilians and a police officer dead. Nine others were injured, including a personal friend’s husband.

The article pointed out unnerving examples of support on social media from extreme ‘pro-life’ Christians praising the shooter, saying the victims deserved to be shot – a disgusting sentiment.

Let me be clear. I don’t agree with that. 

Anyone who knows me, reading this right now, is thinking to themselves, “What the hell?”

I stepped on a social media mine.

The point I was trying to make was the hypocrisy of people who aren’t outraged by the shooting in Colorado are the same people who were outraged when the graphic appeared of Sarah Palin in rifle crosshairs, except Palin wasn’t shot.

Simple, right? Not really.

I didn’t end my statement saying Palin wasn’t shot. I said nobody was shot because that particular graphic didn’t lead to anyone being shot.  

However, there was a crosshairs graphic that did; a graphic that surfaced before the one I was talking about.

What I didn’t address (and certainly wasn’t referring to) was a separate, but related, earlier graphic produced by Sarah Palin’s Political Action Committee (SarahPAC) containing a picture of House Representative Gabrielle Giffords in crosshairs who, subsequently, survived an assassination attempt when she was shot in the head on January 8, 2011.

The followers of this site thought I was referring to SarahPAC’s graphic and intentionally being an internet troll, stoking emotion because, you know, I have nothing better to do.

Yeah, no. Those people are out there, but I’m not one of them. It makes me sick to think anyone thought that was my intent.

The intricacies of the issues affecting us today are deep, and emotions are running higher than ever, no matter what side you take.

Mistake or not, once a group bands together, only perception matters.

My mistakes were pointing out hypocrisy only referencing one easily confused detail of a much larger incident, and forgetting how easily I could be misunderstood. Oops.

Communicating with strangers through social media, even ones with whom you agree, is risky business, and it’s easy to stumble.

The specific page isn’t important. I submitted an apology through the group’s main website and explained the mix-up, but I haven’t heard from them. The admin was much more quick earlier today.

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My first and last pair of Velcro shoes

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I was an avid watcher of Saturday morning cartoons. As a kid, I threw a party every Saturday and all of my stuffed animals attended. Being an only child, I had did a fine job keeping myself occupied. I would place them neatly on the couch, which always ended up an unruly pile, and we hunkered down for the morning.

I pretended to feed my guests dry cereal while I ate it like popcorn. Sometimes, I would drink what remained in a can of flat diet Pepsi from the previous evening.

The agenda evolved over the years, but included shows like Super Friends, Scooby Doo, Looney Toons, Smurfs and, toward the end of the era, Gummi Bears. All I ever wanted was a potion bottle full of Gummi Berry juice.

The cartoons lasted for years after the stuff animal parties, but a few of the party-goers still reside with me today, such as the mongoose puppet, a Smurf puppet, Dopey (the dwarf), and the remains of a cloth face from a Raggedy Andy I received when I was born. Add that to the list of things my dogs tore to shreds. I kept the face for some reason, the most in-tact part from the atrocity.

In addition to dry cereal and flat pop, I consumed advertising like air. I still do. I love it. To this day, I can recite more product jingles, PSA’s, and School House Rock anthems than I can count. Thanks to YouTube I can summon, within seconds, my favorite ones and geek out in a completely nostalgic way. Monchichi, anyone?

Over time, advertisements included Velcro shoes convincing me, naturally, that I desperately needed Velcro shoes! Brands such as Zips and KangaROOS, which had a zipper pocket along the side, became so important to have. I wanted them and, eventually, my dad bought me a pair.

Mind you, my parents weren’t as swayed by what was popular. They were practical. The brand I received was Brooks. Still, I was excited. They were Velcro and I proudly wore them to school the next day.

The bell rang for recess and I was on the playground showing off my new shoes. It didn’t take long for a couple kids to take all of the wind out of my sail.

First, I was informed that my shoes weren’t as cool as Zips. I fell down a peg but, in all honesty, I agreed.

Then, they pointed out that they didn’t have a pocket. Ok fine, they didn’t have a zipper pouch which, quite frankly, was a useless gimmick anyway. I wasn’t even carrying around a house key at the time.

NotabullyBefore I could even muster an attempt and pointing out the coolest feature, the teasing about the Velcro started.

“Travis, don’t you know how to tie shoes? You need Velcro because you can’t tie shoes!”

It was official; I was at the bottom of the peg board that I was never able to climb anyway.

In that exact moment, all I knew was that my shoes weren’t on TV and they said I couldn’t tie shoes. The damage was done.

I was defeated and angry. Why couldn’t I have the shoes on TV? I felt stupid and uncool. My dad screwed up! How could he do this to me?

While waiting for my dad to pick me up after school, I noticed an ankle-deep mixture of mud and muddy water. It was the kind of marshy, squishy, stinky stuff that breeds bad ideas and billions of mosquito larvae in Alaska. I jumped in.

When my dad arrived, it wasn’t clear what color or kind of shoes were on my feet. Make fun of me now, assholes!

I hopped in the truck. “What’s going on with your shoes?” he asked.

“I hate them! You bought the wrong kind!” I said.

I was so mad at my dad for what those kids said to me. I could see his disappointment in me and my reaction to the entire situation. I was being a mean twerp, just as those kids were to me, instead of being grateful for my dad working hard to provide for me. Thankfully, he didn’t cease, but I can say he never provided me with another pair of Velcro shoes.

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My early theory on aerodynamics

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I wasn’t much different than most kids in the fact that I thought I knew everything. 

GradesfortokensIt didn’t matter what grades were reflected on my report cards. After sixth grade, I stopped redeeming good grades for game tokens at Chuck E. Cheese so what was the point?

Despite whatever cerebral short coming I was experiencing, I would fight tooth and nail to defend anything that sounded right because, you know, common sense. That, or I just couldn’t handle the fact that I felt that my stepmom felt that she knew everything.

Naturally, when I professed my theory about aerodynamics and speed limits from the backseat of the truck, my stepmom tried to correct me.

That day, I was playing in a hockey tournament. Between games, we shot over to McDonald’s. We hopped in my dad’s truck – a Ford F150 super cab, something big and bulky. My coach, who happened to be my uncle, also went to McDonald’s in his car – a Mazda RX-7.

I was fascinated by my uncle’s car. It was so cool, so sleek, and so modern. That thing cut through the air like a knife.

We hit the highway, briefly. My dad, ever the careful driver, maintained the posted speed limit – 55 MPH. The RX-7, on the other hand, zipped past.

MoreridiculousAlways pointing out wrongdoings, my stepmom said, “Art’s going pretty fast.”

“No he’s not,” I said, in a matter-of-fact tone, from the backseat.

“Yes he is, Travis,” she said. “Your father is driving 55 and Art just passed us driving faster.”

She had it all wrong.

“He’s not speeding,” I persisted. “His car is going faster because of aerodynamics. He’s going 55.”

This might have been the moment I shot down any hope my dad had for me to be an engineer. He was a land surveyor with a strong math background. He was pretty quiet during this exchange. He let Alice take the battle.

“No, Travis, the shape of the car doesn’t matter,” she explained. “55 miles per hour is 55 miles per hour. He would be next to us, not in front of us.”

What does she know? She didn’t even go to college.

“You don’t understand,” I told her. “Both engines are going 55, but his car is more aerodynamic and it moves through the air faster.” Makes perfect sense.

Exhausted by me, the front seat nodded, pretending to finally get it.

Calculatorincollege
My first text messages in 1992

I wouldn’t buy it. I was convinced that, because of aerodynamics, my uncle could travel faster than us while driving at the same speed. I had no intentions of letting it go and they knew it. I was right and that’s all that mattered.

Needless to say, I never made it beyond intermediate Algebra in high school. In 1992, at college, I had one of those impressive Texas Instruments TI-85 calculators. My friend and I would type messages and pass the calculator back and forth in class. Texting pioneers.

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