Women’s Rights Is Only The Beginning

Today the Supreme Court, once a fair and non-partisan branch of our federal government, is hearing a case to decide whether to uphold the recent Mississippi law banning abortions.  The general consensus is that the Court will, either in this case or the next one, do significant damage to Roe v Wade, if not completely overturn the 1973 decision that gave women the right to control their own bodies.

Make no mistake … this is NOT simply about abortion, about the fate of a fetus that might or might not otherwise become a human.  No, people, this is about women’s rights, about where women stand in the grand scheme of this country.  Make no mistake – the United States is still very much a man’s world where men, regardless of how corrupt, how cruel, how ignorant they are, are revered over women, considered somehow ‘superior’ to women by the majority of people.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the U.S. Congress and tell me how many women you see there?  144 women hold seats in the U.S. Congress, just under 27%, while women comprise more than 50% of the total population of the country.  Also notable is the disparity between parties … 105 of those 144 women are Democrats, while the other 39 are Republicans.  And frankly, among the Republican women in Congress are the likes of Margie Greene and Lauren Boebert … radical conspiracy theorists who are not in any way representative of women in this nation.

What’s next in the fight for women’s rights?  Will they take our right to vote?  To own property?  To divorce our husbands?  Women in this nation have had to fight tooth-and-nail for every single right we have, and now, thanks to the bigotry of the former guy and his court appointees, we stand to lose, stand to be shoved back into the dark ages of the nation’s history.  If the bigots have their way, a young girl raped by her father or an uncle will be forced to give birth to a baby, her life forever changed, forever damaged.  Thousands of unwanted children will be born into households where they stand no chance of a normal life, where food is scarce, where parents are ill-prepared to cope with another mouth to feed.

Given the current structure of the Supreme Court, I no longer hold out any hope for justice, for equality, for human rights to win the day.  The Court today is merely an extension of the Republican Party, the minority party and the radical religious right.  Separation of church and state is destined to become a tenet of the past as the Court supports the bigotry that is ingrained in the evangelical doctrine.  Sadly, women’s rights are not the only ones on the chopping block, but also LGBT rights and voting rights stand to take a knife in the back under today’s Court.

There is only one possible means of overcoming the radical right majority currently in the Supreme Court and possibly salvaging the third branch of the federal government, and that is for President Biden to add seats to the Court.  This is not as simple nor as straightforward as some would have us believe, but it may well be the last best hope this nation has of salvaging its democratic principles.  Without the checks and balances on the power of any one branch of the federal government, we are destined to become a nation ruled by religious bigotry, by men more interested in their own power and wealth than the well-being of the citizens of the nation.  I don’t know about you, but that is not a nation I would be proud to call home.  Think about it.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Good grief!  Have the Republicans in Congress completely lost their bloody minds?  On Friday, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that has been the source of much haggling for months finally passed in the House.  It would not have passed this time either, had it not been for 13 Republicans who stepped up to the plate and put the best interests of the people ahead of the Republican Party.

  • Don Bacon of Nebraska
  • Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
  • Andrew Garbarino of New York
  • Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
  • John Katko of New York
  • Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
  • Nicole Malliotakis of New York
  • David McKinley of West Virginia
  • Tom Reed of New York
  • Chris Smith of New Jersey
  • Fred Upton of Michigan
  • Jeff van Drew of New Jersey
  • Don Young of Alaska

Filosofa gives a huge thumbs-up to these 13 men and women!  👍

But then came the repercussions from the circus show otherwise known as the GOP, or the Republican Party.  A sampling …

  • “I can’t believe Republicans just gave the Democrats their socialism bill” — Matt Gaetz  👎
  • “That 13 House Republicans provided the votes needed to pass this is absurd” — Chip Roy  👎
  • “Vote for this infrastructure bill and I will primary the hell out of you” — Madison Cawthorn  👎
  • Says ol’ Margie Greene … any Republican who voted for the bill would be “a traitor to our party, a traitor to their voters and a traitor to our donors.” After the vote, she accused the 13 of having voted to “pass Joe Biden’s Communist takeover of America” and tweeted the phone numbers to their congressional offices.  👎👎

It becomes obvious that either a) these people have no idea what ‘infrastructure’ is, or b) they don’t care if people are killed on crumbling roadways and bridges, if the people of this nation have clean, safe, drinking water, and more.  My best guess is the latter explanation … the Republican Party no longer gives a damn about their constituents or about the people who pay their salaries … they care only about their own power and wealth.

Six Democrats voted against the bill, but you don’t hear other Democrats deriding them and calling them names.  Just goes to show the difference in the level of maturity, don’t you think?

A number of Republicans are either leaving the party or deciding not to run again next year because they are ashamed of what the party has become and no longer wish to be associated with it.  While I fully understand their logic and cannot argue to the contrary, perhaps it would be better for the country if those few who still have a conscience stayed in the party and tried to make a difference.  We’ll never know.

The Republican Party has become something that would make the Founding Fathers roll over in their graves.  The only way they will change is if the most radical of them are voted out of office.  There was a time when I thought the vast majority of people in this country were too smart to fall for some of the crap the GOP is dishing out, but today I’m not so sure.

Being Awful a Prerequisite for GOP

I have not been up to reading blogs for several weeks now, but lying awake at 4:00 a.m., I decided to read this one of Jeff’s, for the title intrigued me. What Jeff says here is spot on and echoes my own thoughts exactly, only he says it far better than I could. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Growing up in Northeast Ohio in the 1960s and 70s, one thing my mother always taught me was to be polite. Yes, the golden rule is what many call the practice: Treat others as you wish to be treated. I’ve tried my level best to adhere to that mindset my entire life. Maybe I’ve fallen short here and there, but when I depart this earth at some point, I’ll have no regrets that I fulfilled my mom’s hope for her youngest son.

I’m beginning to wonder if the golden rule is slowly slipping away from us as a society. We don’t seem to care for our fellow human beings as we should. When you think about it, we’re not on this earth for a very long time. Why wouldn’t we at least make an honest effort to make it a more hospitable and friendly place?

When it comes to the…

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Black Face On White Supremacy

On September 14th, Californians will cast their vote to either keep current Governor Gavin Newsom or replace him with one of a number of other candidates vying for his job. The leading contender appears to be Larry Elder, who I have mentioned before here on Filosofa’s Word. Elder is NOT a man under whose governance I would wish to live! Clay Jones over at Claytoonz has done a fantastic job of showing us who Elder is … read on!

claytoonz

Cjones09082021

Over the weekend, a speaker at a rally for California governor Gavin Newsome said his Republican opponent, Larry Elder, is a “black face on white supremacy.” Larry Elder is a controversial right-wing Trump-supporting conspiracy-spreading whack job with a radio show who also happens to be black. But black people can be conservative lunatics too, right? Is it fair to accuse one of them, like Larry Elder, of being a “black face on white supremacy?” After all, Larry Elder is totally 100 percent in favor of reparations for slavery.

Of course, it’s not descendants of slaves Larry wants reparations for. No, Larry believe slave OWNERS should be rewarded reparations.

Ya’ see, Larry was talking to fellow black conservative lunatic, Candace Owens (which helps defend him from the charges of racism because she can be his prop for a black friend), and he argued since slavery was legal, slave owners were robbed…

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The Good, The Bad, The Hopeful

A few days ago, my dear friend Ellen sent me Maureen Dowd’s column from the New York Times.  She says so much that the topic of the column rather defies description, but her vision of where this nation is today is spot on.  She also gives us hope in a more positive, yet realistic assessment of President Biden’s policies and actions than we’re used to hearing these days.


Drowning Our Future in the Past

By Maureen Dowd

Opinion Columnist

It isn’t a pretty picture.

One coast is burning. The other is under water. In between, anti-abortion vigilantes may soon rampage across gunslinging territory.

What has happened to this country?

America is reeling backward, strangled by the past, nasty and uncaring, with everyone at one another’s throats.

Post-Trump, we let ourselves hope that the new president could heal and soothe, restore a sense of rationality, decency and sanity. But the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be just a firefly.

We feel the return of dread: We’re rattled by the catastrophic exit from Afghanistan; the coming abortion war sparked by Texas; the Trumpian Supreme Court dragging us into the past; the confounding nature of this plague; the way Mother Nature is throttling us, leaving New Yorkers to drown in their basements. And now comes Donald Trump, tromping toward another presidential run.

It feels as if nothing can be overcome. Everything is being relitigated.

We’re choking on enlightened climate proposals but the disparity between the disasters we see, and what’s being done in Washington, makes it feel as though nothing is happening except climate change. We’re so far from getting a handle on the problem, the discussions around it seem almost theoretical.

Joe Manchin, tied to the energy industry, balks at climate change provisions in the reconciliation bill. He should be looking for ways to get West Virginia in touch with reality rather than living in the past.

“Manchin’s claim that climate pollution would be worsened by the elimination of fossil fuels — or by the resolution’s actual, more incremental climate provisions — is highly dubious, if not outright false,” The Intercept reported, noting that the truth is that Manchin’s personal wealth would “be impacted.” Since he joined the Senate, The Intercept said, he has grossed some $4.5 million from coal companies he founded.

With its new abortion law, sending women back to the back alley and encouraging Stasi-like participation from the citizenry, Texas now becomes the capital of American unreason. The law “essentially delegated enforcement of that prohibition to the populace at large,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

There were medieval fiefs more enlightened than the Lone Star G.O.P.

Between putting women in danger by pushing that law and putting children in danger by imposing his anti-mask mania on school districts that want to mask up, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has become a scourge of the first rank.

A cynical slice of the Republican Party — and this includes Trump — privately denigrates anti-abortion activists as wackos, but publicly moves in lock-step with them in order to cling to that base and keep power.

But the anti-abortion forces were somehow clever enough to hijack the Supreme Court and Republicans will have to contend with the backlash when the court tosses Roe v. Wade aside.

As botched as the withdrawal from Afghanistan was, at least Joe Biden was trying to move into the future and do triage on one of America’s worst mistakes.

And unlike other presidents — J.F.K. with the Bay of Pigs, L.B.J. with the Vietnam War and Barack Obama with the Afghanistan surge — Biden did not allow himself to be suckered by the generals, the overweening Ivy Leaguers and the Blob, the expense account monsters who keep this town whirring and always have a seat at the table, no matter how wrong they were, and are.

The Afghanistan tragedy, as James Risen wrote in The Intercept, was just two decades of Americans lying to one another, and it “brought out in Americans the same imperial arrogance that doomed the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.”

Unlike his three predecessors, Biden risked Saudi ire by directing the Justice Department and other agencies on Friday to review and declassify documents related to the F.B.I.’s investigation into 9/11. Families of 9/11 victims had been pushing for the release of the secret files to learn more about the role the Saudis played in the attacks.

The enablers of our misbegotten occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have been shrieking like banshees at Biden, trying to manacle him to their own past mistakes as he attempts to lift off.

With peerless chutzpah, Tony Blair called Biden’s decision to depart cynical and driven by an “imbecilic political slogan about ending ‘the forever wars.’”

But Biden knew enough not to spend more lives and treasure to prop up a kleptocracy. He oversaw some bad weeks in Afghanistan but George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld should be blamed for 20 bad years.

Remarkably, as Jon Allsop pointed out in The Columbia Journalism Review, the word “Bush” was not mentioned once on any of the Sunday news shows the weekend Kabul was falling.

“He looks like the Babe Ruth of presidents when you compare him to Trump,” Harry Reid, the former Democratic Senate majority leader, told The Washington Post’s Ben Terris, for a story this past week on Bush nostalgia.

With a memory like a goldfish, America circles its bowl, returning to where we have been, unable to move forward, condemned to repeat a past we should escape.

Perhaps We Trusted Too Much

If you were born with pale skin in the United States in the last 150 years, you have led a life of great privilege, though you might not realize it.  You might begin to realize it if you could exchange brief life stories with someone your age born in Ghana, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Iraq … most any other non-democratic nation.  But here’s the thing … we are so used to that life of privilege that we no longer appreciate it, we take it for granted.

Since you were old enough to talk, you’ve understood that this is a mostly free nation, that people have certain ‘unalienable’ rights.  You can choose your own career path, can choose to be well-educated … or not.  You can choose, within the confines of your economic status, where to live, what sort of car to drive.  You are not told who, or even if you must marry.  You are not forced into any religion.  And perhaps most importantly of all, you have the right to vote in order to keep people in government who are dedicated to preserving your rights.

You were told when you first learned about the founding of the U.S. and the U.S. Constitution that this document was the foundation of our nation and was the primary safeguard against the country ever becoming a Nazi Germany ruled by a madman.  You were told that the Constitution guaranteed that religion and government would always be kept separate, that you would never be beheaded for not believing in any religion.  It is your right, you were told, to be a Jew, Muslin, Hindu, Christian, or atheist.  It is your right to marry whomever you choose.  It is your right to have the final say over your body.  And you thought all this was guaranteed, that those ‘rights’ could never be taken away from you.

It may just be that you were wrong.

We became lazy, we became complacent, we became inured to the little things that were chipping away at our lives, our freedoms, as we didn’t even realize it.  We trusted in our government and its foundational separation of powers that would always keep any one branch of government from having too much power.  We never asked ourselves what would happen if two or even three of those branches plotted to join hands and become all-powerful.  We had the utmost faith in the impartial, non-partisan, 9-member Supreme Court that would always rule in favour of ‘right’.  We trusted in the ‘Separation of Church and State’ doctrine to keep us free of bigoted, restrictive rules imposed by religious sects.

But a funny thing happened as we travelled through the decades.  Men became intoxicated by power and the smell of money. And then they lied to us.  They lied about little things, they lied about big things.  They manipulated us, told us that those who try to help people in need are ‘socialists’ and ‘communists’, even though the majority of people do not even understand what those terms mean, but these greedy men gave us their interpretation and … we were too lazy to educate ourselves with facts, to learn the truth of the matter.

I won’t go through the entire scenario of the past twelve years or so, but here we are today … dangerously close to the precipice, to that thin line that separates a democratic republic from an autocracy.  Even now, when we nearly lost our voices and our freedoms on January 6th, far too many people believe that the men lying to them on a near-hourly basis are the good guys, the guys in the white hats.  They have allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing that white folks like themselves are being pushed into a minority and that … somehow this is not a good thing.  They have been convinced that climate change is a hoax, that the pandemic is but a minor blip on the radar, and that somehow all evil stems from one side of the political spectrum.

A quote by Nelson Mandela speaks volumes here …

The United States is at a crossroads.  We can continue to allow the politicians, our elected representatives, to lie to us, to rob us, to cheat on us, as we take comfort in the fact that we have a job, a comfortable home, a ‘happy’ life, or we can educate ourselves, wake up and realize what could happen, how drastically our lives could change over the coming few years if we simply do nothing, continue to believe that somehow it will “all work out in the long run.”  A lot of people in Germany 90 years ago made the same mistake.

The Week’s Best Cartoons: Texas’ Abortion Ban

I haven’t re-blogged TokyoSand’s Saturday cartoon post for the past two weeks, for there is so much deeply wrong in this country today that the cartoons seemed to somehow fall flat with me.  However, given my own malaise and the primary topic of this week’s cartoons — women’s rights, which is near and dear to my own heart — I’ve decided to re-blog this week’s post.  The main topic, of course, is the new Texas law, currently upheld by the white-male-dominant Supreme Court, that has set women’s rights back a hundred years or more.  And then, there’s climate change — no longer is it possible to reject the science of climate change when we’re had uncontrollable wildfires, floods, and mega-storms, not to mention killer heat all summer long.  So, sit back and enjoy the ‘toons … you’ll find the entire collection over at Tokyo’s place (link at end).

Note to readers:  I have been having health issues for some 3 weeks now and my energy levels are on a roller coaster ride, mostly at the bottom of the track.  Therefore, I have not posted much and have not responded to comments at all, nor am I likely to try to catch up at this point.  I have read all comments, and appreciate those of you who have helped out by keeping the conversations going.  I shall pick up here and try not to fall behind again.  I appreciate your patience and apologize for my laziness.


See The Rest Of The ‘Toons Here!

Outraged!!!

There are so many competitors for my anger these days that I am often simply overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin.  This one, however, robbed me of a night’s sleep and nearly wrote itself in my head last night as I tried counting sheep, counting backward by 2s from 200, and played countless games of Sudoku on my phone.

The target of my acerbic tongue today?  Women’s rights … women’s rights that in the last two days have been set back by 100 years or more in the not-so-great state of Texas.  No, folks, this isn’t just about abortion as many would have you believe … this is about women’s rights.  Now that we are told we cannot decide for ourselves whether we are financially and emotionally ready to have a child, the rest of our rights will be as a house of cards.

The Texas legislature passed a draconian bill that was signed into law by the clown of a governor, Greg Abbott (the same man who is trying to kill the children of Texas by banning vaccine and mask mandates).  This bill prohibits abortion after 6 weeks … many, if not most women do not even know they are pregnant before six weeks!  And, long story short, if a woman has an abortion and a friend or neighbor report it, the reporter is eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 and the woman and the abortion provider can be sued by the state.

Worse yet … there are no exceptions in the cases of incest or rape.  Imagine this scenario …

16-year-old Chloe comes home late one night from a party dressed … well, rather scantily.  Her father, who has been tippling a few drinks, sees her, says he’s going to teach her a lesson, rips her clothes off of her and brutally rapes her on the living room sofa.  Chloe screams for her mother, but the mother claimed she heard nothing.  Chloe misses her next period but doesn’t think too much of it.  By the time she misses the second and seeks a medical consultation, it is too late for Chloe to seek an abortion.  With advice from her friends, she invests in a few packs of gauze and a pack of wire coat hangers, for she is not going to carry her half-brother or half-sister in her body for the next nine months.  Long story short, Chloe is now dead.

Variants of Chloe’s story will play throughout the state of Texas in the coming months/years.

The United States Supreme Court, our last bastion of hope for protecting our rights, has refused to block the Texas law.  Late last night, the Court announced it would not block the new Texas law while the legal challenge made its way through the federal courts. Amazing, even for this conservative court. It’s a sad day for women, but also for the rule of law.  I was pleased that Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the rights of women, even though he is not a fan of Roe v Wade.  But the other five – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Amy Barrett, and Samuel Alito – took an axe to women’s rights, ultimately throughout the nation.

This is a dark day for women in the United States.  If you think other states, emboldened by Texas’ easy success, won’t follow suit, then think again.  What’s next on the chopping block?  Our right to equal pay for equal work?  Our right to vote?  Our right to own property in our own name?  Our right to divorce our husbands?  All of these rights have come as a result of long, hard fights, and even today … the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that was first proposed in 1923, has not passed!  This amendment would solidify women’s rights in many areas including healthcare, housing, and the workplace, but … it seems doomed to fail.  WHY???

In 1972 Congress passed the ERA and it was sent to the states for a vote.  Simple, right?  Of course … 1972 … the world is enlightened, women have contributed in every area imaginable … a no-brainer!  HAH!  What happened?  In a word, the dishonourable Phyllis Schlafly.  A wolf in sheep’s clothing, Schlafly mounted a campaign to stop states from passing the ERA.  She warned women that if equal rights were enshrined in the Constitution, the heterosexual world order would collapse. Morality would fall by the wayside and women would be at risk of losing their femininity and the opportunities presented by marriage.

If the amendment passed, she wrote, women would be forced to go to war, would lose their right to child support and alimony, and society would fall apart. “The women’s libbers are radicals who are waging a total assault on the family, on marriage, and on children,” she said.

Eventually, the now-expired ERA will come back into the limelight and someday it may even become a Constitutional amendment, but likely not in my lifetime or yours.  Meanwhile, there is Texas and other states will follow.  My response to the draconian law in Texas is this:  Okay, fine, but no longer can a male walk into a doctor’s office and walk out with a prescription for Viagra.  No longer will men be given penile implants to extend their pleasure at our expense.  In fact, women should be much more discriminating about letting a man within 15 feet of her body!  Keep your wee willy winkies to yourself … buy yourself an inflatable doll!

The Texas law and the Supreme Court’s refusal to block it are the first step in what I predict will be a major setback for women’s rights across the nation.  What is it that makes us inferior in the eyes of so many – both men and women?  Is it that we weren’t born with that all-important anatomical part?  Is it that we don’t have deep voices and chest hair?  Or is it just that all that testosterone makes the male of the species need to feel superior over someone?  Either way … look out, guys, ‘cause one of these days we’re gonna rise above all this.

Differences

A view from across the big pond. Why is it that our friends outside the U.S. can so often see our situation with far more clarity than we can? Thank you, David, for an open-eyed view of what is happening here.

The BUTHIDARS

Kevin McCarthy’s statement

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In response, representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted the legal code: 18 U.S. Code § 1505: “Whoever…by any threatening letter or communication…endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede…the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any…investigation is being had by either House…Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned…”

My Response.

Kevin McCarthy, Marjie Greene, Matt Gaetz, and even Mitch McConnell’s attempts to gag private companies with undisguised threats puts every American at risk of not knowing the naames and degree of involvement certain politicians had in the attempted insurrection of January 6th 2021. Without this information American citizens are in danger of becoming subjects of a new form of dictatorial Government possibly under an already failed leader Donald Trump where a large part of the population would not even be allowed to vote. The words Surveillance State are used with the purpose of scaring the…

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Thoughts

What I’m about to say may earn me no brownie points, but … I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em.  I have been criticized and called on the carpet by one reader for not addressing the 13 U.S. military men and women who were killed last week during a suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.  The attack was perpetrated by a branch of daesh, ISIS-K.

Yes, I am deeply saddened by the deaths of these 13 men and women, all of whom were loved and important to many people.  However, another 100+ (numbers are uncertain at this time) or more Afghanis were also killed in the same attack, some of them young children.  How can I write a tribute to the U.S. military dead without also memorializing those innocent Afghani civilians?  Can anyone reading this tell me that the military staff were somehow more important, more valuable people than those Afghanis?  If you can, I would very much like to hear your reasoning.

A life.  No, not all lives are equal in what they produce during their time here on earth.  You have people like Dr. Martin Luther King who did so much good in his short 39 years here on earth, then you have the average John Doe who makes many friends over a lifetime, but his contributions are mainly small, local ones.  Does that make John Doe’s life worth less than MLK’s?  Certainly not to his spouse, children, grandchildren, and the friends he made over the course of his life.  Yes, there is a day set aside every year to honour Dr. King but not John Doe.  But you know John’s family has a special day of remembrance for him.  He was important, too.

When the evacuation from Afghanistan is complete, when final tally is in, I will likely write about all those who died this month, including the 13 soldiers.  But folks, it ain’t over yet.  The Taliban, the U.S., and some 96 other nations have agreed to allow the evacuations to continue past the August 31st deadline.  At least twice in recent days, additional attacks, presumably by ISIS-K, have been thwarted by U.S. drone attacks, the most recent of which killed Afghan children.  As of today, we have no idea what the final tally will be.  The end of the story has yet to be written.

And while I’m on that topic, I will also not point fingers of blame at either President Biden, or any of the former presidents who made mistakes that cost lives in Afghanistan.  There will be a time to assess what we might have done better starting back in 2001, how we might have prevented the deaths of 2,400 U.S. military and countless Afghanis who have been killed over the past 20 years as a result of our occupation of Afghanistan. But first we must finish the task at hand.  There will be plenty of blame to go around, I’m sure, and it must be analyzed, and the entire story told.  In time.  But the blame is far less important that the lessons for the future we must learn from the mistakes of the past. Today, we get as many people out of Afghanistan as we possibly can, bring them to safety, then figure out how best to help them assimilate into our country, our culture.

I am not being heartless.  My heart aches for the families of the men and women who are coming home in body bags, but it also aches for the mother who just lost her child in Kabul, the father who lost his entire family.  A human life is important no matter what clothing covers it, no matter what skin colour, no matter what religious beliefs or lack thereof.