Brian Mapes
Random thoughts from my insignificant mind

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Part 2

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In previous years I’ve posted how to support friends and family going through this difficult loss. This year I wanted to give advice on how to support the larger cause.

  1. Give to charities like the March of Dimes. I wish they were more fiscally responsible as only 70 cents per dollar donated makes it to programs, but they do fund lots of research. This research is important to birthing healthy babies and preventing miscarriages.

  2. Donate to Planned Parenthood. PP provides vital services for family planning including infertility testing, pregnancy testing, STD testing, abortions, quit smoking support, and much more.

  3. Support pro-choice politicians. Access to clinics without waiting periods can be critical during a miscarriage and full support for late-term abortions gives families more options.

I Pledge Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

I’ve recited those words countless times. But…with liberty and justice for all…have I truly listened to the words?

…with liberty and justice for all.

Our nation hasn’t held up its end of the bargain. Everyone does not share the same liberty and justice. These rights vary by race, religion, wealth, sexual orientation, and many other factors out of an individual’s control.

Don’t give me sorry excuses about individuals in some third world country being worse than us. The bar should not be so low. We are the greatest country in the world; or at least we used to be. No longer the world leader in individual rights, we need to be reminded of our deficiencies. Those reminders often come in the form of protests.

Americans have a long history of protesting. In fact our country was founded on the backs of colonists protesting against British rule. Protesting is as American as apple pie.

People say that protesting the flag and anthem has gone too far. Isn’t that an irreverent argument though? The Sons of Liberty weren’t protesting tea and they weren’t trying to insult importers as they threw product into Boston Harbor. Rosa Parks was’t protesting public transportation and she wan’t trying to insult bus drivers. Martin Luther King didn’t march on Washington because he hated the city and he wan’t trying to insult it’s residents.

Kneeling during the anthem isn’t a protest of the American Flag nor of the anthem. It’s not meant to insult the military or anyone else. It’s a reminder that not everyone receives the same liberty and justice.

Many people have already tuned me out because they don’t believe Americans have unequal rights. Ignorance and white privileged allow us to put our heads in the sand, but that’s an argument for another day.

If you waive the flag, stand for the anthem, and recite the pledge, but aren’t willing to have that uncomfortable talk about equal rights, then you are the problem. You drag our country down.

For those still reading, some of you see the inequality, but believe sports is not a place for political statements. I got news for you: standing for the anthem with your hand on your heart is a political statement. It’s an easier political statement to make than kneeling, but it’s still a political statement.

Pressuring, shaming, and forcing someone to stand for the anthem isn’t patriotic. True patriotism is when people want to stand. If you want to increase patriotism and unify the country, then fight for equality. Fight for justice - equal justice. Make this country a place where protesting is no longer needed. Make this country a place that everyone, and I mean everyone, is proud of.

Goodbye, Barack

Four years ago I supported Barack Obama over Mitt Romney (barely). At the time I didn’t think Obama’s first term was great but I couldn’t get a good read on Romney.

Eight years ago I supported John McCain over Barack Obama. Even though I still think McCain would have been a fine president, I now know that I backed the wrong candidate.

Every president has successes and failures. All and all, Obama’s successes have outweighed his failures. More importantly, overall America is better now than it was eight years ago.

It’s hard to judge presidents during or even soon after their presidency, but I do think that history will judge Obama favorably.

Ontario Anti-Vaxxers May Be Required to Complete Science Class

Legislation is on the table in Ontario to force parents seeking vaccine exceptions to complete a vaccine class. I have minimal knowledge about Canadian politics so I have no idea if this will pass. I do know that it won’t work.

The problem is that anti-vaxxer beliefs aren’t rational. Their vaccine convictions are rooted in faith, not facts, much like religion.

Think of a fundamental Christian who believes in creationism. It’s fact that evolution happened. It can’t be rationally debated. Even if you carefully walk a creationist through the science they most likely won’t believe it. They may take a few facts and incorporate them into creationism as long as they don’t conflict with their preexisting faith, but good luck changing their mind.

Anti-vaxxers, GMO haters, natural food supporters, acupuncturists, integrative medicine practicers, climate change deniers, etc, etc. They all fall into the same category of irrational beliefs.

Teaching science won’t address the vaccine problem. Instead we need to focus on changing the anti-vaxxer “religion” but challenging someone’s religion may be an impossible task.

I Support Flag Burning

No seriously, I support flag burning. Take a deep breath. OK, ready? Yes, I said I support flag burning. I generally don’t support the platform of flag burners but I do support their right to burn it.

I respect the flag of the United States of America. It has great meaning. It stands for the American Dream. It stands for the blood, sweat, and tears of our soldiers. It stands for the greatest country in the world. I could go on and on, but what it stands for most of all is freedom.

Isn’t freedom what makes our country great? Freedom that the government won’t restrict our speech. Freedom to vote for our leaders. Freedom to choose our own religion. America is defined by the rights of our citizens, not by the restrictions opposed upon them.

We are free to speak any words we want until they infringe on the freedom of others. We are free to own guns (with some regulations) and free to use those guns until they put the safety of others at risk. Your liberty to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.

Now whose liberty is being infringed by flag desecration? I understand that it may be offensive, but get over it. We should not be making laws because of your feelings.

Think of it this way, the same laws that give you the right to wave that flag without restrictions is the same laws that give protesters the right to burn it. Allowing you to do what you want with the flag without allowing them to do what they want with it is totalitarian. China, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea ban flag desecration. Let’s not use them as a model for limiting freedom.

As the old saying goes, “I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

My name is Brian Mapes. I'm a father, husband, Phillies fan, Eagles fan, comic book lover, software engineer, technology lover, wannabe artist, and former MacRumors mod. These are my random thoughts.