February 7, 2012

What It Means to Have Courage

Let's play a game and see how well you know me.  How about 3 question:

  1. What is my husband's name?
  2. Who is my favorite blogger?
  3. What is the name of an organization that makes my blood boil with their reputation for frivolous lawsuits, failure to progress toward their stated (and legally protected) goal, and a myriad of other sins against humanity & all that is sacred about health advocacy?
If you said Shawn, Julia (of Reasonably Well-Julia), and Susan G. Komen, congratulations!  Tell the reader what he's won....

Unless you've been in solitary or playing ostrich with your head in the sand the past week, you've probably heard about the latest pile of fecal matter in which Komen has landed.
The stupidity this time around almost made me want to do this, too.  Image found here.
Komen decided to adopt a new policy for providing funding to other organizations which would disqualify any organization currently undergoing a federal, state, or local investigation - the immediate (and, if sources are to be believed, intended) result was the announcement they would discontinue funding to Planned Parenthood (funding, mind you , that was designated and used exclusively for breast health - exams, education, etc).  However, this action incurred an immediate response from everyone from members of congress to activists and back again, all berating Komen and jumping in to save PP.  There's obviously a lot more to the full story, but there's your nutshell for this evening.

The main driver behind this "policy" was Karen Handel, the organization's VP for policy who joined Komen last year after a very right-wing political career.  After 3 days of beatdowns in the public eye, Handel (finally) stepped down.

Here is a good article about her resignation by the Associated Press that appeared today on the Boston Globe.  It'll just take a minute, go, read.  I'll wait.

No really, I'm waiting.

Go for it.  I'll still be here, I promise.

APNewsBreak: Komen exec quits after funding flap

You read it?  Good.

Here is a quote from the article that I found particularly disturbing:
"Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone's political beliefs or ideology," Handel said in the letter. Rather, both were based on Komen's mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy.

WHAT?!  Let’s dissect:

A) WHY is one of Komen's goals to distance itself from controversy?!  I thought the goal was "a cure" (oops, hope I don't get sued) and support & education for women.  So they'd let a particularly high-risk group of women (those without the resources on their own for regular screenings & treatment, who go to PP for that reason) go unserved because it could be controversial?  I hope my right to health never comes under fire because I affiliate with someone/something controversial...oh wait, too late. 

B) These decisions AREN'T based on ideology?  Leaving out politics (would have been) right, but ideology?  What are we without our ideals?  If you can't involve your ideals because they conflict with the organization, you aren't in the right organization!  I obviously wasn't a fan of hers from the word "no", but would at least be able to respect her if she was working for what she believed was right.  Now she backpedals and says it's not an ideological decision?  

I maintain a list of quotes that I really love.  They help inspire me, ground me, and convey ideals of my own. And one of my oldest favorites was by Robert Green Ingersoll (read about this inspiring man here).  This visionary man stated "it is a blessed thing that in every age someone has had the...courage enough to stand by his own convictions".  

As we get older we can't help but become a bit jaded.  But there's a fine line between realizing the truths about the world we live in and losing the truths we were born knowing.  Which, in turn, means that if we are to progress as a people we must have as leaders those with both intelligence and integrity, who stand by their ideals.  If we don't agree with their ideals, we shouldn't name them our leaders.  We live in a capitalistic democracy - it's as simple as that.

So, Ms. Handel, I say to you that beyond my pre-existing notions about the Komen foundation, you have served only to further humiliate the organization you joined as well as yourself.  Ideals & morals are pushed so far out of our lives that they are now missing from the times & places when we most need them.  Is our fiber so weakened we no longer have our own beliefs which differ from others?  If the popular opinion had sided with you instead of berating you, would you have laid claim to this policy as being ideological?  If so, I suggest you take this opportunity to re-evaluate yourself and your own courage of convictions.  

If you believe something is right or that something else is wrong, have the cajones to stand there and say so to my face.  Take a hint from some of the most formidable women I know - who happen to be former cancer patients themselves, and have laid into Komen for years for their underhanded, backward ways.  Their opinions were not always popular, but they defended them anyway.  We should all have such confidence in ourselves - even you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'm excited you're here - and can't wait to read your comment!

* Transparency Note *
If you are commenting as someone affiliated with a professional organization to promote said entity, please identify yourself as such. I'm not opposed to hearing from you or your organization, but must ask that you provide transparency by stating this for my readers and myself. Thank you for your compliance.