Thursday, December 10, 2009

To Be Or Not To Be

Magdalea Potluck
By Margaret Wiltshire

I am too liberal to be a conservative and too conservative to be a liberal. I have had an abortion, an illegal abortion.
We have as many friends who are conservatives as we have friends who are liberals. All of them love our constitution. All of them make Magdalena, Socorro County and Catron County a better place to be.
I grew up in a conservative family. They taught me values that stay with me to this day.
What my mother taught me about love was this: it is not what you say, it’s what you do that’s love. Lies are a weak defense and become a burden to continue defending. Do not stare, make faces or call out unkindly to people who are different from you. Besides being impolite, you won’t know they’re story, their truth. There is more to Christmas then gifts and Santa, there’s an important story. Sunday school is a good place to learn good things. Bullies are really cry babies.
It’s not just what “mommy” said, I find these truths self-evident. The truth is that as the decades passed, these truths have become a wedge between us. She also was the first person to tell me “those who can’t do, teach.” (And sometimes, preach)
At 14, I wanted to be a reporter like Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow and even like Ernest Hemingway. I wanted to travel the world telling the truth, especially all the good stuff about US of the Americas. I wanted to study at an expensive school and my family couldn’t really afford, IF I could get in.
The hunt for “okay what will I do now” took many turns. I loved history and art as well as writing. I loved kids. I did not really enjoy baby sitting but I did do it a lot. You can ask my younger brothers if I was a “happy” baby sitter. They think they barely survived. End game, my parents sent me to a state school in Early Childhood Education, cheap enough and “do able”.
Like a “real” journalist, I loved learning stuff, but not early childhood education. Family conflict, no more school.
By then, my conservative family had lost much confidence in education and even religion. My questioning things, the fear I might expose some truths, had made me a “problem”. Or to put it another way, one of THEM. I was pretty much kicked out of this conservative clan, before I had really left. Or gone left. Whatever.
The abortion. Being nice and polite to people who are “different” can often lead to love. My first big, overwhelming great love was a man of another race. After a while, he broke up with me, telling me I was wishy-washy. I wasn’t working to do any great good in the world. Then I discover I was pregnant.
Long story short, after checking the system for this situation, and consulting with lots of friends but not family. (I knew they weren’t THAT friendly by then) I added in what I could earn, without college, without family and as a woman then, I agreed to an abortion. Abortions being illegal at that time. It almost killed me physically and emotionally.
A real doctor in a real hospital saved my life. He was very unhappy with me because he preferred delivering babies. He told me he would call it a D and C (which it was) to protect me and my family. My mother told me she knew it had been an abortion and she let me know she was pleased. I felt destroyed.
Later, always a loyal conservative, she told me she was a right to lifer, wasn’t that wonderful. She still doesn’t have that grand son and he could be President, he could have been a conservative.
I’m not wishy-washy. I’ve spent a lot of time mending myself.

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