Friday, October 28, 2011

Cayla Lepior Multimodal Essay


Abortion Controversy
According to the Guttmacher Institute, there are roughly 3,322 abortions per day; amounting to 1.21 million abortions performed every year in the United States. There are many different opinions about abortion, such as “pro-life” or “pro-choice”. People who believe that abortion is wrong and should be stopped in our society are considered to be on the “pro-life” side of the controversy. Those who believe a woman should be able to decide what she does with her body and who support abortions in the United States would be considered “pro-choice”. In today’s society, the issue of illegalization of abortions in some states, if not all, has become more and more of a controversial topic. In order to have an opinion about this controversy, people should be informed about both sides as well as other perspectives.

Beginning of the Controversy: Roe v. Wade
            Roe v. Wade is a well-known Supreme Court decision that ultimately made abortion legal in the United States. “The decision held that a woman, with her doctor, could choose abortion in earlier months of pregnancy without legal restriction, and with restrictions in later months, based on the right to privacy” (Roe v. Wade).  The decision to make abortion legal in the United States sparked the controversial views and many debates about this issue in today’s society. An interesting detail that most people are unaware of is about the first abortion laws in history. “The first abortion laws were aimed at protecting the mother from the abortionist. They were not necessarily set in the context that the fetus was, from conception, a human being that happened to be protected” (Burrell). It wasn’t until later that the controversy in legality began to circle around the life of the fetus, not necessarily the safety of the mother.

Pro-Choice Arguments
            The definition of pro-choice: “Favoring or supporting the legal right of women and girls to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy to term” (American Heritage). There are many reasons why pro-choice advocates believe this about abortion. An important argument from this side of the controversy includes: “If people want to stop abortion, they should turn to methods that do work” (10 Arguments). This is extremely important in my opinion because if there are people who are against abortions, they should not blatantly say something is wrong without providing possible solutions. There are many ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies that result with abortions. For example, offering sex education in order for people to be informed about the decisions they are making. Pro-choice advocates also argue that, “Doctors, not governments, should always be the people to make medical recommendations and opinions” (10 Arguments). This argument is especially important because in today’s society, people feel more and more controlled by our government, causing a feeling of less power. For the government to illegalize abortions in the United States would be comparable with the President telling everyone they had to receive an operation, which is outrageous and would never be allowed. These are only a limited amount of reasons why people should have a right to their own decisions, especially when involving their own body.

Pro-Life Arguments
            The definition of pro-life: “Advocating the legal protection of human embryos and fetuses, especially by favoring the outlawing of abortion on the ground that it is the taking of a human life” (American Heritage). On the other side of the controversy, pro-life advocates believe that abortion should be illegal and should be banned from the United States. An important argument that pro-life defenders embody is that life begins at conception, and therefore abortion is equivalent to murdering a human being (Women’s Issues). Since murder is obviously illegal in our country, it would make sense to think that abortion should also be illegal. A different, less emotional argument would be that most Americans who pay taxes may have conflicting views about the legality of abortions since often times, U.S. tax dollars are used in order to fund a majority of abortions (Women’s Issues). Abortion has been made illegal in some States in the past, however has later been overturned. People advocating for pro-life are intensively trying to pass laws in order to make abortions illegal, but only time will tell what the outcome will be.
Planned Parenthood
            Recent controversy about government funding of public health centers such as Planned Parenthood has caused government officials to consider reducing the funding significantly. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Republicans want to allow states to redirect money away from abortion providers" and also take away $317 million Planned Parenthood for the 2011 fiscal year. This would mean a significant decrease in family planning, health services such as cancer screenings, and birth control availability along with many more services.

The Right Argument
            In my opinion, pro-choice is the more logical answer in the debate of abortion in the United States. To me, the arguments for pro-life appear to be more of an emotionally biased decision when in reality, the right choice may vary for different people. The choice to keep or abort a baby should be entirely up to the woman. It is her body therefore the choice should not belong to any governmental laws or officials. In many cases, abortion is the only logical thing to do in situations of poverty, lack of family support, abusive relationships, rape, etc. 

Possible Solutions
          Possible solutions for this well-known controversy are still debatable and many people with opinions about this topic may not agree with the compromises or solutions for abortion in the United States. In order to make abortion more agreeable in the United States, our government could withdraw it's financial support for the funding of abortions, not necessarily all of it's funding (other health services that Planned Parenthood provides) but solely the funding of abortions. If a woman has the ability to choose abortion, she should be able to pay for it herself, not rely on other people's tax money. Another possible solution, that is more favored by pro-life supporters, would be adoption. Adoption gives a life to the unborn child while also giving it to a family that truly wants to have a baby. Although adoption has been known to be one of the hardest decisions a pregnant woman can make, it would ultimately be beneficial for everyone involved.

Guinevere's Rough Draft

Rough Draft Matilda Jarvis

Matilda Jarvis
Mr. Lutz
English 151
28 October, 2011 

Young Mothers Influenced by 'Mommy Bloggers'?
Retrieved from personal archives

     I was talking to a friend the other day, who is both a young mother and an avid blog-reader. She mentioned how blogs by mothers might impact younger mothers to feel inadequate if they do not have the wonderful life described by the bloggers.I was struck by this observation, and thought about several blogs that I follow; they could fit the statement. In my personal experience, I envied some of the vacations and opportunities some bloggers had, but I found it hard to believe their blogs had such a strong impact. Yet, the matter disturbed me: do blog writers, specifically mothers, have persuasive power over their readers ? If so, is it due to critical views, or carefree, cheerful blogs?

    The matter perplexed me. Seeing how blogs have come to play a substantial role in today's networking, I wanted to find out what others said about blogs' influence. One contributor to George Mason University's course material, Heidi Lawrence, asserts her claim on blog authors' power over their readers:
Every possible personal oddity imaginable is confessed over these thousands of blogs. Their readers reply by sympathizing, agreeing, respectfully disagreeing, or reciprocating the confession by relating their own moment of weakness or sin... the use of confession rhetorically...enables the speaker to contribute to and become part of the community of subverting the power structure...—confession does not result in discipline, judgment, or punishment—it engages the reader through further confession, agreement, dissent, or even non sequitur discourse. In short, the confessions result in fostering community through interaction, no matter what the tenor of that interaction might be, because the confession appeals to the reader in a way that persuades the reader to respond. (19)
     Lawrence explains that the authors influence readers through a confession that the writer makes through a blog. Not only do blogs allow a place to vent and share news, but they create a connection between the writer and followers; readers feel sympathetic and can immediately respond to posts. Chelsea-Kay, the author of the blog Media in Focus, agrees by relating that blog authors manage to influence readers on various topics because "blogs have become a vital part of the internet aesthetic." And as blogs have come to play a leading role in the 'guidelines of the internet', they have a stronger influence in shaping readers' opinions. That influence grows as readers learn to trust the writer. But, what motivates the reader to follow blogs?

     In a research experiment, Huang, Chou, and Lin studied blog readers' motives for following blogs. They found three main motives: affective (or emotional) exchanges; information search and entertainment; and fun. They found "readers who focus on affective exchanges tend to believe messages on blogs, interact with bloggers, and spread messages to others...The information search and entertainment [motivated] blog readers who focus on information can find something they trust, and blog readers who read just for fun similarly believe blogs are a trustworthy medium..." (Huang 354). I understand that reading blogs is like connecting with the author, but I grew up with technology and am more comfortable browsing the web, scanning blogs and becoming acquainted with bloggers' opinions than generations before me may be. Does that gap in age have to do with the confidence younger generations have in the internet and blogs?
     In comparison of how my mother dabbles in the blogging world, and her adept inability to understand much of the new technological capabilities, she spends less time on blogs than Emily P., a new mom. As a report by Krayewski on the study entitled "Why Y Women?" explains that the rising generation, Gen Y, women were "found to be more influenced by blogs – those written by professionals, as well as those written by people with whom the women can identify." This growing influence of blogs on the rising generation corresponds to the increase in usage of social media networks that allow people to share opinions, information, and gossip, whether it be anonymously or not. And because of the confession aspect of blogs, a personal bond between the author and reader becomes stronger, which increases the influence the author has, as the reader develops trust in the writer.

   How then, can mothers impact others by blogging? Lee-Ann Khoh says, "The blog has enabled more and more ordinary citizens to become "manipulators" of information and the media. Bloggers have the freedom to express themselves however they like, whenever they like." While some mothers use blogs as a way to share happy details, or the exciting events that happen, some use blogs as a mode of venting their struggles, worries, and mishaps from the view of a parent. Both types of blogging styles may manipulate, or influence, readers' opinions about motherhood, depending on how it is represented in blog posts. 

Retrieved from personal image archives.

     How often do you see pictures like that on the left where a child is clearly not enjoying life, as opposed to pictures similar to the one on the right, where a child is in all-innocence, completely happy? Some mother bloggers may wish to keep circumstances that are not all 'fine and dandy' to themselves; others don't mind sharing--negative experiences can help mothers reading the blog to learn from them. One mother blogger, Allison, describes her situation without camouflaging any unpleasant aspects of her life:
Motherhood is a multifaceted job – much like a gemstone that you hold in your hand turning in the light watching the angles and corners and surfaces glimmer and shine different, unexpected ways, only with more poop. As a mom I’m both hero and villain. I’m playmate and disciplinarian, teacher and student, and a bunch of other less glamorous things like...insomniac, bathroom coach...I have more roles than I can list because new ones arise every day. Am I an expert nail cutter, splinter-getter-outer? I am now. And, as a feather in my lovely mom-cap, as one last sexy thing I do, I plunge toilets. Often.
     As she states her role so openly, Allison shares with her audience not the wonderful world of motherhood that others should aspire to, but her reality, which includes many unfavorable jobs. Because Allison discusses many hardships she faces, her readers will not be influenced into feeling dismal about their own abilities as mothers; but rather, they can take comfort that things do not always happen as planned. I do not find her blog negative; it relates blurbs from her everyday life that characterize her family's personality, struggles, and triumphs in a way that does not idolize her role as a mother, neither does it condemn motherhood, despite ever-present trials. An example of a trying time for a mother is shown in the video below. A mom blogger Katie, put together an entertaining video for her blog, showcasing her son and his unwillingness to eat solids, which frustrated Katie. She shows her readers that life is not all-fun-all-the-time, but that raising a child is hard work. However, she does so by connecting to her readers using a comical approach. Perhaps the technique of humor is a way to take her exasperating experience, such as baby Kai's refusal to eat solid foods, and try to make it into a better situation.

     Despite what I had learned about blogs and their influence, I was still unsure if 'mommy blogs' truly affect younger mothers. But then I came across the blog of a Media Arts student that reviewed and analyzed a presentation by C. Jane Kendrick. The author of the blog, David, says, "Mommy blogs that are not an accurate representation of motherhood (either in a utopian or dystopian way) are not empowering." What he is saying is that blogs representing only the good or the bad, fail to influence with the same power because they are ineffectual in illustrating the complete picture of motherhood. This was a new idea to me, that, perhaps, 'mommy blogs' need to have the whole story to be influential. 

     During my conversation with my friend, I asked if blogs depict a seemingly ideal life, affected her as a mother. She laughed and replied, "Life isn't that perfect." I agreed with her answer; everybody faces hard times, even if they choose not to broadcast it to the world. And her response supports David's statement, as the blog proved to be unable to influence her. Then I realized that she is now a mother of three, so could it be that she was more influenced when she was starting out as a new mother? She pondered this and responded that her attentiveness to the 'cheesiness' (as she called the too-cheery impression some blogs give) and detecting how the story was embellished to add interest, not influence was not as fine-tuned at first, but that her opinion took time to form, as she gained her own experiences as a parent.

     Throughout the research process, I continually looked to the young moms that I know to give me insights into their blogging world. Many times I grew frustrated as their answers did not match with what I believed was the 'right answer,' that of course the blogs influence them because of either a general negativity in the blogs they read, or a too-perfect world that some bloggers write about. Not until reviewing the scholarly articles with the blogs, as well as these moms' responses, that I realized the blogs with the most impact on mothers are the ones that display motherhood in all its glory and hardships, those that do not bury true insights into motherhood. For those are the blogs that will provide the most guidance and comfort for new mothers, and those are the blogs that will truly have a great influence.

Works Cited

Huang, Li-Shia, Yu-Jen Chou, and Che-Hung Lin. "The Influence of Reading Motives on the Responses after Reading Blogs." CyberPsychology & Behavior 11.3 (2008): 351-355. Print.

Lawrence, Heidi. "Bless Me Blogger, for I Have Sinned: Community and Rhetoric of Confession in the Genre of the Blog." ENG 503: Theory and Practice of Editing class of the English MA program. George Mason University. print.

War in Libya (ROUGH DRAFT)

Kathryn McDermott
Professor Lutz
English 151
October 31, 2011
Involvement in Libya

          Two of my very close friends, Sarra and Muhamed are both Middle Eastern but both live here in the United States. Muhamed visits his homeland every year, but recently it has been tough for him to make the trip knowing that his life would be in danger where he comes from. Libya is currently in a national war, trying to get their leader, Moammar Gaddafi, out of power. The Libyan citizens are being torn to shreds, shot at, and are not living a good life. The United Nations heard this news and decided they needed to step in to help. The question that now arises is if we are doing our job and benefiting Libya? Or are we causing more harm than good?
          The first step to understanding whether our country is helping or harming the war is to apprehend the war itself. The Libyan government, especially Gaddafi, is causing the war in Libya.  First of all, Gaddafi runs Libya in a dictatorship manor, everything the country does revolves around him, and no civilian dares to question his authority. The civilians are revolting against their leader as much as possible by protesting and rioting. However, Gaddafi is stopping the rebels using authority and force; ending uprisings, killing protestors, and going as far as threatening to cancel scholarships of his people choosing to study in the United States. This video shows protestors and the police involvement.

          Now that the background is clear, I want to focus on what other countries are doing to aid the war, starting with the United States. The U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, stated in her speech on February 21, 2011 "Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed". The United States knew from that point on that the country needed to take action. Former ambassador and Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, stated in an interview on March 22 that the United States had two goals: to protect Libyan citizens, and remove Gaddafi from power. These goals sound ideal, very helpful and a simple way to end a national war. However, President Barak Obama contradicted these goals in his speech on February 23. Obama mentioned the unacceptable bloodshed and violence throughout the country, he spoke about protecting the Libyan citizens, but never mentioned Gaddafi himself. Obama said that his major priority is to protect American soldiers who are in Libya, rather than protecting the Libyan citizens who are in danger, or working towards removing Gaddafi from power. The United States made it clear that they wanted to help, but by voicing contradictory views, the country's intentions are left unclear. However, that is only the case with America. Other countries and organizations have clear outlines of goals and show them through direct action on the cause.
          In March of 2011, the United Nations authorized the use of force to protect Libyan citizens, which is the first time the UN has invaded a functioning country for such purpose. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) donated medical supplies to hospitals, and worked to move needed equipment to nearby hospitals (Dean, Kendall-Raynor). By sending those supplies and providing the necessary care, ICRC greatly helped the wounded citizens and injured soldiers who were there to help. Even after all of the help and support, Gaddafi's actions remained unknown and unpredictable. The public remains scared, and lacks a sense of security, so they continue to protest and riot, going as far as burning down public buildings, and rallying with degrading signs, as pictured below.
Sergey Ponomarev/Associated Press

World Bulletin
          So did we do the right thing by sending troops? There are mixed feelings throughout the country, some pro-war, and some who think we should have held back. Many people doubt the humanitarian motive in war these days because the United States is involved in so many oil producing countries, so it is normal that a plethora of citizens are skeptical of our association. Barak Obama began sending troops to Libya on a short 60-day mission since he knew they were in imminent danger. The soldiers werepaid an extra $225 a month until they passed the 60-day period when Obama decided to keep the troops in Libya and send more over. People were irritated by Obama's unclear intentions, and were anxious to find out if their country had a plan. This was established by the further actions the United States took in Libya. The U.S. urged the UN to establish a no-fly zone over northern Libya and to take all measures necessary to protect the civilian population. This action began to show both American and Libyan citizens that the U.S. was trying to make a difference and help with the war. Throughout the war there were many different opinions on the steps that the United States was taking to help, so which opinion correlated more with the results?
          Gaddafi was captured on October 20th, 2011 and killed on that same day. This obviously removed him from power, but it was not the ideal end to his life. The goal was to capture Gaddafi, not kill him. He was a cruel leader and many thought he deserved a life of punishment rather than to be killed. However, when the rebels had the chance to be more powerful than Gaddafi himself, they took full advantage of it. He was captured outside of his hometown, Sirte, and shot with the intentions to keep him controlled for questioning and punishment. Regardless of the intentions, that was not the result; rebels got ahold of him and beat him practically to death, he was then dragged into an ambulance and shot in the head. People were heard shouting to keep Gaddafi alive, but the majority of the civilians exclaimed with joy and participated in his beating. I agree with the people who urged to keep him alive; yes, Gaddafi performed horrible actions but it would've done greater damage to keep him alive with punishment than to kill him. Also, I disagree with the way he was killed. No human should be dragged on the ground and beaten and shot to death simply because he is disliked. So yes, it is good that he is out of power, but I think the way that it was handled was unfair and too cruel. If this event happened again, I would want the result to be different.
          The war in Libya was brutal, in the six-month civil war 30,000 people died, 50,000 injured, and 4,000 are still missing. These statistics disgust me, knowing that innocent people died because of the cruelty of their leader, and then in return, the remaining citizens killed their leader. This whole story is twisted, where did the United States even come into play? If Obama is going to spend the time and money sending troops to war, why not do it with clear intentions? Why send them with unclear goals knowing that they would be in extreme danger? And not even including the goal of capturing Gaddafi, the root of the problem? The war had only been going on for approximately a month before the U.S. sent troops and in that time frame we had no idea what the war would turn into or when it would end without interference. I think we should have waited to see further progress in the country itself, and then spend the time and money to put our troops in danger to help save the lives of others. After deciding whether or not to send forces, decide on goals, and make them clear to the fighters and the citizens of both countries. If there is no debate on what the action plan is, then send troops to benefit the greater good. However, if there is debate between what the country should do, then no person's life should be put in danger for a "just in case" situation. I am not against sending troops to better a situation, but in this case I do not think the government handled it in the best way. 

Emily Nelson RD

Emily Nelson
Bryan Lutz
English 151
28 October 2011
Abortion: The Arguments in Today's Society
Abortion is one of the most highly debated topics among the world to this day. There are many different views and opinions that surround this topic that make the situation all that more complicated. The sides of the argument include Pro-Choice and Pro-Life. Pro-Choice refers to those who believe women should have the option to abort a fetus. Pro-Life activists believe abortion should be made illegal. When a woman is given the option to abort, immediately there is a lot of emotion and pressure surrounding the decision to be made. Depending on the circumstance, a woman’s right to abort a fetus is crucial, always controversial, but ultimately it is a very impactful decision from all angles. Pro-Life activists have valid arguments and support the right to life, but there are times where abortion is done in an understandable situation. Overall, abortions can be done for the right reasons but they aren’t always recognized for being a logical decision.

The video above, provided by Guttmacher Institute, gives real life current statistics about abortion. People who get abortions come from many different ages, races, religions and locations. At the end of the video it ultimately describes that abortions are always going to be needed. Women are always going to need to abort at some times. Guttmacher also provides an informative blog cite that lays out more figures on abortion. It also provides abortion services and explains the laws around the process.

The main argument for pro-choice supporters is for choices to remain an open option for any individual, there should not be a law against deciding if having a child would be a good option for the carrier or for the unborn. When a fetus isn’t recognized as entering personhood, abortion is not able to be judged by the government as murder. Recently the government has put many restrictions on abortion rights. According to the article The Case for Pro-Choice Participation in Drafting Fetal Homicide Laws, by Mary Beth Hickcox-Howard, fetal homicide laws are putting a lot of restrictions on women who want to abort. “The only acceptable response to a proposed fetal homicide law is to attempt to block its passage entirely and substitute a bill that enhances punishments for assaulting a pregnant woman, but does not create a separate criminal offense for harming of killing the fetus,” (Hickcox-Howard 319). Pro-Choice activists do not like when new laws are passed, it creates more work for them to prove their stance. The new laws put restrictions on abortions and make it more difficult for a woman in need to get the procedure.
When researching the topic of abortion, a lot of results came up as personal stories and experiences. Many pro-choice activists post about positive abortion experiences, Kimberly Blessing goes into detail about the reasons of why she is pro-choice. Many of her points can resonate with many people across the United States. Blessings makes the statement, “I’m pro-choice because I know the panic a woman can suffer when she thinks she’s pregnant,” (Blessings). This feeling is common amongst countless women everywhere. Maybe there was a misuse or no use of contraceptives or maybe there was an incident of rape, sometimes women feel like their life is over when they have an unplanned pregnancy. They must look at the facts and are faced with a very hard decision, women must know if they will be able to take care of this baby and possibly need to decide if they would be able to handle giving it up for adoption. If a woman has an unexpected pregnancy after rape, it is emotionally stressful deciding what to do with the fetus. This is a situation where pro-choice support groups gain a lot of respect on their stance. How can a woman be expected to care for a child that would be a constant reminder of being raped?

Supporters of Pro-Life beliefs use The Bible and government policy to support their anti-abortion opinions. They believe that all lives should be saved, no matter what circumstance, no matter how long the fetus has been in the womb, according to the pro-life side of the argument, once a woman has conception of the fetus, it is a living person and abortion is murder. Most women who have gotten an abortion typically have misused contraceptives or didn’t use them, very few women use protection methods correctly who get abortions. Pro-life supporters believe abortion questions some women’s morality. A blog found about Religion and Pro-Life Issues explains how a woman is guilty of murder when choosing to have an abortion. The blog uses God in the argument and explains how the bible says you should not kill people, from a pro-life stance, abortion is murder. Many pro-life activists use God as their reasoning as to why they do not support abortions. A blog by Frank Pavone, Priests for Life, uses different verses in the Bible to prove many reasons toward anti-abortion. Each post uses a different excerpt from the Bible and brings it back to why abortion is morally wrong.
The topic is black and white for anti-abortionists, if a women is pregnant, they should have the baby. On this side of the argument, they understand that some women are not ready to bring a child into the world, keeping that in mind, this group also provides support to help the mother raise the child or they help them with the adoption process. Religion and Politics: USA, by Lisa Sowle Cahill, explains “The Pregnant Woman Support Act proposes to reduce abortions by promoting pregnancy assistance, adoption, and education and support for new mothers,” (Cahill 189). Cahill acknowledges the fact that women who want to abort should realize there is help for them and they don’t have abort their pregnancy. The main belief of pro-life supporters is a mother should take care of the child until it is able to live outside of the womb, they do not necessarily have to raise the baby but having the baby is the purpose of anti-abortion activists. 

Pro-Life supporters are accused of not giving enough support to pregnant women and pro-choice supporters are accused of being murderers. As of now, there is no settlement on the debate of abortion. Many states have lowered the amount of money they give to abortions and require much more legal processing before a woman can actually get an abortion. The numbers of abortions have been on the decline since the 1980s but they still occur fairly often. Approximately 3,700 abortions occur daily in the United States. Unintended pregnancies will always be an issue in America, how the government decides to handle the situation is still undecided but researchers predict the number of abortions will continue to be on the decline.

21st Century Prejudice; The Westboro Baptist Church

21st Century Prejudice: The Westboro Baptist Church
            For the past 44 years, America along with other countries have been haunted by the hateful, disrespectful and terrorizing, Westboro Baptist Church (WBC).  This “church” considers themselves an Old School Baptist style church as they preach the hate of God. Extremists in America explain the leader of this church is, “Fred Phelps and several of his children and dozens of his grandchildren appear to constitute the majority of the group’s members”.  An important aspect of this church is that Fred Phelps along with many of his family members, also a part of this church, are in the court system, either as lawyers or attorneys.  The WBC sees the United States as doomed as a whole.  As stated on the WBC's website, the daily picketing in the US and other countries led by Fred Phelps himself began in 1991.  They have gone as far to say President Obama is the anti-Christ.  More specifically, the Church protests and degrades homosexuals and in April of 2009 Jews also came into the spotlight of the hatred.  All blacks and Christians are also subject to be hated by the Westboro Baptist Church.  Almost any institution or individual is subject to the hatred of the WBC.  Even selfless soldiers from the war with Iraq are targeted.  The church views, “The Iraq and Afghanistan wars were evidence of God’s punishment of America” (Constitution 1).  In their protests they often wish for more dead soldiers.  Their hatred does not stop there, with all of America, the group has protested in other countries as well.  Some countries such as Great Britain have banned any member of their church from coming into their country at all.
            Fortunately the general public is commonly unaware of this hateful group.  The media tends to ignore the Westboro Baptist Church in general, just what the church does not want. By ignoring the Westboro Baptist Church in the media, the group has no power.  As some protesters suggest, "Although they have the freedom to say what they want, it would have less effect if the newspapers would not give it coverage".  What the media is trying to do is like ignoring a small child when him or her is being destructive on purpose, without attention the destructive behavior becomes unappealing.  The Westboro Baptist Church strives for media attention for their church and the message they portray.  Extremist in America also explain this publicity-hungry group, “That have attracted heavy news coverage, like the deaths of soldiers killed in wars or the victims of well-publicized accidents, or at venues, such as high schools, which are likely to generate large counter-protests and community outrage”.  The church hopes to infuriate the pubic with their detestable actions and words.  They purposefully make highly controversial music videos and title their WebPages such as “” to attract attention.  After being offered air time on a local radio show, the group did not attend a protest they had promised to be at.  These actions show how the WBC strives for media coverage over anything.  Although, as previously stated, the WBC considers themselves an Old School or Primitive Baptist Church, other Baptists churches have not protested and sought media attention as the WBC does.  For all churches in general, this hateful, attention seeking behavior is nothing but unusual.  An example of the local attention the Westboro Baptist Church receives, in counter protest is shown below.
If the Westboro Baptist Church can voice their opinions, so can we.

           Another illogical thing the WBC does is to advertise and picket things that cannot be found in the bible at all.  It is one thing to spread the word that the New Testament of the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin but it is another to claim that, “God hates your feelings”.  It seems that as this group has grown they have drifted farther and farther away from the actual word of God.  Stemming from that, many of the points that are so important to the Westboro Baptist Church are not even mentioned in the Bible at all.  The messages the WBC delivers are look at that, "No reasonable reader could conclude their words contain provable facts but rather clearly opinion" (Constitutional 2).  The idea that God is punishing the United States Military by killing more soldiers in war for having a country that is so tolerant of gays, is not found in the Bible.  The bible actually states in Luke 6:35 "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked".  This quotes explains the exact opposite than what the WBC does.  If the Westboro Baptist Church claims gays are their enemies, they should do as God and give unconditional love and do good to them. Rather it seems the WBC follows ideas have been made and evolved by humans, not the bible.
            One of the strategic things the Westboro Baptist Church does is to boycott and protest funerals, especially largely publicized funerals.  The group will protest the funerals of gays and soldiers.  They will do anything to get under peoples skin and gain media attention.  They claim they want to spread the word of Gods hate and make Americas aware that they are all doomed.  Even the inventor of Apple, Steve Jobs cannot escape the wrath of the Westboro Baptist Church.  After Steve Jobs' death on October 5th, Margie Phelps was one of many WBC members to use an iPhone to tweet about it. Using the technology Steve Jobs invented, the WBC set up the protest of his funeral.  Margie tweeted from her iPhone, “Westboro will picket his funeral. He had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin”.  Although they benefit from his products, the Westboro Baptist Church still loathed Steve Jobs.  This exemplifies the fact that the WBC does not discriminate against anyone in their hatred.  Steve Jobs funeral is just another place to gain publicity for them, while they completely ignore and disrespect those morning his death.
            As aforementioned, Fred Phelps has started the Westboro Baptist Church and his children and grandchildren make up a majority of its congregation.  This raises a red flag because it shows a trend of how children within this family are raised.  As the average, conscience citizen sees it the Westboro Baptist Church is awful, unnecessary and harmful.  This is because we were all raised in a certain light that makes up how we see what is right and what is wrong.  Unfortunately people with views like Fred Phelps are able to have children along with the rest of us and he was able, in some aspects, to make clones of himself.  By teaching his children to have the same beliefs that he does, he created a sort of colony of hateful people.  As his family grew and his children had children, this bad attitude was passed down onto these innocent children.  Unfortunately with the way the church is structured, "Children in the Phelps family are raised in the church's beliefs, and their upbringing offers them few opportunities to integrate into mainstream society".  Children are often seen as a blank canvas, for parents to make what they want with them.  The fact that these WBC members are teaching their children how to hate, says something about this character in itself.  Below is an example of what the children within the Westboro Baptist Church are taught to do.
Young child influenced heavily by hateful parents. More pictures of the children within the Westboro Baptist Church can be found here.
            As it should for the kids that are raised with such beliefs like the Westboro Baptist’s, attention should also be brought to the average citizen that is affected by this hatred.  As Rebekah Kuschmider explains it from a mothers viewpoint, it is hard to teach innocent children how some people are so hateful. She goes on to describe how easy it is to explain what homosexuality and different races are but she states, “I just wish they would stop because their flavor of hatred is so hard to explain to children”. The general set of values that the Westboro Baptist Church holds is very hard for grown ups to comprehend let alone a young child.  In some ways parents wish that their innocent children would not ever have to learn of such hate. Rebekah goes on talking about homophobia and describes, “It breaks my heart that someday, probably soon, I’ll have to explain to my son why people use mean words to talk about the parents of his friends just because those parents are gay”.  Not only in children but the innocence of our entire society is disrupted by the Westboro Baptist Church actions.  This brings up a broader point of how the WBC affects the society as a whole. 
Unfortunately, The Westboro Baptist Church can legally say and do whatever they want in their protests, just as any other citizen, as long as they do not violate and trespassing orders.  The United States is a free country and by the first amendment, the Westboro Baptist Church is able to speak their thoughtful opinions.  Although they may completely offend some and haunt others, the truth is no one can stop them.  After Ohio passed a law restricting the protesting of the WBC, the Church fought the law saying, "An Ohio law restricting protests within 300 feet of a burial or funeral services is unconstitutional" (Ban 1). This leaves many states dumbfounded at what can be done to help protect the victims of the Westboro Baptist Church.  The law that Ohio attempted to create did not even prohibit picketing rather it just made a bigger no trespassing area around burial and funeral sites and the WBC still fought against the law and claimed it unconstitutional.  Many other court cases have been made against the group but unfortunately, the WBC has won the majority of the cases.  Another appalling truth about these court cases is that from the cases the WBC receives most of their money. As previously stated, many members of the church are a part of the court system giving them an upper hand to any legal battles they may face.  In a case where the WBC picketed a soldiers funeral claiming, “God is punishing the military for the nation’s tolerance of homosexuality” the soldier’s father lost his battle in the courtroom.  As this may seem absurd to anyone with a soul, the First amendment covers all Americas, including the hateful ones.  The WBC believes they are doing right by protesting and giving their message but it is clear that without the Westboro Baptist Church the world would be an overall better place.
After acknowledging that the ways and views of the Westboro Baptist Church cannot be changed, society must find a healthy way to coexist.  One positive start to this is the fact that the media does not highlight anything this group does, no matter how shocking.  We cannot protect the innocent children that are born into this church because these children are also victims in this situation.  Along with that, we cannot shield our own children from groups like this and we must teach our children about the Westboro Baptist Church along with other controversial subjects.  Also, to many prosecutors dismay, the Westboro Baptist Church does make most of their money through winning court cases.  This seems discouraging as we cannot use the court system to stop this group.  Small adjustments, such as learning how to completely ignore them, must be made to fit these hateful members of the Westboro Baptist Church into the United States.

Works Cited

"Ban On Picketing At Funerals Upheld By Appeals Court." Church & State 61.9 (2008): 22. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.
"Does the Constitution Protect the Right of Protestors to Demonstrate During a Private Citizen's Military Funeral? PROS." Supreme Court Debates 13.8 (2010): 17-27. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Multi Modal Essay- Taylor Wisnieski

Taylor Wisnieski
Professor Lutz
Multi Modal Essay
The War in Iraq and Afghanistan
                September 11, 2001 will be the day that no one will ever forget, the day that the World Trade Center  towers was hit by three airplanes, we later came to find out that this was done by 19 Iraqi hijackers. Now, ten years later, our president, Barack Obama has announced the ending of the war all together. Before I go any further, I came across a youtube video from 2008 that discusses President Obama ending the war. This video was from two years ago but what he says is going to happen during the process of ending the war is exactly what is happening now, only two years after he said it would be over.  

Ending of the Iraqi War

       This just proves that though President Barack Obama had the intentions of ending the war a year ago he was a little late on ending it. Since the war ended a year late, more Americans have died and more U.S citizens have had to pay thousands of dollars to support the war. The thing that worries most Americans is that if in 2008 when President Obama told us he was sending our troops home by the summer of 2010, how can we believe him now when he says that our troops will be home by the end of this year? While asking myself this question I did some research and though our troops will be leaving Iraq they may be sent to Afghanistan where there is still currently a war between the U.S and Afghanistan. Now that Obama has plans on sending the troops home from Iraq he has other things to deal with in Afghanistan, he has pledged to end U.S combat roll in Afghanistan within three years. October 7, 2011, the U.S led war in Afghanistan marked its 10th year, having passed two milestones: The Taliban has been forced out of power and Osama bin Laden is dead. Though our troops have been in Afghanistan for ten years, there's no sign of our troops coming home any time soon. Lately there have been many high-profile attacks such as, the assassination of Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani last month. With these types of attacks still happening in Afghanistan it is raising many questions by the U.S and is jeopardizing our peace negotiations with the country. 
The Taliban
          With Presient Rabbani dead, the Taliban now has the opportunity to take over the Afghan government and many western leaders do not doubt that this will be the case. Taliban are students of religious seminaries who have existed in Afghanistan long before modern schools existed. The beginning goals of the Taliban were to disarm the country, end lawlessness and enforce the Islamic law on a united Afghanistan. In June of 2011, the International Crisis Group reported that the Taliban had expanded in the south and southeast to central-eastern provinces. This is just proof that the Taliban is capable of expansion and of being in control of other countries. The Taliban are people who most are afraid of because of how powerful they are and how they are not scared of killing people. Pictured below is of Taliban insurgents in front of a burning German military vehicle in northern Kunduz Province. 

The war between the U.S and Afghanistan has now become a war between the United States and the Taliban. The Taliban is now recruiting non-Afghan soldiers to fight against our American soldiers.Having this Taliban influence in Afghanistan is only causing more pain and trouble for the people of Afghanistan and it's only getting worse. Corruption and cooperation with the Taliban reach the highest levels of local governance. Widespread abuse of power from simple shakedowns to outright collusion with the Taliban will very likely outlive U.S military combat. As Afghanistan is failing to do any better, Obama tries to shed some light on these problems by proving that the military has done a great job in Afghanistan and that they are ready to be sent home. In my opinion I think that our troops should have been sent home a long time ago and that since we have been in Afghanistan and Iraq we have only made problems worse. You never heard any bad things about Afghan or Iraqi government before the terrorist attack in 2001. It's not our job to be involved in another country's problems when we should be worrying about our own here, like our economy and how it's falling.
Treatment of Soldiers

           This brings me to another problem that not just me but most American's are having with our troops being in Afghanistan and Iraq, the way they are being treated there and when they return home.  
" In a 2006 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it was found that one-third of US military personnel from the war in Iraq accessed mental health services after they returned home. Among 222,620 Iraq veterans, 31 percent had at least 1 outpatient mental health visit within the first year postdeployment, while the annualized rate of such services was 35 percent.”(Mitchell 2)
This statistic stuck out to me because it's clear that soldiers who came back with PTSD did not always receive the treatment they needed. This also shows that many troops are coming back with PTSD and at least some of them are getting help. Thinking more about this situation I came across a study of troops returning from Iraq or Afghanistan who have experienced some form of PTSD, whether it be alone or the problems they have had in relationships or parenting since returning. In this study, the participants who have children reported significant concerns about impairments in parenting. These participants then went on to say they would rather go through family therapy instead of therapy alone, in order to deal with the PTSD together. I enjoyed reading about this study because it showed that troops with families are more willing to get help so they don't ruin relationships between them and their family. As I was thinking to myself about the treatment of these soldiers when they return home I knew I'd have to do research on how they were being treated overseas. I came across an article where a doctor was quoted saying, “Pain needs to be consistently assessed and treated all the way across the continuum of care, from that initial point of injury all the way down the road.", he later went on to say that as of lately the methods of treating and following a patient from the time of injury until they are fully healed has been lacking. If any other person experienced an injury such as tearing your ACL, they would be at the doctor continuously until they were completely healed, so my question is why should it be any different for soldiers? Just because they are coming back from a different country doesn't mean their care should stop once they return to the U.S. 
Continuing War in Afghanistan
       Though the war in Iraq will be coming to an end by December of this year, the war in Afghanistan will still be continuing for the next three years. As I was thinking to myself about how if the troops in Iraq are able to be sent home why can't the troops in Afghanistan be sent home I found a video from May of this year petitioning the end of the war. This video was made after Osama bin Laden's death.
I completely agree with these people who are trying to petition the end of the war, I never once thought our troops should even be in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place. I never saw the point in reacting to the terrorist attacks in the first place, yes hundreds of people in the U.S died from the attack but what gives us the right to go and kill their people? It makes us look just as bad as them, clearly we are no better than the Iraqis or the people of Afghanistan. When President Bush sent us to Iraq to help "create" a government for their people he was stepping on their territory and that is why they've reacted so negatively towards us, because it's not our place to fix another country's problems. Since being in the war we have spent billions of dollars and lost thousands of U.S citizens and what can we say we've accomplished really? We have attempted to establish a government in another country that isn't our own while our economy here is diminishing. While thinking about how I felt I had to do research on how other people felt and I came across a quote from an article that really stood out to me, "...there is little reason to believe that the continuing commitment of tens of thousands of troops on a sprawling nation-building mission in Afghanistan will make America safer." I agree with this 100%, nothing we are doing over there is making here any safer. We have more important needs at home like high unemployment and the flood of foreclosures while we are spending $10 billion a month in Afghanistan. After everything our country has been through I think it's finally time to get our troops home.