I don’t have a belly button - it was surgically removed in the process of treating Crohn’s disease that progressed to life-threatening peritonitis about four years ago.
This isn’t a story about a belly button, or about intestines or any lack thereof. This is about the United States.
As part of a ‘getting to know you’ exercise a few weeks ago, a group of people and I were playing ‘two truths and a lie.’ For my turn, my lie was 'I used to live in Canada.’ I was called on immediately after the game was over for confirmation that my statement 'I don’t have a belly button’ was true.
I complied immediately, revealing a set of long purple scars that stretch across my abdomen - one of which crosses through the midline, no belly button in sight.
I gave a condensed version of the story and the general consensus was 'bro, sick.’ Except for one guy, who looked utterly horrified.
“Wait,” he said slowly, something clearly dawning on him, “how are you going to have kids?”
This threw me for a second, but I’m used to being asked that question - my abdomen is full of scar tissue, I’m missing some key organs, the medicine I’m taking to stay in remission is a known abortifacient and I may well not be able to have children. I’ve discussed it before, but generally not with strangers.
“Uh,” I replied. “Well, that’s a complicated question. There are a lot of factors and I don’t really know.”
“No, no,” he insisted. “You don’t have a belly button.”
“Isn’t that how the baby… you know, eats?”
“So like, the baby couldn’t get food. Because there’s nowhere for the umbilical cord to connect.”
“Wait,” I said, deeply confused. “Like, how was I born? This is recent, I was born with a belly button. I lost it like fourteen years after being born, there wasn’t a conflict.”
“No, I get that, but if you had a baby, there would be nowhere for the umbilical cord to connect and it wouldn’t get food. You don’t have a belly button so there’s nowhere to connect.”
I paused for a second, the realization dawning on me that this guy had a winning combination of no boundaries and literally no idea how pregnancy worked.
“Dude,” another guy cut in, “that’s not how it works.”
“That’s how babies get belly buttons, man,” the first guy insisted.
“The umbilical cord is a source of nutrients, yeah, but they’re stored in the placenta,” I offered. “That’s a totally different organ.”
“Then why do the mom and the baby both have belly buttons?”
The second guy was getting kind of upset, but I was totally beyond that - this guy had graduated high school and was heading off to college to study political science and didn’t have a clue where babies come from. It was actually comical.
I decided to interrupt and change the subject before anything got heated.
“What do you want to do after college?” I asked the first guy.
“Oh, I don’t know. I guess I just want to be a politician - like, public policy, that sort of thing. Run for office, you know.”
“Well in my day I could work summers and pay for college”
“You Millennials just want more and more”
“We had to actually work in my day”
“Who is going to pay for all the things you want? Us?”
“Millennials don’t understand politics”
Bitch we understand enough and that’s why we are fed up. I’m sick of you entitled, homophobic, racist, economy ruining motherfuckers.
You were able to work summers and pay for your college because your tuition was able to be paid working a minimum wage job part time.
Yes, we Millennials want more. Because we were told all our lives, go to college and you’ll get a great job! Well guess fucking what? I went to college. I’m tens of thousands of dollars in debt and there are no fucking jobs. So yes, I want more. I want fucking jobs. I want free college education for the rest of my generation so they don’t have to be in debt like me. I want loan forgiveness programs. I want free fucking healthcare for everyone because it’s the human thing to do to fucking help people.
Yeah you were able to fucking work because THERE WERE JOBS. Millennials work our asses off. 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs and still barely break even because minimum wage pays shit IN THE ECONOMY THAT YOU RUINED.
Yes, you WILL PAY FOR THE THINGS WE WANT. Everyone will pay for it. But the top 1% is going to have to pay for most of it.
Millennials do fucking understand politics. Stop saying that as a way to try and discourage my generation from voting, just so you can get your idiotic power hungry Republican candidate. Stop saying that so you can get the democratic votes for Hillary Clinton. Because 48% of the voters that voted for Hillary at Iowa were FUCKING BABY BOOMERS.
Bill Cosby. Dick Cheney. Tony Blair. George Bush. Like, in any sane, rational world, these people would be in jail forever for the things they have done to humanity. But they aren’t. They’re rich and free.
The rather old, annoying, bladder-weak, sad (we all know you sold out, guys!) Baby Boomer generation wants to know why millennials are so odd and depressed and lose themselves in social media nonsense?
Well, shit like that, quite frankly.
When you fuck up the world and are then: “Hey, why are all the younger generation fuck ups?”
I recently heard a pro-choice friend comment that the abortion debate is not about whether a fetus is alive or “not alive”. His said the argument has always been about if the fetus’ rights, whether alive or “not alive”, were more important than the rights of the woman who is carrying it.
The idea that this argument is about whose rights were more important really freaked me out, especially after the past couple years of hearing people yell, “All lives matter” (which doesn’t seem to put a preference on one life being more important than another) and “Black Lives Matter” (when the majority of abortions are done on African Americans in the US). If you don’t believe the fetus to be alive, I get it (even though I don’t agree with it). Of course in that circumstance the woman’s life is going to be more important. But this person was arguing that it doesn’t matter how you classify it. This person was saying that even if a fetus is alive, its rights STILL DO NOT MATTER. The pro-choice movement, it it takes this position is saying that it is OK the label the value of two human lives based on development. This mindset, if extrapolated, says that the life of an adult is more valuable than that of a child. I know you could find excuses for this (like the child’s life is not necessarily tied to the adult’s the way a fetus is to the mother’s) but you get the premise.
And yes, I know there are circumstantial exceptions such as incest or rape, but those instances make up a very small percentage (around 3% last I checked) of annual abortions in the US. And yes I understand there are instances where you can’t save both lives and you HAVE to make a choice about who to save, but again that instances are the minority. And finally, I understand the major critique of conservatives that we want the baby but we don’t want to support the mother, whether through aid or adoption, and I agree. There needs to be more love from Christians on this front, both for the child and the mothers who go through this. We are called to show compassion, not anger and judgement.
However, my point in this is that the root of the pro-life argument is this: All lives are precious and no person, mother or government, gets to decide when one is more valuable than the other, at least not in the vast majority of cases. If you disagree with me, that’s fine, not looking to start a fight. Just looking to at least be honest about what we are discussing.
Republicans are once again employing the racist “anchor babies” as a way to score political points and appeal to their base, a base whose blood thirst apparently extends to even the most innocent amongst us: our children.
Such dehumanizing language will not be tolerated. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and other candidate should know that we will take action if you choose to continue to target the Mexican community. We are not your scapegoat!