A couple weeks ago I updated the calendars in all my Zazzle shops and started putting together photographs, art, and quotations tailored toward the specific theme of the stores. I like to have a selection of old favorites and new offerings for those who begin their 2011 calendar shopping in September.
For the Child-Free By Choice store I chose quotations that mirrored my philosophy and reasons for not bearing biological children: overpopulation, freedom of choice, individual freedom to live outside the mainstream reality. I chose wild instead of tame creatures as part of my nature photographs to show my reverence for the earth and the need to protect our environment from ecological disasters such as war, pollution, and depletion of our natural resources due to overpopulation.
These have been passions of mine for many years. I've become immune, other than anger at their ignorance, to charges from oil company and other corporate stooges, that I'm an extremist global warming crazy treehugging dirt-munching radical environmentalist. I don't eat dirt and I'm allergic to what passes as sane in today's world, so there's not much I can object to, other than the appalling stupidity of some human beings.
But once again, we've met before. The fetus fanatics and I go way back and they haven't made a dent in my belief in a woman's right to choose what happens to her own body. These are also the same kind of people whose heads explode at the very idea that there are many in the world who don't want children, who would rather pass on art, music, literature or some other legacy rather than their genes. They are closely related to those who look at a vast expanse of desert where little could possibly grow or few could live and they claim there's no such thing as too many people on the planet.
When you combine my belief in the right to be child-free by choice, and also being a proponent of others reducing the rate they in which they reproduce, you know I've been called a lot of things that have nothing to do with either choice. And when you add to the mix my belief that no matter what we've done to our planet, we have an obligation to prevent further damage such as that caused by war, and at least try to get along with one another, then you can understand my reluctance to draw any more negative perceptions toward mine and many other's choices.
And yet, at the same time, I'm committed to fighting against the tyranny by the few. I strongly believe no individual religious group has the right to impose their version of fairy tales upon the rest of the population. Even though I'm an Atheist I'm also an American who was raised with the idea of separation of church and state being one of the things that made us a "civilized" nation, and I very much believe everyone has the right to believe in their own version of truth as long as they don't try and force it on others. I apply this equally to all religions whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist or Pagans dancing naked under a full moon. I also believe if one group is allowed to build a place of worship, then the other groups need to be allowed the same constitutional right to practice their freedom of religion.
In light of this information, you can understand my dilemma when some crazed maniac turned killer is immediately defined by the media as obsessively and compulsively against overbreeding, and has a history of protesting the effect of too many people on our planet, along with going on about the devastating effects of consumerism and greed.
I know how our country has become a feeding frenzy waiting to happen on just about any topic that has a drop of political play around it, and I didn't want that to happen to those who saw my calendar as some kind of glorification of an obsessed killer. It's difficult enough to keep the critics from demonizing the Child-Free by Choice as selfish and un-American when the truth is we are nowhere near as selfish as those who bring too many mouths into the world to feed on limited resources, and nationalism always degrades a nation in order to marginalize those who refuse to march in unison, so the charge of un-American is meaningless to those of us who see ourselves in a much more inclusive light.
I made the mistake of asking an acquaintance who has children what she thought I should do. She will never understand how offensive I found her response that I should bag the calendar entirely because "so few people believed in that stuff anyways...." It wasn't any different than hearing and reading about a handful of bigoted morons protesting against a community center that has been demonized into something akin to a terrorist training ground right in the heart of 9/11's ground zero.
So I did the sensible thing and asked those who actually understood what I believe--the Child-Free By Choice mailing list I belong to. The responses I got mentioned several things I was already feeling about the tyranny of the few, and also how the dialogue was very much like the ground zero dialogue. If I didn't publish the calendar, I would in effect, be giving in to the same kind of hysteria around the community center building. And why should we be held accountable for those who believe as we do but are differentiated by a propensity to kill or commit other crimes? They are no more us than abortion clinic bombers represent all Christians, nor do the terrorists who blew up the towers represent the whole of Islam.
Therefore, I decided to publish the calendar because it is a valid counterpoint to the corporate message trying to sell baby products to consumers, and to the lobbyists who defile our planet by purchasing members of Congress to destroy it for them by proxy to their own masters. My voice, the voices of the Child-Free, the anti-war voices, the protectors of our planet, the advocates for Zero Population Growth are all equally part of this earth. And we deserve our own calendar.