IMPORTANT NEW NOTES FROM JUSTIN:
US Tour Day 129: Planned Parenthood
I got tested for STDs today. There was the usual jamming of the swab into my urethra. The swab looks so small—it's barely half the size of the cottons swabs you get at the drug store. But, when the doctor inserts the sterile swab into the tender opening in my penis—a delicate path normally reserved for hot fluid removal—I tell you that at that moment the tiny swab feels like a mighty sequoia. That's on fire. With other very rough and similarly mighty sequoias protruding from the sides in angles specifically designed by nasty bad people to be very painful to the inside of my penis.
After the genital torture we moved from the doctor's office to the blood work room. They needed my blood. And it looked like they were going to need lots of it, too. The nurse's assistant grabbed a handful of vials and started laying them out on the table next to my extended left arm.
Can you go real slow when you draw the blood? Really, take your time, if that's OK. I want to get some good pictures.
She looked at me, half amused and half concerned about my sanity. I foraged in my bag for my camera and started white balancing the shot for the horrible florescent lighting.
"Normally we don't let people take photos in here. There've been so many attacks on Planned Parenthood by fundamentalists and crazy people. We have to take a lot of precautions to be safe. We lock all the doors. We have bulletproof glass. And, we don't allow photos. But, you're just taking pictures of your arm, so it's OK."
What kind of world is this that we have created for ourselves? Something we have done—something we are all responsible for—has grown a legion of those who feel that extreme acts of violence against a doctor or nurse is an effective way to disseminate their beliefs. We can't point the finger at someone else, because we are all part of this big mess.
America! Wake up! I am talking to you! Yes you! Not your mom or your neighbor. You. The one reading these words. You and me are partly responsible for this mess, this world. What did we do to mess things up so bad? What did we teach our young that encouraged them to grow up and deface clinics and kill doctors?
These questions need answering, and soon. I don't want my doctors living in fear. And, I want to be able to take pictures inside Planned Parenthood anytime I want without their staff wondering if I was some radical compiling plans for their untimely demise.
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