Friday, July 16, 2010

LTIA Part 4...Trodding through Tuesday

If we thought our feet hurt after our tour of the monuments and standing around the Holocaust museum we had no idea what was in store for them. However, we arose on Tuesday looking forward to the days events. On a personal note I was super tired from the previous evenings gab session. I wasn't a part of it, I unsuccessfully was trying to sleep through it. Finally around 1 I had to turn around and sush them all to bed. It was rediculous, but a couple cups of coffee and a pep talk from some of the staff members and I was good to go.

My memory verse for Tuesday was Psalm 33:4 - "For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth."

Some of our lectures that we had were on Secular Humanism and Creation vs. Evolution.

It's the events of the day however that were the most exciting for me. We split off into a couple of different groups based mostly on whether or not we had a meeting time for our senators. Fortunatlely for the SPG's Levi took charge of that and called ahead to make our appointment time.

Our first stop though was at the Faith in Action building for a meeting with Tim Gueglin from Focus on the Family. The walk to the building was a hike from METRO and in order to make sure that we arrived on time we were walking at a pretty speedy pace, which only helped my make-up to melt, but once we arrived at our destination, the AC was nice, and as you can see below the brownstone that houses FIA was lovely. Mr. Gueglin spoke to us about the NEED for strong families in America and more pointedly the NEED for strong fatherly leadership. In the absences of true leadership people will look to anysource that they can to lead them, like government programs that take of their lives for them...hmmm, sound familiar to anyone. He also encouraged us to try and make a difference where we can by getting involved. Part of that naturally comes with knowing what the issues are that effect people and their lives.

After our audience with him we made our way to Senator Cantwells office. Honestly I had no idea what to expect in meeting her. Already knowing that we have two different world views I wasn't sure how exactly that would go down. To say that she was cordial to us would be about the best that I could say. Though she was a little bowled over that she had 10 constituents from he state in her office, much to her chagrin she realized that we were not on her side. We had unanimously come to a decision that Tim would be our intial spokes person. He wasn't entirely thrilled with the idea of meeting her, and prior to meeting her he asked me how he should open it up. Well if there's one thing that I learned while being an enlisted person in the Navy, and being a woman in a mans world, it's that flattery will get you everywhere. Nothing overdone mind you, but if you find yourself in a conversation with someone who is in a position of authority like that the best way to engraciate yourself is to start with a compliment i.e. "Thank you for your service" something to that end. But he did a fine job of opening up the discussion.

Prior to us leaving for the day we were encouraged by the staff, on behalf of Concerned Women for America, to lobby against the passing of the Burris Ammendment. This ammendment was made by the Illinois Senator and it's a provision that would allow for abortions to start taking place on military bases, Bill No. NDAA-FY2011. For many years this has been against the DOD but alas that is not the way that our current leadership wants to see things go. And while it's advocate would have you believe that the ladies that get pregnant in the military have no options that is just not true. They have them, and it involves going off base, and in the case of over seas assignments being sent back to the states. However, this should not be an expense that is put on the burden of the tax payers to foot the bill for, which we will. So this was our mission: Lobby with Senator Cantwell against the Burris Ammendment.

Tim started to, but knowing that she wasn't going to budge he didn't hit it to hard, and instead started to talk to her about energy alternatives. Then he opened up the floor to the rest of us. Nicki wanted to bend her ear on the Durbin Exchange Ammendment, which would make it hard for credit unions to offer the free services that they do to their customers. They would basically have to start charging customers fees on their debit purchases, this was all done to help offset the cost of the bail outs. One thing that though, credit unions did not accept any bail out money and they did not help contribute to the financial melt down that other banking institutions did, because they did not lend to their customers irresponsibly. Nicki works for a credit union so that was her platform. Once she was done though I jumped in on the issue of the Burris Ammendment. My experience as a woman in the military put me in a unique position to speak not only from my faith POV but from one of practical knowledge of how it would affect the military in the long term should this ammendment pass.

Honestly I had no idea what I was going to say when I opened my mouth, and she did try and sway me with her own false flattery saying that I looked to young to have served in the military, please!!! Really, give me a break! 31 looks a whole lot different than 18 does and once I figured out that she was trying to throw me off my game something other than myself took over and I went to work, talking about how to begin with sex isn't even allowed in the barracks and then how and ammendment like this will have repercussions with command readiness. Seriously, it may have been my voice coming out, but those words weren't mine I barely remember all that I said. What I do remember distinctly is that the more glazed over her eye became the more I wanted to sit there and continue lobbying on behalf of the unborn lives that would suffer from this ammendment. I may not have been able to get through, but after that I was super pumped and wanted more. "Carolyn Pivarnik goes to Washington".
Once we all regrouped it was time to go to the USS Barry at the Naval shipyard. Which may seem close on a map, but not when you have to hike there, and yes I mean hike. Maggie was a trooper, she was in heels all day! I looked down at my feet as we were walking and my ankles were the size of grapefruits, no joke. They were huge! I sported cankles for the rest of the week. But those that had never been on a Naval ship before enjoyed the visit, we got there right before they secured for the day. I chose to stay on deck instead of move and melt some more from the heat. Resting in the shade of the battleships gun I talked with Tim R. about his experience with going to talk to the humanists. As an advanced student that was what he got to do that afternoon. Personally, I'd rather lobby, but it was an interesting experience at best for that team of students.

We returned to LI for dinner and fellowship. Our dogs were barking and Miss Nancy, upwards in her 80's, bless her heart made it through the whole day without complaining (she even got a ride from a kind stranger that saw our group) which definitely put things into perspective, but that knowledge still didn't do much to alleviate the pain from my blisters. However, if I lost sleep the previous night, this night more than made up for it. I forgot to add though that the girls dorm is right underneath a dance club. So every night we were accosted with the ever changing beat of 80's hip hop, country, and other various dance music. It was a flash back for me most nights of the party life style that I used to live in, every night that is except for Latin night, but still it was only by the saving of my MP3 player and some Joshua Bell (violinist) that made the reverberating beat drown out of my head and help me close my eyes for som much needed rest. Wednesday was just a few hours away, and no less eventful.

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