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Listener Essays on WMRAIs there a subject about which you feel strongly? Would you like to add your voice to the other voices heard on public radio? If so, how about writing three and a half minutes worth of your thoughts on that subject and sending them to us?We’re gathering listener essays to air on WMRA during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. If your essay is accepted, we’ll arrange for you to record it.Questions? Contact Martha Woodroof by email or phone 800-677-9672. Essays should be submitted to wmra@jmu.edu.Civil, community-based discourse is an important aspect of the democratic process - now as much as ever. Please, let us hear from you.

Essay: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What It Means To Me

Janis Jaquith has some advice for Virginia's female voters.

Janis Jaquith lives in Free Union, and is a novelist, essayist and mother. Many of her essays are available at RadioEssays.com and in her published collection Birdseed Cookies: A Fractured Memoir.

Civic Soapbox listener essays represent only the opinion of the writer and do not represent WMRA or any other entity. Essays expressing opposing views are welcome.  Email essays (around 3 minutes long please) to WMRA "at" JMU "dot" EDU.  An essay by listener Janis Jaquith:



Girlfriend, we need to talk. These guys in your life—they’re no good for you. As Maya Angelou said, “When a man tells you who he is, believe him.”

If he wants to put up obstacles between you and your birth control method, or if he says you were not legitimately raped because you ended up pregnant after the assault, then ask yourself: Is this the man for me?

Okay, I get it. He says he’s religious -- doesn’t believe in birth control. Fine for him and his life. But what about YOUR life? What does this say about his plans for you?

If barefoot and pregnant isn’t the future you had planned for yourself, it’s time to set yourself free.

Sure, he apologized for the “legitimate rape” comment -- they always apologize after they knock you around. “Oh, baby, I’m so sorry!” But it’s too late. He has already shown you who he is. Are you paying attention?

Governor McDonnell has shown us who he is as chairman of the GOP platform committee. The abortion plank makes NO exception for women who have been raped.

Congressman Todd Akin’s medieval misconception that rape cannot result in pregnancy was ludicrous. And his candy-and-flowers apology is meaningless. But do you think he’s the only one of these guys who holds that opinion?

Think again. Republicans loudly criticized Akin, but did they change the GOP platform to allow abortion for victims of rape? Hell, no.

And then there’s George Allen, who’s been sniffing around, hoping to come back into your life and be your senator again. Don’t you let him.

Back in 2003, Allen voted to confirm James Leon Holmes to a federal judgeship. I know what you’re thinking: So what?

Here’s what: Before he was up for this life-long appointment as a federal judge, Holmes had this to say about the need for a rape exception in the restriction of abortion: “Conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami."

Ha, ha. Humor, at whose expense? Of course, when this came to light during the confirmation process, it was “Oh baby I’m so sorry” time.

And speaking of creepiness in the guys you’ve been putting up with, may I remind you of that jaw-dropping moment from George Allen’s campaign the last time he was sweet-talking you into keeping his senator shoes under your bed?

When a young Indian-American man, a Virginia native, was filming a George Allen campaign appearance in 2006, here’s what Allen had to say to him,“This fella over here in the yellow shirt, Macaca or whatever his name is, he’s with my opponent.… Let’s give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.”

Allen’s mother grew up in Tunisia, where macaca, which means monkey, has been used as a racial slur. Kind of like the n-word in English.

If you were looking for confirmation of George Allen’s reputation as a bully, this was it.

Ah, but you had the good sense to show him the door last time!

Before you go pushing buttons and pulling levers behind the curtain on November 6th, think about what’s best for you. Think about keeping the freedom to direct your own life, about keeping the bullies and control freaks out of your business.

Stay strong, sistah!

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Civic Sopabox listener essays essays represent only the opinion of the writer and do not represent WMRA or any other entity. More essays including opposing views are welcome.  Email essays (around 3 minutes long please) to WMRA "at" JMU "dot" EDU.