Two Entries by Debbie Ford

Your Right to Choose

I write to you today with an open heart and a genuine concern for the future of our children. At a time when the presidential race could be seen as a pissing match between adults looking to take power, there are deeper issues — shadow issues — that are wanting and needing to be explored. I share my perspective with you today not so that you can align with me but so that you can dwell deeply in the issues facing our world and find the courage to speak up for what you believe even if it’s unpopular to do so. I am speaking up even after someone recently wrote to me asking me to refrain from talking about politics. For me, that is like asking me to not talk about life. So today, I assert my right to free speech under the First Amendment, even if that speech is socially or politically incorrect, and I want to talk about Sarah Palin, the Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican Party.

As I’ve watched the Sarah Palin phenomenon unleash itself on our national airwaves, I’ve been thinking a lot about her, searching to find what parts of my light and what parts of my darkness she holds. The questions I always ask myself in that search are, “What are the qualities that I am seeing in this person?”, “Where am I that?” and “How can I take responsibility for the parts of me that I am seeing in her?” With Sarah Palin, I find myself drawn to her — her ability to command attention, her sheer determination to get to the top, and her sexy womanish facade that shows us we don’t have to give up our sexiness to be powerful and strong in the world. On the other hand, I also find myself sickened by the thought that this woman might have the right to represent me and influence my, my family’s, my community’s and my country’s choices. And most of all, I am appalled that that today, on September 11th, a day when we should all be in mourning and have our attention on those who died in the most horrific terrorist act in American history, our attention instead is turned to the governor of Alaska who until now has kept herself sequestered from the press and chooses to use this most opportune day for her own self-interest. I thought about what kind of person would do that — smart or manipulative. Either way, I thought I’d give her the attention she is seeking.

You may not know this, but when I was 17, I found out that I was pregnant. I was devastated and scared to death. I was having sex and doing drugs out of my need to find a way to relieve my emotional pain, and I was just a lost and confused young girl. The news of my pregnancy sent me in a downward spiral. How could I have a baby when I couldn’t even take care of myself? Looking back, I can only imagine how my life would have changed if I had been forced to give birth to a child I didn’t want, how humiliated and embarrassed I would have felt going to school each day, how much pain I would have inflicted on a child whom I resented having in the first place. But this didn’t have to happen, because fortunately, I had a mother and a country that gave me the right to CHOOSE.

Should I have had to suffer the consequences of having sex without protection? I did. Even after I had the abortion, I paid for it in my dreams and in the grief in my heart that I carried for years. I chose to have an abortion. It was a tough choice but it was the right one for me, and I feel great about having made that choice. I look back and feel proud to be an American who could go out to a safe place and be cared for in a loving and kind manner while going through a heartbreaking experience. Because of my decision more than 30 years ago, I have become the woman I am today. I sit here after publishing six books and leading tens of thousands of people through transformational processes that have empowered them to make better choices and live lives they love. Who would I be if I had been forced to have a child? Would I have ever been able to follow my soul’s path? Who would that child be and what pain would they have gone through if I was forced to bring them into this world?

Every day, I deal with people who grew up in homes with mothers who didn’t love them, mothers who didn’t want them, mothers who resented them, and mothers who left them early. I deal with the heartache and the wretched pain that someone feels when their mother had to have them. This is a reality. I’m here to tell you that, for most people who weren’t wanted, the pain that they go through feels like it’s not worth the life they were given. Some work their entire lifetime to overcome this great obstacle. So I ask you, Who are we to ever tell somebody how they should live their life and what choices they should make? Make no mistake. There is a huge cost to forcing people to make choices against their will.

I am very much a woman for women. And at a time when I would love to see a woman in power because women know how to love, nurture and care for all of their children, the cosmic paradox is that we have a woman on the ticket who wants women to go backwards in time. The issue of choice is a huge one for me because I believe this is a microcosm of who Sarah Palin is. Here is a woman who is proudly and publicly sharing that it is her family’s choice to keep her daughter’s baby. Yet at the same time, she is campaigning that we shouldn’t have any choice. This is how the shadow works. This is where we all need to come out of the dark. Even though we’re looking at one issue of this campaign, this issue is birthed out of a whole set of beliefs and a paradigm from the 20th century and before. And I think we’re all aware that we’re not there anymore. By looking at Sarah Palin and how her views could influence our lives and our nation, we can see into what the future could hold for us. We get to make a choice. The future is in our hands.

Denying women the right to choose is as off to me as hearing someone say that there shouldn’t be gay marriage, that gay couples don’t have the same rights as heterosexuals. Are we not in the 21st century? Why would we say that anymore? We used to say it out of ignorance, out of not understanding, out of denial, out of self-righteousness, but today we know that people are born with a desire to cohabitate with the same sex. We know this is not a flawed human being but a new evolution of human beings. We are changing. Have you noticed? This is the real change.

Right now, it’s politically incorrect to talk about Sarah Palin’s parenting, but why are they trying to mute us? It’s imperative to look at the shadow here. We know that when somebody is forcing an issue or a righteous position on us, it’s usually a projection of their own unconscious thoughts and feelings. On the issue of family and choices, it’s clear that Sarah Palin has family issues of her own. Will she be around to care for her special needs baby? Is her daughter’s teen pregnancy a cry, as it often is, for attention, care, and support? Instead of Sarah Palin forcing her family issues on all of us, maybe she should turn that attention and take care of her own family.

And as far as being a pitbull with lipstick, aren’t pitbulls known for killing babies? And isn’t that an interesting shadow metaphor?

Finally, for those of you who think this is just more Democratic Party rhetoric, I want you to know that I am a registered Independent and I’ve voted Republican more times than I care to admit right now. Although I’m voting for a Democrat in this election, I don’t agree with the entire Democratic Party platform and I would consider myself a centrist. I also think, by the way, that we are having too many abortions in our country. We need radical reform and education in the area of abortion. I don’t think we should just leave it as it is. The number of abortions is horrific. But I certainly don’t believe we should deny women the right to choose. The irony is that John McCain and the GOP platform he represents say children should be taught that abstinence until marriage is the only safe way to avoid pregnancy and disease. You’ve got to be kidding. If the daughter of the great state of Alaska’s governor can’t practice abstinence, one of her mother’s core family values, how are all the other kids going to do it? Are we really not going to talk about sex, protection and sexually transmitted diseases with our kids?

In this critical time, I invite us all to look not just at Sarah Palin but all our political figures, to find the light that we might have projected, to find our own darkness, and to use what we see not to beat them up but to find a bigger voice, a voice for true change, a voice for moving forward instead of backward, a voice that respects women, all women, and all their choices.

With love and blessings,

Debbie Ford

Second Entry

Is She a Hometown Girl or a Seductress?

After my first and only political Shadow Blog, I received more mail from my readers than I’ve received in my entire career. Thank you for your overwhelming response. Obviously, my message gave voice to what many of you were already feeling. I apologize once again to those of you I’ve offended. (If you were offended by the last one, don’t be a masochist. Close this one now as you’re certainly going to be offended by this one as well.) Even at the risk of losing more of my readers, I feel compelled to continue to share my views on the upcoming election because we’ve got one of the best shadow figures — literally — that we’ve seen in a long time. And being a shadow lover, I just can’t pass it up. We’re all very lucky that this election gives us an unprecedented opportunity to see the shadow in all its disguises and all its glory. I would be remiss to ignore it.
This week, like most of you, I sat glued to my TV watching the Vice Presidential debate. Within three minutes and after the first wink, I became fascinated once again with Sarah Palin. I asked myself, “What is the deal with this woman? Why is she winking at me? Is she flirting with me?” I had to take a deep breath because I noticed this queasy feeling growing in the pit of my stomach.
Then it flashed before me. I recognized her. I had met her before, in many forms, and here she was again. All of the sudden, it dawned on me that the reason I was having this reaction is because Sarah Palin is the living expression of The Seductress, one of the 20 masks, the faces of the wounded ego, that I outline in my latest book. Of course I felt disturbed — she was working me right through my HDTV!
In Why Good People Do Bad Things, I suggest that those who don the mask of The Seductress are after one thing and one thing only: to make themselves feel better about who they are by getting whatever they might be after. Birthed out of the fear that they are not good enough, loved enough, or smart enough, they search until they find suitable targets to trap in their energetic webs — in the case of Sarah Palin, first the citizens of the great state of Alaska and now the entire country.
I consider The Seductress a predator because her main goal is to feed on the self-esteem of others in order to soothe her own emotional wounds. The Seductress literally throws out an energetic hook by being kind, loving, interested, sexual and, in this case, folksy — luring her victims closer, all the while planning her next move. She spends her time thinking about how she looks, how others will perceive her, how she can win, and how she can get more of what she’s after. The Seductress’ “catch” enhances her inner perception of herself and covers, at least for the moment, the enormous pain and self-loathing that are stored in her psyche.
In my book, “dangerous, poisonous, and venomous” are the qualities I use to describe The Seductress because her main attack is disguised in love and, in this instance, service. Her signal broadcasts in all directions, sometimes loudly and at other times as a soft whisper: “I will give you some love and take care of you if you give me your power. I am going to make you feel better about yourself if you give me some control. I am going to tell you everything you ever wanted to hear if you just make me the next Vice President of the United States of America.”
Can we as a nation afford to fall under the spell of Sarah Palin and give her what she wants? I would suggest that the cost is too high for all of us. No amount of twisting (“Oh Joe you’re going backwards again,” she croons) will be able to distract us from who she is, what she believes, what she’s really after, and what it would cost us if she and McCain are elected. This is not a beauty or a personality contest. This is not a time to pick someone because of their smile, their style, their charisma, their down-home cloak, or their biting tongue. Instead, this is a time to dissect who Sarah Palin is — her views, her experience (or in this case her inexperience), and how she lives her life. She will, if elected the next Vice President, be a role model for our daughters, sons and future generations. We must look at her carefully, behind her smiling, cute, winking persona. We must take off her very hip glasses (not her clothes, gentlemen!) to see what’s hidden there. We must ask ourselves, “Does this woman have the ability to govern the greatest nation in the world?”
Although many will argue that we must stop focusing on Palin, it’s vital that we take a closer look because she is a microcosm of the narrow, outdated views of the Republican Party. I’m not even going to talk about her choice to drag her four-month-old special needs child around the country to big events to prove that she’s a good mother except to ask if she had a healthy baby, would she be dragging it around all night? You do have to wonder since most of us mothers know that their child shouldn’t be in big public places with tens of thousands of people at 10:00 at night.
Instead, let’s look at her choice to use her sexuality to lure innocent voters and hearts into her web. Rather than choosing to reflect the brilliance, the smarts, the power, or the merit she must obviously possess (even if hidden from view from some of us), she winks and flirts, reinforcing all the things for which women are mocked and not taken seriously in the political arena. Can you even imagine powerful female leaders like Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, or Margaret Thatcher winking at an audience? Here’s what I’d like to say to Sarah Palin right now, from one pretty woman to another: Stop it! I know you want to take away our right to choose but do you really have to minimize our equality just to get votes? (And for those who of you who are now mad at me and projecting on me, for the record, I have never winked at an audience, although maybe I should try it since she’s getting 15,000 people at her events.)
The choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate tells us loud and clear what kind of man “the maverick” John McCain is. Is he someone who diligently seeks to find the best person to take his place in the unfortunate circumstance of his death? Is he the kind of man that surrounds himself with brilliant thinkers of tomorrow who promise to take us out of the dark age of war, hate, and economic disaster? Or is he the kind of hungry politician who would sell his and his nation’s soul just to win? We should all take a big exhale because John McCain’s shadow has been exposed. He has proven not to be the hero of our time but instead an egocentric opportunist in search of the ultimate power. In one of the most important decisions of his political career, he picked an inexperienced woman because he believed that she could help him win over the Hillary Clinton voters. We all know this. Does he really think American women are that stupid? That we can’t see the motives behind this irresponsible choice?
And on a final note, if you’re not convinced that she would not be the best choice, Sarah Palin told us all loud and clear Thursday night, looking straight into the camera, that the only thing that matters is that we win this war. Not that we bring our troops home safely. Not that we heal the hatred that permeates our world. She didn’t speak of justice, fairness or the good of all people. Because she is a good Seductress, all she wants is to win.
My friends, we must join together to pull off the blinders for those who are sucked into the trance of this now very famous and potentially very dangerous Seductress. If you’re not registered to vote, register today and make it your duty to find just one unregistered person to invite into this most important election.
With love, respect, and blessings,

Debbie Ford

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