Billy Joe and Tuesday Cain
(Let us) recognize that there are ties between us,
All men and women,
Living on the Earth,
Ties of hope and love,
Sister and brotherhood.
That we are bound together,
In our desire to see the world become,
A place in which our children,
Can grow free and strong.
—- James Taylor
When did it become open season on children in America? A few weeks ago, the Right came unglued over 11-year-old Sebastien De La Cruz who sang the national anthem before a championship NBA game. They tweeted every xenophobic slur they could spell, and several that they couldn’t, because the boy wore a mariachi costume. It didn’t matter that Sebastien was born in Texas, or that his father was a veteran who served in the U.S. Navy, or that he was a last minute replacement for Darius Rucker, and didn’t have time to shop for a new wardrobe. Little Sebastien became the place to focus their hatred of immigrants.
I don’t have to tell you the tender age of Trayvon Martin was completely lost on the racist sector of the Right. He was a kid buying candy. Try finding a FOX pundit who will admit to that uncomfortable fact. Though it’s not how I feel, I can understand someone thinking George Zimmerman didn’t deserve to go to prison for his part in this tragedy. But I will never understand how the Right decided the killing of this teenage kid out to buy Skittles was not a tragedy at all. Young Trayvon became the place to focus their fear of blacks.
The Right attacked another 14-year old during the abortion debate in the Texas legislature, the one where Wendy Davis became a modern-day folk hero. Tuesday Cain, recent graduate from Clint Small Middle School in Austin Texas, (that’s her graduation picture on the left) went with her parents to the capitol to protest the abortion restrictions the legislature was trying to push through in special session. For that event, Tuesday made a sign. She says she tried to think up something that would get attention. She succeeded.
Tuesday’s sign read: “Jesus wasn’t a DICK, so keep him out of my vagina.” Translated by normal people: Christianity is fine, but it has no place in defining a woman’s reproductive rights. Translated by the rabid Right: Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Oh my Lord she put the name of Jesus on the same poster as the word vagina, that little whore.
Yes, that word was actually used. So was slut. @TEXASDEM tweeted: “Really. Somebody. Smack this bitch NOW.” I don’t want to have to type their tweets for fear my fingers will grow warts, but they are archived here, in the Public Shaming section of Tumblr, if you care to have a look.
Tuesday’s father Billy jumped in to defend his daughter, but he soon became a target for their venom as well. I could just say the Right didn’t approve of the way he was raising his daughter, and leave the rest to your imagination, but then you’d miss my favorite tweet. It was sent to Billy from @shemararae who tweeted: “your daughter wants dick in her vagina and u think she hasnt had sex? you are nieve. (sic) shes a hoe!”
(Not to downplay the seriousness of the attack, but @shemararae supports my theory that the Right did not understand Tuesday’s message. Her sign is actually anti-whore. Whores are trying to get dicks into their vaginas, and Tuesday’s sign states very clearly that she’s trying to keep one out.)
Tuesday, who thankfully does not have a Twitter account, wrote a most eloquent letter in defense of her sign and herself. You can read it in its entirety on XOJane. In it, she talks about what it feels like to be called “whore” by strangers:
I’m going to be honest about what it feels like to be called that as a 14-year-old girl who has never had sex and who doesn’t plan to have sex anytime soon.
I feel disappointed.
It’s hard for me to understand why adults would be calling me this. It’s hard for me to understand why anyone would use this term for a 14-year-old girl.
It’s not anyone’s business, but as I said, I am a virgin, and I don’t plan to have sex until I am an adult.
But none of those facts make me feel any less passionate about fighting for a woman’s right to choose and the separation of church and state in my home state of Texas.
I also don’t think this makes me — or any other 14-year-old girl who agrees with me — a whore.
I agree with Tuesday. In fact I’ll go one step further. We have to stop being silent when the Right judges girls as “bad”or “good” by whether or not they are sexually active. Having sex does not make someone bad. It makes them human. And unless she’s wearing a credit card swiper on her panties, having sex doesn’t make doesn’t make any girl a whore.
Teen girls have sex for a lot of predictable reasons, and none of them make her a bad person. Not curiosity. Not having a crush on a boy. Not wanting to feel loved.
What does makes you a bad person is calling a child names.
Billy Cain does not want his daughter to compromise her bright future with an unplanned pregnancy. I would think the authors of those vile tweets want the very same thing for their own daughters. The difference is the Right thinks that should be accomplished only through abstinence. The Left believes the better way is through educating girls about sex and contraception. But our goal is the same: young women who enter adulthood with the window of opportunity still open, her choices not compromised by an unwanted pregnancy.
We are bound together,
By the task that stands before us,
And the road that lies ahead,
We are bound and we are bound.
“And a little child will lead them.” reads Isaiah 11:6. Tuesday Cain walked through a firestorm with her head held high. They thought they would burn her to ashes. Instead she was tempered like steel. That is why today, we are proud to put the grace of Tuesday Cain, On Our Radar.
Protest photo used with permission of Billy Cain. Tuesday’s graduation photo is from his Facebook page.
Jean Ann Esselink is a straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.