Riley Speaks

"all i have is a voice" ~ w.h. auden


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The Elephant in the Womb: Keep abortion legal…

I was watching an episode of Law and Order where they discuss abortion. The guy on trial says abortion is disobeying God. There are people that oppose with abortion simply on their own moral grounds. It’s a touchy subject, but it’s a subject that is important to talk about – it’s important to talk about because it’s important to keep it legal.

Firstly, not everyone believes in God. Religion cannot be the example for which you base your protest on. Not everyone is religious, let alone believes in the same God. You cannot shove religion down someone’s throat nor change a law because not everyone is religious. The bible is outdated. You say God opposes murder, but no where does it say “abortion is wrong”. There is speak of a womb, and creating the child in the womb, but no where does it say those exact words.

Another argument is that the cure to cancer could have been in that child – that cluster of cells could have become something great. I believe in God, I also believe – as He has told us – that we will be placed in this earth for a purpose. If we are needed to find a cure, God will find a way to make it happen. We are souls, and we can become in any one person. The soul is the one to cure cancer, the soul is the one you fight for – and God will bring that soul to earth no matter what.

You only care about the fetus when you want. Once the child has been born, you couldn’t care less. You are not pro-life. You are pro-taking-away-women’s-control. If you were as pro life as you claim, why don’t I see you on the streets protesting another black life lost to the police? Why don’t I see you protesting for the entrance of refugee’s into the country? If you truly cared about life, you would care about every life. “Oh well the child can just be adopted out” – tell that to the hundreds and thousands and possibly millions of children awaiting a home. It’s just not your decision to make. If you chose not to have an abortion, what gives you the right to take away my choice? No one is ever “pro-abortion” – you want an abortion like you want a root canal. It’s a “have to” and a decision made for the life of that potential child too. Everyone is allowed to make their own decisions, but why can you make a choice about not having an abortion and then someone else’s choice to have one is denied? What makes you so special?

I believe in the choice to safe and legal procedures. Children deserve to live in homes that will love them and make them feel wanted. I want women to be able to choose to have an abortion like you can choose not too. I want choice. Not control.

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Maori Language: “But the debate it’s over. We already had it.”

I am white. I grew, and will continue to grow, up with the privilege of being white. People will learn my name no matter how I write it or how many unnecessary vowels I add, simply because my skin tone is a few shades lighter and my family came from Europe. I grew up learning simple te reo in class as a means of communication. Around year 4/5 it stopped. And now I struggle with something that I wish I knew so easily, a language that belongs in the tongues of those that live here. If you move to France you are expected to learn French, if you move to Spain you are expected to learn Spanish. Why is it different for New Zealand? Canada does it so easily, no second guessing no questions. French and English. Simple. It would be so easy to have followed in Canada’s footsteps, but no, we had to remove Maori from every day life.

One debate is that “it’s an outdated language” and I have two counterpoints. 1) so is latin but schools continue to quote that sh*t relentlessly. 2) there’s a reason it’s outdated and it’s you. Funny how Spanish isn’t outdated in Spain, and French is still in effect in France. Why aren’t they outdated languages? We know that answer – because they’re still “european” languages….

If white people can name their child “T9c” and “KVIIIlyn”, then you can damn well learn someone’s name. It’s not even a race thing, it’s a respect thing. You know who’s names I don’t learn? The people I don’t care for. If you care enough and respect them enough you will learn their name. But we know that’s the issue. You don’t respect them or care for them – that’s when it becomes a race issue.

I want my kids to learn Maori. I want them to be more fluent than I ever was. I want them to be able to say the colours in both English and Maori, then I want them to be able to hold a simple conversation in Maori. As an ‘NZ/European’ I want these things for my children because I owe it to them. If I’m going to raise them in New Zealand, it is my duty to teach them about the land they live on and among. It’s my job as their mother to teach them about how language is a beautiful thing. Because it’s so much more than just a language. It’s another reason to shun someone from the prestigious seats we claim are hard earned but are really just pure luck for being born the ‘right’ colour. We say it’s New Zealand so they should speak English, but that’s not true. It’s New Zealand/Aotearoa so we should learn to speak foundation Maori. It’s our duty to preserve the culture we so rudely stole and exploited. That was our promise and we have severely broken it.

It’s not that hard to get your head out of your ass and learn. I’m not even going to lie, it makes me mad. It makes me so upset to think these people believe that this is their land. But as Kanoa Lloyd said “I know this is not gonna be some big wake up call moment for people that think this way. The Brash’s and Witherow’s and Gallagher’s of the world are not gonna wake up tomorrow and go “Oh I’ve been a bit bigoty” and then go and sign up for a te reo Maori class next week.” – They’re not. But what she does mention is that we don’t need to create a movement because there already is one. And it’s true. I see it in the early childcare centres, the curriculum incorporates te reo. You have these young children ready to take on the world and they have no internalised thoughts and prejudices to the language. And these are the kids that are going to lead us into the next generation. These kids will fight for te reo in primary schools, and in high schools – these kids will move mountains and remind us that it’s okay to celebrate that land on which we live. They will prove that there is nothing wrong with learning a language that belongs to this nation and it’s people.

In all honesty, I’m vowing that if I ever hear someone tell me they aren’t going to pronounce someone’s name correctly because it’s Maori, I’ll butcher their name in the most ridiculous way and refuse to stop until they realise how idiotic their understanding is. Some final words from Kanoa, “I actually felt a bit sorry for these guys. Like sorry the world is moving too fast for you my bros.”


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Motherhood – Societies pressure to become a mother

Let’s talk about motherhood! I know – me, not a mother, speaking about motherhood. What am I thinking?! Hear me out. I want to talk about motherhood and why women feel a societal pressure to become mothers.

Ever since we are little we are told we are to grow up and become mothers. Heck, most of girls toys are targeted to being a mother. From a young age we are programmed to believe it is our destiny to become a mother and to have children. But it’s a lie. I would say that very few people are truly meant for motherhood. Just because you have maternal instincts if doesn’t necessarily mean you should be a mother. You have to have passion and drive and be committed to this child – that tiny human – that you bring into this world and depends on you. You cannot half ass it. Motherhood is not a “maybe” or a “why not” situation. It’s all or nothing. You owe it to that child.

I’ve always been really good with kids. Ever since I was little, children gravitated to me and I to them. I think it’s because I’m still a five year old at heart. I have very good maternal instincts I think, and being good with children one could assume I am going to become a mother. The truth is I most likely won’t. I’m still very 50/50, up in the air about it and I refuse to bring a child into my life when I am not fully committed to raising them and being their parent. Just because I’m good with kids and very maternal it does not mean I’m going to be a mother – not unless I’m all in.

If you are not fully committed to being a mother then how else are you going to survive when your two year old is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the store and 80 people are staring? How are you going to survive the tears when they can’t communicate what’s wrong? These are rhetorical questions because I know exactly how you will react. You see it on the TV – child abuse and neglect. These are mothers that believed they had to bring children into this world even though they weren’t committed entirely to the idea. Children are frustrating, they are hair pulling worthy, but they ultimately don’t mean to be. They are still learning. As a mother you have to know this and have patience and when you aren’t all in, crying and screaming and frustration are hard to survive.

But what are the true effects of semi-commitment? Surely they’re just minor…well they aren’t. It can lead to mental illness in children that can carry on to adolescent and adulthood. A half-assed parent can create attachment issues and inability to form proper relationships. It can create a loneliness of being unwanted, of not feeling like they are their mothers whole heart. It is not fair for you to bring a child into this world and leave them with these fears and feelings. Half-assing motherhood can create a whole different life path for children – a path that can have devastating effects.

At the end of the day it’s very simple. Don’t have kids unless you are a hundred percent sure you want them. Unless you know that you will give everything to them. Even on the days where you might not want to. Don’t do it just because that’s what you think you’re supposed to do. It’s not fair on the children you will bring into this world to have a mother only half invested. These children come into this world and they never asked to be brought here – you did that. You have to follow through and be totally willing to raise that child. That’s the commitment you made when you became a mother – that you would love this child 100% without fail – even when they say you smell and tell you that you cut their food wrong. It’s all or nothing.


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Pro-Choice /= Pro-Abortion

It’s 2017, why is this even a blog post I am writing? This debate has been going on for decades and it’s the most ridiculous thing to exist. How I got to be so understanding and have the compassion that “pro-lifers” seem to lack is beyond me, but here we are.

I’m not pro-abortion. I believe you have the right to make decisions based on your own beliefs and ideals. By keeping abortion illegal and by making it a criminal offense, you are taking away other people’s right to make decisions based off their beliefs and ideals. You are taking away the same right you have – to choose not to have an abortion – from another person. My belief is that if you do not want the pregnancy, you can terminate it. Say you fall pregnant and maybe you don’t want it but you’re against abortion so you have it anyway – I could realistically come in and say well no, you have to have an abortion. My belief is that people should be able to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Does it sound completely unfair and definitely unjust? Welcome to compassion and understanding.

Religion. This is a huge part of why abortion is illegal. Church should not find itself in the Government. It is a separate entity and should be treated as such. How come other religions don’t get to be included in the Government? What makes Christians so special? I believe in God. And I also believe that other people deserve the right to choose. I choose to believe in God, I choose to do these things. Why shouldn’t others get that same opportunity? Why should I be any different and special so as to be the only one who gets to make a choice? My God does not care if you kill some cells. He has a soul up in heaven waiting for you and if He cannot bring it to you through your own body He will find a way. After all he is a miracle worker. If when my times comes, and I’m called before God and He tells me that He did in fact oppose abortion, I know I would still be welcomed into His kingdom because it was not my place to pass judgement. It was not my place to force another of His children into my beliefs.

Being pro-choice is not the same as being pro-abortion and I’m willing to bet there is no one pro-abortion. People have somehow confused the two and begun to see pro-choice as if it were pro-abortion. What I am asking for – and what every other sane human being is  asking and promoting – is the right for people to have the choice.

Scenario I – My friend and I walk into an ice cream shop. My friend picks chocolate flavour, but I don’t like that flavour. I tell her no. She has to have vanilla. Here I am telling my friend that she cannot have chocolate ice cream for no reason other than because I don’t like it. Am I going to be eating her ice cream? No. Am I going to even be affected by her chocolate ice cream? No. Is the person behind the counter going to be affected by her choice? No. Do you see what is happening here?

Scenario II – My friend and I walk into a pet store, she’s looking for a dog. I don’t like dogs (I do, but for the sake of the scenario I don’t) and so I tell her that I don’t like dogs. She tells me “okay, don’t buy a dog.” I don’t buy a dog. When she gets to the counter to pay I say nothing and I walk out with her. Was this wrong? Yes. Why? Because I forgot to remind her to get dog food. Other than the lack of nutrition, there is no reason why my friend cannot buy herself a dog if she wants one. It’s her choice. Regardless of my opinion on the matter, she can choose to buy a dog if she wants because she’s allowed to make her own decisions. Remember how they tell you that about 100 times in primary school? It doesn’t change…or it shouldn’t.

I am not promoting abortions, I am not pro-abortion. I am human and I realise that people who fall pregnant and don’t want to be/cannot be are going to find a way to terminate that foetus. I would rather they have the option of it being done safely by a professional. No one wants an abortion. Not like you want an ice cream truck or a bouncy castle. You want an abortion the way you want to get a filling done. You don’t (unless you have a filling procedure fetish?) want to do it but you have to before it gets worse.

One more time for the people in the back – pro-choice /= pro-abortion.


If you live in NZ – or are just a good human being and understand that everyone has the right to choose – please sign this petition to get abortions decriminalised in New Zealand. At present, although you can get an abortion, it is still classed as a crime to have an abortion. It’s got to change.

>SIGN THIS PETITION<


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Old vs. New: Why Raising the Retirement Age Shouldn’t Be A Topic…

If you’re even remotely up-to-date with New Zealand news, you’ll know there has been talk about raising the superannuation age. It currently sits at 65, but one party wants to raise it to 67 by 2040.

National leader Bill English confirmed on that if National were to be re-elected they would indeed raise the superannuation age to 67. Other leaders have come out in opposition and said they would not raise the age above the already standing 65 years.

Why is it a bad idea to raise the retirement age? Shouldn’t we promote continued working among those healthy enough to do so? Yes we should. We already do. The superannuation is available to those 65+, meaning those that are healthy and willing to work past 65 years can. But that those who are in pain, worn out, or just don’t want to work into their old age can retire. Raising the age would mean that people are staying in their jobs. We already have an issue with youth unemployment, mostly due to lack of job opportunities. If we don’t take out what we are putting in (i.e, we add workers without any leaving) then we end up with no job openings for those entering the fields. A reason our youth find it so hard to get a job is because their are no openings because the older generations are having to work longer to meet requirements of the superannuation. The reason Bill English doesn’t see this as an issue is because he believes youth are high on the job drug users unable to pass drug tests. He claims the youth are druggies at fault for the unemployment rates. He refuses to acknowledge that the elderly having to wait longer (67 years) to be eligible for the superannuation will have hazardous effects on the youth employment.

Yes our average life span is increasing, but he’s forgetting that the youth are what see the life increase. If we can’t provide New Zealand youth with steady employment, how are they meant to pay for groceries? How are they meant to afford medications they need to stay healthy? While our life span may be the highest it’s been, it can fall too. It’s not ever a set-in-stone age. If we don’t nurture and protect our youth then they won’t be around as long as today’s generation. We have children in poverty – New Zealand is notorious for it’s high poverty among first world countries. We have taken care of our elderly, we need to begin to take care of our children. Raising the superannuation age will not benefit our children and youth at all – in fact it will hinder them most. No longer will their grandparents be able to look after them and spent time with the kids, they will be too busy having to work. Kids won’t be able to spend an afternoon at Nan’s because she’ll be in the office.

Bill English (and National) are very much like my parents – they believe that the youth are lazy and the reason they don’t get a job or can’t buy a house is because they’re too lazy. Forgetting that they did not have to pay for tertiary study. Forgetting that they did not have the housing market of 2017…a house that would have cost them 350,000$ in 1999, will now cost anywhere upwards of 500,000$. They live in a very bubble world where everything is exactly how it was back then. I get that they worked hard and have done enough, but what on earth does raising the superannuation have to do with them working hard? If that was your argument wouldn’t you want to lower it? Let them have more time relaxing in retirement?

Give our youth  the employment opportunities you’re so ready to give to the elderly. They have had a good run, a long run. Pretend, for a moment, you give a damn about our children and their futures.


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We Are All Immigrants.

On the 27th of January, american president Trump made a law that refused entry to the United States from seven countries if they were not 100% american residents. The law was created as part of his attempts to stop immigrants from coming into America. It resulted in many people that had been citizens of America being denied entry back into the states.

The law was a direct attack on the Muslim faith and those that are Muslim. All seven countries have Muslim as it’s predominant religion. The idea is that stopping immigrants, specifically Muslims, will decrease the amount of terrorist attacks within the United States. What it does not take into account is that no terrorist attacks have been made by Muslim people. All seven countries that are denied entry have never killed ANY american citizens.

The idea that he can only keep certain religions out is very dictatorial. And what makes Muslim’s the target for this ban? Who got to decide that? Why not Christians? Do you know how many Christians have killed american citizens? A lot. Dylan Roof – a mass murderer and perpetrator of the Charleston shooting – was a “devout christian”. Jim David Adkisson was a christian too, he shot at innocent children. Timothy McVeigh, the notorious Oklahoma City bomber, was a christian. And yet a Muslim has never killed any american citizens…

I am devastated by the idea that the president believes he can dictate what religion is good and what religion is bad when he is denying the fact that his own religion is “worse” in terms of killings. I am devastated by the fact that many people were held up in airports for hours on end and refused entry back to the place they call home. Where their children and husband live, where their life is. My heart breaks for those that were put into that position for no reason other than pure hatred and greed of power.

But the real message of this is not my pain and anger over a certain man. It is to remind us all that we are all immigrants. We have all come and sought refuge or home in another country that was not ours. I am an immigrant. I am a European living in a Maori country. My people (Europeans) migrated to New Zealand from Europe. That makes me an immigrant in my own homeland. Humble yourself. Realise that everyone has migrated from somewhere else. We are all immigrants. It’s what makes our countries so great. It’s what allows cultures to adapt, and people to be more diverse. It’s important. Immigrants are important.

Please, it’s so important that you show love and appreciation to these people that are targeted by the new president. It’s beyond important. They have seen enough hate and felt enough pain. Show them that the world is not all bad, that there is still some good left. Don’t let hate win. Be the light in the dark. Love one another and be kind to your neighbour. It really is that simple, but we forget. We forget how easy it is to say “hey look man, I am proud you practice your religion even when you have every reason to be discouraged.” We don’t say enough the kind thoughts we think. So do it. If you think something nice, say it. Even if you think it sounds silly, or cheesy, or boring – it matters. It may be the only good thing they hear that day. Be kind and spread love not hate.

 


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It’s Not Okay.

20th January…the third Friday of the year…the most horrific of them all (and we had a Friday 13th already).

It is the day supposed President elect Donalda Trumpet gets sworn in. We watch as Barack Obama has to leave the oval office for the last time. Our hope of pushing forward is leaving with him.

To those that are scared sh*tless, I understand. I’m scared and I live on the other side of the world. I’m terrified for you. I’m terrified for the immigrants that face the fear of being deported back to a land that is destroyed. I’m terrified for the blacks, Latinos, and other coloured groups that will face racism beyond anything we’ve seen.

When you elect a tyrant, a mean and racist man, you allow hate to prevail. People voted for him with the prayer that they would be able to hate on specific groups of people. That’s what’s horrible about this election. We have seen how many people hate minority groups. We have been shown that the citizens of U.S do not care for disabled people. What should have been the end of his campaign was nothing but a stepping stone. We have seen that the citizens of the U.S do not care for woman – wanting to destroy their rights, the people of colour – being called rapists and other horrid unjustifiable things, and the LQBTQ+ community. Hate won out this election and it’s not okay.

Many voted because he promised to send the immigrants back to other countries. He promised job opportunities that will not exist. Immigrants are not stealing your jobs. We are stealing them from ourselves. We have created an excess of technology that complete the job at a lower cost – forcing many people out of jobs. There was no ONE group to blame. People wanted an answer, even if it was wrong. And Trumpet provided one. Remind you of another time in history?

It is an eerily similar election to that of Hitler. There is nothing that will compare to the holocaust, but this election is headed there. Fortunately with technology and the worlds ability to be aware of the situation in America, I predict Trumpet will not get far in the likes of Hitler’s regime. Other countries will force America to rethink their elected presidential choices. But the fact that we are in this place yet again proves that we are facing hard times ahead.

Sexual assault victims/survivors must watch a man known to think woman are his entitlement and a man with multiple assault claims under his name, woman are forced to watch him for four years. It’s not okay. I weep for these woman (and men) that have been through this and now have to watch a man known for sexual assault change their rights. They have to live with the knowledge that those that voted for him don’t care about woman (and men) being attacked. And they shouldn’t have to. None of this election is okay.

To anyone in the U.S, these next four years are about surviving. About making it through. Do not fear if progress is not made – if it is then what an accomplishment! But progress most likely will not happen in these next four years. You may see rights we’ve fought for be taken away. I want to say it’s okay, but it’s not. It sucks. But you will make it through. You have to. There is a fight on the other side of these four years that we need you for. There is a revolution growing and you are going to be apart of it.

If you need to remove religious items for the safety of your own life, your God will understand. It does not mean you believe any less, it does not make you a sinner or a pariah among your faith. This world is far worse than any God would have ever imagined it to get and people have deterred further from humanity. It is about keeping you safe and alive so that in four years from now – or earlier! – you are here to fight.

To those woman, men, and children that are taking to the citities around them in protest, bless you. You are the strength that so many of us are pulling from. I know many people felt alone after the news, seeing the solidarity proves no one is alone. Thank you.

It is okay to be upset. For all those saying “it’s just an election, you don’t need to cry” well aren’t they lucky? They don’t have to face the fear of losing their family, they don’t have to face the fear of having their medical insurance destroyed, they don’t have to face the fear of walking down the street terrified for their life. They are lucky. But they are wrong. It is not just an election, it is not just a loss of a vote. It is a hateful man being put in a place of power that can (and will) destroy minorities out of pure hatred. Nothing more. And it’s not okay.