By Tom Crofton
The Commoner Call (12/18/17)
The latest chapter of resistance to Trumpism in particular, and society’s ills in general is the refreshingly feminist movement to “out” sexual harassment. This development is long overdue and parallels all other movements for social justice, whose progress often display a ratcheting quality of a couple steps forward, and a couple back. In many ways the latest round is built on the waves of social change going back to the original fights for emancipation and suffrage.
The fact that feminists have reached public position and office, and are using those rostrums to speak out offers a glimpse of what is possible if we don’t slide back. Unfortunately we can find too many examples of women in public roles playing the “man’s” game, and too often the results are dismal. Jeane Kirkpatrick, Sarah Palin, Madeline “500,000 dead Iraqi children were worth it” Albright, and Hillary Clinton all demonstrated that gender itself did not ensure humanitarian/egalitarian actions. Nor did avowed liberalism guarantee its proponent, of either gender, to walk in another’s shoes.
We are the adults here. Let’s take a long look at our own actions and find the better angels inside each of us to combine into a peaceful and prosperous world for all.
In many ways the social/sexual revolution of the 60’s has brought us to this place. The need to change course then was obvious, but the efforts were often clumsy, and long-standing insensitive, or just bad, behaviors of gender prevailed through many a movement. Race relations at home, imperialism abroad, the environment, and sexual preference all have been focuses of efforts parallel to the feminist movement. All have a great deal more to accomplish, in part because the fundamental concept of nurturing has not risen high enough on the list of acceptable actions for society to take. (The label “bleeding heart liberal” has been forged into dagger designed to make nurturing seem unmanly).
Time has smoothed over a great deal of the radicalism of the 60’s, allowing retrenchment into the “establishment”. Many of the worst behaviors of “the system” are enabled by our not insisting on acting sustainably towards life. We accept too readily the collateral damage we inflict on others, including the many other members of the Eco-system we share.
Feminine nurturing key to our survival
While the immediate goal of eliminating sexual harassment and assault should take center stage, the future of the planet would be well served by employing the positive role of feminine nurturing. To a large extent the mothering role has been too long reduced in importance by the forces pushing for dominance and control of the resources and actions of human society. While many men have accepted their responsibilities to become more sensitive, and assume more fatherly roles in the family context, as a species we still have not evolved to recognize how the dominating traits of our biology/psychologies are working against life itself. The enabling role (Stand by Your Man) that women traditionally played has worn thin , and the new rising should be celebrated.
To see this in a religious context, consider the fundamentalist teachings that “man” has dominion over the world. This unfortunate translation of the original Aramaic could (should) have been “stewardship”. Stewards protect and sustain. Shepherds manage. Husbands conserve and protect. Dominators control and destroy.
As the resistance seeks to slow down and stop a slide towards fascism, we need to develop a common agreement on where we are going, if we really want to make a difference. The ratcheting back will return with a vengeance if we don’t have a deeper understanding of what we want to achieve. There are resources sufficient for everyone on this earth to live comfortably. Internalizing a nurturing approach to the stewardship of our Eco-system will create a way to check if we are walking in another’s shoes.
If life is benefited from our actions we should proceed. If we need to balance that with the suffering of others we are on the wrong track. Collateral damage, side effects and external costs are excuses. We are the adults here. Let’s take a long look at our own actions and find the better angels inside each of us to combine into a peaceful and prosperous world for all.
Add Your Name To Tell Trump: Stop Attacking Reproductive Freedom!
President Trump recently made it harder for people to get contraceptive care by rolling back the birth control mandate.
Allowing employers to opt out of the requirement to cover birth control could force hundreds of thousands of people to lose access to contraception – a vital component of health care and reproductive freedom. An employer’s religious or personal beliefs should not stand in the way of what’s best for individuals and their families.
We need 100,000 people to reject Trump’s anti-women, anti-contraception agenda and speak out right now to protect access to birth control.