FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Sea Change or Rogue Wave?

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 then a couple in retreat. 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.

In many ways the social/sexual revolution of the 60s has brought us to this place. The need to change course then was obvious to many, but our efforts were often clumsy. Long standing insensitive, or just plain bad  behaviors of gender stereotypes prevailed through many a movement. Those times were as difficult as they were exhilarating. Brothers and sisters and lovers set out to change the world without a road map, and often fell into old behaviors. For all the hope for change, the new language of sexual freedom showed how hollow those efforts could be.  The crude idiom of of hoping “to get some” was at its core an act of conquering, instead of sharing and realizing connection. The Al Franken case illustrates this point well. One person’s shtick is another’s offense due to lack of consent. While a basic truth of all humor is pointing out someone’s discomfort, sexual and gender based humor also implies  a power relationship of dominance.

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, even in reform movements.  The idea of placing one’s own needs below those of another’s, to make someone’s life better is quite different than taking, using, and dominating. In this regard gender relations parallel our financial relationships, where fiduciary responsibility is given a wink and a nod, and self interest is celebrated. Greed is good.

Time has smoothed over a great deal of the radicalism of the 60s, 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 Ecosystem we share.

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 nurturing most associated with the feminine gender.  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, we as a species 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 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 ecosystem will create a way to check if we are walking in another’s shoes.

If life is benefited from our actions we should proceed. When we need to balance our actions with the necessary 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, and combine them into a peaceful and prosperous world for all.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail