Tuesday, June 29, 2010

All the Good Women

I am listening to an interview with Sharron Angle (Republican Senator) on the Rachel Maddow Show right now. One question keeps smacking me across the brain:  Where are all the good women in politics?  Alright, the guy interviewing her (John Ralston) played tape of her saying she wanted to get rid of Medicare and Social Security. On a Republican talk show, however, she said we have to protect these programs.  When asked about this apparent contradiction, she dodged the question, pretty much just saying that she didn't think it was a contradiction.  Yeah... I don't get it either.  

Apparently this lady loves to blame things on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  She blames him for not creating jobs, yet in a different statement, said it was not the job of a Senator to create jobs.  When asked about this, she said it was his job to create an atmosphere conducive to job creation.  What?

Plus, she made a statement recently that she didn't believe it was right to get an abortion in any circumstance.  Not even if raped or in the case of incest or if the life of the mother or baby is at risk.  The reason she gave is that she's a Christian and she believes god has a plan for everyone and uses all kinds of circumstances for good. I don't have a problem with people being religious, I've made that clear in the past.  I do have a problem with using religious ideals for reasons to back (or oppose) political issues.  We have separation of church and state for a reason.  This is a question of morals, but it's a national issue and not all Americans are Christians.  Therefore, it is not fair to use Christian ideals to create policy!  I think most Christians are trying to do a lot of good in the world.  I respect that.  But I do not respect pushing ideals onto others - especially if they are unwilling and have made that position known.  No politician or policymaker or lawmaker or judge or President or anyone in government has the right to push their ideals on the American people.  I suppose that goes either way.  But the bottom line here is that this is not a theocracy, there are other religions (or lack of religion) represented in great numbers in this country, and our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state!

I'm tired of hearing of all of these Republican women in politics.  I'm sure not all of them are the dunder-headed bimbos I'm ranting against here.  But it seems like there are just too many of those blonde idiots out there trying to run the country and making fools out of themselves.  Palin trying to be President (or even VP for that matter), Mrs. Angle, Ann Coulter... I could go on.  Some of these women say the most ridiculous and stupid things.  And they're a shame to all women.  I'm disgusted.  

Women in politics should not be trying to push their beauty as some kind of qualifying characteristic for office.  Being attractive does not make you more able to run a country or make good policy or anything else, really, besides win beauty pageants.  Maybe if our culture respected intelligence, drive, and strength in women, we wouldn't have so many jokes in our public offices.  I think people didn't like Hillary Clinton because she wasn't what people would call beautiful.  Well, men, keep yourself in your pants and maybe try voting intelligent women into office.  And women, try keeping your prejudices out of it, too, because we all know we like pretty girls as friends better than plain ones.  Well, women in power are not going to be your best friend or your hot date.  They are going to run the country, make important and sometimes life-altering decisions for 300 million people.  

Maybe all the good women are too smart to get into politics.  Makes sense to me!

(And yeah, that picture really says all there is to say.)

Working Girl

Alright, I just got an e-mail from the editor of the paper, talking about Training Week!  I feel so nervous right now.  It's one of those moments when I start to think maybe this wasn't my best idea ever.  Ah!  And we have to come early, probably 3 days for me, being a columnist, so I have to get info. to him soon so I can move in early! Man I feel like a fish out of water - I've never done this before.  But, trying not to feel alarmed.  Oh yeah, and I have to do something online if it's a paid position, but I don't know if it is!  How awkward is it going to be to shoot him an e-mail like, "hey, yeah, I was just wondering, are you paying me for this?"  Well, I guess change is always scary.  It never seems as scary when you're hoping for it or planning for it or whatever.  It's scary when it gets down to it and you actually have responsibilities!  But I will be strong and I will look to the bright side of this.  I'm so excited to be a columnist!  And it won't look bad on my resume.  ; )

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's a Man's World... (Not)

Oh, so much to talk about, but where to start?  We finally painted at our apartment yesterday, and the color looks great.  We recently lost our kitty - I had planned to write about it, but felt it was somehow inappropriate to post on here.  I'm still writing, but I haven't been making a lot of progress lately.  I did add a new beginning.  I've read several books since my last post (some very good ones, too) such as The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, which I would recommend to anyone and everyone.  

I also recently watched the controversial movie "Milk" which I thought was excellent.  It stirred up a lot inside me, too.  I suppose I'm one of those people who is only happy when they have a cause.  I just don't like seeing people hated on or oppressed.  All about the equality.  

I was concerned with the lack of women in the movie, however.  I feel like when we talk about gay rights, we just forget about women.  One theory might be that lesbians are better accepted in our society, or another might be that there are less of them, or maybe men loving other men strikes people as much more of a problem.  Maybe our society is just too male-centered.  And I do believe that's true.  It makes me angry.  I will now commence my rant.

The problem here is that no matter how far our society or our culture has come, women are still not equal to men.  Tons of people would scoff at that comment.  Tons of people would also call me names for saying I'm a feminist.  I don't care; bring it on!  Women are paid 15% less than men, STILL!  How is that even excusable in this day and age?  It's ludicrous!  I know women are part of the problem.  Don't mistake me for a woman who hates all men, though sometimes it seems easier to just blame all the problems on them.  I don't.  Women are underachievers, as a sex.  I know tons of hardworking women who have big dreams.  But how many women do you know that settle for lesser jobs?  Why a nurse and not a doctor?  Why a kindergarten teacher and not a professor?  Why a social worker and not a psychologist?  Why not a firefighter, police officer, astronaut, scientist?  So many women choose to sidestep these jobs for ones of lesser prestige.  Is it because we're drawn to children in fields like teacher or pediatrician (as opposed to brain surgeon)?  Do we put off these greater careers in order to get married and start families?

I for one will not put my dreams on the back burner.  I may have been born a woman, but that does not mean  I will settle for less than I am capable of.  That is what makes me so angry.  I know so many women who are capable of so much, but they still settle for less.  

I had a lot of interesting ideas about why so many people are prejudiced against gay men.  And why men are so obsessed with things like war and sports.  It may be that men are being held back in this society even more than women.  Our society casts men as strong providers, unemotional, logical and problem-solvers.  They get things done, and they are manly doing it.  Men don't cry.  They don't feel weakness.  They are tough and they protect their women (please! I say, dripping with sarcasm).  Well, it's not as if men are born without feelings or fears.  They aren't perfect.  They make mistakes, they have needs.  But society doesn't want them to get too close to each other.  If a man has a close friend, people talk about them.  They might be made fun of or called gay just for having a close friendship and caring for another man.  Women do that all the time - it's expected.  But the only real relationship in which it is okay for a man to be vulnerable is with a woman.  That's all fine and good, but it sounds awfully lonely.  

About sports, and war.  I've heard that they both give you a great high, something some people crave.  But the most important thing about these two, and it's not just my own musings here, is that they provide brotherhood.  This is one other situation in which it is okay for a man to depend on another man.  To love another man and have a close connection to him without being seen as acting outside of his role.  (Because somehow we've gotten so homophobic that a man can't show his feelings or admiration of other guys outside of certain restrictive boundaries.)  No wonder guys crave these things.  Everyone wants to feel wanted, to have close relationships with others.  Sure, the whole brotherhood thing isn't the only reason men participate in war or sports.  Maybe not even the main reason.  I don't know.  But I do think it is a reason.  Men are stifled and weighed down in this culture.  They are constantly being told they aren't good enough.  Not good enough at their jobs, not good enough in bed, not good enough at being fathers.  

And while we're talking about fathers, let me just touch on the epidemic of crappy fathers.  I hear about them left and right.  Men leaving their kids, cheating on their wives, abusing their families, just plain not caring.  Maybe this is because men don't have very good role models of what a good father looks like.  We need a movement toward more caring and loving fathers.  And part of that process, which has already started, is that women need to let men take care of their children.  We have a tendency to want things done a certain way and when the man doesn't do it perfectly, we just do it ourselves.  Not only does this put more pressure on ourselves, but it leads to that apathetic quality seen in so many fathers today.  They can't care about something they aren't allowed to participate in.  And how much richer would their lives be if they could have more responsibility in the care of their children?  How much more time would women have with some of that burden off their shoulders - time enough to fulfill those big dreams she maybe didn't think she would ever achieve.  Maybe if we had more equitable roles, people would be more tolerant of those who choose alternative lifestyles to the traditional.  

We all need to learn to be more tolerant of others.  If you believe in god, good for you.  Don't shove it down other people's throats.  If you think being gay is wrong, fine.  But don't hurt another person or discriminate against them because of it.  Keep it to yourself.  Respect others.  Understand them and the fact that they did not up and choose a lifestyle they somehow "knew" was "wrong," but they are simply being who they are.  And they deserve that right.  Thousands of young LGBT kids contemplate suicide, lots of them do kill themselves - all because we can't be more accepting of them.  We are all human.  We all get afraid, we all care what others think, we all need encouragement and support.  If your intolerance is leading to loss of life, maybe you should rethink what you believe, or at least how you deal with others who you deem 'in the wrong.'  All the stupid jokes you made as a kid, every time you say 'that's gay' or call someone a name, just think about how different things would be if their struggles were your own.  

I wish I could solve all the world's problems.  I want to be active, but this is a time of inactivity.  I know I just need to have the courage to start what needs to be started:  a new way of thinking about the world and the people around us.  Tolerance.  Love.  Acceptance.  Respect.  I hope when I leave this world, I'll have left it just a little bit better than when I arrived.  And I really mean that.