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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

For a moral future, take Congress away from men

 GEORGE TEMPLETON: COMMENTARY


By George Templeton
Rim Country Gazette Columnist

“Me Too” Reveals Stormy Seas
The Way We Were:  Where have you gone, Brigitte Bardot?  A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.  And God created woman, they say.  Why have you left and gone away?

The Way We Are:  You’re going to need an ocean of calamine lotion, the minute you start to mess around.

The Way We Should Be:   Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding, no more falsehoods or derisions.
The Way We Were 
It is natural for women to have the role of bearing children and raising the family.  It is the life they were made for.  It requires a large investment of time and energy.  Perhaps this is the reason why men have always tried to keep women in their place.  It is why we survived.  The Bible records it.

Subordination  
For indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake”.  “For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man.”   “Do not give your strength to women.” 

It’s Not Nice
“How can he be clean who is born of woman?”

Devil Woman
The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."

Temptress
“But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.”

Pride
“For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.”

Prudish
The Faithful Word Baptist Church advocates that women’s duties are to behave themselves and be good wives and mothers.  “Women who have ideas and questions should not speak out.  They should not have the right to vote or have any say in running our country.  They should ask their husband.  They do not have the right to rebel and disobey him, or to get a job and make their own money.  When women are allowed to dress like men it makes them act like men.”

Conviction and rationality are not mutually exclusive, but it is important to keep questions of faith and science separate.  Empirical evidence can never resolve questions of value.

Men aspire to power over women, but women have an important social and political role to play, as told by the book of Esther.  She was a beautiful woman who rose to the apex of political power, saving the Jewish nation.  Failure to recognize female power caused the downfall of the Ottoman Empire.  What better way is there to smother the future than to confine the women who raise their children?  Thousands of years have softened our views, but now women’s rights and their privileged treatment are in conflict.
The Way We Are
It seems that the mind and the soul cannot be explained by brain scans.  Our brains are plastic and can be rewired.  We don’t know whether what we see causes our behavior or reflects our experience.  We don’t know what is innate, created by God, an evolutionary thread, or learned.

With luck, bacteria are potentially immortal, but multiplying by dividing was not enough.  Life found a way in a billion years.  Sex was the answer, but it also required death.  It is the ultimate loss of innocence.  We are condemned to die as a condition of our birth.  It is one of the tools the Almighty uses to shape a fetus.  As it grows, parts of it have to commit suicide to be replaced by essential ones, like hands, ears, and the central nervous system.  Programmed death (apoptosis) is necessary for life.  It is why parrots live longer than dogs.  This is the additional information needed to explain the fall and death in the Garden of Eden story, but it cannot account for consciousness.
 
Sex’s Demise  
Our behaviors differ more in degree than in kind.  The permutations and combinations of sex, sexuality, and gender result in a wide range of ambiguous characteristics.  If you are old enough, you remember the ukulele player, Tiny Tim, who sang Tiptoe through the Tulips, and was married to Miss Vicky on The Tonight Show.  With that in mind, we turn to common thought.

She Too
The modern woman is:  accepting, nurturing, emotional, passive, naive, choosy, and flirtatious.  She uses non-verbal forms of communication to invite others.  C.S. Lewis wrote, “Even to see her walk across the room is a liberal education.”

He Too
Caring, loving men are viewed as feckless.  Self-examination is a weakness.  Males are: confident, aggressive, authoritarian, assertive, hasty, undiscriminating, insensitive, and ambitious.  They communicate to command and enhance status.  Commercialized sexuality was their idea.  Their arrogant pride wins the approval of other men and the adoration of women.

What Are Our Differences?
Society believes that women are the cause of social conflict.  When they go wrong, men go after them!  Men are more valuable because they “float the boats up”.  Now, men fear women, but only a few of them will lose their jobs.

There are differences between men and women, but they are controversial.  A book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, claimed that relationship problems between men and women result from fundamental differences.  Ethel Mertz, on the I Love Lucy show, explained, “Just because we’re married to men doesn’t mean we’ve got anything in common with them.”  It is not what you are that counts.  It’s what they think you are.

“Why don't women need driver's licenses?  It is because there are no roads between the laundry room and the kitchen!”  Finally, in June, women will be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.    

In Italy, it is a complement to pinch an unsuspecting girl’s bottom if you say “Scusami”.  Does leniency encourage depravity?  Women contribute to it when they advertise their readiness.  How she looks is not what she is.

Does a young girl who uses make-up advertise?  In the fifties, a girl who wore pants to school would be sent home.  In the sixties, some ladies wore mini-skirts and panty hose to work.  It was fashion, politics, and philosophy.  Peer pressure to conform leads to expected behaviors and appearances.

There is a difference between appreciation, harassment, and rape.  The assignment of meaning is up to the woman, who should never be objectified or treated as a means to an end.

A Double Standard
Women have been unequal, in voting, controlling their own bodies, and getting equal pay for equal work.  The sudden proliferation of sexually harassed females in the news does not signal the end of patriarchy.  Men will still run the world.  Instead of marginalizing women, men should show support.

We need to look no further than the priests, preachers, coaches, congressmen, and the very pinnacle of power to find opportunists.  They succeed once in their conquest and from then on, like Pavlov’s dogs, they salivate at every possible opportunity.  They no longer respect the special dignity of women.  Lustful men think about women’s bodies, while shameless women market their own.

In India, I watched a television program where a portly old man, with a monocle eyepiece and a watch on a gold chain, is chauffeured in a Rolls Royce to a poverty stricken teen-age girl’s rock pile house.  The two of them dance a Hindu ritual, with arms waving every which way, before he whisks her off to happiness.  Wealth and power sways a young girl’s heart. 

Consent is what it is all about.  Women are getting fed up.  They recognize that there is also a tide in their affairs which must be taken at the flood or lost forever.  In some cases they have held their anger inside for twenty years or more and now the unfairness of their life-changing disparagement finally explodes.  Now, the Time’s Up movement has established a legal defense fund for women who feel that the organizations employing them are guilty of systemic sexual harassment, assault, or abuse.

Men have little to lose by being promiscuous.  Some women feel that it is not the men in their life that counts.  It is the life in their men.  When culture changes, consequences are different, and so will be gender behaviors.
The establishment is a good old boys’ club.  They support the members of their tribe, accept misbehavior, and just look the other way.  Power distorts vision.  There is an unwritten code.  It is the difference between the actual and the mythical.  Prejudice is communicated by a loaded word, a look, and a smile.  It is politically but not gender correct.

Leaders dictate their values to everyone.  In the 1950’s no politician could be elected who had been divorced.  Statesmanship, intellect, and civility were prerequisites.  It seems that what man believes is what God believes!  Trump, the president accused by more than a dozen women, was God’s choice.  He had to be, because of his misogyny, lack of empathy, egocentrism, deep superficiality, and infatuation with force.  For him, sex is nothing more than a business transaction.  His personal success qualifies him as our national role model.  But are his values what America wants to see when she looks in her rear view mirror?  The majority of white women voted for him.  He represents what they stand for.  They like naughty boys!

The Way We Should Be
By 2030, one in five residents will be older than age 65 and deaths will outpace births.  By 2025 the number of elderly over age 65 will be eighty percent more than in the year 2000.  Younger people paying the taxes that support the elderly will not grow without immigration.  Anti-immigration policies reduce the nursing assistants, home health care aids, and personal care attendants that fill the low-pay jobs that make eldercare feasible.  Block grants and per capita caps focus on reducing Medicaid funding instead of needs.  Reckless tax cuts and irresponsible budgets injure America.

Where do you draw the line between thinking what you want and acting on your thoughts?  Our current politics is more interested in who makes the rules than what the rules are.  Thomas Jefferson reminded us, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”  We don’t want a society that is not human, that mistreats people.  We need to reward freedom of conscience, our highest common denominator, and hope that there will be enough people who care for one another to sustain our society and form of government.  Will ignoring women and the elderly make America great?  Does putting America first mean putting them last?  Would leadership become empathetic and compassionate with females in power?  If we want change, if we hope for a more moral future, we will have to take congress away from men.

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