Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Bad Old Days

John Boehner is a pig. Eric Cantor is a pig. In fact all of the Republican House members are pigs. They go oinking through the Halls of Congress trying to turn back the clock on Women’s Rights. However, the real criminals are the women who enable them – like Michele Bachman and Virginia Foxx. These two eunuchs are content to consign American women to the 1950’s. They must not think that this will ever affect them, their daughters or granddaughters. They must not realize that if it were 1950 neither of them would be in office. Clearly, they don’t understand that they are not just threatening the rights of women, they are threatening their dignity.

Those of us who remember the 50’s look back on a time when women were little more than chattel. They were owned body and soul by the significant men in their families; their work undervalued, their appearance overvalued, their opinions dismissed, their economic security doled out to them in nickels and dimes, their obedience compelled. In other words, they were children. This regression on the part of our rightwing lawmakers isn’t just about the availability of safe abortions or equal pay for equal work. It is about returning to a toxic and pervasive social paradigm that rendered half the human race powerless and subservient.

Whenever I think of the 1950’s I think of the actress Sandra Dee. She was the preferred feminine image of the day – a soft, fluffy kitten with a lovely face and body and a sweet willingness to please. Indeed, she was a perpetual child, just what the era demanded, and on some level expected to remain sixteen for the rest of her life. When she married, had a child of her own and was deemed more or less past her prime as an actress it must have been horrific for her. You see the kitten never became a cat with proper claws. Dee began to drink, and her drinking ruined her marriage. After her husband left, her drinking escalated. When he died in the early seventies she sunk into chronic alcoholism. I have to wonder if in her isolation and drunkenness she ever came to realize the madness of a world that demanded women view themselves exclusively through the eyes of other people.

The tragedy of Sandra Dee is not unique. It is in part the product of stereotyping, marginalizing, forcing people to draw their self-image from someone else’s consciousness. This can only be done to people who don’t enjoy parity in a society. The Suffragettes gave us the vote. The Feminists gave us access to our souls and the right to define our future on our own terms. Sandra Dee didn’t have these things – most women didn’t in the 50’s.

The feminist reality and the rights of women were hard won by those of us who fought the war. I am old now and battle scared. Like a lot of people who have many fewer years to live then they have lived I see with precision the tapestry of existence. If one thread is cut in the weave all the others are weakened accordingly. If the rights of Labor are compromised in Wisconsin, then Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, the Rights of Gay and Lesbian People grow systemically fragile in turn. I doubt that the myopic pigs, criminals and their assorted appendages around the country have a clue nor give a damn what they are doing when they disturb the delicate fabric of Freedom that so many men and women have stitch together. Just as Bachmann and Foxx haven’t a clue nor give a damn when they aid their male colleagues in forcing women back to a time of physical, intellectual and spiritual oppression.

Elected officials of either party who are afflicted with this level of stupidity or apathy aren’t fit to govern. Not only are they unworthy of representing a free people in a free state, but they are to our very democracy as AIDS is to the human lymphatic system.

The rose featured above is “Rainbows End.” She is a miniature landscape rose that glows golden in the sunlight. I put it here in honor of Sandra Dee and all the women whose chains prevented them from following their rainbow to its end.

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