In the last ten years our country has spent trillions of dollars and thousands of lives in Afghanistan and Iraq to protect our homeland and make the world and those countries safe for ‘democracy.’
Fundamental to the political rhetoric have been the issues of humanity, the pernicious conditions of poverty despite royal wealth, oil wealth, and the persistent separate and unequal class system which has divided families, oppressed women, withheld education and social mobility on the basis of religious teachings; and institutionalized the second class status of women and children, poverty and helplessness as a god-given and natural way of life.
We have said we will fight wars to protect a woman’s freedom. We speak out in favor of the freedoms to unmask her face, be schooled, prevent stoning, travel outside the home, drive a car and possess at least some modicum of what Western women have come largely to take for granted. We have rhetorically espoused the inalienable right of freedom of religion, travel, health, marriage, education and the protection from corporeal punishment.
Whatever the right or wrong, and whether women are or are not second class citizens and therefore are or are not entitled to special forms of freedom or punishment, what we hold out as a standard to preach or teach or try to at least insinuate in our international relations is in ways a greater standard than that to which even women in the US are entitled.
From birth we enshrine in our young the ‘American dream,’ telling them they can be president and that the ceiling there is glass and not easily shattered. Yet to the women in our country, knowing poverty is the leading indicator of educational success, and education is the leading indicator of teenage pregnancy, unwanted child birth, the destruction of a family unit central to the rise or demise of our culture. We have now thirty three states in which a woman’s right to self determination of her own health and health care, headlined by her right to family planning, including contraception and abortion, is virtually illegal.
Systematically, factually and in a profound cultural statement we have said to the women of the US, “you do not have the intellectual or moral capacity to make such profound judgments about your own health or those questions that relate to childbirth as does the entirety of the male of the species.”
What does it say about a woman in the US, who only recently realized the right to vote, to work (although paid a fraction of the pay for the same work and job descriptions as men), and now whose sexual/reproductive rights are subordinate to those interests of men and the state?
We have to ask the question, how is this behavior any different than our century -old, now-unconstitutional predilection for slavery? If we can get to that fundamental understanding – knowing and understanding history is half of the requirement to change the future – then the next and most important question would be ‘why?’
The facts of history clearly support the assertion that this pathology resides not in women, who may or may not be incapable of judicious decisions about their lives and their families, but rather in a dysfunctional, unresolved and profoundly disturbed psyche of the male who, for his own internal weakness, fragmentation or unconsummated manhood, needs, through projection to articulate the problem as the woman’s weakness. By the right of might, man alone can manage and ultimately adjudicate.