I have the opportunity to spend more time in front of my computer writing. I have an urge to write these days – and for now, that urge means delving deep into myself. When I thought about meaning yesterday, I conjured up emotions. In the past, it has been those emotions that have fuelled my passion and so have given meaning to my life. So I had to ask myself, “What am I passionate about now?”
When I see devastation in the environment, I am saddened – almost physically hurt. But the emotion associated with that is despair, not outrage – not a passion that makes me want to take up arms. I see social injustice and I care – but not enough to move me up and out and onto the streets.
But then I felt it – the hot anger – and realized that it was that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, stopping Elizabeth Warren from speaking – that outraged me – that made me want to take up arms. Hell, forget the arm – what I really want to do is slap his smug little face.
I am furious about the way women have been treated in the past – and that includes in my time.
Women were given (given? They fought tooth and nail for it) the right to vote in the United States less than one hundred years ago. And we have been fighting for equality ever since. I don’t have to write a list of every time I have personally been wronged. I doubt the list is any longer or more outrageous than any other woman’s my age. And younger women too. It hasn’t changed by much. I do believe that the last time equal pay for equal work was introduced on the floor of the house every single Republican voted against it.
How do these men go home at night to their wives and daughters and explain that they don’t think their “loved” ones are worth as much as men? How do they do that? How do these same men explain to their wives, mothers and daughters that their vaginas should be more heavily regulated than guns? How do they explain that men know better what’s good for them that they do themselves? How is this even possible in the 21st century?
But it is. Women’s bodies are still used to sell products. Lady Gaga is body-shamed for having a quarter-inch roll on her tummy – most likely by men who have beer bellies hanging over their belt buckles.
I am outraged.
But here’s the thing about every single woman I call a friend: they were warned. They were given an explanation. Nevertheless, they persisted.
And by god, we shall persist. I was enormously moved by the women’s march on January 21. I was hugely gratified to see so many men in that march. Because all men are not like the evil dinosaurs who sit in Congress and the Senate and who occupy the White House. There are plenty of men in the world like my husband, Simon – men who are abhorred by this vermin.
It’s just that the awful ones somehow seem to rise to power and make oppressive laws to keep women down. It’s not just women, of course. Blacks are still largely enslaved. Today we call it prison labour and mass incarceration. Minorities are reviled because the people in power are there because they love power – they feed on it – and they know that the way to keep themselves in power is to set the rest of us against each other: poor white against poor black; urbanites against farmers; jobless people against immigrants – and on and on and on.
If we want the power in our hands, we have to recognize the evil that dwells in the halls of power – we have to call out the corruption and we have to stand and band together. We have to love our neighbour, hold her hand, help her be all she can be – and together, fight the good fight.
We can and shall persist.