Politics and other awkward stuff

A Woman’s Place is in the House. . . The Peoples House.

Forget rocking the cradle. It’s way beyond time that women rocked the system — and the Oval.

Play like a girl. Can it be that we’re finally serious about putting a woman in the Oval? Seriously, it’s been three hundred years, people. Don’t you think it’s about time we installed a woman in maison blanche? I admit I’ve been just a tiny bit outraged that, though women are the other half of the population, they still haven’t been able to sit behind the desk in the Oval. We still don’t have dibs on that resolute chair, but this year, VP is a really good start.

We pride ourselves on being an enlightened country, of having an advanced culture, yet other mainstream countries have boasted women leaders for decades. Where have ours been? Sure, we finally have women candidates but the welcome mat has repeatedly been left askew. The ERA amendment, a critical step towards equality, waits along with a host of other approved bills, to be passed. Yet, when it finally does, will it erase the mindset of ingrained patriarchy? I doubt it. Decades of bias and attacks on gender have never been felt by their male counterparts who’ve assumed leadership roles as their anointed right. Those who consistently vote for them apparently have never considered that the ‘hand that rocks the cradle’ would think more than twice before slamming it on the nuclear button.

We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly. Margaret Atwood

Helen of Troy. Indira Gandhi. Golda Meir. Margaret Thatcher. These iron maidens didn’t bring the warm and fuzzy. They brought their A-game, exactly what their countries needed in their time. They led their countries to war within a male hierarchy, conforming to values that allowed them to lead in the first place. Today’s Angela Merkel of Germany, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, Finland’s Sanna Marin and the European Union’s Christine Lagarde know how it’s done because they, too, had to overcome gender bias. At times, they had to outmen the men – in heels.

I’d like our country to see for itself, in this critical moment in time, what we would look like with a woman in charge, even second in command. Seriously, do you think this country could do worse than the current appalling tidal wave of incompetence? Yet, blatant, ridiculous untruths and accusations are unleashed with abandon when a woman has the audacity to claim the same positions as men have taken for granted through the centuries. Minutes after this potential vice president was, the Facebook and Twitter universe were on fire with vile gender and racial attacks.

We are better than that – or should be.

More than 50 years ago, tiny Sri Lanka was the first to break the political gender barrier, India followed a few years later. As of November 2019, 15 women leaders serve their countries as president, prime minister or chancellor. Shocker, but those countries are thriving — and none of them are in the Americas. Today only 56 of 146 nations have a female head of government. The fact that we still have not reached that point, is in itself cause for a collective head scratching!

In business, there are still more leadership seats where the glass ceiling is neatly intact. Apparently, the idea of women as true equals seems as surreal as aliens landing in NYC. While it’s true we are hardly the only place in the world where patriarchy rules, we should be committed to putting equality, in all dimensions, on the menu. Even in my own little world, I saw lines drawn within the advertising agency my husband and I partnered jointly. I created and ran the business, was its creative arm, social media and promotion maven; my husband was the PR counsel. Yet, I had to constantly remind clients, who insisted on talking to ‘the owner, the boss’, that I was their person. Even in small business, it seems hard for people to accept that the person in charge isn’t a ‘he’.

Some leaders are born women. Geraldine Ferraro

If women did man the Oval (no pun in, perhaps infant mortality wouldn’t number among the highest in the civilized world. Maybe we’d think twice about 1% of the population having wallets equaling the worth of 3.6 billion people. A mom Potus might be more concerned about climate change that may very well end the world as we know it for our children. And as women, who represent 80% of consumers, a female leader might better address sustainability, food technologies and pharmaceuticals. 

Every man on this planet was born of and nurtured by a woman. “Men can boast about occupying top slots in history’s long list of conquering maniacs, bloodthirsty tyrants, and genocidal thugs.” said Steven Pinker of Harvard University. “Women have been and will be a pacifying force. Traditional war is a man’s game.” Amen.

Continue reading “A Woman’s Place is in the House. . . The Peoples House.”
Holiday Madness

Merry . . . Everything

I really like Christmas. Who doesn’t? I’m just so relieved the war on this holiday is over! Whew. I’ve been saying “Merry Christmas” with abandon all these years, never realizing that there was a sinister, pervasive movement afoot. I sent out Christmas cards, put up my creche and topped my ‘baby Jesus birthday cake” with a candle angel. All that time, as I blithely went “over the river and through the woods”, I never realized there was a lurking, sinister plot to steal Christmas. Okay, even in the best of times, I never saw a partridge in a pear tree, but still, who would steal CHRISTMAS?

(caution: Holiday rant ahead)

If miles and miles of crazy, blinking house lights and stores decked with holly since the day after Halloween are any indication, secular Christmas needs no comeback or defending.  It gets bigger and more lucrative every year. But if the spiritual aspect of Christmas is in danger of disappearing, the answer won’t be found in any political mandate or decree. The spirit of Christmas springs from the soul of each person.

Or not.

I guess I thought ‘Happy Holidays’ was kind of shorthand for good wishes in the Christmas season. Or maybe, just maybe, merely a sign of respect to all; a greeting to those who are and are not Christians, purely in the spirit of the season. Aside from a constitutional separation of church and state, greeting people where they are, spiritual or not, just seems like the right thing to do.

The celebration of Christmas has changed over time but the change is more about how we ourselves have evolved than a result of any conspiracy. Back in the 17th century, the Puritans didn’t think celebrations of Christmas were at all cool or maybe they were a little too cool for their version of the bible. Isn’t it ironic that the only time Christmas was actually banned in America was by — Christians?

The French Revolutionist renamed Christmas ‘Dog Day’ and rebranded holiday goodies as liberty cakes. So much for Jolly Ol’ St. Nick. During the 30’s and 40’s, in a country across the pond, extreme political ideologies were integrated into religious celebrations. (Psst: Anti-semitism can’t co-exist with Christmas because the very person we celebrate was, duh – Jewish.) Russia’s October Revolution knocked out public religious displays so it was a total TKO for Santa. Castro banned Christmas altogether to keep people’s mind on the sugar harvest. Sweet. Traditional holiday celebrations became a bah humbug act of political dissent. If there was an authentic war on Christmas, it exists in those most afraid of the other, you know, like those unwelcome travelers 2000 years ago who spent the night in a stable. Continue reading “Merry . . . Everything”