Me Too

A family member recently was, as she put it, “disappointed” that I was not horrified by the allegations against Joe Biden. I understand why she felt that way, considering the fact that I am what the media calls “a survivor”. It was long ago and far away during my early childhood, and was curtailed around eleven or twelve. Obviously when the Me Too movement began I cheered for the ladies (and gentlemen) who were out there trying to right a centuries old wrong. The idea of adding my voice to the movement was in the back of my mind for quite awhile, until Al Franken was forced out of the Senate because once, as a comedian, he created a crass, juvenile joke picture that, rightly, offended the lady involved. I said offended. It was not rape, physical abuse, or an act of pedophilia. There is not a man over 50 who has not said something or done something, at some point in their lives, that offended, bothered or hurt a female. That statement is made based on the fact that our culture not only allowed it, but often blamed the woman, joked about her, or dismissed the recipient as an object for males to target. Perspective is a necessity in this day and age of #MeToo.

Many years ago my daughter, a young woman at that time, participated in an equestrian clinic with a well admired clinician from Sweden. He was a lovely, elderly man who was knowledgeable, kind and empathetic. He had a habit of putting his arm around the ladies shoulders as he was talking to them. His wife was present, and it was in full view of the class. One of the participants complained to some of the group about this habit, and how uneasy it made her feel. I remember my very astute daughter, also a recipient of this gesture, telling me that it did not disturb her because he was old, Swedish ( was a former member of the Swedish military), and it did not bother his wife. Raised in a different time, a particular culture, and not clandestine…truly if you feel imposed upon just quietly say “I’m sorry, I have personal space issues and prefer not to be touched”.  I have known women who automatically put an arm around friends’ shoulders, professors who 110514429.thbmake a like gesture to a student they are counseling, even police and healthcare workers when someone is in a moment of stress.

That is not to say that some persons, both men and women, might use such a gesture as an intro to further encroachment. It is up to the recipient to judge for themselves and react in the way that serves their purpose without diminishing the other person, because you could be wrong in your judgement of intent! The point is, an arm around your shoulder is not harassment in and of itself. A silly picture where the subject is more than fully clothed, asleep, and he is not touching her, a crew of male workers whistling as you walk by, or even a simple  “wow, you look beautiful today,”  may be annoying, but are not life changing, personality crashing, horrific events.

Enter Joe Biden.  He is an old man who grew out of a culture that was greatly paternalistic toward women. One way to show a protective spirit toward the female was to put one’s arm around them. Yuck, maybe, but life changing?  Think about being a victim of pedophilia and compare the two.  Ask survivors of violent rape, intoxicated rape with fraternity brothers watching, or even someone subtly forced into “servicing” a boss who has the power to promote or fire. Those are life changing and traumatizing events.

Okay, sniffing the hair is creepy, but does it really affect your life? The other side of the

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Joe Biden

Joe coin is this: he will pick good people around him, and listen to them. He has promised to choose a female running mate. He understands how important our allies are.  He believes in science. He understands the climate is changing for the worse (except at the moment, the virus seems to be cleaning up parts of mother earth)!

Of course the elephant in the room is the one complaint of actual physical encroachment. First, compare that to “the Donald’s” twenty plus women, ranging from minor incidents to actual rape. Second, regardless of the “MeToo” movement one must consider the source. Journalists have researched the lady quite heavily: she has made accusations against other men along the way, she has changed her story multiple times, she was praising Biden up until he started his run for the presidency, and in the cesspool of Washington D.C…where rumor and leaking are rampant…no one could find so much as a hint that such an event had occurred. This, in spite of her claim to have issued a formal complaint against him, which she now says did not mention the sexual harassment…she thinks…she would need to see it again to remember what she actually said.

Joe Biden was not my choice for president.   We had a chance to elect the most qualified person ever to run, and the electoral college blew it. We had an opportunity

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President Trump (Photo by Michael Reynolds for EPA-EFE/Shutterstock.)

this time to choose a female candidate from among multiple entrants, and instead chose an elderly, white, paternalistic male to run against an elderly, white (orange?) misogynistic, narcissistic male who refuses to pay vendors and is willing to watch people in “blue” states die rather than send aid. (By the way, there are many Republicans in those states.) So many opined the choices they had in 2016, seeing it as between a reality show host with a checkered background (but popular…could have a beer with!) and a highly qualified, but “unlikable”, woman…who now gets standing ovations wherever she goes! Now we are down to reality TV, “grab a pussy” person against grandpa…my choice would have to be grandpa.

While reading an article from The Washington Post I was struck by a quote gleaned from a guest column that Alyssa Milano –  actress, #MeToo activist, and Biden supporter – did for Deadline, which covers Hollywood and entertainment.

“How do progressive women choose between the p—y grabber in chief who has done so much damage to our country and a man who has allegations made against him?” Milano wrote .

She added, “Believing women was never about ‘Believe all women no matter what they say,’ it was about changing the culture of NOT believing women by default.”

Hear hear, there is a woman who gets it!

 

On Our Loss of Decency

This is simply a rant with no graphics as they are difficult for my eighty year old mind! It is about our loss of decency, empathy and, yes, “kind hearts and gentle people”. One does not have to be Christian to adhere to those ideals, but Christians should be ahead of the line in those attributes if, indeed, they believe in Christ’s teachings. The internet has promoted our loss of civility, and the great uptick in crass and truly egregious, vindictive, vitriolic exchanges. I was taught in theatre classes that if you are having a problem getting angry enough for the character, pound on the desk, jump up and down, actions will help illuminate the feeling of anger. That is what is happening to our country.

That brings me to my sick stomach feeling at the moment. I cannot imagine that a huge auditorium of my fellow citizens would stand up and applaud the death of a war hero who had been imprisoned and tortured, lifetime public servant, who leaves a surviving family still grieving his passing. Trump had no problem eliciting that response at CPAC while feeling “the love” for him (and his bone spurs).

It was quite awful enough to see him with a really comical expression on his face denigrating our flag by hugging it and waiting for the applause. This is what all you people with flags flying from your vehicles like to see? Our forefathers would be disgusted, and rightly so! That flag has been tattered and torn with the winds of war, carried to other countries in the name of freedom, occasionally making mistakes in judgement, but always trying to be on the side of justice and equal opportunity. To treat it like a puppy you love so much you have to squeeze and squeeze…until it ceases to breathe… is an abomination (check out Lennie in Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck). It seems there is a large segment of our population (although not the majority) that is quite comfortable with our wonderful experiment in governance going the way of the Roman Empire. According to one historian on NPR it is a long, slow process, hardly noticeable as the norms and laws decay incrementally. One more reason I am happy to be leaving this earth within the next decade or two, I have no interest in seeing the kind of chaos the Roman Empire faced as the decay increased and politicians split the populace and created anger, hatred, suspicion…sound familiar?

I am not a historian, I do not claim expertise in politics or anything else. I do believe in civility, empathy, that dirty word compromise, ethics, and truthfulness. Our erstwhile leader fails on all of the above and has carried the once respected Republican party into his corrupt idea of “service to the country”. I will no longer lower myself to argue the fact that he lies, it is proven by listening to his own words…on tape! I will no longer argue his morals or ethics…he has had three wives and two mistresses (at least), and multiple contractors he has refused to pay. There is more, so much more, proven and known by the world, but hardly worth reiterating since many either believe he is a messenger from God or an arm of Satan. In actuality he is simply a highly flawed, self-indulgent human being who managed to sell his snake oil to a large segment of our voters and now seems to believe, and has convinced them, that he is the greatest president of all time.

I have news for him and all of his followers, not one president from our historic past…not one…would have encouraged their audience to applaud the death of a national hero with the kind of life Senator McCain lived and the service he rendered. He, too, was human and therefore flawed, as we all are, but he was brave, heroic and lived his life in service to this country. Be assured, Senator, that whether or not we agreed with all of your votes or actions, the vast majority of your beloved country honors your life and grieved your death. Rest in peace, and if it is possible pray for this beleaguered country you loved.