Saturday, April 26, 2014

Women are Emotional (Crazy) and Men are Forceful (Stable)

It is hard to believe that FOX news pundits questioned if Hillary Clinton’s becoming a grandmother is a planned campaign strategy, to give her a “bump” in the upcoming presidential election.  Are they serious?  It is ridiculous how they describe and treat women vs. men.  Mitt Romney became a grandfather during his presidential campaign. Were his children’s pregnancies planned to help him get votes?

There are so many examples of how women in politics and women in general are treated differently than are men. When Hillary Clinton had tears, Fox news reporters said that she was close to a breakdown. When John Boehner cries, he is passionate, concerned, not facing an emotional collapse.  

Bridget Kelly is characterized in the Chris Christie Bridge-gate scandal as being too needy of and dependent on her lover’s approval, whereas when Elliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, and John Edwards destroy their political lives by their romantic or sexual liaisons, they are just being men. Just men who lie, cheat, or who are so dependent on women (or sex) that they self-destruct.

Jon Stewart satirized this tragic dilemma (see The Daily Show, April 22, 2014) by calling his segment, “The Broad Must Be Crazy!”  What is OK behavior for men is not OK for women who look unstable when displaying the same behavior.  You know women, with their hormones and all.

If Hillary Clinton speaks with a harsh tone of voice, she is seen as rageful, too emotional about the subject. When men use a similar tone, they are being forceful, assertive, even presidential. When Chris Christie yells at reporters or talks to them in a condescending and nasty tone, some say he is being victimized, bullied by the media.  Whereas Christie himself has been known for years to act like a bully.

But, women are crazy, too emotional, too unstable to serve effectively in political office, much less as President.  What an absurd thought.

Women support families, businesses and this country, taking care of many tasks, managing households, children, and husbands while they also work full-time.  Many men succeed in their careers partly because of women’s taking care of their needs behind the scenes.  Now it is time for women to take more of the spotlight and men can also be the supporters of their careers. Women are often stronger emotionally than the men around them, taking the blows and batterings by men.  A Florida woman gets sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting a gun at a wall to prompt her abusive partner to leave.  George Zimmerman and some white male Americans suffer no such enormous penalty when they have actually shot and killed children.

I could shout my discontent but I might be seen as too emotional.  Perhaps one day, men and women will be seen and treated as equals regarding their skills and productiveness, irrespective of their gender, who they love, or how they act.

The Golden Rule or WWJD?

Does our state government follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Do we want to give our state legislators the power to tell women what kinds of decisions they, their families and doctors can make about their health care decisions? How about when the governor and legislature turn down billions of federal dollars to fund healthcare for Tennessee’s poorest citizens? 

If these elected officials are Christian, is this more recent adage appropriate: “What would Jesus do (WWJD)?”  If a child happens by chance to be born into a poor family, their chance of thriving and succeeding in life is not equal to that of the privileged few.  Their health is impacted negatively, their educational functioning is threatened, and their spirits are broken.  Would Jesus condemn them, call them lazy, ”takers,” and shame them for not working hard enough? Some politicians complain about dependency on governmental handouts, but they also don’t increase the minimum wage.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you don’t like being bullied, don’t bully others.  That seems simple enough but there sure are a lot of adults running this country who don’t seem to act in that way.  Our leaders may try to represent us, but their main job function is to raise money in order to get re-elected.

This is a racial and classist issue, this is about income inequality. If a child doesn’t have enough food to eat, a safe bed to sleep in, some good parenting and hope, how will that child be able to learn well, to succeed in our world?  A white upper middle class child who had the good fortune to be born into a privileged family has a far better chance of succeeding.  Their family provides for their physical needs, gets them tutors if they have trouble learning, and gives them financial support for extracurricular activities and for college.

Some people say that they have succeeded all on their own with no help from others, and they sometimes judge others harshly for not doing the same.  I hope that those people look around at all the services available to them through tax payers’ support of education, libraries, fire and police departments, transportation systems, justice centers, and more.  We all use these systems and their services. It is a ridiculous statement for anyone to say that they succeeded all by themselves.

What would Jesus do?  Would he punish the downtrodden, send little children into the urban wilderness without guidance and support?  No, he would love them, seek to help them, heal the sick, and comfort those who are distressed.  Some people preach about their faith in Jesus and then act in opposite ways to his teachings. How can this be a practice of good Christianity, or an attempt to follow the Golden Rule?