Sunday, July 15, 2012

Patriarchal culture as Bully

Writing about the Rise of the Wounded Feminine is a humbling task. No thought, no feeling comes without history and context. So many women--and men-- have contributed over thousands of years to keep the feminine principle alive, nourishing it back into the collective consciousness, and conscience.

It is painful to witness our cultural, collective amnesia how the patriarchy deflects us from our victories of this consciousness. It is more painful to witness the amnesia of the political women who  collude and become daughters of the patriarchy, while standing on the shoulders of the women who brought them their freedom. Michele Bachman  and Sarah Palin and others would never have been able to vote let alone run for office  had it  not been for the suffragettes in the early part of the 20th century.  These were  the heroines who risked their lives to win the vote for women. They were persecuted, prosecuted, jailed, brutalized. When they went on hunger strikes in jail they were violently force fed--tubes jammed down their throats.

Shame on any of us for forgetting how much they suffered for the sake of justice and the right to vote.

Now the patriarchy is pushing back again by legislating voter ID laws--a political and powers-that-be move to thwart the voting rights of the disenfranchised -- the minorities, the poor, the elderly. Their ploy this time affects both women and men (as did  the laws in the south that prevented African Americans from voting), and it is at its root about domination and control.

This is patriarchy-tainted  politics-- any means to an end, and neither the means nor the end is just. In fact, this is bullying. It is dominance of power stifling the voices of those subordinated  and disenfranchised.

We are shocked and appalled---and rightly so-- that  children on a school bus taunt and bully  an older woman bus monitor (Karen Klein in Greece,NY, June, 2012). Yet, for as terrible as that event was, why are we surprised at children being bullies when bullying is institutionalized in the culture, all the way from the family level, to the societal, and political level?

It is bullying of the least powerful when the powers-that-be make it exceedingly difficult and sometimes impossible to  carry out the right to vote.

Bullying is about intimidation, dominance, violence or the threat of violence. Those school kids on the bus were acting out what is in the patriarchal air we breathe. They at least are still children and we can hope they can mature and "breathe better air." But what of the adults that can't breathe any other but the pollution of patriarchy?

The powers-that -be "euphemize" bullying (and euthanize the vote!) with words about protecting us from fraud; this is all about voting rights, they say! Perhaps these folks have breathed the patriarchal pollution so long they have begun to believe their lies, truth be told..

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