27 Years Later
If anyone had told me that during Carly’s lifetime (27 years so far) we would have remained in the same place as far as accusing the victim in a Supreme Court Hearing, I would have said no way. I expected people would have grown to be smarter and more compassionate than that. This past week proved me wrong. Perhaps it isn't a lacking in intelligence or compassion, perhaps it is the strong stubborn will of patriarchy and those who refuse to let it pass into past.
As I watched the Ford/Kavanaugh hearings unfold I was stunned at the patriotic and patriarchal arrogance, the inability of Mr. Kavanaugh to answer a direct question, and the outright rude behavior of him as he interviewed for the Supreme Court Justice job position. I was also amazed by Dr. Ford’s compelling grace and courage as she relived her horrific experience as an teenaged girl.
At the end of this live reality TV event, I sat disheartened. As I sit here today, I am still sorting out all the reasons this event hit me so hard. So far in my sorting I have reflected on the following: where our country might have alternately evolved in Carly’s lifetime, the fact that Anita Hill’s accuser got away with it, the growing and dangerous enragement of the patriarchy, and the lackluster apathy of the majority to say, “Enough already!” I am stumped.
Twenty-seven years ago I was 31. I was a somewhat selfish, entitled, and very privileged white woman. I’d bought the pile of shit (American Dream) that said what Mark and I accomplished over the course of our short lives was all thanks to our own hard work. Through my role in business development for small disadvantaged businesses and affirmative action in my industry, I believed everything would get better.
This is not to say I didn't understand our history and the deep oppression and plight of our indigenous populations and communities of color. I did consider myself quite aware of our long history of colonialism, racism, and the destruction of our environment.
However, I failed to think about my complicity in consumption and lack of action as a pass to the white privileged patriarchy. I believed women and communities of color were equal and that gross abuses would diminish as we evolved. I didn’t then realize how much purpose and profit there was in abuse and poverty.
Mark and I have been together for 36 years. In our time together we have had many heated conversations about white male privilege and its effects on the good of the whole. In our earlier years it was harder for Mark to see the entirety of the entitlement picture. That said, Mark has always been sensitive, kind, and open to sorting out what I am seeing and where I am coming from. It is one of his greatest gifts to me.
What was and continues to be difficult for me is coming to terms with how my personal understandings and standards cannot be assumed for the majority of powerful decision makers. In that disconnect I feel misrepresented as a citizen of this nation.
It is easy to become disillusioned and disheartened, but we we must remember we are still the numerical majority. As Mark said during my black mood after the hearings, “The patriarchy will not concede without a huge fight.” In my mind’s eye I saw a drowning group of stubborn-willed, white men drowning as they held tightly onto the ankles of the rest of us. We must now kick the patriarchy off with all of our might. If we don’t we will surely drown in a sea of blood.
Are you still invested in patriarchal systems for your retirement? Are you still voting for democratic or republican leaders that continue to prioritize corporate interests over we the people? Do you think power has ever conceded without a fight? Do you have any energy or passion to help with this fight?