Activist/Feminist Wednesday: What Happened to Real Choices?
Posted June 19, 2013on:
They say traveling broadens the mind. Well, it also broadens your experiences with your fellow human beings. This week I was on the plane, standing in the aisle waiting to disembark, and there was about .0003 millimeters of space between me and the woman behind me. Undeterred by physics, this lady decided to get her enormous “carry-on” bag down from the bin directly above me. In the process, the bag smacked me lightly on the shoulder. She apologized, like the decent person she was. But then, she decided to maneuver her second bag from under the seat to its desired post atop her roller bag. In the process, she smacked me on the ass.
At this point, she apologized again, saying “I’m sorry, I keep hitting you.”
“Yes, you do,” I responded somewhat snottily. (I had gotten up at 4:15 am, after all.)
“Well, I don’t know how I can avoid it. There’s not enough room,” she replied, also somewhat snottily. (I don’t care when she got up, I was the injured party here.)
It took every bit of restraint I possess not to say, “Well, how about waiting UNTIL THERE’S ROOM FOR YOUR F*CKING BAG!” Was that not a choice that would have a) cost her nothing but a few seconds and b) prevented the blows both to my body and my worn-out psyche?
I swear, this is sometimes what I think is wrong with this country and how we treat each other – especially how we treat our women.
It’s almost like we are so stuck in our old, OLD paradigms that we truly cannot see another choice. The woman on the plane, for example, was so focused on getting her bag down that the thought of waiting (a short delay that would cost her nothing) was not even an option. What has happened to us? We used to be an ingenious people. We used to come up with inventions that shook the world (the light bulb – literally now the symbol for a creative idea), and theories that changed how we thought of reality (“E=mc2″comes to mind). What are we doing now? We’re trying to come up with ways to deal with problems we don’t have, like the “Social Security Crisis” and the “millions of unborn babies killed every second by murdering abortionist wimminz,” but refuse to address the real ones that are out there. Hunger. Poverty. Lack of education. Gun violence. Lack of medical care. Overpopulation. Climate change. An unsustainable energy policy. An unsustainable military-industrial complex that drives us to constant war. We do NOTHING about these. All people seem to do is shrug their shoulders, pretend these problems are unsolvable, and at best, do half-assed nonsense like Obamacare. (At worst, they do harmful, horrible sh*t like Austerity.)
I am pro-choice as a woman, and I am pro-choice as an American as well. Yet I can’t help feeling that without creative and innovative thinking, what choices do we really have? How free is our freedom? I turn up my nose at Libertarians, not just because their worldview is so patently ridiculous, but also because they claim to want liberty, but yet, propose a system that would guarantee them the exact opposite: without government regulation, corporate monopolies and more of the same issues we keep seeing today are guaranteed. We know, because we’ve tried it before…and it led to the Great Depression. Do we really want to revisit those days? I mean, I know it was called “Great” and all, but it was also called “Depression” for a reason.
If we’re going to take a fresh look at the problems we need to solve, I truly think three things need to happen:
1) Overturn Citizens United. Of course. Take money out of politics and we’ll get better politicians – and better choices between politicians. Perhaps even (gasp) third, fourth and fifth parties!
2) Pay attention to how other countries have solved these problems, then see if we think anything they have done could possibly apply to us. I was talking to my dad about health care, and you know, Europe and Canada have solutions we could adopt if we would just open our minds a bit.
3) MORE WOMEN! Yes, really. there are documented differences in the ways women think and lead, compared to the ways men do these things. We need the fresh perspective and creative thinking that outsiders (sad to say, yes, we are still outsiders) bring to a problem.
Is this a wish list that can never happen? Maybe. But I’d sure like to think we still have the choice to make it a reality.
This is an open thread.
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