Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Better Future for All...He, She, It, They

Bob Herbert really hit it today in "Politics and Misogyny" (New York Times).

"Sexism in its myriad destructive forms permeates nearly every aspect of American life. For many men, it’s the true national pastime, much bigger than baseball or football. Little attention is being paid to the toll that misogyny takes on society in general, and women and girls in particular."
That's the crux; there seems to be two societies in the United States (and globally, perhaps). One respects both/all genders and acknowledges their rights as individuals to contribute to the whole. The other is hierarchical--one winner, many losers.

In many Native American tribes chiefs were chosen by the elder women; a man could lead only if he treated women and children with respect--not violence. In this paradigm all are winners.

We have a conscious choice to make--to stand up for our sons and daughters. We must teach our sons to respect their sisters and all people and teach our daughters to respect their brothers and all people. And first, to respect themselves. Sadly, those who dehumanize other people are themselves dehumanized.

It's the whole of society that suffers when violence and inequity are tolerated. Starting at the personal level--I and I/thou--what do we want the future to look like? In the end we will have lived good lives by celebrating and protecting one another instead of exploiting the other.

Herbert, perhaps thinking of his female family members, doesn't see it as an us versus them issue. We can all move forward together by doing what is right, using our voices and our votes. In the end that path is a sacred one, chanting

"Justice! Justice, you shall pursue!"