General John Kelly, born in 1950
Today when I heard General John Kelly speaking earnestly about the loss of his son Robert in 2010 in Afghanistan, I sat down to watch.
But suddenly I couldn't believe my ears:
I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well.
Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. But I just thought — the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.
(Thank you to the New York Times for printing the transcript of Kelly's words.)
Gen. John Kelly, chief of staff for Donald Trump, was telling me that in the 1950s and 1960s, "women were sacred."
What does that mean? They weren't raped or sexually harrassed? They were respected in some abstract way, though they couldn't get into law school or medical school?
When Sandra Day O'Connor graduated from Stanford Law school:
"at least forty law firms refused to interview her for a position as an attorney because she was a woman. She eventually found employment as a deputy county attorney in San Mateo, California after she offered to work for no salary and without an office, sharing space with a secretary." (Wikipedia)
I'm two years older than Kelly. I too lived through those years when my mother couldn't buy a carpet for the house because she didn't have my father's signature.
What kind of "great honor" is it when you can't get a job? When you can't get the same pay for your job as a man doing that job?
What Kelly meant was, "In the good ol' days, we kept women on a pedestal and out of public life."
I don't want to be "sacred." I want to be equal.
Next: what does he mean by "recent cases"? Last week's news of sexual harrassment and rape by Harvey Weinstein? And by his boss, Donald Trump? If General Kelly cares about treating women with "great honor," why did he support Donald and choose to work for him?
Why does he think the "dignity of life" is gone? Because of the shooting in Las Vegas? Or because abortion is legal? 99% of Americans live with dignity and consider human life sacred--not to mention animal life and forests and other forms of life. To jump from shootings or abortions to the idea that "the dignity of life" is completely gone--that's not rational. It's an emotional rant.
And "Religion--that seems to be gone as well"???
Psychiatrists call that statement catastrophizing. Logicians call it jumping from a few facts to an unbelievably broad conclusion.
All Americans who went to church last Sunday, who pray for their nation and their leaders, must have been surprised to hear that religion is gone. I don't believe that for one second. I know. I was sitting in a pew of the First Church of the Nazarene, Pasadena, listening to a wonderful sermon by a woman, Pastor Tara Beth Leach.
You know, I had been starting to like General Kelly. He and General H. R. McMaster and General James Mattis seem to be protecting us from this deranged president.
But today I am reminded that Kelly is out of touch with the real world. He thinks women are worse off now than in the 1950s. He thinks life is not respected. He thinks religion is "gone."
I can only conclude that we need to get this whole crowd of cultural dinosaurs and disrespecters of women out of the White House as soon as possible.