Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Power, Patriarchy, and the Big P

I have to laugh with delight when I see six thousand years of rule by men brought closer to its end by the men themselves.

Gender politics--you've gotta love it.

Today's pillars of patriarchy are falling not so much because women are gaining political power but by their own hand--or other organ. 

Ex-General Petraeus and soon-to-be ex-General John Allen ascended to power in part because they possessed that all-important prerequisite--a penis.

Now they are falling from power because of that same little waggle.

The Roman Catholic Church, which holds out against women becoming priests, has lost tremendous amounts of prestige and money because of the child sexual abuse scandal.  Again, prerequisite to priesthood: a penis.  Downfall?  Same organ.

Petraeus and Allen will go down in history as joining the ranks of Samson (who literally fell for Delilah) and Holofernes, who was beheaded by Judith after getting drunk with her (pick up a Catholic Bible and look at the Book of Judith). 

Hoist by their own petard, so to speak.

Gerda Lerner chronicles the rise of male rule in her book The Creation of Patriarchy (Oxford, 1986).  This happened about the same time as the rise of cities and urban culture, which brought wealth and poverty, rulers and slavery, and other hallmarks of civilization. 

In the last one hundred years, women have been gaining a little ground.  We have the right to vote, a few presidents and premiers and members of parliaments and senates around the world.  We run some businesses, we are taking back God from the men in our churches, temples, and mosques.

But men themselves are ceding power at a much faster rate than we can win it through the ballot box.

It's like global warming: when the glaciers start to melt, the rate of climate change increases dramatically.

When the men who have commanded our respect and our armies start to fall--by their own foolishness--we will never have the same awe for those who replace them. 
We will learn that they are indeed frail humans like the man who proclaimed himself Wizard of Oz.

We will no longer give them the same tremendous power to wage war, drop bombs, launch drones, and kill  in the name of the USA. 

We will take back our nation.  We will demand that our leaders act with more humility on the world stage, and we will move toward making sure that at least half of those leaders are women..

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