Saturday, October 15, 2016

Women, Worth, and the Supreme Court

The other day, I had an interesting conversation with my husband before he went to work -- which I would like to try to relay without throwing him under the bus. He'd been listening to NPR the day before, and the show had had a woman on as a guest -- who I will guess skews a bit into the realm of what I call militant feminism. She'd been talking about an experience she'd had, walking to the subway, where a man had been following her (whether that was because he was or just because he needed to go to the subway too) and the way that put her on edge.

Or at least that's my less-militant analysis of what she'd said...  My sense was that she'd used a lot more threatening language to describe the situation, and I could tell that my husband was skeptical of her experience.

But, while I wouldn't have used to same terminology that she did, I also understood her and we had an interesting conversation about what it can be like to be a woman in our culture.

That you ARE hyper-aware of your surroundings and if a man is following you -- not because you think all men are animals, but because you know that some are. And because you can't know which is which just by looking at them, you have to be a little on edge.

That I'm thinking about it as I walk to my car at night.
That I'm thinking about it if I'm running in the dark or somewhere not-well-populated.
That I'm calculating how much energy I need to save for if an extra burst of speed is necessary.
That if I pass a man going the other way, I check over my shoulder a few times to make sure he's still gone.

After he went on his way to work, I was left with my own thoughts. I began thinking of all the times I've experienced something that was unsavory but that I just accepted as an unfortunate cost of being a woman in our world.

Like the time I went to a country music concert and, in between sets, got into a seemingly friendly-but-innocent conversation with a guy about the stadium's sound quality. He asked me out... I told him I was married and kindly turned him down.  And after I'd moved my seat to somewhere in the stadium that had better sound quality, he took that conversation as carte-blanche to slap me on the ass every time he came down the stadium stairs. And how, even though it made me angry, I made myself laugh it off.  Because... I don't know...  Because it's what happens?

I began to understand in that moment why I have been so angry.

Because I have been angry. Uncharacteristically angry.

I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus. I believe in His love and, over time, I came to believe the value He places on ... well, on each and every one of us.

It was with mild annoyance that I viewed the Christian leaders initially come forward to push for Donald Trump's presidency. I've never been much for revering those in national Christian leadership -- I find it can be a fine line between respect and idolatry- so what they do or say doesn't often bother or thrill me either way. But I understand that they are often the face of how other people see who I say that I am.

It wasn't until the Access Hollywood tape and the ensuing/ongoing sexual harassment brouhaha that I started to get angry. I couldn't tell you how much of all that is or isn't true. Is it possible that Trump is telling the truth and every single one of those women is making it up?  Yeah. Do I believe that EVERY single one is making it up?  No... but I can admit that I could be wrong.

But what I do believe is that the attitude and beliefs he displayed in that AH video are real. And I don't think that they were in the past. I think that they are still very very much a part of his psyche and who he is.

So when, in the aftermath, I saw the same Christian leaders all giving the same general statement.... "Of course we don't condone the words he said, but Supreme Court."

But Supreme Court.
But Supreme Court
But Supreme Court.

It made me angry.  Really angry and disappointed and infuriated.

And it wasn't until I'd thought through everything after that conversation with my husband that I began to understand why.

We're worth more than a seat on the Supreme Court. I am worth more. And every woman I know is worth more. And it infuriates me that upstanding men who I should be able to trust to have my back are willing to sell me for a seat on the Bench.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

TT: The Night We Killed One




"Seven billion people in the world and you're overreacting because we killed one?"

"But --!"

"Seven. Billion. People. Quit complaining and drink your smoothie.  Geez."

Dad had always said to do whatever my brother told me. Ben knew best. Ben always knew best. I mean, didn't he?  So I closed my eyes and stepped over the corpse.

I couldn't call it a man anymore. Somehow, it made what had happened easier to accept. Stepping over a corpse was easier if you stopped thinking of it as a person.

Killing one was easier, too.

Ben stuck his hands in his pockets and whistled as he sauntered down the street. When I was younger, it would have been flooded with the yellow light of the streetlights. But, I wasn't younger and the streetlights were long gone - picked off for steel or glass or whatever anyone was buying that year. All we had was moonlight anymore.

I thought I liked it better.

Tossing my cup into a trashbin no one bothered with anymore, I ran to catch up with him. "Ben --!"

"I told you, I don't want to hear your snivelling." He'd already stopped thinking about it.

"But, Ben-- you forgot your knife."

Ben glanced at me, but his eyes were cold. "No, I didn't. You did. Go back and get it."

Do what your brother says. Do what your brother says.

There was no use in refusing. There never was.  I walked slowly back.

The man -- I shook my head -- The corpse --  still sat crumpled by the car. Of course it did. Where was it going to go? My feet felt heavier the closer I came until they felt like I could barely lift them anymore.

It wore a green jacket... the kind of green that the military used to wear.. and his hair flopped over one eye. If I let myself think of him as man, I could imagine him constantly running his hand through his hair to push it out of the way. But... he wasn't a man. He was a corpse.

He was a corpse. Because of us.

I squatted beside him and wrapped my hand around the hilt of the knife.  It was slimy with his blood, so I used two hands to pull it free. I imagined it sounded like it did when they pulled my tooth as a kid.

"Ah, sweet Jesus." I jumped. The corpse.  It -- he -- winked at me. He winked at me? "Thanks, kid." I looked back toward my brother in panic, but the corpse - man -- put his hand on my shoulder.

"It's best he doesn't know."
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