Skip to main content

Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII

She, Sisyphus

 Sisyphus is the mythological figure doomed by the gods to roll a rock up a hill, only to have it roll back down again and restart the process.

It’s kind of like the women’s movement, isn’t it ?  Women make strides in issues of health, employment, rights, only to have to begin again and roll that rock back up the hill. 

So, March is the month to celebrate women, and we should reflect.

This year, states have enacted abortion laws that span a draconian spectrum, from curtailing legal time for procedures to banning all abortions to criminalizing anyone involved in abortions. These regressive laws have resulted in severe illness, sterility, and births of children into poor and hungry households. We’re not even a year from the June 24, 2022 Dobbs decision, and the impact has been far-reaching and devastating.  Women will die. 

This month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the ERA’s arbitrary deadline was set in stone.  Thus, even though 38 states passed the amendment, the requisite number to make it official, the date was evidently more important to the courts than the content. The amendment is, once again, back to square one.  So even in this month of the woman, females remain second-class citizens, by law.  And we watch the rock roll back down to the bottom of the hill once again. 

But even though the majority white male legislators do everything in their power to keep the majority (women) voters in their place, mothers, wives, sisters, aunts and all other women keep moving forward and rolling that rock back up the hill.  They work, maintain households, feed families, offer comfort to those in need, plan vacations, balance budgets, become scientists, teach children, care for the sick, lead the public, and tackle everything else in a world that always seems to favor males.  And women do it well, while juggling a host of other responsibilities that would daunt any other sex. 

So if you are a woman, keep moving up that hill.  Vote for candidates that want to protect your rights, not limit them.  Take heart from recent demonstrations in Israel and Tbilisi, Georgia, that changed the course of government.  Be loud and be demanding. 

And if you know a woman who has positively impacted your life, thank her.  Help her make the world a better place for all of us by paying attention and using your vote to make a difference. 

After all, men wouldn’t exist without women.  I’m pretty sure that men wouldn’t have survived without them, either.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jane’s Dilemma - Part 1

Our girl Jane just finished a four-year degree program, graduating with honors in front of beaming parents who proudly watched their only daughter receive her diploma.  Unfortunately, the day after graduation, Jane discovered that all of her fears were right and she was, indeed, pregnant. Her boyfriend of the past several months had accepted a job on the other side of the country. He shouted promises that they’d stay in touch over his shoulder as he ran to catch his flight. Jane was pretty sure they wouldn’t, just like she was pretty sure her parents wouldn’t continue beaming if she told them the news. Jane looked at the three letters of interest from companies she longed to work for, lined in a row on her desk. They had made her jubilant about her future just a week ago, before she began to suspect the truth. She wondered how much interest any of these potential employers would garner if she arrived, breathless with enthusiasm and obviously pregnant. Jane twirled a wrinkled, white car

Roar Like McMorrow

 Just over a year ago this happened: Michigan Senator Mallory McMorrow gave a powerful speech that went viral and was an inspiration for many progressives including myself. At that time, I had just retired as a health care provider for under-served members of our community and I knew I needed to get involved.  This speech kicked my rear end into gear so I joined the Staunton Democratic Committee. So what was so special about her speech ? There have been many individuals and communities in history that have stood up, spoke out, pushed back and bent but did not break.  This speech and her message of tolerance and caring for others while exposing and pushing back against the hatred and hypocrisy of others hit me at just the right time.  I had never heard of Mallory McMorrow but I will never forget that transformative moment.    All of us have had those moments where something happens to shift our thinking, pushes us into action and makes us a better person.  Also, we have all been the sou

Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter?  Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too.  At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.  Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system.  That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.   Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .  Or so we thought.  We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church.  A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to:  remember Henry VIII