How to Radicalize a Moderate Woman

All week it’s felt like “Today in Pecker News”. A Supreme Court nominee talks about his virginal pecker. A sitting president’s pecker is described in a porn star’s tell-all book. A once-beloved sitcom star’s pecker finally gets jail time. Disgraced peckers are finding their way back to stages and directing gigs and political appointments. And we get to hear and read all about it. It’s exhausting and demoralizing, as if peckers think they run the world.

canstockphoto2216511I don’t write much about my feminist views or experiences as a woman. There are plenty of tales to be told and women are telling them. My experiences have been mild by comparison, so I’ve chosen to do what many people need to do – listen. That a second man with dubious character will be appointed to the Supreme Court in my voting lifetime angers me, though. The world moves forward without us, as old corrosive men dig their peckers in to hold progress back and keep their avarice and entitlement unchecked. What happens when power is not a reflection of the people’s will?

The consequences for speaking up and reporting sexual crimes are so extreme and the incidents of false reporting are so low, that as a human being, I believe the women who are speaking. It’s not bias – it’s common sense. I also believe the men who have come forward to say that Catholic priests abused them. Because I believe power and money and secrecy corrupts.

canstockphoto2002566These days I feel a slow-burning rage. Yes, it’s all well and good to settle down, to not be so reactive to every political pronouncement said by people well past their sell-by date. And that date has less to do with age than mental acuity, some level of self-awareness, some level of empathy for other humans. Their neural pathways are as hardened as their arteries – they don’t know how to think or be any other way. I try to imagine what is going on in some of these people’s heads. They must be so completely insulated from the consequences of their actions that they just do whatever the hell they want – whatever their little club wants them to do. Useless peckers.

What do you do with this rage? At this point, I need to shut off the news. The Republicans are determined to put this man on the Supreme Court, no matter what anyone says. It is likely he will be appointed. I have no say in the matter. I already saw the Anita Hill hearings. I don’t need to see another one of those creepy circuses.

I’m voting and encouraging others to vote. I wrote 150 postcards on behalf of the ACLU to latent voters. I joined and actively serve in my local chapter of the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization focused on voting rights. I’ve donated to the NAACP, the ACLU, the Sierra Club, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. I’ve written, called, and emailed my representatives and those outside my state. I’ve taught my daughter critical thinking skills and about her rights and expectations as a human being. I have done what any citizen can do within the confines of the law.

canstockphoto57591012Despite all this, I have a sinking feeling. Congress was too busy worrying about somebody’s pecker business to pass any legislation to protect our elections. They were too busy protecting another white guy to take care of the business of our nation. The contempt I feel for them is corrosive. Whatever respect I felt for their offices, their roles has evaporated. Civility, respect, courage, ethics, morals – these things are mocked on a daily basis by people who call themselves patriots and “real” Americans.

I’ve always tried to be thoughtful, think critically, not allow my anger or my self-righteousness to get the best of me. But that is the luxury of a bystander. And the time for that has passed.

Where I’ve Been

Where I was once lackadaisical, I am fierce.

Where I shrugged my shoulders, I now set my chin.

Where I was generous, I set boundaries.

Where once politeness seemed imperative, integrity takes its place.

Where I laughed a little in discomfort, I now roar in dismay.

Where I was embarrassed by tenderness, I steel myself in intentional kindness.

Where I showed up to help, I now grab the reins.

Where once I pursed my lips at your unkindness, I now teach you.

Where I tolerated your gaze and judgment, I now see you are wantincanstockphoto15586920g of character.

Where I stood along the sidelines, I now stand up front.

Where I stayed silent, I now speak up.

Where once I stepped back to be measured in my thoughts, I now understand that all sides do not merit equal time.

You thought you could rely on my manners, my gentility, my introversion, my comfort level, your ideas of obsequious femininity.

That you could keep doing what you were doing and I would stay where I had stayed.

But I have seen the future in the eyes of my daughter. And it cannot be you.

26 Comments on “How to Radicalize a Moderate Woman

    • I just feel this constant rage burbling beneath the surface while simultaneously recognizing that my rage is as impotent as many of our congressional representatives. My only goal these days is to stay focused on conducting myself with integrity and not supporting systems or people who don’t have it. I feel like we’re being gaslighted as a nation, but specifically as women.

      It’s all a façade. Power still has power and we’re just birds flapping desperately against the glass trying to get in. So my happy thought is that many of these bastards will be dead in the next decade or so. I am determined to stay alive and kicking so I can watch them drop like flies.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. WOW! That is one of the most powerful pieces of writing I have seen in a long time. Please send this in to the NY Times Letters to the Editor. And to Jake Tapper or Anderson Cooper at CNN. It’s enough already with the pundits and politicians. I think everyone needs to hear from Real people, voters, Americans who care, who care enough to do something. I really believe you will inspire people.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This gave me goosebumps Michelle. I feel your rage. May it fuel you and many more to bring about the changes needed so badly. I don’t live under your government but I have my own rage about old white men and their peckers. It is enough!
    Alison

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve just hit the wall with trying to be rational and measured. I’m not sure that’s even possible anymore. While this was a bit of a rant, I am also reading extensively on ethics and morals. I honestly think we’ve lost our way and that the public discourse is leading us far away from any idea of integrity. Fortunately, there are a great many resources and reminders of how to stay the course. I feel that, above all, is what I need to hew to, but occasionally, I need to release the buildup of pressure in my head!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I’m a man and an active Democrat. Since I’m retired I have been able to spend a lot of time volunteering for a woman running for a local office. I’ve written a lot of postcards (handwritten political postcards are this year’s IN thing) and now I’m driving around putting up signs. (A lot of signs.) The day after the election (and the day after that and maybe more) I will have to drive around and take them all down, win or lose. I personally do not like the fact that Donald Trump is in a position to appoint Supreme Court justices. I voted for Hillary Clinton, because I knew it was important.

    Women have a right to report crimes against them. Two sticking points here: First, nobody has an automatic, absolute right to have any particular statement believed by everyone else. Second, humans seem hard-wired to wonder about motivation. When the timing and manner of an allegation suggest the possibility that the allegation might be being wielded as a weapon of assassination, there is a problem. The problem is this: How to respect the rights of the accuser and also the accused?

    I do not have the wisdom to provide an answer to that question.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Women have historically never been believed or taken seriously, so it is not just a matter of rights, it is a matter of culture. Kavanaugh was a weak nominee from the get-go, between his hinky finances and the way the Republicans acted around his documentation. They politicized the Supreme Court nominee process, by holding up one candidate for months in order to rush through a questionable one.

      Politics aside, this all stinks to high heaven. It stinks of money and entitlement and secret meetings and bad faith judgments. This is a judge who will likely remain through most of my life and yours. The process needs to be transparent, but the president and Fox news and Republicans have muddied the waters. They make him look more guilty than any of the women who have stepped forward, with their garbled statements, artificial deadlines, and rush to get this guy his predestined position. As I say, John, it all stinks.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. So well-written, Michelle. Thank you for laying it all out. I find myself so angry these days that it seems impossible to articulate. (PS – I’ve been following your blog since the 2016 election fiasco at the recommendation of my friend, Cathy Cheng. Very glad that she pointed me here.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lisa – and thanks for following. I hate to go down this road, because so many people have articulated their anger better than I. Maybe hate is the wrong word – it’s more that I resent being so compelled by anger to write posts like this. I had a conversation with my teenage daughter this morning. She asked if Kavanaugh would be confirmed. I had to say “probably”. It’s just depressing. Still, there is hope to be found in the fact that the smoky backrooms of politics and power have been exposed for the rancid holes that they are. Awareness is always the first step to solving the problem.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Intelligent anger is vitalizing. Thanks, once again, for sharing yours. I doubt there is one post-pubescent female in this country who has not been exposed to some sort of unwanted sexual attention from a male — and too many girls have certainly experienced the same. Misogyny is the most deeply rooted and persistent of all biases in this country, and yet is implicitly accepted if not actively protected. I’ve developed a cautious hope that Kavanaugh will not prevail, in which case we can claim some real progress: Even sexual assault that many men would privately characterize as normal (male) youthful discretion is no longer acceptable, let alone the harassing behavior of a grown man (Thomas).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not optimistic at this point, about this nomination. That being said, I am picking myself up, dusting myself off, and getting back into the fight, angrier and more determined than ever. If they wanted nuance to leave the building, it has. These are bad people that engineered this and they should be routed and mocked and defeated at every juncture.

      I am optimistic when I talk with other women, though. When 51% of the population finally realizes its true collective power, change is going to pulverize these walking crypt keepers.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I woke this morning in The Netherlands to your very well written and appropriate characterization of the current situation.
    Sadly I laughed as I read as it hit close to home as I was a leader who had witnessed such behavior towards women and in many cases was also the one attacked over my 20 years in the military.

    Once I was done with the penis club I thought I would feel free from harassment, degrading remarks, sexual assaults.

    Only to find it was so much of our fabric.

    A strong woman is even more of a target.

    That has to change!!! I am flying home to MN to make sure my vote is counted and to help where I can to make sure this election turns the tide.

    As I watched the testimony this afternoon it made me mad! As a woman, as a veteran, as a citizen as this crap is played out on the world stage.

    Thanks for for writing a great piece! I hope it is picked up and published on a national stage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so tired of this nonsense, but my hope is that midterm elections take place and the full import of this situation shows up in the voting stats. Glad you’ll be here to help that happen! I didn’t spend much time thinking about feminist issues early on, because I was so focused on doing. I think that’s what it’s going to take this time – less ideology and more pragmatism. We just need to do what needs to be done.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Wow- I have seen it bad at this level before but this is a whole new level of crazy bad! I was so proud that our Senator voted no and also supported her very upset Republican Senator Flash but the Republicans must know they have the votes in the floor otherwise they wouldn’t have passed it out of committee with Senator Flash putting his statement before the record.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Well said, Michelle, thank you! I share that sense of slow-burning rage, though it burns a bit faster and hotter each day. What we’ve seen in recent days goes beyond politics and labels like “conservative” or “liberal.” We are seeing exactly how a large group of men in power views women: as unimportant, expendable, deserving of mistreatment, and even disposable. And we see what they think of truth: unimportant, expendable, deserving of mistreatment, and even disposable. This is a watershed moment in our nation’s history. If we don’t get it right, that rage will take fire. There’s plenty to fuel it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose the up side to all this, is that our current government is not a reflection of the majority of the country. It’s a problem, but it tells me this is a desperate time for people who can’t imagine a better future, who are so mired in nostalgic visions of the past that they cling to power at all expense to their integrity. I can’t believe they will win out in the end. Regardless of that, Donna, your book couldn’t be more perfectly timed!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I stand in that slow-burning rage with you, Michelle. I was so angry watching this play out today. I kept thinking about Anita Hill. I was much younger watching her go through everything that she did, but I remember being angry then, too. Maybe I’ve been angry a long time. When my daughters became teenagers I began fighting the patriarchy. Maybe I should’ve started earlier.
    Unfortunately, I think you are right about him being appointed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Much like this presidency, the nomination process has been turned into a reality show. I remember watching the Hill hearings as well. It’s funny, I was never angry on my own behalf, but when I think about the world my daughter is growing up in, it sets off fireworks in my head. It’s hard sometimes not to let that anger become toxic (this week it feels downright corrosive). Still, unrequited anger is bad for our overall health and I want to live long enough to see every one of these people lambasted in history books and memoirs. I suppose that might not be healthy either!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Fearless Friday: When Power Fails, Rise Up | The Green Study

  10. Jeff Flake made a stand and, at the very least, this process will be slowed as a result. Do Republicans have to be from Arizona to have integrity? It would seem so. The FBI investigation is underway, and that’s a good thing. Will it be enough? It depends on the level of independence they are given and the amount of evidence that can be accumulated in the time allotted. Do I think it’s possible that Kavanaugh is not guilty of being scum? Sure. But, as you pointed out, the likelihood is by far that these women tell the truth. In the end, someone is most certainly lying.
    If his nomination resumes, and he is awarded the seat, is that the be-all? Maybe. But maybe, too, a blue wave will hit and the investigation will resume. The word “impeachment” is heard an awful lot these days.
    The right thing for a person of principle to do, in the highest office in the land, is to withdraw this broken nomination and start over. The very best thing for a person of principle to do, in the highest office in the land, is to withdraw this nomination and nominate the man who was robbed of his opportunity two years ago … let the Merrick Garland case be heard. Now that would be integrity.
    It won’t happen. We have, in the highest office in the land, a person of neither principle nor integrity. And that is why the word “impeachment” is heard so so often these days.
    It’s time to ask ourselves a question, no matter whose side we’re on: is this a person of principle and integrity, who wants this office? If no, get them out. I respect a conservative of integrity and principle – like the Arizonians mentioned – far more than a liberal of questionable character. And vice versa.
    We need to change our internal litmus test, as a nation, or watch this nation fall.
    Thank you, Michelle, for your outrage and your words. Keep up the fight. ✊

    Liked by 2 people

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