The world we’re leaving my granddaughter

23 10 2018

handsAnyone who knows me, or who reads these blogs regularly, knows that I have an extremely liberal theology and a very progressive worldview.  While many try to avoid those kinds of  ‘labels’, I don’t!  Liberals are always seeking to embrace new and different concepts and ideas, while progressives work hard to further society’s continual growth and development.  And I like all of that!  I don’t in any way resent preserving tradition, or conserving the best of that which used to be; but I don’t want to ever limit ‘what might be’ by ‘what was’!  I certainly don’t want to live in a world that so worships history, that we become blind to the sins of our past.

Unfortunately, many today are openly trampling on liberal and progressive causes, creating situations that are deeply disturbing.  People’s failure to acknowledge and seek reparations for America’s sins –nativism, colorism, and homophobia — sadden and anger me.  Extremist theologies, whether Islamic OR CHRISTIAN, disturb my soul and unsettle my spirit.  And I am often frightened by the ignorance of so many, as well as the fear of knowledge and education that appears to permeate certain segments of our society.  Incivility, “alternative” truths, name-calling, and the bold and selfish pursuit of wealth and power are shaking the foundations of my world.  But what concerns me most of all today, is this country’s treatment of women and girls.   And this concerns me not so much because of my theological or political perspectives, but because I am a new grandfather, to my first granddaughter.

Like so many national evils, our country’s attitudes and behavior towards those who identify as female are deeply disconcerting.  As is the case with most societal sin, misogyny is so embedded in fabric of America that most don’t even know it’s there.  Like the thread used in one of my wife’s carefully stitched quilts, people are blind to it’s presence.  It’s patterns are clear to all who take the time to look; but too often, too many, remain too unaware.

President Trump’s treatment of women throughout his life reveals a very dark side of American culture, a side that at times looks as though it may be disappearing, but not without a fight.  His language remains offensive and demeaning; and the attitude of the Republican party that he is recreating still appears most comfortable with women who choose parenthood at the expense of all else.  Rooted in a theologically naive reading of the Bible and a sociologically primitive understanding of human nature, roles for those who identify as male or female remain rigidly defined.  Equality and equity aside, they refuse to accept a man’s ability to find fulfillment and joy in the tasks of fatherhood and homemaking, while at the same time refusing to acknowledge the need of many woman to find purpose and meaning that transcend hearth and home.

Sadly, as a result of one of the few trickle-down theories that actually works, society is left condoning a way of treating girls and women that should have been erased generations ago.  And not listening to or believing their voices when they find the courage to name the various forms of sexual abuse and violence against them, is one of the most tragic symptoms of such treatment.  It is nothing less than shameful.

Needless to say I’m scared!  I’m scared for my granddaughter in ways that I will likely never be for a grandson.  Contrary to what some may think, the chances of a boy being falsely charged with some kind of sexual assault is no where near as great as his being called out for a real offense.  And in those instances, female voices should never be paternally dismissed or patronizingly silenced.  When she behaves courageously, her motives should never be questioned, and certainly not by old white men with the sole agenda of maintaining their privilege!

I want my granddaughter to be valued and honored for her skills, gifts, talents, and abilities; and if should she ever be put in position to speak truth to power, I want her to be believed.  I want her to have teachers who will encouraged her to pursue STEM, like her grandmothers.  I want her to be inspired to follow the example of the strong women in her life — her mother, aunts, and great-grandmothers.  I want her to have the courage to stand up to those who would squelch her dreams, and to resist any and all who would put limits on her aspirations. But most of all I want her voice to heard. I want her to speak boldly, lovingly, knowledgeably, and passionately; and I want her words to be respected.

What I don’t want, is this.  I don’t want her to be objectified, and have her value measured by her looks. I don’t want her to be penalized if she chooses to have children in addition to a career, punished if she chooses to she take maternity leave or because she may need to balance her work life with her home life.  I don’t want her to have to put up with aggressive men who behave like adolescent boys in a locker room. And I never want her to have to put on a ‘pussy hat’ in order to resist a President, an administration, and a culture that continue to devalue and diminish her place in society.

I’m concerned about the world we are leaving my granddaughter. Change needs to come, and my granddaughter’s future rests in our hands. So help me. Please, help me. Let’s truly BE the change we long to see . . . if not for her sake, then for our own.


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