Swans Commentary » swans.com April 23, 2007  



Homemade Politics


by Carol Warner Christen





(Swans - April 23, 2007)   In nearly each and every home in the United States live a couple of humans, composed of one of each sex, as a rule. There are other possibilities: one human alone; two male humans; two female humans; a family group of humans of two, three, or even four generations. How do such disparate groups handle equality under all of those circumstances? The larger human groupings into clans, cities, states, and countries have varied methods. Most seem to be patriarchal; that is, male humans have the final say about everything and anything; no one else has free will. This has been going on since the Flood, apparently. Technically, in many places, the governmental form is to be democratic; the reality is not.

Reality appears as brute strength, size, or sex when equality is required rather than fair and equitable democratic domestic arrangements. Most human males are larger and, possibly, stronger than females; but, not always, since the range of attributes within a sex is greater than between the sexes. However, male humans often force decisions and override any physically weaker human females as if force equals a vote for an idea, a right, or a true need.

The most prevalent use of force is for a group of humans of one sex to "gang up" on a weaker group or person of the same sex. Females attack, albeit in different ways, the vulnerable, as do males who will attack males who are smaller, weaker, or more studious. The group empowers itself by overcoming a weak opponent and assures itself of its righteousness and its "strength."

The righteous winners do love to "lord it over" others. Many television shows and movies repeat this behavior without comment by allowing the winners to crow and the losers to look downcast and dejected. This is the cultural norm that gives rise to the idea that some people are better than others; those triumphant over the weak are the "lords and ladies," powers to be reckoned with at one's personal peril. There is no equality in these circumstances because there are no equals. The winning group always has a leader at the top enforcing the group's archaic behavior to the detriment of all the others. In other words, this is how humans "buy and sell" each other out, which leads to class and division.

"Children, stop fighting!" parents and teachers say over and over ad infinitum. What we might better say is, "Children, let's take a vote on the issue." What if we encourage them to use their muscles in activities that create healthy muscle tissue and their brains in decisive thinking and voting? Muscle or might do not make right. Muscle and might create intolerable situations for too many humans day after day.

When a human faced a lion or a tiger, muscle was survival. The lion cares not a whit about discussing his meal with his choice of a meal -- you! When one of us faces another in a forum, rather than in an arena, would we permit muscle to win over reason and sanity? Muscle in an arena shows us that we still are brave and strong; it does not show we are right or wrong.

Perhaps the confusion occurs because we are, in spite of our educations, our toys, our orderly rows of homes and shops, our cars, our earnings, and our savings, still unchanged, un-evolved from the basic need to survive in the jungle, the woods, or the desert. We have not upgraded our psyches, our mental processes, or our education to the actual facts of life on a crowded planet. In fact, monies for schooling are disappearing. Our elected degrade education since two classes have emerged within the United States recently: the elites (self-appointed by money) and everyone else (lacking now even decent means of earning a living).

The self-described upper class has gone global and abandoned its base in the United States except for palatial estates and control of the United States government. That control is money, not democracy. The elites have even stolen the voting process by farming it out to corporations under their tender care.

Very rarely does anyone see elite females. Very rarely does anyone see females in government, police work, the Congress, the Executive Branch, or the courts at the top. We see females in the movies and on television, mostly undressed as much as possible to titillate those who watch and to create more distress in normal females who never seem to measure up. Females shop and shop and shop hoping against hope they will be seen, too. It doesn't work any better than an attack by peers to put hierarchy into place. It is always one hierarchy or another. Hierarchies are notoriously undemocratic. Hierarchies have rulers -- kings or queens -- and sometimes dictators, all self-chosen at the top or by the top.

The number of human females in positions of power is absurdly low; although the Queen of England has one power spot and more money than most everyone else. Other cultures show this, too, with a few exceptions. One or two European countries limit executive compensation to 21% over others, rather than the 882% in the United States. Females are always paid less if the employer can get away with it by threatening to move overseas to get cheaper laborers. Thus, inequality flows across the board, binding females tighter to the status quo rather than expanding the human possibilities of all persons. There is no profit in equality.

Now, with the above as a bare outline of human "equality," a short discussion of the political equality of "We, the People" of the Constitution is another piece of the inequality puzzle. The Constitution defines our form of government, or so we think. Does it, though? The Constitution is not a contract; it can't be one ,since 300,000,000 people haven't signed it, especially anyone living. Only the Founder's signed the document. This beginning, then, created the three branches of government that today, 2007, have devolved into a huge inequality for American humanity by concerning themselves with their own projects and not ours as a People. No law of late has honored even one shred of the Preamble's purposes of government. Each of those purposes is honorable.

We elect some of us to represent the rest of us equally. However, nothing but the next election binds any of them to us or to what we asked of them. Senators and Representatives are solely bound to their party which is political and economical for them. The Congress has removed protections from us, such as the writ of habeas corpus, using their offices to overwrite our rights which are not, actually, their right without a vote of all the People. Try to read the Military Bill put out by Senator John Warner. It was never read by the Congress; they just voted it in; and, it makes you and me "terrorists" subject to a bullet if the president decides you are one without benefit of real facts, i.e., hearsay. What is that? Have you ever had rumors about you spread by those who do such things? Good luck! The president let out a contract to Halliburton to build "detention camps" on American soil again. Do you ever ask why? Immigrants are the ostensible reason with deep, darker reasons for the rest of us who "doth protest too much."

The Executive Branch is also bound to ideologies which are un-American, but never admitted, such as those of the PNAC or Project for the New American Century. Projecting our future as seen by a few ideologues assures that it is their future which is important, not ours. The future of our citizens is an ongoing gestalt with humans, the environment, and reality, not with pious plans to usurp the People in favor of corporations or eternal wars for resources which siphon our taxes to plans and "great games" that benefit none of us, the People.

Each of you who share a household might want to consider why inequality has such deep roots amongst us as a People. For example, how do you determine what is the best thing to do when there is contention? Do you yell, scream, hit, slap, slam doors, divorce, give the silent treatment, punch, or offer some other ineffective method for being heard or for getting your way? The real question is whether there is a mechanism, devised by the equals, which always works, or just the broad-based chaos of choice above? If your family votes, how is that formalized between you? Or, is it hit or miss?

One unused possibility -- one which helps the children immensely -- is to sit down together and write a very short Constitution. Who votes and when? The author and her husband have just such a written constitution; it is barely a few paragraphs saying who we are and why, as a tenancy by the entirety (a form of property ownership) that we have certain rights. One is to call a meeting any time by posting a small notice for the time and place. The second is the format. Our format is: "Be it resolved that ..." and we write a single sentence to describe the problem with a potential resolution that becomes a "law" for us. Underneath is a vote tally: YES___ NO____ and the date. We each get five minutes of debate with a timer. If the vote is two yeses, it passes. If two nos, it fails. If there is one yes and one no, then it is "tabled." A tabled resolution may be rewritten into a better resolution and voted upon or just forever ignored.

The results of this democratic home system are: knowing what we want; knowing what we don't want; and, knowing the difference. A passed item needs no argument to follow; a failed item is out of sight and mind as a bone of contention due to the debate and the vote; a tabled item may require thought to revise but has no validity until one of us presents it better at a later time.

As an example, when we both worked, dinner and dishwashing were a problem. My husband was always exempt, and I did both every day unless we went out. We voted to have one prepare dinner and the other wash dishes each evening, taking turns day by day. Guess what? The dishwasher cheated. The cook had to cook or we would go hungry; the dishwasher didn't feel any pressure because there are always more dishes around for tomorrow's dishwasher to do double.

We went back to the debate; this time the "law" was that the cook would also do the dishes; the other would sit back, relax, read the paper or anything else. If the cook did not do the dishes, the cook would cook and wash again the next day. You can guess the outcome. Not one single cook forgot to wash the dishes on that day. The day off was such a pleasant surprise to a woman -- me -- for I could relax every other day, put my feet up, and be served dinner to boot! True delight! We kept it up the entire time we both worked. When I retired, I chose to cook and do the few dishes myself; my husband is still working. I devised a simple mass cooking and freezing of meats or dishes and reheat them. We have more variety, lower electric bills, and choice beyond our dreams this way, which came out of that vote so long ago.

We have no children at home; however, children prefer fairness. Debating one's point of view without interruption before a vote is invaluable as a life-long lesson in integrity, reason, and fairness rather than dissembling, yelling, demanding, insisting one's way is the only way with the bad aftertaste of unfairness. That poor example wends its way again and again into the larger body politic and becomes our debilitating way of life with stolen votes, too many politicians beholden to monied groups, arm twisting, as a thoroughly undemocratic and insane way to run a country or a home.

You each have my vote to begin to temper force with reason and put the United States back on its original path towards domestic tranquility, an establishment of justice, a more perfect union, provide for the general welfare, and see to it that we all have liberty far into the future. Right now the question is, will we choose fascism instead as we are beginning to do? Does our excessive military promote the common defense or does it promote fascism that will come home to roost?

The main point of this is that the female half of the human species is taught again and again and again they are unequal, unheard, and unrepresented almost everywhere in this country and on this planet. As a corollary, some children are taught they are more equal than others who feel daily like failures in a supposedly free country. How long will we aid and abet inequality? Each time we let freedom pass us by in favor of others, we become more subservient and undeserving in our own eyes. Our fear of the Other is mind-boggling since the Other is merely us in disguise whether by dress code, by religion, by nationality, by skin color, by sex, by dying for what is wrong rather than living for what is right.

My hope is that the half of the human race of which I am part will, sooner rather than later, realize that patriarchy and male dominance does not work in a world as crowded as this one is and soon will be worse. Resources are not infinite and neither should women's patience continue on this ineffective path to world destruction. Teach your children well.


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About the Author

Carol Warner Christen on Swans (with bio)... Woman born 1939, twice married, five children, 7 grandchildren; own a goat farm, rural Oregon after years in Chicago area and Ohio; Associate of Arts, Chicago Art Institute (1 year); artist, editor, mechanical design drafting supervisor; owned two computer companies before anyone had a computer; activist; antiwar; human.



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A Tragic Week In The Culture Of Life - Jan Baughman

Bridges, Walls, And Gated Communities - Fran Shor

Lies And Other Untruths - Milo Clark

Suspicious Scenarios + Logical Explanations = Nuts - Philip Greenspan

Exit Strategy For George W. Bush - Charles Marowitz

Simplicity - Martin Murie

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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art13/carenc07.html
Published April 23, 2007