Tag Archives: Power

Silent No More

“In practice, the standard for what constitutes rape is set not at the level of a women’s experience of violation but just above the level of coercion acceptable to men.”
                                                                     Judith Lewis Herman

It seems I can’t listen to a news broadcast or read a newspaper the last couple of months with seeing another article or story relating to a powerful non-female harassing or abusing women. (Sorry, but I refuse to use the word man when referring to these individuals). Almost everyday there is another woman, or group of women, describing, in detail, the degradation they endured while working or attempting to find employment in the field where these sub humans wielded the power to destroy a career or make their lives so miserable they would suffer humiliation and fear rather than speak up. Children were also part of this disgusting behavior, as evidenced by the more than 100 children, (now women), who were abused during their gymnastics careers by a renowned team physician. Producers, actors, doctors, clergy, journalists, politicians, CEO’s, studio heads; the list of those individuals abusing power for their own satisfaction is endless.

In many cases years have gone by since these incidents took place and yet I don’t question a woman’s reasons for not coming forward sooner. Unless any one of us is in that position, how can we ever try to understand their thought process. Fear and intimidation are powerful weapons being used by powerful people. Circumstance is not ours to judge, especially in a society that continues to view women differently than non-females. A society that has failed to mature and grow up to the standards each of us deserves.

In these cases, the more powerful the abuser is, the greater his ability to define and arrange his arguments. Power is always wielded against the most vulnerable amongst us.

What angers me as much as the abusers are all those who knew about the actions of these individuals and did nothing about it. They share equal responsibility. They swept the complaints under the carpet, created non disclosure agreements, ignored the repeated problems that continued to be voiced and generally maintained the good old boys club be kept intact. They turned away. All these powerful and outwardly respectable sub humans didn’t think the voices that were raised were worth the words that were spoken.

How sad is that?

My guess is we’re in the infancy stage of this story, though I do question whether the press will ever reveal the true extent. Too many friends in high places, too much money to be lost by revealing the truth. But we’ll see,
Equally important is what happens now. How we move forward from this. There are more layers to this problem than what’s been revealed. While where we’ve been should never be forgotten, where were go from here is a question each of us must answer in his or her own way.

The responsibility is ours.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” 
                                                                                              Abraham LIncoln

What Should Matter

One of the things I enjoy most about subbing for elementary school children is what happens before our day even gets started. Each morning, after they put their belongings away and just before we begin class, they stand in unison, place their hands over their chests and recite The Pledge Of Allegiance. I usually stand to the side as I recite this with them so I can watch their faces. Then I smile at how strong their voices are and how serious they look as they recite the words.

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I’ve always been curious about whether or not they really understood what they were reciting so I started asking a few students in different classes if they understood what some of these words meant. Words like allegiance, indivisible., republic, liberty and justice. As it turned out, they had a very clear understanding of what the words meant and what The Pledge meant to them and to our country. I was a little surprised but I guess I shouldn’t have been. After all, the wording is very simple and clear so understanding it shouldn’t be that difficult.

How sad and unfortunate then, that eight and ten year old children  have a better understanding and appreciation of these words than any politician I’ve listened to in recent years. How sad and unfortunate that these same people, who have supposedly chosen a life of serving the public good is doing the most harm to those who don’t have a voice and whose lives may be most affected in the future by their actions today.

Ego, power and greed should not be the determining factors when seeking any kind of political office.

Maybe before a politician decides to run for office, they should sit in a classroom for a couple of minutes each morning and listen to the voices of those who really understand what it means to be an American.

If they have difficulty grasping the concept, I’m sure a eight year old will be more than happy to explain it to them.