The Clare Spark Blog

April 29, 2016

The Woman Card

Valside.com image

Valside.com image

In this, the weirdest and most inflammatory and polarizing election season that I can remember, Donald J. Trump is calling his likely Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton, a player of the “Woman Card,” who would not even be in the running were she not a Woman, capitalizing on the novelty of being the first woman President. Hillary supporters are predictably indignant, predicting disaster for such (Trumpian) sentiments.

This blog tries to explore the current condition of women, married and unmarried. I take it for granted that my readers know that I am a feminist who is socially liberal (e.g., pro-choice, but who does not entirely dismiss the pro-life argument). See https://clarespark.com/2016/04/01/70s-feminism-and-its-bizarre-legacy/.

Women who are married to an adequately earning mate, have never had it so good, but those who are forced to work outside the home (either ideologically, or because of inadequate income) are in the same position as working males, either laborers or professionals. Because they are competing with men (and are subject to the same dangers to life and limb) such workers probably don’t have the leisure time or energy to evaluate the campaigns of competing parties or candidates, not to speak of the arguments about the “proper” roles and capacities of mothers/workers. (See https://clarespark.com/2012/10/03/the-sexual-revolution-2/.) I suspect that this group is fed up with male domination and would be happy to see at least one “strong” woman be the Leader, presumably one attuned to their needs, spoken and unspoken.

But whether married or unmarried, women are likely to be the only family members who take care of the elderly. It is strange to me that few politicians or journalists address this shock to the middle-aged women who thought that their “traditional” female duties would be over after the nest is emptied. I find it odd that even the relatively few “geriatric” physicians (including psychiatrists) are not addressing this source of stress, though television is full of ads for (invariably female) home care assistants.

Georgia ad

Georgia ad

Neither Hillary Clinton (nor any Republican or Democrat either) is addressing The Woman Question, except to defend or attack “abortion rights” (and equal pay).  Instead Mrs. Clinton is subsuming the volatile abortion issue into “women’s health,” while Carly Fiorina attacks Planned Parenthood for cutting up “babies”.

I continue to join other feminists in asking the ever more salient question, “Is there life after birth”? (https://clarespark.com/2015/10/10/is-there-life-after-birth-states-rights-and-controlling-our-children/).

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November 21, 2015

SCANDAL’s “inclusive” feminism

Shonda

Shonda Rhimes with cast members

(more…)

July 31, 2015

Is there life after birth? Dogs, children, Henry Kissinger, and the breakdown of civil society

“Sugar” as depicted in the Mike Masnick blog

Here (below) is the astounding number of dogs in America. For those attentive to television advertising, dogs are the new love objects (for either sex), and earn the personal sacrifices once reserved for children: even old, feeble dogs warrant backbreaking devotion in a recent Aleve commercial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuhAKS6Ee0o, also the Subaru Love commercial: http://www.ispot.tv/ad/709i/subaru-impreza-make-a-dogs-day-song-by-willie-nelson). The stats suggest to me that I was correct to ask if we love our dogs more than our children, in my blog on depraved indifference to the fights over school choice. (https://clarespark.com/2015/07/14/depraved-indifference-to-education-reform/.)

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/facts/pet_ownership_statistics.html, and, http://www.statista.com/statistics/198100/dogs-in-the-united-states-since-2000/

I haven’t blogged in a while because I have been immersed in the lengthy, sometimes lascivious, biography of Henry Kissinger, as attempted by an inside dopester moderate man, Walter Isaacson (1992). (Isaacson is a celebrity himself, and featured interviews or memoirs with Kissinger’s famous former associates.)

HK as power behind the throne (Corbis photo in The Economist)

HK as power behind the throne (Corbis photo in The Economist)

I have several responses to this mammoth, detailed, behind the scenes effort. The author has not the foggiest idea where the notion of “human rights” came from, incorrectly identifying them with Wilsonian internationalism, with its bogus “self-determination.” (For my own views see https://clarespark.com/2011/10/24/turning-points-in-the-ascentdecline-of-the-west/. I see the invention of the printing press as a key turning point making possible mass literacy.) And such internationalism was “idealistic” compared to Kissinger’s Realpolitik approach to foreign relations, which sought stability through European balance of power politics this author associates with Metternich, Castlereagh, Talleyrand, and Bismarck.

Along the way, he also praises HK for brilliance, wit, and charm, but faults him for backbiting, malevolent gossip, and over-the-top ambition. I.e., HK is an uppity German Jew whose secret, previously hidden maneuvers fulfill the antisemitic stereotype, and proves the author to be properly assimilated, unlike his subject HK (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Isaacson).

But there is more to be said about this book, which links the subjects in the title to this blog:

  1. I was aware of the crises of the 1960s-1980s mostly as filtered through Pacifica radio, an outfit controlled by Stalinists and pitched to the counter-culture. I simply had no time as a mother of small and adolescent children to pore through contending published versions of the civil rights movement or the women’s movement, let alone US diplomacy regarding arms control, China, détente with the Soviet Union, Vietnam, Cambodia, Africa, Chile, East Timor, Israel,  etc. –all subjects taken up in the Kissinger biography. Even my unique radio shows on the art world were irrelevant to the larger questions convulsing the world, and can be viewed as an extension of women’s work.
  2. The behind the scenes diplomacy uncovered by Isaacson (minus its gratuitous digs at HK) suggests that no matter what publications we may scour for an accurate account of what our government is doing, all we have to participate in as citizens is partisan propaganda of one stripe or another.

Which brings me to my first and last question: “Is there life after birth”?

That query was prompted by the Fox News Channel obsession with Planned Parenthood and the alleged chopping up of “babies” by sinister forces (although the last video is alarming and the questions raise by the Right are reasonable).

I asked my Facebook friends what are our obligations to children as parents? One would guess that there would be dozens of responses, but it is “summertime and the living is easy.” So here are my own answers, in schematic form: we owe our living children attention to their developing brains, to their maximum health, to an education in hygiene and science, especially physiology, and above all, to critical awareness of the often confusing, even impenetrable, world outside the family, which they will have to navigate on their own someday without parental guidance.

wish list

We do not owe them messages that reinforce human weakness and deference to illegitimate authority. It will take the focused effort of all of us, old and young, to rebuild the civil society that has been snatched away from us by authoritarians of many stripes.     

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