Today is the 25th anniversary of Emily’s List. The short explanation of the group is it’s purpose is to get more women in the top seats of government in the United States. That’s an extremely short explanation, but go to the link here, if you want to know more. And really, if you are female and a US citizen, how could you not want to know more? Which brings me to the real topic.
“I am not a feminist,” said my friend [not naming names, let's call her 'Q']. She lay her credit card (which has her maiden and married name on it) on the tray. She is paying for lunch today. She can afford it. She’s been working union for almost twenty years, steadily.
We worked together for about seven of those, so I know quite a bit about Q. Her husband, through no fault of his own, has been only working sporadically for years. She has two kids, one of whom was in company run daycare almost from birth. She supports her family and makes a pretty damned good wage.
Did I make a speech when she made that ridiculous statement? No. Because I was stunned.
I like Q. She’s kind and smart and a decent human being. How can she sit there reaping the benefits of years of political strife and personal grief on the part of other women and deny affiliation with them?
Wouldn’t that be something like a person of color claiming not to support de-segregation, or having the vote? I mean what the fuck?
I went home from that lunch deeply depressed. But then my daughter pointed out, “Q is old. Old people are stupid.”
Which brings me to The Children.
On occasion, I come down for breakfast to discover a young person sleeping on my couch. Currently, we have one of those. Big heap of blankets, foot sticking out of them that is definitely a boy’s foot. He came with a backpack, a blanket, a laptop and a 60 pound dog who I find, much to my dismay, has problems with gas. He works nights while pursuing a GED. He’s bright, polite and a so-called ‘good kid’. Why he needs to borrow sofa’s is an odd little story but it’s not what you’d think. He isn’t a runaway, doesn’t have some horrible abusive childhood.
My daughter, who would have been at home running an Inn in the Middle Ages along the pilgrimage route, finds these people, brings them here. We feed and entertain them. Sometimes they hang around. I don’t mind. They give me hope for the future.
Because, and here’s I think the core issue, they have a basic innate respect for other creatures. They haven’t grown up learning to bury their feelings in a hodge podge of poorly thought out rhetoric. I hear them down there playing their video games and when one of the guys calls another a ‘faggot’ he immediately gets trounced by his piers who explain to him in linear simple common sense detail, why that word is out of line. Because it’s mean. Mean=bad. Simple.
Of course then it becomes a joke and he calls himself ‘faggot’ periodically.
If you saw the kids protesting in the streets after Prop 8 was passed, some of those were these children. Not because they are gay or have a friend who is gay or because Emily’s mom said they should (god, no, when I saw one of them on the news, I was immediately on the cellphone telling him to get his ass out of there before he got hurt). But because they know on a gut simple level, that the proposition was wrong. They don’t need a degree in law or a convoluted sermon from some minister to prove this. Its obvious. Its mean and its inhumane and that’s what these kids are against.
They are feminists. In the way that any humanist would naturally be a feminist. They respect the women in their group and expect the same adult behavior from them that they would from themselves. Its obvious, its logical.
Old people are stupid.