My Sister’s Keeper
Whenever I see the word “keeper” I invariably think of bee handlers and the bible. The old phrase “My brother’s keeper” was supposedly Cain referring to his brother, Abel. I’m more interested in Eve, their mother who supposedly allowed sin into the Garden and caused man’s fall from grace. I see several similarities between honey bees and women; beauty, productivity, creation, nurturing, both indispensable to this world. Mothers manage hives so busy that it makes me dizzy.
For me, the Person of the Year award goes to a woman, any woman.
Three senators killed the repeal of Obamacare. I don’t think it is a coincidence that two of them were named Sue and Linda. Life is not easy for even the most contented woman in our culture, but Politics? John McCain cast the decisive vote in dramatic fashion but he has have brain cancer and his vote was likely with one eye on his legacy. Regardless, the three could not stomach taking healthcare away from millions of their constituents.
When the Republican chairman of her committee changed his mind about letting the public see the transcripts of the Fusion GPS senate testimony, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat, released the report anyway.
Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly reminisced about how women were “cherished” when he was growing in one of Boston’s Irish neighborhood. Lawrence McConnell who grew near Kelly reminded the general that getting drunk and beating their wives was almost a sport in those poor tenements.
Closer to home, one lady lobbyist told the Sacramento Bee that during their first meeting one politician told her he did all of his business “on the golf course or a mattress. You pick which.” That was 1975 and in a backwater state capitol, of course, but she went on to explain that things haven’t changed that much since. The current epidemic of political sexual assault headlines bears her.
Women as goddesses have been a staple of Hollywood. So has male sexual harassment. Domestically, things are different and they’re not. A man who ruled his home with an iron fist once told me that “someone has to make the decisions.” When I said that my wife and I discuss things and decide as a unit, he said that was just one too many opinions for such an arrangement to work. My younger brother quotes the bible and likes to use the biblical “Get thee behind me, woman” command.
As the recent election unfolded I wondered how the wives of aspiring politicians could stand next to their husbands who confessed to extracurricular sexual activities as he said how sorry he was and what he would do to make amends for the voter’s disillusionment. I won’t even bother to get into the various fallen evangelicals who sin and bounce back like a Lil Abner’s Schmoo.
Neither of my sisters need a keeper. The “my brother’s keeper” concept is like the default “He.” We use the masculine even in discussion exclusive to females. Why? Because it is traditional. It’s time to find better words. Using the masculine harkens back to the days when women were nothing more than indentured servants trapped in the so-called sanctity of their marriage vows. The fairer sex wasn’t even considered in the running when the U.S. Constitution was drafted. Would that there was as much discussion about how women are treated in that context than all the debate about the “right” to bear assault rifles for personal protection.
If we can’t be our brother’s keeper, what makes us think that the ladies need a keeper? They do not. Women offer a perspective that is not just valuable but endemic to our very survival. They are not chattel that must be herded around and shown how to do menial tasks. They just need partners, someone equal to walk through life with, someone to, at times, suggest different routes. I doubt that a woman in power would insult a quarter of the world with a gross tweet that called our ally countries a vulgarity. Such a woman would realize how foolish it would be to spend billions constructing a wall between us and Mexico. She would probably take that money and feed and clothed all our children and the less fortunate.
I, for one, am proud of the women who are finally standing up to the abuses of the political and entertainment worlds. Those are not the only arenas where the fight is happening, of course. We are talking about our wives and mothers and sisters and all those female relatives when we characterize women with a broad brush that portrays them as hysterical and weak and lacking of intelligence. If anyone needs a keeper, it is surely we males.