By Deena Stryker, who writes about the big picture.
Posted with permission.
It’s long overdue, partly because for decades, women’s liberation was infantilizing American men. If it finally happens, the revolution will be driven by women, Blacks and Latinos, but men will have to join in.
For decades after World War II, women folded their crucial participation on the factory floor into a sexual awakening that put many American men on the defensive. But only recently have they realized that Brown and Black people were their allies — and for suburban women in particular, that they needed to pay attention to today’s factory floor, fighting not only for abortion rights but a minimum wage.
It took a long time for American women to overcome the stigma that came with independence, translated in Archie Bunker terms as ‘women wearing the pants’. In 2018, they are rallying against a growing neo-fascist phalanx whose sexuality often appears to be insecure. Instead of seeking domestic peace, the President eggs on a base that joined the Alt-Right in a torchlight parade in Charlottesville last year, chanting ‘Jews will not replace us, Blacks will not replace us’, leaving to another day the confrontation with its sexuality.
What was shaping up, via the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, who could tip the Supreme Court against legal abortion, among other issues vital to women, was a confrontation between politically aware women of all ages, and shockingly patriarchal ‘old white men’. With few timid exceptions, the Kavanaugh charade revealed that even so-called liberal white men can only imagine a political system defined by equal opportunity as opposed to equality, where corporations have the same rights as humans, ensuring that a few have, while most have not, and women are revered but not respected.
They are stuck in the late fifties, when their role was to provide labor saving devices for women content to sit in the back seat and produce babies. In the sixties, when women started to become liberated, they began hiring their black, brown and summarily educated white sisters to look after their babies while they acceded to well-paying and often prestigious jobs. It was not until the oughts that their daughters, growing up alongside the daughters of those care-givers, acquired a modicum of political literacy, opposing all forms of inequality, and indifferent as to who at any given moment wears the pants.
The recent legitimization of socialist principles set off by the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, reinforced by anger over the Democratic Party’s ability to sideline him, gave progressives their first chance to be relevant since FDR’s New Deal. Although actual revolutions only happen when anger is buttressed by a widespread political literacy that has yet to develop in America. the American left could lead a major transformation, based on the political class’s failure to even live up to the ‘liberal’ Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”