During the second world war, my grandmother’s younger sister Jo served as a Canadian WAC (Women’s Army Corp) and served overseas. They were the first generation of women in Canada to vote, in a time when few women had the opportunity to even further their education past high school, some never made it past grade school, all of her sisters went on to higher education, 3 of her sisters were Nurses, one a grade school teacher, and my own grandma was a stenographer.
Many look towards their own humble family and not see them clearly, not see them as activists, feminists, of lights in the dark. This morning I asked myself, do I? Do I have any of those kinds of trailblazers?
Well, I too undervalue the things the women of my own family did, the sacrifices they made, the values they held and the strength of character they always brought to the table, even at the worst of times.
Sitting this morning before I have to start getting ready for work, drinkin’ the java, watching the news vids, popping into twitter. Resting back in my chair, feet up on the table, getting informed. Watching a vid from Maddow interview Elizabeth Warren, and other vids on Nancy Pelosi and that take no prisoner’s style, this new pack of women with their watch out momentum.
I mean, I don’t have women like THAT. But do I?
After watching the program yesterday I mentioned from Who Do You Think You Are featuring Regina King, her ancestor probably would not have necessarily termed himself an activist either. He was a community leader, a teacher, a pastor.
Those things in themselves though are the fabric of a healthy and successful community. And so I realized my Grandma had done those things, she started a newspaper in Dodge back in the ’50s with another woman. The two of them wrote articles on community events, with perhaps brief commentary on news. The initial idea I guess was to give the young boys in town a job, having this newspaper to deliver would put a little money in their pockets, give them responsibility, and get them out of their mother’s hair for a bit.
That paper is still in print today, some 60 or more years later, The Signpost. Still with a female editor at the helm, still focusing on the community news, and where I spent my summers when was 16 and 17 years of age, and where my mom worked most of her life.
Yet, another truth lies underneath that community back when they first started it. It was a time when many men had come back from a war filled with images they could never have imagined, and some of those young men who had left with hopes and dreams returned to their families as angry abusive alcoholics, left to their own devices, as the medical community had a vague notion of the effects war had on individuals, both the men and women, but no understanding of the grave effects modern warfare could have on the minds of men more used to rural plows and urban assembly lines back home.
This seemingly insignificant gesture of those two women, simple as it may have seemed I see now also gave these young boys in their community something different. Maybe just a job, but also a purpose, a few coins in their pocket, responsibility, and the first steps on the road to the men they would be, and at the same time a way to draw their community together through the power of words, a signpost at a crossroads in those years after a war that had torn the world apart.
Maybe it is that men have for so long controlled the narrative that many women, myself included, have been blinded to the roles of women. That grassroots activism in an apron of many women, whether they worked outside the home or not, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
As I was watching the news vids covering the swearing in of the 116th Congress, what struck me is that while the Democrats and the House welcome in a wave of diversity, of all ages, of all colours, of all the people that make America, and the women that are defining this new Congress, in the Senate little had changed. A wash of the same old male faces, with spatterings of female ones, and a Speaker who bows and scrapes to whatever the POTUS wants, in fear of his rath, and I saw a Senate of weak men.
Interestingly, many of the new Congress Pelosi now leads would not even be where they are if not for the threat Trump poses to Democracy. Women, and men, who refused to stand by and watch as this amoral man demonized the institutions that protect democracy, with his racist policies, his misogyny, in them he ignited a flame. A wave of change was sworn in against a wall of fear and ignorance that still threatens to swamp the Democracy that the Founding Fathers envisioned.
I myself do not understand, but there seems to be those who for whatever reason would swamp that Democracy with corruption, lies, and pandering to the circus that is the Trump White House, with the Senate nothing more than a mere puppet to the president; which is exactly what those founding fathers DID NOT want the Senate to be. The Senate is not a rubber stamp for the president of the United States.
The Senate plays a unique role in U.S. international relations. The Constitution authorizes the president to make treaties, but the president must then submit them to the Senate for its approval by a two-thirds vote.U.S. Senate: International Relations
To be sure, it is not all sunshine and roses today as the fight is just really and truly beginning. The days and weeks and months ahead will see more chaos and disinformation, more rhetoric, more lies from a man who just can’t face the truth, and all that will just become amplified. This reality show unfolding is hitting its climax, I hope, the final showdowns, the battles to turn the tide back towards the will of the people, as most American’s are not represented by this man who now holds this highest office.
This POTUS basically would appear to ignore his responsiblities in favour of his own greed, his own power, perhaps at the command of another.
His loyalists, the 40% who checked their family values at the door in order to make a deal with the devil to get what they wanted, watch as their toddler in chief stamps his feet and rattles his little hands against the cage he put himself in are blinded by his rhetoric and sabre-rattling.
The most difficult battle America faces today is a president who is surrounded by corrupt men, spouting Russian propaganda.
As David Frum says in a piece published at the Atlantic, amazing enough that any U.S. president would retrospectively endorse the Soviet invasion. What’s even more amazing is that he would do so using the very same falsehoods originally invoked by the Soviets themselves: “terrorists” and “bandit elements.”
It is primarily to this concern that I believe the new Congress will focus and should focus. As clearly there are many issues facing American’s that are important, and as much as I believe healthcare, infrastructure and a host of other issues need to be dealt with, the rooting out of this man’s possible treasonous connections and foreign influence is far more pressing as it threatens the very autonomy that lies at the foundation of American democracy.
On Maddow, last night she covered this bizarre and uncharacteristic interest Trump has in fairly obscure elements of history, with a decidedly Russian point and view. It is very unsettling to hear a president of the United States parroting Russian propaganda on American TV. [see 1st part of that Maddow vid here ].
I mean, you want to get down to the nitty-gritty, the one thing that those founding fathers and the early government agreed on, and believe me they had some fairly salacious battles over issues such as slavery and federal power, what they wholeheartedly agreed upon, what the bases for everything, was the autonomy of this new nation they envisioned.
Right now the most important issue at stake is the protection from a president who is more and more acting like Putin’s puppet, and how deep into his administration does this go?
It is to this arena that Pelosi regains her speakership, and it is a valuable asset to have such a speaker at such a time, to have the experience and wisdom of such a person is beyond value, it may just be paramount to winning the battles that democracy is facing down yonder in the country of my birth.
Personally, it feels much more comfortable, more familiar with a grandmother in that role.