When you’re a president, you can do anything

As a private citizen:

And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. . . Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

As the President:

When you’re the president of the U.S.A., you can yell at them, insult them, humiliate them, they let you do it. Grab ’em by the balls. You can do anything.

He hasn’t said it in words (or at least no one has reported him saying it), but his actions toward other heads of state convey the message pretty clearly, don’t you think?

Somewhere in the depth of every bully, every autocrat, every fascist wannabe, there is a misogynist, an active abuser of women. And still our legal apparatus, from beat cops to lawyers to judges, refuse to treat attacks on women as “real” crime.

Long ago psychologists figured out that little boys who pull the wings off flies, or who torment small animals, are likely to grow up to do harm to human beings. It shouldn’t be news to anyone that men who torment women are also likely to do harm to men if and when they can.

A man who hates women enough to beat them, or stalk them, or harass them, or sexually assault them, or coerce them into sex, or rape them — a man who hates women that much is full up with hatred. He hates everyone.

He attacks women in part because he can. He’s a bully and women are weak enough for him to target. But he’s a bully and he’s filled with hatred. If he has any power in the world of men, he’ll be an abusive bully there as well.

If you can stop him when he’s hurting a small animal, that is the time to stop him. If you can stop him when he’s attacking a woman, that is the time to stop him.

Will you men please stop thinking of crimes against women as being about the victims? Think of them as being about the perpetrator, the man who is a danger to you too. Think about how much better your world would be if there were no hate-filled and dangerous bullies in it.

Advertisements

Loyalty or Sycophantism?

In the past week I’ve been hearing the media say that Donald Trump values loyalty over anything else in the people he works with. It’s because of his desire for loyalty that he wants his sons and son-in-law on his transition team, the media reports. I think this is one example of the media “normalizing” a pathological man’s unacceptable behaviour.

Loyalty sounds like such a great thing, doesn’t it? We all want loyal friends and partners. Surely loyalty is a virtue?

I’ve been a skeptic of loyalty since I was a child, when I was excluded from a whole clique of grade-school girls because one of them didn’t like me, and the others closed ranks against me out of loyalty.

In adulthood I came to distinguish between loyalty to principle and loyalty to a person. Loyalty to principle seems like it can’t be a bad thing, in so far as a principle is a moral idea. In that case loyalty means commitment to a positive, valuable idea. I’ve come to realize that even that kind of loyalty can be destructive. But let me first talk about loyalty to a person.

We can all sympathize with a mother who supports and justifies a child who has gone wrong. It’s a sad, but more or less understandable thing, to see such a woman on television, arguing her son couldn’t have murdered so and so, or raped so and so because he’s a “good boy”. Her loyalty blinds her to the truth, and that is a problem with loyalty. But what if this mother hides her son so he can’t be tried and punished for his crime? Or if she blackmails or harms witnesses to the crime? In those cases her loyalty is destructive and immoral, right?

Loyalty is, worst of all, a condition of tribalism. The top dog of any group, whether it’s a nationality, an ethnic group, a criminal gang or a family demands loyalty, and when he does, he’s too often demanding unqualified support for his views and actions, no matter whether they’re morally positive, or destructive. He wants enablers. He wants sycophants.

This is what Trump wants. He’ll bring in people who won’t challenge his irrationality, his paranoia, his selfishness and his immaturity. Possibly the only “safe” people will be his family members  — unless he can find enough other people who share his irrationality, paranoia and selfishness – which will not be good for America.

To return to loyalty to a principle, let me bring up a criticism made of Hillary Clinton. People accused her of believing it’s possible to have a public and a private opinion on things. They thought that was a bad thing, a form of hypocrisy. But if you’re elected to serve all people, do you have a right to force your own personal opinion on all of them? Ideologues, people who are loyal to a principle without regard for people, believe they do. And so you get the rightwing pseudo-Christians who feel they have an obligation to make abortion illegal for everyone, possibly even some forms of birth control illegal for everyone. Pragmatists, on the other hand, and I believe Clinton is a pragmatist, believe you have to do the best you can to benefit the majority of people. A pragmatist, a believer in democracy, might then keep their own objection to abortion private, and allow the majority to vote their own conscience. If that means abortion is legal, so be it.

Ideologues are dangerous. They too are in thrall to primitive patriarchal tribalism, gang mentality that values fawning dogs and eliminates challengers.

These two things — the normalizing of loyalty as a valid top criteria for a leader, and the criticism of having differing private and public opinions — suggest that Americans don’t really know what democracy is, or what the conditions are for its existence. Democracy means people are free to have their own values and opinions, while bowing to the will of the majority. Democracy relies on constant challenges to power, not on sycophants who enable the powerful to operate against the best interests of all.

It seems appropriate to refer to the American philosopher, Josiah Royce, who developed an entire philosophy of loyalty:

      Royce observes that the highest moral achievements throughout history have             involved  individuals’ loyalty to ideals that promote the formation and expansion of communities of loyalty. Many of the worst deeds have also involved a high degree of loyalty, but this loyalty is directed exclusively to a particular group and is expressed in the destruction of the conditions for others’ loyal actions, of those other persons, and even of one’s own community and cause. Royce generalized the difference between true loyalty and vicious or “predatory” loyalty as follows:

a cause is good, not only for me, but for mankind, in so far as it is essentially a loyalty to loyalty, that is, an aid and a furtherance of loyalty in my fellows. It is an evil cause in so far as, despite the loyalty that it arouses in me, it is destructive of loyalty in the world of my fellows. (Royce 1995 [1908], 56)

All the communities we actually know, those we inhabit and identify with, are finite and to some degree “predatory” in Royce’s sense. This is clearly true of small social cliques, isolated intellectual communities, parochial religious groups, self-interested unions and corporations, local political movements, and other such groups. Roycean loyalty requires one to scrutinze the aims and actions of such communities and to work to reform their disloyal aspects. The philosophy of loyalty calls us first of all, then, to create and embrace more cosmopolitan and inclusionary communities. It should be clear that this is only the first important step of an infinite process aimed at realizing the ideal of universal loyalty.  (plato.stanford.edu/entries/royce/)

 

Remembering the dead

I’m so sick of people celebrating soldiers on Remembrance Day. War is a tool of patriarchy to maintain patriarchy. As a problem-solving tool it has failed utterly and totally for at least 15,000 years. Who but a man, conditioned to think that ‘might makes right’ would even dream up the idea that fighting would solve a problem?

I do not honour soldiers who we now piously say offered up their lives for the sake of freedom. Young men who sign up to learn to kill other human beings are dupes who’ve swallowed toxic ideas of what it means to be a man. Listen to this: real men don’t kill.

When countries now sign up to receive a contingent of U.N. peace-keeping forces, they know they’re sacrificing their women and children, who will be raped en masse by these “peacekeepers”. There is never peace for women.

There are those who say men fight to protect women. I think the recent American election has put the lie to that. Men fight to own women.

There was a brief time, in the 1960’s and 70’s, when young men refused to kill for the lies their countries told them. Those young men were applauded. What has happened since then?

I’ll tell you what’s happened. The forces of patriarchy regrouped and rebranded. They found new ways to entrap the young. So fascism, by all manner of false names, is on the rise.

If you want to use today to remember, then remember all the dead women and children whose bodies litter the promenades of the wealthy male industrialists.

Expedience versus ethics

Emma Maitland: “men look first to what is expedient and then to what is right, while women look first to what is right and then to what is expedient.”

Emma Maitland was an elected member of the London School Board for nine years in the 1880’s. Serving with mostly men, she was in a good position to observe how elected men operated.

I’m thinking about her observation as I listen to two male members of the American Christian right justify their continuing support for Trump in the aftermath of his boasts about sexually assaulting women. I didn’t pay attention to who the first man was, but the second was #Ben Carson  . As I listened to him say Trump’s actions just didn’t matter because America was going off the rails and Republican solutions were needed, I heard him valuing expedience over ethics/morality/integrity, even legality.

I think we’re all drawn to the expedient solution, or to efficiency, as I’ve thought of it when I’ve seen it in my own workplace. Let some masterful commander just issue the rules, make the tough decisions, and get things done. It doesn’t rock my boat. It lets me continue life as usual, unless I’m one of the unlucky ones who needs to be let go, set adrift in the unemployment sea, even if it is two days before Christmas. Expedience acts swiftly, the clean cut, the thorough elimination of rot.

Expedience knows that if you topple the king, you have to kill all his sons as well, even the infant still at the breast. And you have to disable all his supporters, even if that means a purge of millions. Expedience is ruthless.

Just about the same time that Emma Maitland’s observations were printed for a new audience in a 1983 book, The Sexual Dynamics of History, we were all given the opportunity to learn that the personal is the political. Just as this phrase has no single author, it has no single meaning. Here’s my understanding of it: the character that you display in your private life will be the same character that informs your decisions and behaviours in your public roles.

If you cheat on your wife – if you make promises to her and break them behind her back – you will also cheat on the electorate. If you beat your wife, you’ll also abuse your employees and those whom you serve. If you take the attitude that you’re the most important person in your family, then that’s the attitude you will have if you’re elected to a public office or appointed to a high position in your place of employment.

Good leaders know that to lead is to serve. Bad ones believe that to lead is to be served. So you can tell by how someone lives their private lives, how they’ll live their public lives.

When Ben Carson and other men of the right say Trump’s illegal violations of people’s bodies is not important, they are ignoring his character. Do they really believe a bullying violator of personal boundaries is safe for anyone? He can be counted on to treat America as he treats women – he’ll violate it to satisfy his own pathetic ego needs, he’ll rape it to fill his own bank accounts, he’ll serve up charm with one hand while ramming it up the arse with his other, and he’ll silence it so he doesn’t have to take the backlash.

Character – meaning  ethical values, the ability to be honest,  integrity – informs everything we do. Choosing expedience over ethical character always maintains the status quo, with an extra dose of ruthless destruction. Maybe since women are always the greatest losers when expedience is on the rampage, we know better than men that change can only happen when the most elementary building block is personal integrity.

Masculine Anxiety and the Introjected Father

20160613_043523253_iOS

I have been reading what must now be a classic feminist philosophy text, Susan Bordo’s The Flight to Objectivity. In it she constructs a feminist argument about Descartes’ Meditations, a seminal work that she claims many (male) philosophers have not taken seriously enough. Descartes is, of course, considered the founder of our own age, of modernity. To understand the world I live in, I have to understand Descartes. For Bordo, The Meditations reveal a masculine cultural state of extreme anxiety, which Descartes solved, at least for himself, by repudiating the feminine (body) and masculinizing thought.

When Descartes wrote “I think therefore I am”, or the Latin that’s thus translated, he didn’t mean what we think. He wasn’t talking about an activity of the brain, logical argumentation, or the power of causal reasoning. But If I had read only his famous Discourse on the Method, I would believe that “I think, therefore I am” did indeed mean ‘I reason and therefore I am’.  He doesn’t elaborate on the verb “think” in his summation of The Meditations contained in The Discourse, he elevates reason above imagination and feeling, and he makes clear that he dedicated his life to learning to use reason correctly to arrive at truths. In both his treatises he compares nature and the human body to machines, with multiple references. It’s a barren view of physical reality. The universe is arid, even dead, as a clock is dead. It would appear he first created a mechanical universe, and then mechanical bodies to inhabit it.

But here’s what he said, in longer form, in the second of his Meditations:

“I am not more than a thing which thinks, that is to say a mind or a soul, or an understanding or a reason”, followed a page later by “What is a thing which thinks? It is a thing which doubts, understands, conceives, affirms, denies, will, refuses, which also imagines and feels.”

Notice that for him, the words “mind” and “soul” denote the same thing. In the third meditation he expands even more:

“I am a thing that thinks, that is to say, that doubts, affirms, denies, that knows a few things, that is ignorant of many, that loves, that hates, that wills, that desires, that also imagines and perceives.”

As Bordo notes, it was consciousness that he (re)discovered, an active incorporeal consciousness. Experiencing one’s own consciousness, any activity within it, confirms one’s own existence. And he rightly concludes that as a result the easiest thing for a human to know is him/herself. Everything outside the consciousness might be false, an illusion created by an “evil genius”, but we can be assured we exist when we doubt, or affirm, or deny or engage in any of the activities of consciousness.

20160613_043602961_iOS

Descartes (born in 1596) was thinking at a time when everything that people thought they knew had indeed been shown to be false. The period from 1400 to 1600 CE was probably the most tumultuous period in western history since the fall of Rome because of the destruction, on multiple fronts, of the monocular perspective that allowed a belief in absolutes.

During those two hundred years:

  • the population of Europe was halved by famine and bubonic plague
  • Luther, a monk frightened of death and even more frightened of his fear of death, ripped apart the “one true church”, thus initating a wholesale slaughter that lasted for 30 years. He also conceived a whole new God, one who predestined every event in his creation for as long as that creation existed. Humans were his chess pieces, each without the free will to determine his own life course, each without the responsibility for his crimes, or for his salvation. This God, it has been argued, was a cruel and indifferent genius.
  • the writings of ancient Greeks and Romans were rediscovered, hidden in Muslim libraries, and humanism, based on neoPlatonism, emerged as a new form of Christianity.
  • the printing press was invented, allowing lay people (not just monks) to read
  • Marco Polo travelled to China and back and the west began to find out about ancient Chinese knowledge and beliefs.
  • Muslims crowded the European borders, attempting to take Vienna to the east, and occupying southern Spain
  • Christopher Columbus encountered North and South America, and the alien cultures that flourished on those continents
  • Copernicus discovered the earth was not the centre of the universe. And Galileo’s telescope revealed that not all moons revolved around the earth.

In other words, all the long-held beliefs of Catholic Europe and England were challenged, were shown to be culture-specific, and even downright wrong. Ever since the conquests of European tribes by the Christian Romans, Europe and Britain had been unified by the Roman Catholic faith, and by the Latin language, and by the dense network of monastaries and churches, all of which provided a unifying set of beliefs and way of life. Life for humans all across Europe and Britain was punctuated by a whole host of holy days, which included various festivals and celebrations throughout the year.

Of particular note in the context of a woman’s study of history and of philosophy, Roman Catholicism had allowed a hallowed place for women. God might have been the “father” but the church was the “mother”. Nunneries were prolific, and mysticism was more common among religious women than men. Catholics could worship the feminine in God through Mary, the mother of God, and also through St. Anne, the mother of Mary. There were a host of female saints who could be appealed to for a variety of sufferings.

The Roman Catholic religion gave people the ‘right’ to function as nothing more than children, earning salvation through obedience and duty to father God and mother Church. The reformation, led by Luther and Calvin, was devastating to this familial concept of human life and particularly devastating to women.

Bordo argues that this is the context of “Cartesian anxiety”, an anxiety shared by the entire culture. This is the anxiety that provokes Descartes into asking about his own existence, and the existence of everything under the sun. How can I know anything exists, is his first question as a philosopher.

One can imagine the vertigo that might have resulted. People had envisioned the universe as a series of nested eggs: a circling sun, within that the circling stars and planets, then the moon, with earth perhaps as the yolk, with a little church embedded in that yoke, with tiny humans within that church, the beings for whom the entire egg had been created. And above all this, god brooding and clucking. What a home! Then people discovered it was all a mental concept, one of many wildly differing human mental concepts, and in many ways proven to be an illusion.

So where did Descartes go, once he had established the certainty of his own existence? He brought reality indoors, as it were, through the mechanism of “ideas”. All our ideas are reflections of outer reality. Rather than questioning the truth of outer reality, he questioned the truth of the ideas within his own consciousness. In order to answer in the affirmative, he needed God and he needed the concept that it is our will that affirms the truth of our ideas. How do we know that our will is correct in affirming the truth of any idea? His answer was that if the idea was irresistible to the will, then it must be true. But in order for that proposition to be true, he had to conceptualize a God who created people with a will that would not find the false irresistible.

Some philosophers have argued that this is a circular argument. How do we know x is true? Because our will finds it irresistible. Why does our will find it irresistible? Because it’s true. In any case, Descartes was following in the footsteps of Luther and Calvin, who had conceived of “inner conviction” as the measure of truth. This inner conviction, they said, was put in our heart by God.

These concepts, the “irresistible idea” and the “inner conviction”, both resting on God, are extremely dangerous concepts. This was a shift away from outer authority as evidence of Truth. Outer authority could mean the local priest, a church council or synod, or the Pope, all of whom spoke for God as they understood God. They were human “fathers” who stood in for the great, unknowable God the Father.

The developments of the reformation and the renaissance absconded with the father, in a manner of speaking. His representatives stopped being absolutely believable. For some he stopped existing at all in the form of priest or learned religious scholar. All that remained was  a distant unknown.

So I think with Bordo that it was a time in which an entire culture was faced with the need to grow up, to separate from a familial unity. Bordo argues that men were overwhelmed with separation anxiety from the mother, and as a psychological defence, repudiated her. But it seems  to me that, rather than directly repudiating the feminine, or the maternal, as Bordo argues, the culture reacted most forcibly to the now absent father.  The symbolic father, realized in the church fathers, and the pope, were now internalized or introjected as “inner conviction”. Introjection occurs when a person internalizes the ideas or voices of other people, particularly those in authority. Introjections involve attitudes, behaviors, emotions, and perceptions that are neither digested nor analyzed; they are simply adopted as a part of one’s personality as concepts that one considers should be believed or behaviors that one thinks ought to be followed. Introjection can be a defense mechanism adopted by a child whose parent becomes unavailable. The introjected parent becomes a substitute for the lost one. Because the ideas are not digested, a person in the grip of an internalized parent cannot be reasoned with. A destructive internalized concept is psychopathological – it drives us to do things for pathological reasons that we don’t understand ourselves, and that we can’t control or modify.

Descartes, and his contemporaries, went from one absolute to another, and I would suggest  “inner conviction” is far more capricious and unreliable than an outer authority. And the only argument against someone’s inner conviction is demonization. It becomes a trial of accusations of being led by the devil rather than by god. And that’s exactly what did happen – which led to mass slaughter.

Bordo’s main point is that Cartesian dualism – the absolute split between mind (consciousness) and body – was a masculinization process. Descartes did declare the mind to be clear and distinct and completely incorporeal and therefore separable from the limited, corporeal body. He was developing an argument, he says in The Discourse, to prove that the mind could live on after the body was dead.

But he does conclude The Meditations with a renewed belief in nature: “there is no doubt that in all things which nature teaches me there is some truth contained,” and a few lines later “Nature also teaches me by these sensations of pain, hunger, thirst, etc., that I am not only lodged in my body as a pilot in a vessel, but that I am very closely united to it, and so to speak so intermingled with it that I seem to compose with it one whole.” This doesn’t seem to me to be a total repudiation of the body, or of nature.

Bordo, in her analysis, abandons The Meditations after the fourth; I would like to have seen her comment on the last two Meditations. And also on what male philosophers did with this Cartesian conception — how they elaborated on it, developed it, and used it to the advantage of men. Her book could have been three times as thick as it is.

I am also interested in Descartes views on imagination and feeling. He says that because it takes more effort to imagine than to conceive, the imagination is not essential to his nature and that he (a being that thinks) would remain the same without imagination. The same for feeling. So, finally, he claims that the “I”, the conscious being is separable from, and complete without body, imagination or feeling. Clearly he privileges the intellect and the will as essential to the self.

And yet, he says in the Discourse that he intends to spend the rest of his life searching for medical truths that will help people live healthy and long lives. These seem, on the surface, to be contradictory attitudes. With what medicine do you heal a clock?

My belief (at this point in my reading) is that the protestant reformation led the way in destroying the feminine aspect of the divine, and thus in destroying a place for women in public. The divine became again, in popular conception, a distant, remote, inscrutable and indifferent father/creator. Those who introjected this distant father figure might well have felt “he” repudiated the feminine and therefore were acting on his orders as they began a violent campaign against women, and against everything they saw as feminine.

It was, I think, religion rather than philosophy that was most to blame. Bordo writes that the century from 1550 to 1650 was a horrifically misogynist time, with most of the hatred centred on woman as mother. Thousands of old women were roasted for witchcraft. What caused it? Fear, of course. But was it fear of the power of woman, or fear of what “He”, the introjected Father, might think?

 

 

7 Laws for an Equal Society

Newcomers to feminism, particularly celebrities, are getting a lot of social media press lately. Yesterday Feminist Current published a post about yet another young, male celebrity celebrating his new-found feminism. Read it here. Asked his definition of feminism, he answered that it’s the belief that men and women are equal. This is a feel-good meme; you’d have to be some old codger not to share this belief. But what does it mean exactly?

To help answer that, I’ve drawn up a list of laws (and some social mores) that a society that truly believed a woman’s life, voice and needs were of equal importance to a man’s life, voice and needs would enact. This is a draft list; revisions and additions are totally welcome.

  1. A man who fathered a child would be required to attend court immediately after the birth to draw up a contract between himself and his child, specifying the amount of financial support he would provide for the coming 18 years. This contract would have nothing to do with the mother and would apply regardless of the circumstances of conception — whether within a marriage or the result of a one-time hookup. The monies would be deposited into a bank account set up for the child, and administered by the primary care-giver or agreed-upon substitute.
  2. A man convicted of sexual assault of a prepubescent child would receive a choice of death or life in prison. This punishment is commensurate with the devastating consequences of child sexual assault on both the child, and society as a whole. It also recognizes that pedophiles will never stop and therefore people are not safe as long as pedophiles are at liberty. It may also be the only deterrent capable of persuading pedophiles not to act out their urges.
  3. A man convicted of rape of an adolescent or adult for the third time would receive life imprisonment. This is again commensurate with the violation against the person (not just against the body) that constitutes rape, and recognizes  a need to keep people safe from a man who will not stop. Convictions for rape will rely on the victim’s sworn testimony and a detailed examination of the accused’s sexual history. Where rapists are concerned, past performance really does predict future results. Severe penalties levied against accusers found to have lied.
  4. Organizations wishing to lobby against or protest against abortion would be required to set up and fund a subsidiary charitable organization to sponsor single mothers. Sponsorship would consist of three years of full financial support plus the services of a counsellor. There would be a specified linkage between money spent to lobby against abortion, and money spent to sponsor  single mothers.
  5. A woman who believes her life is in danger from a stalker, spouse or ex-spouse would be allowed to claim self-defense if she kills him in a planned manner. Currently she can  claim self-defense only if her life is in imminent danger — in other words when she is actually under attack. This is preposterous. If a woman truly believes the only way to save her own life is to take that of a man who threatens to take hers, she must be able to attack him in a manner that minimizes the risk to herself. Note this law would not allow women to kill men with impunity — only that they can claim self defense even if they plan the killing in advance.
  6. I’m not sure what to do about sex, so this one is the most tentative of all. People unable to find sexual partners could ask their doctors for a referral to a licensed sex therapist?
  7. This one could not be legislated, so it’s a social more rather than a law. Parents would teach their daughters not to accept free meals, drinks or other outings from men. In western history, young men paid for their dates with young women for two reasons: first the woman would have no money of her own, and second he would be demonstrating his fitness to be her husband by being able to provide for her. Circumstances have changed. Male-paid dating now teaches men how to use financial inducements to pressure  women into sex, in effect teaching them how to be johns. It also teaches women to use men for their money, and puts them in the very uncomfortable position of feel obligated to give some return for the man’s investment. It is not easy to give something away for free; it is also not easy to accept something without feeling an obligation to give back.

So what do the new crop of feminists think about this list? Would you use whatever status and power you have to lobby governments to enact legislation something like this?

 

Killing for political gain

The April edition of Harper’s Magazine features a lengthy argument for decriminalizing all drug use. I cozied myself into my easy chair to see what Dan Baum, author of “Legalize It All”, would have to say. The second paragraph ended all coziness.  Richard Nixon was the first American president to announce a war on drugs. Baum interviewed Richard Nixon’s former domestic-policy advisor, John Ehrlichman. Here’s what he quotes Ehrlichman as saying:

The Nixon campaign in 1968 and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

Is this old information? How come this admission isn’t all over the American news stations? Nixon might as well have killed a million blacks himself, personally.

This article makes me think of two things. First I was tempted to take on the guilt, to say to myself, ‘so this is what it is to be human, this is what we humans are capable of’. But then I stopped myself. This is what Nixon thought it took to be a man. This is what he, and all men, learn early in life. To be a man you have to compete to the death, you have to do whatever it takes to come out on top. If your climb up destroys others, they’re just losers and they deserve what they get. I wonder if Nixon finally got his father’s approval with this government-initiated destruction of black culture and lives. Did he believe his Daddy would pat him on the head? Did he believe his Mommy would finally know that he was a man and not a boy?

The second thing I wondered was why is it so easy for one man to pull the wool over the eyes of an entire community, whether that community is a city, a country or a whole ethnic group? People listen to men. We listen and we believe. When the man has power, we fall into line like a box of mindless dominoes. And this only seems to be getting worse. In the past week I’ve seen the sentence, “they drank the koolaid” twice in print. We know what it means, don’t we? Somehow illusion, fabricated by one person for personal gain, has become easier to believe than fact.