Friday, September 21, 2018

A Storm Surge of Systemic Misogyny

Listening to the back-to-back coverage of the two stories leading this morning's news I was struck by the parallels between managing the twin disasters of a hurricane named Florence and a Supreme Court nominee named Kavanaugh.

They are both in-and-of-themselves catastrophic events that carry the capacity to wreck havoc. The hurricane -- with its wind, rain and floodwaters -- threatens all those living it its wake along our Carolina coast. And the Supreme Court nominee -- with the potential to dismantle decades of progress on equal protection, women's health care, abortion rights and voting rights (just to name a few) -- threatens all those who hold liberty and justice for all as a core American value.

But even more devastating than the initial threat of these twin catastrophic events is the storm surge that follows in their wake.

In the Carolinas it is the ongoing surge of flood waters that have yet to crest and do their worst ... displacing families, destroying businesses, changing landscapes and continuing the destruction long after the storm itself has dissipated and is no longer discernible on the weather radar map.

And it is a storm surge that not only includes the water that dumped from the heavens or surged from the sea ... it includes the toxic waste from hog farms which floods out of lagoons intended to contain it into the ground water of surrounding communities with devastating results.

Likewise, the storm surge from this highly contested Supreme Court nomination -- a nomination fast-tracked by the GOP majority in a process that has included half-truths and outright lies; unreleased documents and unprecedented procedures -- has the potential to continue to do its worst if this patently unfit for office nominee is confirmed to a life-time appointment to the highest court in the land.

And -- like the toxic waste that contaminates the Carolina storm surge -- the flood waters of division and partisanship surrounding this nomination have unearthed the toxic waste of systemic misogyny  that lies as close to the surface in this patriarchal nation of ours as the pig waste does to the ground water in North Carolina.

The quotes referenced above by sitting Senators who dismiss the testimony of a woman coming forward at great personal risk to tell her story of abuse are symptomatic of that storm surge of systemic misogyny that is just as toxic, that stinks just a much and is just as great a danger to our body politic as all the pig poop in North Carolina.

As a nation we deserve a full hearing of the actual facts of what occurred between Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford all those years ago -- not a rush-to-judgment perpetrated by GOP partisans so blind to their own patriarchal privilege that they can't even see that they're up to their knees in a cesspool of sexism.

We can and must do better than this. We can and must insist that we are better than this. And if we are ever to become a nation where liberty and justice for all is not just a pledge we make but a reality we live, we can and must stop this storm surge of systemic misogyny -- and we must do it now.

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