SUFF performance

Beguine the Beguine

The work is never done. Such is the ending of the play, Suff. And yet it’s the beginning.

As I sat in the theater comfortably behind my mask, yet tears streaming down my face, I realized that this was a very special moment in time for me,  for women of my generation, and for women of my daughter’s generation. Honestly, for all women.

Hilary Rodham Clinton, Shaina Taub, Lin-Manuel Miranda

One woman sitting on the stage is the most powerful woman in America, to date: Hillary Rodham Clinton. She’s not a neutral character in this case. She’s the only woman of our time, or any time, to receive the popular vote, by millions, of Americans. Shaina Taub, the playwright, joined Hilary in a discussion of the ongoing work to fight for the rights of women all over the world! And Lin-Manuel Miranda, playwright of the epic creation, Hamilton. discussed the difficulty in taking a bit of history to the stage. It was fascinating to me. And two days later, in Washington DC there was a Women’s March in reaction to Politico’s scoop about the upcoming opinion of the SCOTUS on Roe v. Wade..

Einstein proved his theory of relativity. I couldn’t help but think that this theory applies to political winds. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. So we won the right to vote. It came with severe hardship. The women on the front lines of the battlefield to win the right to vote, took the posture of conscientious objector. They were rewarded for their efforts. 

Their reward was force-feeding when they abstained from eating in protest, they were beaten a.k.a. tortured. When their colleagues, who were courageous in their approach of President Woodrow Wilson, demanded their release, buoyed by the leverage they had when letters from the prisoners were submitted to the press, the amendment still did not pass until ratified by Congress. That one rare vote came from a representative desiring to please his mother instead of presuming he knew best.The signing of the declaration of amendment was conducted differently than any other amendment known to the American Constitution. It was signed in a room by men, and men took credit for “giving this right” to women.

More women are holding office, running for office, holding powerful positions and breaking the glass ceiling. Here we go. Equal and opposite reaction.

Similar to the signing of the amendment is happening in the Supreme Court. Make no mistake even women serving today on the Supreme Court are doing men’s bidding. The action to take away the privilege wrought by Roe V Wade is to turn back the clock and take back the strides forward that have already been paid for. This Supreme Court is stealing the power of choice from women. In fact, it is taking away the rights of men who care about the rights of the women they love, as well. It’s an overstepping of government boundaries when the legislation of morality extends to fully human processes. It’s as if the need to control the populace is more important than individual rights. There’s much more to say about this … suffice it to say that many more women died for the right to vote. And now many more will die in unsafe situations. Their right to reproductive freedom is  undermined. All indications are that the government can make this decision for women, and men who care.

So I implore each of you on this day to honor the women in your life. This is not about abortion. This is about the right of people to choose what happens to them regardless of religion, creed, culture or race. In this case the choice more often belongs to women because we are the ones who bear children.It seems to me that the men who do not understand this mystery, should have less say in this decision. (But often it’s a white male … a religious zealot who does not care about anything but power, and does not represent the majority of white men in this country, on the front lines.) 

And why is this so threatening? Why is the power of the female gender so threatening to men and women who would abdicate responsibility to their gender. Is it because we do have miraculous ability to reproduce. Is it because men are feeling less necessary, less needed?Is it because the women who love these men seek not to overpower them but to hold them small in their limited ego? Not all men are this way, in fact, many are embarrassed by this radical behavior.

I will never know the answer to that. Women lost this fight when Brett Cavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court. And later when Marjorie Taylor Smith who has a clear personal church based stance against abotion was appointed.. The funny thing is, the church was where the push for abortion rights began, because women sought out the church health services knowing that they would be cared for and honored. 

Years ago the issue of abortion was used to replace the issue of race for conservatives in the monority. There simply weren’t enough people willing to admit to their bigotry and racism. This movement is not at all about love or reverence for human life. But that is what is used to convince the populace. Now, stoking the fear of eternal damnation, they have begun to take over the seats of power in our world. Even in this, there is a weaponizing of religion. Make no mistake, this issue is about power over, not about power for the people. Abortion seems to fit the political wind, and brings the radical and extreme right and righteous to the forefront.

I was taught that this country was founded by people who wanted to avoid persecution based on their religion. After the Salem Witch Trials, we are supposed to learn not to persecute women just for being women. This stoking of fear in our country leads to very poor decisions. Those who represent ideology rather than the people would do well to remember that the next class of people to be persecuted may well be them. 

See Reversing Roe, September 2018, Netflix