Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Character and The Courage of Resolve

Veterans' Day 2008. November skies of gunmetal gray opened today over a nation in transition. Noted with special poignance on this hallowed day is the passing of Ed Freeman, who, in the firestorm of the Ia Drang valley in November 1965, flew a Huey into that hot zone some 13 times under heavy fire to rescue 30 wounded after the medevacs had been ordered not to land.

This is the kind of character and courage that makes humankind great, regardless of the sovreignty from which they hail. It is the same kind of courage and compassion that made my father, whose B-17 was shot into the English Channel in 1944, insist that, as an Officer, he be the last man out of the sinking plane and then, treading February waters, held up two men who couldn't swim until they were rescued because the life raft was gone. It is the dedication and love for his country and his fellow Marines that made my stepfather fight his way up the middle of Iwo Jima for 32 days, an inch at a time, and the patriotism of my friend Rod, born in England after the Second World War of an another American patriot and an English beauty, that took him to the jungles of Viet Nam. It is my friend Dean, another whom I greatly admire, on his way back to Iraq for his 4th tour with the Marines, who once said that compassion was for those who can afford it. I disagreed; I reminded him that of all people, as a Marine, his code of honor and dedication was based in the most compassionate of principles: never to leave a comrade behind. The briefest hint of a smile tugged at the corner of his face for an instant before he grudgingly agreed. The humility of the Great never fails to humble me as my admiration for their courage and character grows.

We who are fighting for women's rights and to regain and reform our democracy and a free press can gain strength and take comfort in the reminder that Courage and Character abound, now and always, in all places, despite indications to the contrary during the recent campaign.

And so, while the current president-designee readies himself to "rule"--this particular, peculiarly inappropriate-for-a-democracy word straight from aide Valerie Jarrett--we find ourselves barreling blindly toward a plethora of unknowns as we learn that nowhere in his To Do List do we see anything to indicate any desire to put competent women in government, eradicate sexism, or even utilize the considerable talents of Hillary Rodham Clinton, most certainly our nation's hardest working, most informed authority on health care.

So much for the "Progressive" Left. One would have to question groups like NOW and NARAL, who blindly endorsed this ticket, which at no time gave any indication that women's rights were of any concern. The president-designee--and I say designee because he is not yet the president-elect--[that appellation only applies AFTER the Electors of the College have voted--but then...he has always presumed a great deal too much, too fast] never once spoke out against the barrage of sexism and misogyny that pervaded the campaign; he has never once indicated that he is anything but a patronizing misogynist. What is so difficult to understand is that the early feminists of NOW have designated themselves dinosaurs by virtue of their blind subservience to someone like this, simply because--can it possibly be??--this individual champions abortion rights to the exclusion of all others. Robin Morgan's outrageously out of touch, patronizing piece from October 31 labeled her forever as one whose "liberal feminism" extends solely to those who see things HER way: everyone else--Republican women, women who choose NOT to have abortions, deserves little more than the back of her hand. No one whose opinion or lifestyle differs from hers is worth her time, her respect or her empathy. She apparently forgets that people fought and died to protect EVERYONE'S rights, not just hers.

We are at the beginning of the next phase of our Movement and of the long journey back to regaining the democracy we have long cherished and now lost. While it is a frightening process to watch our rights fall away, it is an exhilarating one to witness the formation of a new army of people who care about everyone's rights, and who clearly see that the simple pandering to a single issue is nothing more than an attempt to mollify, manipulate and subjugate 52% of our population. We join together to support The New Agenda, WomenCountpac, Together4Us, and the Just Say No Deal coalition, all of whom share in the resolve to restore our country to its once-great status as a champion of human and women's rights, democracy and fair elections, and fair and balanced media. WE CAN DO THIS. IT HAS ALREADY STARTED!

Our heartfelt thanks to those who have gone before us.

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