Dignity Above All

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January 22, 2023- It was well said, last Monday, “all means all”. Any decision made, with regard to the life of an unborn child, will hopefully place the utmost value on that child’s quality of life-as well as that of the mother. The decision, one of the heaviest that any human being is asked to make, must be made by the mother-not by politicians. I’ve made that point several times, and will let it stand.

I carried a sign around Courthouse Plaza, this afternoon, a tolerated but not entirely welcome act, in the midst of a highly politicized march that was billed as a Women’s March. The message, well-crafted by someone else, stated simply: “We march on, for equality, fairness and justice for all.” All means all-and the implication, that this applies even to those who do not subscribe to a given political stance, is nettlesome to a few. I see that this is greatly evident among those who are of the opinion that an authoritarian regime is the best way to solve all the problems besetting a given nation-all the while ignoring the track record of totalitarians up to now. Invariably, the elite of both Right and Left enrich themselves at the expense of the vast majority of their fellow citizens.

In the end, no one who might have been opposed to the march bothered the participants, and only one or two of those gathered bothered with me-one of them helping to carry the sign for a while, before walking off in a huff, from some unknown slight. The kids, and their mothers, remain more important to me than any political operative-of any stripe. It was gratifying to see a dozen or so young women scattered among the marchers, taking charge of their own dignity, making it clear to the others that this is their struggle now and will be carried out on their terms. Later in the afternoon, I stopped in at a restaurant across from the courthouse and was greeted by a young woman who was grateful for those who spoke up on behalf of her generation’s rights.

The future belongs to those who do not slam the door on people with whom they might not agree or on those whom they regard as “irrelevant” to the process. The future lies beyond emotional fits, self-aggrandizement or making veiled threats against others. I may be of an older generation, but I stand with those who could be my children, or grandchildren. Hopefully, as those discomfited by my presence see that I am not going away, they will also place more value on working with the young, rather than carrying on ideological battles of times past.

Human dignity matters more.

Fire Sign

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January 20, 2019, Scottsdale-

Today is World Religion Day, so after a regular monthly study session, in Prescott Valley, I headed down to the Baha’i Community Center here.  There is an annual observance, honouring the commonality of the world’s religions, and most of the major faiths of North America were represented – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikh, Buddhism and Baha’i. (Only the Native American traditional faiths were unrepresented.  We consider Catholicism and LDS to be Christianity, as well as the denominations of Protestantism).

This also being the weekend of the Women’s March, the theme of today’s gathering was “The Role of Women in Religion”.  It is quite commonly held that the various faiths hold women down, to one extent or another.  While a  careful examination of various Scriptures shows that this is not so. it is very clear that those who promulgated the major religions, after the Ascensions of their Founders, saw fit to cherry-pick and manipulate the meanings of certain verses, so as to subvert women’s equanimity with men-in all too many instances.  I will have more to say about this matter, especially during March, which is Women’s History Month.

I want to note, regarding yesterday’s Women’s March, in Prescott, that several hundred people, of various political standpoints, managed to be in a small space together, displaying signs with  their points of view, and managing to not antagonize one another, at least while I was there.  This is as it should be.  One conservative woman, carrying a “pro-Trump” sign, nonetheless voiced agreement that women must be given the right to speak, on any issue, and be heard, on every issue.  Penny and her mother would be shouting in agreement, as do my mother and just about every woman in my family and in my circle of friends.

The fire of purification burns on, in their hearts and in my heart.

Here is a presentation, at any earlier event, by Rev. Renee Morgan Brooks, who sang today, as well.  She was a friend and collaborator of Penny’s.

Marching On

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January 21, 2017, Prescott- I was delighted by the snow that fell, this morning.  It was just enough to make everything lovely and to give me two hours of exercise.  Whilst shoveling, I noted that it was close to time for the Women’s March to take place, downtown.  I finished clearing the walk, for the sake of my neighbour, a disabled woman, who is wheelchair-bound and needs a clear path, at least three times a week.  I then took a rest, and thought very happy thoughts about the sky having cleared, for the marchers and for those with other business.  If someone chose to march today, God bless her.  If someone made other uses of their time, as long as (s)he hurt no one- God bless her, too.

Women and girls have lighted my world, from as far back as I can remember.  The most powerful woman I have ever known, has never marched or staged a public protest a day in her life.  She raised five of us, with two special needs children (my youngest brother and me) as bookends of her parenting.  She is a ferocious liberal, who loved her conservative husband with all her heart, and loves/ abides  three moderately conservative children (my beloved siblings), and me-the gadfly.  Her motherhood took the lion’s share of her life’s work, but does not define her.

The most beloved woman in my life, now departed, would have gladly taken part in today’s march, but would never have turned her back on basic values of respect and validation for those with opposing points of view.  She loved her ultraconservative father, even when his social comments broke her heart.  She and I would have heated conversations, but not once did they impact our commitment to one another.  She loved being a mother and wife, every bit as much as being a teacher, and a scholar.

I know, and love, thousands of women and girls, of all political/ideological viewpoints, and of no such viewpoints.  Their rights are the same as mine.  Their dreams and aspirations are every bit as valid as those of any man. Their strengths and abilities can only do the world good.  The woman who chooses to be a homemaker, teaches, nurses the sick or cares for others’ children is as valuable, to society, as she who practices law, runs a corporation, repairs motor vehicles or serves in the Armed Forces.  The conservative, who prefers a “traditional” lifestyle, and the progressive, who is in the vanguard of social change, are vital to one another, and would that they see this.  Each is certainly vital, in my world.

It is the nurturing presence, the capacity for bonding and the devotion to others, basic to a human female and expressed in so many ways, that makes standing up, for the well-being of women and girls, so essential.  In whatever way one marches- in serried ranks, two-by-two or singly and alone; publicly, or at home, in one’s own mind; by speaking out  before a crowd or by raising strong people, you, dear one, are making a difference.

March on.