Christopherson Column: Can’t women just enjoy a little peace?
I was thinking about war the other day. It was hard not to, given it was June 6, the anniversary of “D-Day,” and my social media feeds were peppered with those iconic images of World War II allied troops jumping from the open ramps on the front of the Higgins boats into the shallow sea and trudging through the water toward heavily German-fortified Omaha Beach.
Now that was a war. There have been other wars, obviously, but that war, and the events of June 6, 1944, in which so many soldiers fighting for the allied forces knew they were mere moments or even seconds from death when they jumped from those boats…it’s difficult to fathom the lengths of their courage.
The word “war” has been diminished over time. It gets put into play in less significant, even trivial instances when a lesser word should suffice. Every time someone decides to invest in an all-out effort to get something accomplished, they declare “war” on that particular thing.
The “war on drugs” is a particularly egregious misuse of the word. Anyone think that “war” was won? Or was worth the effort? All it did was bust the budget and turn prisons into sardine cans, while also managing to not address the very real issues that lead people to live a drug-fueled, crime-riddled existence.
The word “war” is unfortunately twisted in other ways, too. Too often these days, when people feel like they’re being mistreated or victimized by the powers-that-be, they claim that a “war” has been declared on them. But that’s usually not the case; what is the case is this planet is occupied by bad people with ill intentions, and when those people are placed in positions of power and they’re given an opportunity to take advantage of the less powerful, they maximize that opportunity.
There’s an exception, though, to this anti-war rant: Women. Females. Young and old. All of them. They are under siege by malevolent, ignorant, frightened men who have somehow stumbled into positions of power, and they are pouncing at every opportunity to make decisions they have no business making that negatively impact women.
The only thing constant is change, and these petrified, puny men can’t take it.
I don’t know how women do it. Really, I don’t. I find myself looking at my wife – a strong, successful, determined, compassionate and helpful wife, mother and professional – and not being able to get past the fact that when we got hitched 25 years ago, she without a single question or word of protest simply felt compelled to automatically dump her family’s last name and take my last name.
The whole last name thing...who’s god-awful idea was that, anyway?
Does this perpetual assault on women have biblical roots? Do men somehow think they can get a free pass for their continued boorish behavior because a story in a book said a rib from the first man on the planet was used to create the first woman?
How is it that women make less than men for doing the same work, and often doing it better? Who decided way back when that a woman’s “place” was in the home? Why did it take until 2020 to elect this nation’s first female vice president? Women are smarter and there are more of them. How is it possible this notion that women are somehow secondary, inferior creatures still has breath in its lungs?
The intensity of this war on women has ramped up of late, in the form of legislative chambers full of crusty, stodgy old men and the next generation of smooth-skinned, wannabe gavel-pounders hell-bent on mandating what women can and cannot do with their own bodies. These hypocrites gleefully embrace the belief that health insurance should cover the cost of erectile dysfunction pills, but insurance coverage for female contraception? No employer should be forced to provide that, because, you know, we’re supposed to be fruitful and multiply.
These men (and some women) want to outlaw abortion, even if a woman is raped or is a victim of incest. She needs to carry to term and give birth. Choose otherwise, and she’s in trouble.
Let’s give her a few years until she reaches the required minimum age of 35, but Paxton Smith should be president one day. The valedictorian of her high school class in Dallas last week courageously strayed in impactful fashion from the pre-approved script of her speech and spoke out against the so-called “heartbeat bill” advanced by Republicans running the Texas legislature this spring.
If she ever runs, she has my vote. And if she’s married by then but still goes by Paxton “Smith,” I’ll fill my yard with campaign signs.