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Sun Aug 6, 2017, 04:56 PM

My Choice [View all]


Being a male may prevent me from being an expert on “women's issues.” However, I have learned a few things from teachers, especially those who are patient. Two that I have in mind are my daughters. They are both in their twenties now, and are both social-political activists, with a particular interest in women's issues. Both are university-educated, and share information with me.

Now, when well done, parenting is a unique educational experience, with both boys and girls. I learned a lot from all four of my children, since they were itty-bitty. And I did my best to encourage their being curious, self-confident, and happy. Of course, I was not perfect, no one ever is. But we made their childhoods an adventure. Those are times I can look back on with real happiness.

Raising teenagers is – at least in my opinion, though others likely agree – distinct from raising pre-teens. There comes at time, somewhere around 16, when boys experience with identity formation resulted in my sons concluding that I was not the smartest, strongest, absolute coolest man who ever walked the earth. On one hand, I missed the earlier times; on the other, I encouraged them (except when they challenged me to box).

My daughters' mother had more difficulty with them as teens, and abandoned them. That was tough, because no matter how good I might be as a parent, teenage girls tend to do better with a stable mother figure. But I did my best, and am pleased that both continued to think of me as both human and someone who has added to society. At her university, the youngest even published an essay that referred to me as her hero. That surely made me happy.

I so wish that my father knew my daughters. But he died, and their other three grandparents have never been part of their lives. Thus, I've been lucky to have extended family that has filled various roles. My aunt and uncle served as “grandparents” to two little girls without grandparents. Another aunt, 88, and uncle, 89, are also wonderful with all my kids. Plus my siblings, my nieces and nephews, and my cousins, etc.

Not a single female relative they know accepted being treated as unequal to males – either in family life, or the larger society. That doesn't mean they didn't face discrimination. So few things have pleased me more than to sit back and listen to my 88 year old aunt tell the family history of strong women. In a book I published years ago, about the Irish immigrant experience in the northeast, I documented how much of the anti-Irish dynamics were due to the equal role of women in traditional Irish society.

My children all share my passion for the environment. In my opinion, it is impossible to fully appreciate nature, if you don't appreciate that male and female are absolutely equal, though not exact. This is part of understanding human nature. It allows us to appreciate the potential benefits and problems of both patriarchal and matriarchal societies. It prevents the perverse attitudes that sex is dirty, and that we should be restrictive in assigning gender roles. It provides opportunity to understand the history of human migration patterns, including environmental and human factors.

All of my kids got to know my mentors, Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. The boys grew up thinking Paul was their grandfather. All of them knew Rubin as a wise uncle. I say this, because our current society encourages the breakdown of family systems – despite the pious crap about “family values” – and there is a much-needed option of redefining what family means.

As the saying goes, human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights. That shouldn't be debated any more than Black Lives Matter. Or that the Standing Rock Sioux have the right to say no to a pipeline. Or that human beings are not, by definition, “illegal.” We need to translate these truths into our social and political reality.

This is why I have stated on several DU:GD threads that I'm opposed to trying to expand the party by way of welcoming anti-choice politicians.

H2O Man

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H2O Man Aug 2017 OP
guillaumeb Aug 2017 #1
lunatica Aug 2017 #4
H2O Man Aug 2017 #15
volstork Aug 2017 #12
H2O Man Aug 2017 #14
guillaumeb Aug 2017 #23
H2O Man Aug 2017 #13
guillaumeb Aug 2017 #24
Solly Mack Aug 2017 #2
H2O Man Aug 2017 #16
onecaliberal Aug 2017 #3
H2O Man Aug 2017 #17
Me. Aug 2017 #5
H2O Man Aug 2017 #18
countryjake Aug 2017 #6
H2O Man Aug 2017 #19
Warren DeMontague Aug 2017 #7
H2O Man Aug 2017 #20
Warren DeMontague Aug 2017 #22
Horse with no Name Aug 2017 #8
H2O Man Aug 2017 #21
dembotoz Aug 2017 #9
H2O Man Aug 2017 #25
mopinko Aug 2017 #10
H2O Man Aug 2017 #26
seta1950 Aug 2017 #11
H2O Man Aug 2017 #27
Honeycombe8 Aug 2017 #28
H2O Man Aug 2017 #29
Honeycombe8 Aug 2017 #39
BobsYourUncle Aug 2017 #30
H2O Man Aug 2017 #33
Raster Aug 2017 #31
H2O Man Aug 2017 #34
DFW Aug 2017 #32
H2O Man Aug 2017 #35
DFW Aug 2017 #36
Hekate Aug 2017 #37
dawg Aug 2017 #38