I haven’t heard much discussion lately of patriarchy as it is embodied in the arch-conservatives who would run this country by its confining and soul-killing tenets.
Underpinning the conservative base is the Catholic Church, which is why Archbishop Timothy Dolan has been asked to bless the Republican Convention coming up in Tampa and remains master puppeteer of the party.
One can only hope that Hurricane Isaac, with a gospel fervor, unblesses the gathering, keeping people away.
The Vatican, of course, remains the seat of patriarchy in the Western world, with the Church of England not far behind. The Apostolic Secession furthering the mythology of the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of a virgin– the only fit womb for the divine– still determines what boys are taught about God and how they internalize the earliest messages of the power they will have to legislate and dominate. We know what the role of women is in The Catholic Church.
Protestantism carries Christianity forward and is hardly untainted by Rome and England.
Enter from stage right, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, both of whom, despite the theological aberrations of the Mormonism of the former, have been indoctrinated with the belief that they are agents of the Father God.
Ann Romney has born her husband five sons. Good job, Ann: what a uterus. Ryan pays lip service to Catholicism; he has only four children thus far. But his attorney wife left her career to stay at home and raise those children while her husband makes his mark.
In the Episcopal Church, legislated to this day by The Archbishop of Canterbury, we have the hierarchy of male priests, deacons and canons who are the moral authorities and the ones who deliver the incarnate body of God unto the people. The Anglicans pay lip service to the concept of equality in ordaining women and gays but balk at sanction of, performance of, gay marriage.
Patriarchs believe they rule the world and cause the sun to float in the heavens. They make the sign of the Cross, genuflecting before the man-made vision. There are plenty of patriarchs in Judaism; the rabbi is typically a man who is regarded as being wise in the ways of the Father God.
Certainly the churches and the synagogues do good things. But the oppression of women, the relegation of women to the very status a rib has to the body entire, is entrenched in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
The young patriarch Paul Ryan is incapable of original thought because he is made from the rib of patriarchy. It is patriarchal culture that brings us the absurd rhetoric of would-be senator Todd Akin and his exquisitely bizarre running commentary on how babies are made and not made when a woman is “legitimately” raped.
It’s all enough to gag a battalion of maggots, and to put women off their feed. As my new friend Jayne Martin has written, why would any woman vote against her own interests, i.e. the right to determine what becomes of her own body.
Last night Anderson Cooper challenged Deborah Wasserman on statements she has made regarding the conservative plank on abortion.
Cooper let his conservative bent show in refusing to let Wasserman speak, rolling over with rapid-fire questions in his Keeping ‘Em Honest segment. But speak she did, refusing to back off her letter to Democratic women regarding the fact– and it is a fact– that the Romney-Ryan-Conservative-GOP position on Abortion has emerged as being far more reactionary than any of us can bear to believe– no abortion even in cases of rape and incest and whether permissable to save the life of the mother is in question.
Men legislating women’s health is a prime example of patriarchy. Ryan’s jaw is in full engagement, but no matter how fast he talks, there is absolutely no doubt that he sits at the right hand of Pope Benedict. There is no stranger subculture in the world– save for extremist Islam with its practice of female genital mutiliation and stoning women adulterers to death– than that of the Vatican– no more insulated, power-brokering hegemony over the hearts and minds of entire peoples, vis Southern Italy, which in many respects is the armpit of the Catholic Church in that the ‘Ndrangtheta go to Mass.
My own collection of poems, my first in thirty years I have felt warrants sending out into the world to find a home, was turned back to me for revision in a consummate act of arrogance by one of the patriarch Jews of Minneapolis. It is my assessment that he is threatened by my work, that I have a voice, that I claim, own, and use the power of my vision to speak what I see.
More than ever we need strong women to stand with Barack Obama, who fulfills the definition of what we of the first wave of feminism used to call the “liberated man”, in every sense.
I could not believe today that Mitt Romney said this: “No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate.”
These mittens are filled with thumbs and the man has two left feet he puts in his mouth whenever he opens it. He cannot be trusted to run the country; he lacks depth, intellect, and the vision for equality we need.