November 16, 2017 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , United States

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Ben White


I don’t know if he did it. Political agendas in America have been behind worse things than having women come forward to make accusations of sexual abuse and harassment against a candidate, so I can believe it if he is being falsely accused.  But men – and women, for that matter – have been guilty of sexual misbehaviors, so I can equally believe the accusations are 100% accurate. But what he did or didn’t do in the past is really secondary to what he stands for right now, here, in the present.

I am not surprised that a woman in America would come forward in America and make claims of sexual assault against a man in America.  It’s just another indicator that American society has a dissociative disorder at best.  Its righteous, church-going principles of morality and ethical values are constantly being torn apart by a sense of privileged freedoms that push social limits of reality and give Americans schizophrenia.  Simply put, human qualities are split between biological being and social doing.

Biologically speaking, humans are animals, appearing on earth to eat, sleep, and procreate.  The ability to apply reason and a higher-order (perhaps) of thinking has made mankind think that we are no longer animals and have the ability to conduct ourselves within the parameters of social doing. Humanity will prevail, we reason, because of the ability to establish societies.

However, the predominant aspects of being part of a society have evolved into the protection, perpetuation and advancement of that society by two means: waging war and procreating.  Both of these activities come with a male-dominated prowess that cannot be – or at least has not been – eradicated by a connection to any church’s righteous teachings.  In fact, there may be an argument that the connection to a church encourages both of these pursuits.

The Christian church, for example, maintains the doctrine that tells us to be fruitful and multiply while administering the blessings for the only entity authorized to procreate; the married couple.  Meanwhile, in the back pews of human minds, there is a constant reminder of animalistic desire looking around the church to evaluate the opposite sex for a mate.  To make it worse, that desire is urged on by socially accepted media bombarding the production of hormonal drivers with images of what it means to be an admired member of society based on physical appearance and sexual actions.

There is a very thin line between the passion it takes to love a mate and the passion it takes to kill an enemy.  Going to war is even done under the guise of loving one’s country.  A soldier is forgiven when killing in the name of freedom and liberty, democracy and the Republic, for God and country.  “Thou shalt not kill” is re-translated to mean “thou shalt not commit murder” when that question arises within the defense of a nation; in which killing is a necessity of the national experience and preservation.

So if a nation can justify – even glorify – going to battle and accepting the behaviors of soldiers, is it any wonder how easily a nation can justify – and even glorify – the objectification of women?


America is not suddenly shocked to find out that men haven’t minded their manners or their animalistic desires.  That cannot be a shock.  The real news in today’s headlines, rather, is that women are pushing back against the behaviors; pointing out that the behaviors are wrong and unwelcome.  Having that pointed out may be shocking because the behaviors themselves have been justified – and even glorified – by the male-dominated society ready to paint the town red for a high plains drifter and any other Hollywood attitudes of image handed down by systemic sources of masculinity.

One might argue that the best thing to happen in the movement(s) towards women’s equality was America losing the war in Vietnam.  Losing that war meant losing the nation’s inherent sense of masculinity, and women made great strides towards social justice.  Not to say there isn’t a long way to go, but consider the educated women who emerged in the 1970s to take on roles otherwise and traditionally reserved for men.

Flash ahead to the 1990’s when President Bush (41) gave America back a sense of masculinity by going to the Persian Gulf.  President Bush (43) thought it was such a good idea, he manipulated intelligence reports to get back over there.

In the current social environment, America has decided to love her veterans – even those who were spit on and passionately accused of killing Vietnamese babies and torching villages in the name of Democratic principles.  The actions those veterans had to answer for in the 60s, 70s and even into the 80s have been stereotyped into golf-course-groundskeeper personas too unbalanced mentally to worry about or take seriously.  But now, as a 16-year war rages on in the Middle East, a Vietnam veteran has emerged on the national political stage running for the United States Senate.

Given the current ‘support-the-veteran-not-the-war’ attitudes, there are no questions about the candidate’s military experience – though false stories about a Vietnam veteran have proven to be very beneficial in presidential campaigns.  However, the women’s equality environment is ready to take on the behaviors of this candidate on the front of another war that is being waged in society for equal pay, equal status, and equal justice.

The accusations are merely one tactic to raise – or, re-raise – the issue of sexual harassment and abuse; putting into doubt the candidate’s personal attributes to serve in (what should be) the hallowed halls of the United States Senate.  Raising the issues is a personal, counter-intuitive act that comes with feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and accusations of promiscuous behaviors (i.e., inequality’s application of animalistic behaviors on a double standard in society).  The act also comes with courage; greater courage than is currently being shown in other institutions of American society.

However, as admirable as that courage is in today’s society, there is not really a need for women to bring up the 40-year-ago actions of an old Vietnam veteran-turned lawyer, serving as a District Attorney to make the point that he is not fit to serve in today’s government.  If true, those accusations are bad, but he has other disqualifying traits and questionable perspectives that don’t need to be supported by those child-abuse accusations.  Alabama’s women cannot be so backwardly restricted by culture to bow their southern heritage and strength and allow a man with ancient attitudes towards society gain office.

Take for instance the man’s speech at a local veteran’s event when he had his wife stand up.  “She is pretty,” he said, “and I appreciate that.”  The worth of his wife is that she is pretty and can stand up at an event at which he is speaking.  That is all she offers to his society, and that is all she stands for as he recaptures his masculinity from a movement in which conditions have not allowed her to participate fully.  For whom should a woman treated that way actually vote when she gets behind the curtain in the secrecy of the booth?

Before his speech, he took a shot at the customary, pre-speech humor, and again, talked about women needing to put make-up masks on to maintain their beauty.  The local, male audience laughed and applauded when the punch line came and the grandmother in the story was taking off the mask and was asked by her granddaughter if she had given up on trying to stay beautiful.  Hilarious.

But also sad because the little girl in the story stood for the expectation of what it means to be a girl in Alabama.  Conditioned to inherit the masks of society not only to maintain individual beauty, but also to keep the collective silence of an abused, harassed portion of society that continues to be oppressed by white-male attitudes that stand for the church-blessed behaviors of right and wrong as defined by righteous men whose beliefs, although alienating many other humanistic perspectives, are accepted as Heaven-sent.  If they are Heaven-sent, Heaven needs to stop sending us gifts.

Arguably, the United States Senate is the most powerful institution in America.  Giving even 1% of the power to a person who stands for archaic beliefs of oppression, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and male-dominance is a mistake.  As a citizen who hasn’t given up on the future, all I can want from Alabama is for their voters to apply some educated, southern wisdom and intellectual critical thinking to the choice that would send this candidate to Washington, and, please, I ask, don’t do it.





Ben White

What Ben White writes is written from behind the wheel of a classic straight-eight idea rolling along forgotten highways with the windows rolled down.  His poems have appeared in various online journals from the As You Were Journal, to the Exterminating Angel Magazine to Dry Land Press to Creativity Webzine. He has a forthcoming poem, “Cold Warriors” selected to appear in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Volume 6. He is also the author of an e-novelThe Kill Gene.

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