“The world will be saved by the Western woman.”
- Dalai Lama
Today is a new day with a new term, and it's all changing. The big-buck PACs are squabbling with each other over spending some $369 million and getting nothing. The Repubs, who thought they could dig in their heels and get rid of our black President and all he stands for by lording it over the less-than-wealthy, saw dark people coming in droves to support Obama and to make a statement about empowering all Americans. Even yesterday, House Speaker Boehner said they're ready to work together -- providing, of course, they get the 'right deal'. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
All my adult life, I’ve heard men moaning and decrying the situation, any situation. ‘It can’t be done,’ they’d say. ‘No way; it just wouldn’t work.’ And then they’d proceed to give a long litany of their statistics and reasons. I heard a lot of that negativity yesterday on post-election analyses, and I’m seeing it on Facebook today.
Meanwhile, the women would quietly move along, making everything work out well through compromise and sacrifice. My mother raised six children, making do on war rations during one of the Big Ones, learning to sew and make hats so that we girls could all look the Southern ladies she envisioned for us. My Dad was on the upward ladder in life insurance management so, as he moved up we all moved on. Mom, primarily, moved our household 11 times before I reached high school.
And it wasn’t easy. On one Friday morning when she was nine months pregnant, with diapers in the washing machine and no dryer, my Dad came home and told her, ‘We’re going to move this weekend.” No, he wasn’t running from anyone; he traveled and he’d just forgotten to tell her another change was coming. That’s how good my Mom was. She was raised in an era when women didn’t complain; they just dealt with the hand they were given, and they did it with grace and grit. We moved that weekend, Mom found another obstetrician, soon afterward delivered my sister, and our world kept turning.
In later years when I asked her how she could do all that without getting upset, she said, “Well, honey, that’s just the way it was.”
That was her reply, also, when I asked her about the almost unimaginably huge social metamorphosis she underwent over her 95 years, having grown up in pre-Civil Rights Birmingham, AL and progressing to enjoying black people as close friends. If you haven’t lived through some of that, you just can’t fathom how far she had travelled, just moving with the times.
Today, Mom’s not here to see it, but our nation is undergoing a social earthquake. It’s like two huge social plates under the surface have shifted, leaving what looks like chaos in its stead. And men are wringing their hands saying, ‘We’re doomed; it’s all falling apart!’
Nonsense! It’s just starting to come together the way it’s supposed to, and guess who the American people have put in charge? More women in Congress and other offices throughout the land, than ever before! The women are going to provide a stabilizing influence, leading us through this massive shift in paradigm from power by wealthy whites to power of all Americans because we know that we can find the way. We ordinary women, of course, are hugely influential in our own little worlds.
Admittedly, this is a simplistic approach, and new Congressional lawmakers from the full range of formerly disenfranchised parts of society will also bring balance to our new social emphasis.
In summary, though, now it's not the Right or Left, the rich or poor who will dominate, it will be the Middle - and that's what's so exciting. Huge paradigms are shifting to create a new reality. Change is hard, and it’s so scary, but that’s the way it is and, don’t worry, fellows; it’s going to be just fine.