Liberté Egalité Sororité

My apologies to Robespierre but after this weekend the femmes take top billing. I almost didn’t write this week. Inaugurations, marches, playoff games. What’s a guy to think? Even good old Fr. Pat tossed a grenade into my poor little brain on Sunday but here I am for better or worse.

At first, the Women’s March was startling. Not for the incredible attendance throughout the world but for the tenor of the rhetoric. As Madonna et alia F Bombed their way through their cheerleading, the vitriol was beyond evident. I understand the problem and have been beyond supportive of women in all walks but this seemed over the top. Are things really that bad? I mused throughout the day at what I had seen.

Then we went out to dinner Saturday night with some great friends. The wife had gone to the march of some 200,000 here in Denver and her husband was the driver for several of her compatriots. I got a different story. There was grace and civility and a sense of the original purpose to seek equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation, color, religion or whatever. They really were one and I had my faith restored not so much in women or gays or blacks but in some sense of sane discourse.

Enter Fr. Pat stage right. In his homily he proposed that equality can’t be reached because it is not in our nature to do so. Huh? Now my favorite Irish prelate is not a puppet for the conservative wing of Catholicism so I took notice. He reasoned that we want to help the poor so long as they stay in their place. The way we judge ourselves and society is by some sort of pecking order. He did not say it was right but it is so. That really got me  pondering.

There are rungs in all parts of our populace. I just read The Hillbilly Elegy and it was enlightening. Poverty isn’s confined to the inner city or blacks but is evident throughout our nation and world. The hollers of Kentucky and West Virginia can be just as desperate as the south side of Chicago or the bowels of Baltimore. Yes, there are a chosen few that escape and even some come back to resurrect but as a whole these people are devoid of hope. The haves and the have nots have become institutionalized.

And now we are eating our way into middle class America. The Donald can preach about the resurgence of the Rust and Bible Belt but there are just too many people who will not know life as it once was. In a sadistic turn these are the people that advertising is aimed at. They are the ones that religiously watch soaps, game shows and football because quite simply they have nothing else to do. They are told they need a new pickup, that Bud is the only way to get loaded and Duluth undershorts will soothe their chafing bottoms. It is almost like consumerism is the salve that will make it all go away.

If you think I am just being stereotypical, think again. Even in the upper echelons there are judgement calls which you cannot deny. Everyone wants to drive the latest symbol. It used to be a forest green Eddie Bauer Explorer but we shifted to BMW’s and Mercedes. Then that not being good enough we now seek Teslas and Bentleys. What is going to happen to us when we have driverless cars and all that horsepower and luxury will appear mundane?

Ok TTG, we can still look to our domiciles can’t we?.Not exactly.  Of course we have  to live in a gated community but even that alone may seem passé. Now we have to be in a gated part of the gated community. That is where the really rich and famous live. Imagine spending a couple of mill on your house and feeling like a low life? Where do your kids go to school and where do you vacation? Some of life’s burning questions.

Getting back to the Reverend Dolan’s premise that we all can’t be equal, one is struck by a further element of his oration. What is your vocation or better yet your lot in life? This not a grin and bear it situation but what do you think you are here for? If it is wealth and fame you probably won’t find what you re looking for. You will always need just a little more to make you happy. Just doesn’t happen.

Maybe I am getting old but this stuff just does not matter like it used to. I will not make any more money or achieve fame in the years to come . There is a finite nature to that and I sometimes wish I had learned it sooner. That doesn’t mean I am going to assume the fetal position for the rest of my life but my lot is cast and indeed I am more than fortunate to have a  comfortable one. Not particularly in an economic sense but maybe in my soul. I think I finally figured out where I am in the pecking order and that is just fine.

I look at the Women’s March and say good for you. Not in a condescending tone but  I really hope you can find what you are looking for. But I also would caution that this is not a perfect world. Maybe over time with prodding here and there, the battleship will slowly turn but the progress depends on an open and accepting world. We are far from it. Equality would be a great thing but men and women would have to forsake some things they are sure bring them happiness. On every rung of the ladder. We are just not there but it doesn’t mean we can’t keep trying.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

Just eight families in the world control more wealth than poorest 3.6 billion people on this planet. Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day. 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. That is pretty scary no matter how skewed the numbers.

In 2015, 43.1 million people lived in Poverty USA. That means the poverty rate for 2015 was 13.5%. The threshold for a family of four is less than $24,000 per year. You would have to make at least $12 per hour in a 40 hour work week to make $24k

The U.S. rates 28th out of 145 countries in an annual world ranking of equality for women.The World Economic Forum “Global Gender Gap Report 2015” bases its equality ranking on economic, educational, health-based and political indicators.

Amazon recently announced that of their employees, women receive 99.9% of the pay that is earned by men. Minorities receive 101.1% of that number.

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