Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Of Disasters, both Natural and Man Made

Today is the anniversary of the explosion of Mt. St. Helen's.  Perhaps you thought I would write about that.  But since I wrote about that event in this post a year ago, I'll not repeat myself. 

It's interesting to reread that post and to realize that a year ago, we were watching the progress of the huge oil spill.  And this year, we're watching the progress of the swollen Mississippi River.   Just a few short weeks ago, it was horrific tornadoes.  Several nights in the past week, I've dreamed of floods.  I woke up Sunday morning with sore arms because I had been dreaming that I was trying to pilot a raft (a la Huck Finn) down the Mississippi floodway.

Still, I'd rather focus on the natural disasters than the man made ones--and yes, I'm using non-neutral gender language on purpose.  What is it with these predatory men and the hired help they take advantage of?

Yes, I'm talking about Arnold and the French head (soon to be former, one hopes) of the IMF.  It seems to be all that anyone can talk about.

Of course, I seem to be the one of the few in my office who looks at it through the lens of the imbalance of power.  Maybe I'm just a passionless stick, but I've never been at a hotel and said, "Damn, the hired help is really hot here.  Let me behave in a way that will get me thrown in jail, should my attentions not be reciprocated."

Or maybe I'm a person with some ethics.  People love to remind me of how the world has changed, that these are older men, and I can't expect them to behave differently.

Yes, I can.  Yes, I do.  And if they prey on women, I expect them to lose power. 

I realize I'm perhaps in a minority.  I have these issues on the brain, also, as the U.S. negotiates with the Taliban in Afghanistan to plan for when the U.S. troops leave.  And I know who will be the losers.  It will be the women left behind.

Some people tell me I can't expect the world to be different.

Yes, I can.  Yes, I do.  Yes, some day it will be. 

The world has already changed since I was in school.  Then, we just expected that females would have to fight off lecherous professors, or give in and get a better grade.  Now, that behavior gets people fired.

I've been reading about the Freedom Riders this week, and on Monday, I watched the PBS documentary.  Again, I'm inspired by a group of crazy kids who said, "Hey, why can't we eat lunch together?  Hey, why can't we take a 2 week bus trip through New Orleans?"

We can't control the weather, especially not now with all the climate changes already wrought and still to come.  But humans can control their behavior.  We can treat people with decency and respect, even if they're several socioeconomic rungs below us.

We can dream of a just society and say, "Why not?" instead of "It will never be."

We can dream of a world where women are safe, if not from the weather, at least from sexual predators.  Now that's a Homeland Security initiative I could support!

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