I gave this issue a lot of thought, and I also did some research on the three women that the U.N. sent to assess gender equality in the USA. All three are members of the U.N Commission for Human Rights Working Group on the Issue of Discrimination Against Women in Law and in Practice. In fact, Dr. Eleonora Zielinska is the Chairperson (and the main person required to report to her superiors in the Commission), and Dr. Alda Facio is the Vice-Chair.
Dr. Zielinska is from Poland, Dr. Facio from Costa Rica, and Dr. Frances Raday has dual citizenship between Israel and the United Kingdom. All of these countries also still struggle with gender inequality. Poland, for example, offers more access to resources and assets, but less civil liberties (it is assumed partly due to recovery after the downfall of communism in the country) as is Israel (more due to religious doctrination than to political doctrination), the U.K. is the opposite (greater civil liberties, less access), as is Costa Rica. In the same reports, the U.S. is more similar to Poland and Israel than to the U.K. and Costa Rica.
Sadly, because all three are staunch feminists, there is a strong likelihood that their opinion won’t make that much of an impact on our population. It’s far too easy to blow them off as anal-retentive femi-Nazis. In other words, as many of our own women activists (of any color) are blown off as expecting people to be “too politically correct” and “inauthentic” so too will this group of women.
It is actually a strike against them, regrettably, with many people in America because all three have been active in academia. They are likely to be painted with the tar-brush of elitism and ivory-tower academia. It’s quite frustrating to have people actively stating that they are proud of their ignorance, and that they see no reason to expand their knowledge and/or understanding of the world.
Additionally, all three have been lawyers, and Dr. Facio was a judge. Again, this is likely to count against them amongst our proudly ignorant subculture. The knee-jerk reaction at “activist judges” and prejudiced lawyers who fight for “unimportant issues like gender inequality” basically gives them a black mark against them here in America.
But what makes this something that powerfully affects me is that all three of these women don’t come from any kind of feminist utopia (another knee-jerk response to many feminist issues), but from places that are also still struggling with the basic human rights of women.
The fact that these three women come from places that are doing so makes it just that much more of an issue that all three women were horrified at the treatment women are given in America, especially given our self-stated reputation as the “richest and free-est society in the world.”
After WWII, we thought of ourselves as the ideal that other countries should strive to emulate. We stood on a self-created moral high ground, particularly as we were comparing ourselves to the communist ideal. Thing is, maybe at one point in our history – for a very short period of time – we might have had that high ground.
But the truth is, we do not any longer. We have allowed to politics of fear to control us for so long that we no longer can admit that we may have perhaps made some serious mistakes and have broken our own treaties of human rights. However, our country has a rather checkered history of breaking treaties using the most specious excuses for doing so.
It is possible to be a patriot, and still not blind ourselves to the mistakes our country has made. I still believe we have the ability to be better. But, it requires us to ALL work toward that end, even if it means doing so on the basis of compromises to get there.
Our country was founded on the idea that we as a collective population are responsible for our government. We have abdicated that responsibility for far too long. I don’t care if you are conservative or liberal, we MUST take back the reins of power from the interest groups, companies who own politicians, and a government who would rather that their population be ignorant.
And no, I’m not just talking about “ignorant conservatives.” Liberals, too, have their idiots and fringe people. There ARE things that a government does that requires operational security. We USED to understand that. We didn’t stand on the idea that the people need to know EVERYTHING, even in a war. In other words, we didn’t PUBLICIZE our strategies in war, allowing our enemies to turn on CNN to know what to expect from us.
Yes, the government must be accountable to the people. But sometimes, that accountability must be judged in hindsight, to ensure the safety of our own soldiers and even our own diplomats.
It’s time to take our government back from the fringe elements.