Adjust that attitude will you?

Okay people, it is time for an attitude adjustment.  We have been swamped with political poo from both sides of the borders and all persuasions for months.  Every time I thought it was going to calm down more crap whizzed past our ears.  When I was feeling a little smug about it being strictly a US ailment, Alberta politics erupted like an overflowing toilet.  People whom I would have expected better from in the media waded into the ring flinging more harmful and senseless messages around.

Many shut down their social media accounts and turned off the news as a means of dealing with the craziness.  Otherwise polite, intelligent folks seemed to lose their minds acting out in ways that shocked me.  I was tempted to turn off the news and block people because my views and theirs didn't align.  I wanted them to have an attitude adjustment and to adjust it just like mine, but I did nothing.

My second reaction was to tackle them.  You all witnessed it.  Good people charging into the exchanges armed with self-righteous views, claiming God as their defender.  All sides did it.  I wanted to tackle both sides with a volley of words, to question their man-made claims to God, to challenge their perspectives.  I wanted them to have an attitude adjustment and to adjust it just like mine, but I did nothing.

I did nothing because I didn't want to stir the pot anymore.  The fires were burning all around; there was no need for more fuel.  I did nothing because I didn't trust that I would express it well.  I was afraid my words would be inadequate or worse be twisted and flung back.  I wanted to enjoy my life by the swake and pretend that none of the craziness mattered.  I did nothing very well, until the PC party nonsense exploded last week.

When two women withdrew from the leadership race within hours of one another and entirely independent of one another's decision, I was surprised.  As the statements were released, I struggled.  When I was about thirty years old, I realized my dad lied to me.  He told me I could do and be anything I wanted to be.  He was wrong.  Maybe saying he lied is a bit harsh.  Maybe he wanted it to be true and thought if he instilled enough confidence in me it would be so.  But he was dead wrong.

I was a female and I discovered the rules were different for me than for the men I knew.  Discovering was not triggered by a single dramatic experience; it was a slow drip that happened over decades.  The young man who insisted on pinning me against a locker and rubbing up against me in the halls of a post-secondary. Female friends and relatives in sectors like education and healthcare admonished me for suggesting that women didn't have equal footing yet. It was a male boss who told me through gritted teeth with veins popping out of his head and neck, that women who got a little bit of power became obnoxious. There was the human resource department that heard my harassment complaint then informed me I was on my own, even though the situation clearly met the legal parameters for a case.  I didn't have the courage or the stomach to fight alone so I resigned. Sometimes the messages came from women who had never experienced or were oblivious to the undercurrents in our culture.  There was the man who told me I couldn't ever hope to work in commercial real estate because they didn't hire women for those jobs.  There was a constant undermining drip fed into my brain and spirit.

So I worked harder.  I learned more.  I though it must be just me.  I buried my sense that things were broken.  I was hesitant to speak up because I had good jobs; I was blessed with the presence of many wonderful men in my life.  I had male bosses and colleagues who encouraged and challenged me professionally, creating opportunities for me.  Many became good friends.  I was quiet because I did not want my voice to be heard as an indictment of all men.  Truthfully, I was afraid to talk in case I became incoherent.  So I did nothing.

But last week, I realized the progress women made was tenuous. I had an inkling gender issues, racism, and all the other uglies were somehow linked inextricably together by fear and anger.  I could no longer do nothing and I understood for the first time that speaking up would not be an indictment of men.  It would be an indictment on all of us, including me.  I needed an attitude adjustment.  Recently, I sat silently while a young woman announced she wasn't a feminist.  It irked me, but I did nothing which irked me too.  However it motivated me enough to pledge that next time I hear someone say they are not a feminist, I will do something.

My something will begin with sharing Merriam Webster's simple definition of feminism;  "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities".  What a straight forward, universal concept when it is stripped of the agendas and rhetoric on both sides.  I will frame it as a question because that will give me opportunity to learn.  I will no longer do nothing. I will be vocal about that definition including all races and sexual orientations. I will speak out because all of us - men and women - have the opportunity to be better, to do better, to create better.  I want my grandsons to treasure and respect strong women not fear them.  I want my grandsons to see all their brothers and sisters, the whole world over, as image bearers of the Creator, precious in his sight.