There is really no getting around it—Osama bin Laden got his way on September 11, 2001. He meant to create chaos and bloodshed and he did. He meant to bankrupt us and he did. But, most of all, he meant to divide us and he succeeded brilliantly. Through that division, he meant to tear apart America and he is winning.
The powers that profit from our division, both globally and domestically, have taken every advantage of our differences to advance their aims of controlling us with fear and dominating us with our own instinctual urge towards tribalism. Everywhere one looks in America there are endless individual groups of people amassing into their own special camps of victimization and demanding justice for their particular grievance.
So, is activism for social justice bad? Absolutely not. The social movements that have periodically rocked our culture have resulted in vast improvements in the conditions of the lives of people all over America.
However, something happened after 9-11 that changed our process of moving forward, socially. Partisan politics began to dominate our consciousness. George Bush put us in Iraq without approval of the United Nations. People, left and right, objected to that decision and, despite the fact that Democrats voted in as high numbers as Republicans to overthrow Sadam Hussein, it was George Bush who took the heat when Iraq was not quite as easy to resolve as we were told and the truth came out that there were no weapons of mass destruction. Needless to say, the rage was about to begin in earnest.
Partisan forces amassed on the left to take advantage of their new found political advantage. So began the long slide into a years-long vitriol between left and right that has now taken the country to the brink of civil war. Antifa activists and Trump supporters vie with each other both verbally and physically. A woman from Charlottesville is dead yet we have not taken a break from our rage to have even a moment of sincere and humble self-reflection. Partisan politicians, aided by the MSM, have used every opportunity to further divide us along tribal lines of politics, race, sex, gender, immigration, and religion. Antifa has declared themselves the clearinghouse that fights for social justice for all but Trump supporters fight for their rights to have their votes respected without being labelled. Everyone has a gripe and, in all honesty, everyone has both valid points and culpability in their own unique situation.
So, what do we do about it? Only a radical move is going to change the course we are on, steering us toward civil war. A radical move, at this juncture, will not be easy to hear. A great deal of outcry is to be expected. We can only hope to be able to bear with it.
America needs a mission that has a common purpose again. We need to look within the context of our own unique group to see what it is we have in common. What is that common denominator that makes all of the injustices we suffer pale by comparison – injustice so long-lasting and so egregious that any intelligent mind and compassionate heart must bear witness to?
So, whether you are black or white, Christian, Jew or Muslim, immigrant or citizen, nationalist or globalist, rich or poor, left or right, gay or straight, we all have one common denominator of oppression and injustice that makes all other comparisons pale. That common denominator is women. Regardless of what group you are in, regardless of how egregious the oppression your group has suffered, we all have women in our particular tribe and, there is no denying, women have been the most aggrieved, the most oppressed, the most disrespected, disregarded and discounted, for far longer than any other oppressed group that history has ever known that continues in all countries, religions, races, and cultures.
So, should this become a contest? Just the opposite. Every aggrieved group, when considering the plight of the women who are an integral part of their tribe, should now consider dropping all other considerations and working together to fix this thing called gender inequality, addressing women’s rights first and foremost.
The reason is clear. Firstly, it is a way for us, as a nation, to gather our courage and humanity and work together for something we all share in common—oppressed women. For those of you who have argued against women being oppressed, there are a few facts we must acknowledge.
As long as there are fewer women in government and administrative positions than men, women are not equal. As long as women don’t have a say in transgender debates and men write and pass the laws, women are not equal. As long as women are used as sex objects, are subjected to the indignities of the casting couch, and are paid less than men in movies, television, and music, women are not equal. As long as there are more women in prostitution and poverty than men, women are not equal. As long as more rapes happen to women than men, women are not equal. As long as more women than men suffer domestic abuse, women are not equal. As long as women have to be veiled and covered in public and men do not, women are not equal. As long as women are harassed for feeding their child in public but naked women in Times Square taking pictures with tourists get a pass, women are not equal. As long as women are left to raise children without the support of their children’s fathers, women are not equal. And, as long as women can call a man a sexist on national television with faces that can no longer smile or frown from the effects of botox, fillers, and face lifts because they are not allowed to grow old, women are still not equal.
Secondly, and by far the most important reason, is that all of humankind depends upon this issue being resolved before we can move forward. If women do not attain their full potential, fully participating in all walks of life equally beside men, there is no way that any society can reach its full potential either—and that includes every man, women, and child. That also includes the role of mothers being elevated to the highest status in society. As the first educators of mankind, they must receive all the support, education, and training they can get, not only in a career but also in the rearing of their precious children. The education and training of women and girls must become a national priority so they can enter every field of endeavor their gifts and talents demand. Think of humanity as a bird – if both wings are not equally strong, the bird cannot fly.
If any grievance is to be taken seriously, the continued oppression of their women must come first. The oppression between different groups may take on different characteristics but the oppression of women within groups is remarkably similar. We all have that in common, surely, and we can all work together to change it.
If this work is done, the rest of our ills will begin to fall away, one by one, guaranteed. With the upliftment of women, we will be raising up a new race of humankind. If this does not happen, we can always go back to ripping each other to shreds. So, let’s get real. There is work to be done. Let’s do it now—together.
Connie Atkinson is a contributing writer for the Ghion Journal. Our goal is to build different voices and experiences together in order to engender a conversation between different communities. While we don’t necessarily give blanket endorsement of stances taken by contributing writers, we wholeheartedly stand by the right to put forth ideas into the marketplace of speech. If you have an article you want to submit for publication consideration, please email your write up to email@example.com with a subject header “write for Ghion”.