It’s More than Just a War on Women

You know as well as I do that the “authorities” keep the “masses” subdued by turning people against each other. The strategy is called “divide and rule” and it’s as old as history. One of my first memories is of my mother telling us children a fable about an old man and his bundle of sticks. As I recall, the old man showed his kids how he could break each stick by itself but could not break them if they were bundled together. Being my mother, she illustrated the story with her own little bundle of sticks.

There are are a lot of poor people and only a few rich people, so if the poor joined forces they would easily rule the world. The poor never join forces, of course; they bicker and battle, finding every possible thing to fight over. So the rich rule the world.

I wonder whether it’s just the way people are or whether the power elite is responsible. It’s probably a bit of both.

In America, the rich are represented politically by the Republican Party, and they hire the best brains they can find to help them  “divide and rule.” It is no accident that Americans have come to hate each other because they differ on such topics as abortion, homosexuality, civil rights and gender equality.

You might think everybody would agree that people deserve equal treatment whether they happen to be black or white, gay or straight, male or female,  tall or short, left- or right-handed. But apparently a lot of Americans do not think that way. In Central Florida, where I live, the Southern Baptist church is one of the most powerful forces in society. And apparently, the church instructs women to be obedient to their husbands. The Bible says the man is the head of the household, these pastors proclaim.

Today, I read a report that the Vatican had reprimanded a group of American nuns for such “feminist” activities as challenging the church’s ban on contraception. These nuns also had the temerity to suggest that women should be admitted to the priesthood.

To you and me, this is nonsense. Why  would anyone in their right mind try to prevent other people from using a condom or taking a birth control pill? What on earth makes men better priests than women? What reasonable male would insist on being “the head of the household” in the year 2012?

But. clearly, moldy traditions die hard. Somnewhere back in history, a male proclaimed “Me Tarzan, you Jane!” And Jane has had to accept the number-two position ever since. Especially in the workplace.

Rachel Maddow trotted out a bunch of statistics last night to prove that women are being shafted in America, that they get about 25 percent less pay than men for identical work. She argued that everyone, male and female, Republican, Democrat and Independent should be trying to figure out how to right this wrong. Instead, Republicans are insisting the wage gap does not exist.

I wonder why the Republican tacticians would play such an apparently dumb card.  Surely they know they will be proved wrong? Surely they know they’re just making women – working women, anyway – more angry with them? A lot of women are already furious at Republican policies that endanger women’s health, policies hearkening back to their grandmother’s day. 

I think the Republicans are simply driving another wedge between us. They’ve turned straight people against gays, got gun owners in a panic about government interference, conjured up the Muslim faith as a dire threat to society, distributed horror films and horror stories about abortion, invented “attacks” on “stay-at-home moms,” slandered the public school system and its teachers, portrayed trade unions as gangster organizations, held up civil servants as overpaid, underworked parasites…

In effect, they are splintering society every which way they can, turning faction against faction, ethnic group against ethnic group, religion against religion…

Now, they’re trying to turn men and women against each other, and working women against housewives.  

It doesn’t matter whether their lies are refuted or their schemes exposed. What matters is that the American electorate must be divided. If the American people ever unite, the rich will lose their power. And the Republicans are not going to let that happen if they can help it.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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