The Right Wing had a massive shock on Tuesday. Their pundits and media had built a lovely castle in the air and were shocked -- SHOCKED! when it turned out to be an illusion. Some of the reaction was bitter, but some was oddly poignant. Victoria Jackson tweeted, "America just died. I can't stop crying."
This has bothered me for a few days now. Victoria, I don't believe you're much older than me, so I want to ask you a few things. I know the sort of country you say you want, Victoria, and I can’t figure out why you keep calling it America, let alone want to live there. We fought hard to bring it out of being a place like that. Why do you want to go back to a time when your entire worth was judged on who you married? What he did for a living? A time when that husband made all of your decisions for you because women were considered too silly to understand anything important. A time when something as simple as driving a car supposedly challenged a woman's intellect -- remember all of those jokes about women drivers? Women like you and me were considered too feeble-minded to vote, understand a checking account, or have any profession other than being a secretary. Being a teacher might be an option for a while. Until you got married, at which time you were expected to quit. A prospective employer was allowed to ask you if you had a boyfriend and whether you planned to get married.
If, however, you were not married by the age of 25, you were a failure. There was something wrong with you. You were expected to live at home with your parents and maybe have a meaningless job -- the men, of course, needed the meaningful jobs. Ask Sandra Day O'Connor how it felt when she tried to apply for a job as a lawyer and law firms kept insisting on interviewing her for secretarial work. You made your living for many years as a comedienne. That was not an option for women fifty years ago, and I think you know that. Why would you want to deny ANY opportunity to those who come after you?
It is probably easier to understand society when it is not homogenous. When everyone has their assigned "role", and "place". The problem is with that, Victoria, is ... who assigns the roles? How is that decided? There are hundreds, maybe thousands of Christians. None of them are truly "just like you". They all seem to feel that they know God pretty well. God’s word is amazingly adaptable, Victoria. It has remained relevant even though we’re not all shepherds in the desert or fishermen in the Sea of Galilee. It is still relevant through many interpretations, translations and adaptations. Nobody knows precisely what God is thinking. That is what makes Him God. The Bible is a good tool, but it is not the entire mind of God.
We have been told to love one another. Who we may or may not love was not specified. Nobody was given permission to hate, even if you are positive that God hates someone. The instruction was to love. There is no multiple choice – we are to love one another. We can both still remember a time when society limited who we may love by skin color, economics, religion and gender. America thankfully outgrew some limitations; it is about to outgrow another. This may be bittersweet for some, but growing up usually is. Maturity is accepting new ideas and adapting to new things. If you cannot change and adapt… ask a stegosaurus how that works out.
America was always meant to be the land of freedom and opportunity. Freedom is not living within strict guidelines. It is living according to your beliefs and conscience and allowing others to do the same. It is admitting that some people think differently from you, that those people also may vote, and allowing them to do so gracefully. Freedom is not imposing your beliefs on others and insisting that you and you alone are right. Freedom is accepting that some questions have many answers. That life is not a true and false quiz; it is an essay test.
No, Victoria. America didn't die. We just grew up a little more and moved closer to our potential.