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January 8, 2021

How the Attack on the Capitol Marked the Fall of the Patriarchy (& other Silver Linings).

It’s going to be okay.

I saw so much grief yesterday. I saw friends shed tears over the attack on the United States Capitol.

At the same time, here in Montana, I saw many people in pain take to the streets to sound the “stop the steal” battle cry.

The events from yesterday were sad, incredible, and painful for folks all over the world to watch.

But it’s going to be okay. 

And here’s why:

What we saw yesterday was the natural ending of two things: 

>> The patriarchy resisting its demise. 

>> The end of a reality-TV presidency. 

Donald Trump, of course, needed his grand finale. Reality TV is the only thing he was ever good at. His whole presidency was about his ratings, the size of his crowds, his Tweets, and his spotlight. We knew this about him.

And those domestic terrorists who he encouraged? They didn’t even know what they were fighting for—or against. There was no reality or truth in it. There couldn’t be less doubt that there was no fraud. But what the election results represent is, at least partially, the fall of the patriarchy. 

By all accounts, yesterday was one for our history books. After Black voters in Georgia decided the fate of our elections for a second time, there was a domestic attack on the Capitol. In Montana, human rights organizations sounded alerts for increased white supremacy activities here.

At the same time, Raphael Warnock became the first Black Senator from Georgia. His mother was a cotton picker! This is f*cking amazing! But, despite all of this progress and change, there is still going to be some who fight to keep the old ways.

I lived in southern California during all of Barack Obama’s tenure. I had no idea how much the right hated him. And let’s be honest—it was for the color of his skin. I was in my bubble in Venice Beach, truly believing that Obama’s presidency was the signal of our evolution and acceptance of equality and the realization of our melting-pot ideals.

We were going to stand up for equality and fight for the environment for our children. My belief that my country was fighting for those ideals was only partially true. Sometimes progress is two steps forward, then three steps back.

That’s how Trump came to be.

Yesterday, Trump supporters predictably tried to claim that the assault was by ANTIFA, and they also tried to compare the insurgents’ actions to the BLM protests.

Let’s be clear: marching for equality (peacefully, for the most part) is totally different from trying to overturn a democratic election. If anything, yesterday’s attack on the Capitol just validates that we needed these civil rights movements—now, more than ever. 

Look at the images from yesterday, a confederate flag carried through the Capitol, and several nooses hung around the Capitol grounds. When they said, “Make America great again,” I guess they meant like in 1880.

The patriarchy operates at a subconscious level in all of us. And in the last four years, people have risen up against it like never before—from #Metoo to #BLM—and the resistance to these movements has been strong too.

Because people are afraid of losing power (even those who don’t actually have it). Like the poor white men who fought with the confederates for slavery. Like the women who fought against the suffrage movement and protested their own right to vote—because by aligning with their “powerful” husbands and white men, they, at least, were aligned with the oppressor. So, in their minds, they were not the oppressed. 

Those people storming the Capitol yesterday are in the same kind of pain.  

It was a day absolutely worth grieving. I mean, a woman died! But we should also take heart. There’s so much evolution happening (Georgia!).

Look at all the white people who became allies for the BLM movement. In America, we have begun truly reckoning with our history. In the last couple of years, we have seen an amazing movement to acknowledge indigenous people’s lands or even allowing folks to choose their pronouns.

Netflix and Amazon are highlighting documentaries about equality. We have openly gay and transgender representatives—even an openly gay presidential candidate this year. Colin Kaepernick took a kneeThe Pope spoke out against Trump and spoke up for climate change.

Native American women are speaking up. Black and Hispanic women stepped up to save the vote (again). And look at Biden’s Cabinet picks; there are more women and people of color than any previous cabinet.

This is scary for people who liked the old ways. But it’s happening.

Our country, and our Christian religions, were founded on empowering white men. Power was intentionally stripped from women and people of color for years and years. It’s not going to change overnight, and it’s not going to change without some real awareness. Our old ways won’t go away without a fight. They never do.

The patriarchy will resist change like a blind fencer lashing out at everything around him. But our democracy will survive. Good will triumph over evil. Because when we are all equal, we are a better country. Equality is not like pie; there is enough for everyone.

The real work, I think, needs to happen with white women. We need to talk to each other. Because the world needs the masculine and the feminine, and we are out of balance now. And, yes, that balance is trying to work itself out.

A woman in her feminine power simply does not vote for a man who brags and says, “Grab ’em by the p*ssy.” She just doesn’t. A woman in her feminine power does not let any child—of any race—be separated from their mother and put in a cage.

A woman in her feminine power can not vote against our planet, nor can she ignore our planet’s peril. As William Blake famously said, “Woman and Earth are inseparable. The fate of one is the fate of the other.”

We need to celebrate our femininity. We are the foundation of peace; we give life; we are nurturers and caregivers. I see many women who think that to be “badass,” they have to be as strong as their man.

Here in Montana, that means operating the chainsaw, rounding up cattle, hunting, and operating farm equipment. We can do all of that, and we are as strong as men. We just don’t need to be like them. We can be physically strong, and we can support feminine values too.

And please don’t jump on the man-hating name-calling wagon. I love a strong man and am grateful to be with one. I also know that it takes a confident man not to be threatened by a woman in her power. No one I know personally is against men or “the masculine.”

We need both, and we have not had that balance for a long time, if ever. We need all the feminine characteristics—the creative and harmonious forces of justice, balance, nurturing, love, honor, and gratitude. 

And it’s America; there’s room for all of us here. The feminine, the masculine, immigrants, all colors, all people, LBGTQ+, etc.

We are all just a bag of bones in a flesh-covered sack. We can celebrate our differences and fight for our mutual equality.

“Earth consciousness, woman consciousness; these two go together. Both play a stupendous role in the spirituality of humans as well as in the structure of civilizations.

Our alienation from the Earth, from ourselves, and from a truly creative man-woman relationship in an overly masculine mode of being, demands a reciprocal historical period in which not only a balance will be achieved but even, perhaps, a period of feminine emphasis.” ~ Thomas Berry

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