Political polarization forces us to focus on the consequences of gun violence which have reached intolerable levels for most Americans. It is particularly evident watching America’s youth rise up in protest. It is an issue of great urgency which must be addressed but we see a disturbing level of inactivity and complacency from our political leadership. Our focus on the consequences and what appear to be the obvious solutions only takes us part way. Too often we fail to recognize the political and economic narratives that drive the polarization of politicized issues. That political narrative is one of individual freedom. A corporate owned media has persuaded us to believe that guns represent civil liberties and self-preservation. The data supporting that narrative is extremely sparse when compared to the overwhelming sacrifice of victims and families impacted by gun violence. That narrative supports the manufacture and sale of guns, as well as the broader issues of global imperialism, weapons exports and the militarization of our society. It undermines the reality of a society that has lost faith in our government, fostering a disturbing realization that our government can no longer protect us. The counter-narrative is not one of banning guns but rather restoring accountability in our political process, equity in the institutions of American justice, and balance in our economy. Perhaps then, we can begin to accept that guns will never make us free.read more"In 1966, the organizers of NOW, The National Organization of Women, recognized that equality demanded economic independence for women, requiring a social restructuring that wouldn’t simply create employment opportunity for women but create economic value for the work done by women. Community work and childrearing would have to be shared more equally by husband, wife, and society. Industrialization and technology are male spaces and war is the ultimate manifestation. The politics of wealth and power has functioned to exclude women from these spaces. “A woman's place is in the home:” a notion that has trivialized the role of women in society for centuries, perhaps since the dawn of property rights. Female spaces are the foundations of society: family, childcare, education, health care, and social organizing. We have created a narrative of gender conflict where women fight for economic and social status by gaining entry to male spaces in a society that continues to devalue nurses, teachers, social workers, and childcare, highly skilled and demanding professions that offer little social mobility. We sexualize women, but deny them the right to fairly negotiate; rather, dominating them through false narratives about a protected class. Those protections would generally be unnecessary if women had true equality in American society. As a transgender woman I have lived experience in both genders. I have experienced both sides of the issue: the indignity of being discounted, minimized, and ignored as well as the loss of due process perpetuated by the false allegations of political and economic agendas. The #MeToo movement is a symptom of broader social issues. We must welcome the discussion but we must avoid suppressing the broader discussion. We must change the social narrative around gender equity, not by pressuring women into male spaces, but rather by valuing what women do, defining solidarity, not by class status but according to common purpose. We need to shift the narrative of wealth and power towards one of cultural evolution."read more
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