SO eighteenth century! Why are we still doing this?
How is this possibly still a thing, to have one person — worse, one man — in charge of running a country? How Dark Ages is this anyway?
Even those slightly more evolved nations that have moved on to Parliamentary forms of government too often fall into the trap of having that one man calling the shots. I’m still looking at you, Boris Johnson. Comb your hair and stand up straight, wouldja?
What a surprise that Angela Merkel was replaced by a man in the next election, btw.
Our Founding Troublemakers seem to have tried to design for this flaw with a fairly sophisticated system of checks and balances. The idea was that the three branches of government, the Executive (the President), the Legislative (Congress), and the Judicial (the Supreme Court), would keep each other in balance and no one branch would overrun the others. I’m not a history student, but I know that Lincoln — citing the overriding importance of maintaining the holy Union — did some pretty shocking power grabs during the Civil War.
I’m also not here to parse the history or provide a knowledgeable timeline of who did what when although that scion of progressive values, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, didn’t help things with his executive order that threw 120,000 Japanese people into internment camps during World War II. 62% of those people were U.S. citizens. Nice precedent to set. Thanks, FDR.
Nor am I here to go back through to determine how we got here. You went to school. What, you weren’t paying attention? Yeah, me neither. Wikipedia and The Google are our friends.
The third thing I am most emphatically not here to do is to rail about our current state of hair-on-fire crisis in the United States. I’ve done that repeatedly on other platforms. Sure, the ship is sinking (look at those rats go!), and there’s no doubt that every one of us needs to be super aware of how bad things are getting. It’s no longer prepper hyperbole to make sure we have cash stashed, fresh water and canned food on hand and a hand-crank radio just in case.
The problem is our age-old reliance on that guy.
You know the one, the guy who lives on the hill and hires all those other guys with weapons and bad attitudes. Yeah, he’s the one. That’s our problem: our reliance on The One.
Once agriculture got its hooks into us and we found ourselves with land and surplus food to defend, it was kind of inevitable that we’d wind up relying on The One who commanded the most resources and weaponry. That One couldn’t be a woman because biology. Only One never encumbered by pregnancy and its ensuing tyranny of child/home/hearth care could rally the forces, keep the grain safe and, oh what the hell, go out and steal that other One’s grain. And horses. And women.
By the time women were finally granted a chemical and cultural reprieve from the burdens of bearing and caring for children, the idea of The One was so securely screwed into place that it seems like it’s going to take centuries to dislodge that sucker. It’s not enough that most of the major nations today are (still) ruled by men, popular culture is saturated with the message that our problems can only be solved by One Guy preferably with a Big Gun. Every third movie, whole seasons of binge-ready television, graphic novels, hell even songs are replete with that message. If you doubt this for a moment, take a look at the sides of buses and the posters that line subways and city streets.
We are in thrall to the Cult of The One Man.
This cult is a natural offshoot of our archaic gender expectations. We think we’re so enlightened and that women are empowered as little girls to know that they can do anything men can. Advertising rings with clarion calls for the power of women which just means someone’s gonna make money off a popular sentiment.
Who are on the boards of the most powerful multinational conglomerates now calling the shots around the world? Men. Predominately white men.
Who is creating feel-good corporate messages of inclusion and diversity? At the drawing board level, women and POC are given some voice but in all but a very few cases, they are reporting to men. Predominately white men.
And who are among those most straight-jacketed by these norms?
Men. Predominately white men.
I suggest that we work together to free white men from this ancient and harmful myth that they’re our saviors. Let’s encourage them to ditch the suits and ties. Let’s remind them how fun colors are. Let’s show them how to giggle again and how to be playful. Let’s stop shaming men who like to wear whatever it is they like to wear. Leggings? Awesome! Speedos on the beach? You GO, mister! Paisley prints and ruffles? Brilliant!
Maybe. Maybe we’ll actually grow up and stop with the stupid gender reveal parties. We could actually let kids decide what colors they like to wear. Little girls can stop being princesses and little boys can stop being superheroes. Unless that's what calls to their little hearts.
Yeah, I realize what I’m asking here and you’re right. Humanity is probably too invested in this system that rewards individuals on the basis of nothing more than a lack of melanin and that extra dollop of testosterone. Sorry, guys, but you're the ones in charge of this sinking ship and you know the old saying. The captain goes down with his ship.
Another thing we can’t count on, I’m thinking.