A Lot To Learn

Posted on Tue 01/24/2017 by


20130613_TomMcLaughlin_at_CPAC_2010By Tom McLaughlin ~

The lead story in Maine’s Portland Press Herald on Saturday told us that so many women are making knit hats for the Women’s March on Washington, the entire region was running out of pink yarn. The local chapter of the nationwide Pussyhat Project says it’s a dig at Donald Trump’s infamous remarks ten years ago. Remember? Because he was famous, women would let him grab them by their you-know-what. NBC had it on video and used it against him during the campaign. Women want to “reclaim the term” according to organizers. Three thousand Maine women have signed up to march with their hats which have two little ear-like things sticking out on top to resemble cat ears.

snowflakealertIt’s not just about pussyhats. Former Maine State Senator and liberal Democrat Cynthia Dill says it’s about gender and race too and explains the march this way:

“The prism through which marchers will march is one of ‘intersectionality,’ a term coined by a law professor that now serves as currency in social justice circles seeking to recognize multifaceted levels of identity and power.”

I’ll admit, I don’t understand that. Probably my ignorance has something to do with being a white guy who hasn’t renounced his privilege – yet. Maybe it’s time I did. As a young man in the seventies and eighties, I was a left-wing Democrat, but then I moved right. Is it time to consider that maybe I went too far? Is it time for to modulate? Move toward the center?

American’s deep divisions are on display as preparations for Trump’s inauguration continue. A hundred thousand women are expected to march on January 21st and I can’t understand when they tell me why. Still, I considered going down there Saturday and putting on a pussyhat with the rest of them. I’ve never liked wearing hats but my hair is getting thin and it’s cold… Nah – I’ve got too much going on here in Maine.

How would I actually go about denouncing my while male privilege? Bring it up in casual conversation? “Ahh, the Patriots should go all the way to the Super Bowl, don’t you think? Oh! By the way, I’ve denounced my white male privilege.” Would that work? How many times would I have to say it? To how many people?

And how about my toxic masculinity? How do I get rid of that? No, wait… one at a time. But I suspect both have been getting in the way of my understanding what the Women’s March is about, so I read the articles again. The Women’s March is about “intersectionality” including intersecting with LGBTQIA+ people, who are an integral part of the march. Notice how that acronym keeps getting longer? I understood the “LGBT” part – that’s been around a while, but what about the “QIA+”? I had to look that up. The Q could mean either “Queer” or “Questioning,” but I thought “Queer” was a pejorative? I had to look that up too. According to the GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates And Defenders) Media Reference Guide:

Once considered a pejorative term, queer has been reclaimed by some LGBT people to describe themselves; however, it is not a universally accepted term even within the LGBT community. When Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it typically means queer and, less often, questioning.

Okay, but then there’s the “I,” the “A,” and the plus sign. Thanks to the GLAAD guide, I learned “I” means “Intersex,” the “A” could mean either “Ally” or “Asexual.” The plus sign stands for, well, just in case there’s some new group of unusual sexual people claiming they’re not accepted fully enough, and weren’t assigned their own letter yet. We can, of course, expect the acronym to grow longer as things progress. That’s what Progressivism is all about, right?

I didn’t have to learn any of this stuff when I was a lefty forty years ago. You only had to resent rich people, believe in socialism, and hate capitalism to be accepted back then. It’s much more complicated now and people are so sensitive…

Now that I understand what LGBTQIA+ means, I can start learning the new pronouns I’ll have to use when addressing each of the groups. The list is long, including the first person, second person, third person singular and plural, the possessive forms, and so forth. Then I still have to practice pronouncing them. Can you see why I can’t be ready to attend the Women’s March by Saturday? I’d offend whoever I talked to because I don’t know how to address them.

People tell me the bald spot on the back of my head is getting bigger. I can’t see it but I feel the effect on cold, windy days, so I really need one of those pussyhats. Maybe I can meet the busses when they return to Portland. Maybe they have some left over…

Contributing Editor   is a (now retired) history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam.

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