Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Matrons of War and One of Bush's Better Lies

Reading comments to my last article, The Everyday Cost of Treachery, I find a note from Ian McGibboney of Not Right About Anything fame.

Quoted below is part of his comment.

Probably the worst thing I'd read on the subject came soon after the Iraq War had begun. A letter in Newsweek berated Anna Quindlen's previous column about her kids going off to Spring Break. This woman's response was that all of that was a waste of time, because "our young people should be doing everything they can to pitch in and support this war and fight for freedom" or something approximating that.

The righteous lady paraphrased above is a type I have some experience with. As a young male draft prospect, in Alabama, I tagged them the "matrons of war". Although, I hasten to add, they come in all age categories, the attitude is matronly in the most unpleasant sense.

I remember a comment once made by a girl friend of short duration. I was griping about being draft fodder for the dumb ass war when she piped up with, "Well, I think the Army makes a man out of a boy". She was all of eighteen.

It came from the same self satisfied, pampered, moralistic vantage point as the woman Ian mentioned. The attitude of someone with little to loose, often with something to gain, bearing a real sense of entitlement and complete confidence in her feminine wisdom.

I recall a Republican couple interviewed during the RNC in New York. Real American beef cake they were. Tall blond haired blue eyed Texans. He wore a business suit and a big white Texas cowboy hat and she was dressed for the prom. Actually, they were both dressed for the bloody prom. Texas wedding cake decorations that spoke.

He spoke with great confidence and the usual Republican hubris about how great America is and how George Bush was bringing us into a new era of strength and prosperity and God ain't it great to be a rich, politically connected white Texan. She smiled demurely and said, "I'm with him." every time the interviewer asked her a question about the convention.

Finally a question was asked about John Kerry and Miss Texas knew this was something she was well qualified to answer.

"Well, I'm sorry, she said with a smirk that said she was the expert on this subject,' but John Kerry is a wimp." In the end, the smirk betrayed a hint of embarrassment for poor dickless John. Penetrating analysis from daddy's pretty blond princess. You got the distinct impression you had just heard her one and only political thought.

They smiled and waved goodbye and with great cheer they marched like proud, brave, free Americans down the secure, fenced off sidewalks of Republican central.

In Alabama, I knew a lot of these matrons of war. Hair dressers, church ladies, tax collectors, school teachers, cheer leaders, home coming queens, aunts, girl friends and dear old mom.

I'm yet to meet one in Canada but I'm sure they are here. The characters show up in European and Russian novels often enough to imply that they exist every where. Someone has to marry and give birth to the male version. And keep them in line.

In America they are churned out in factories and delivered to middle and upper class neighborhoods and some working class homes, all over the country. Ann Coulter is probably queen bee of the war matrons. Arrogant, authoritarian, with a head full of gas and a sharp memory for self serving cliché's. Determined that someone should pay the price for the decadence she lives in and equally determined that it should be someone else. Someone less deserving. Someone less special.

It is a familiar theme these days. Almost every one who supported this war with their vote, is waiting for some one else to do the dirty, dangerous, costly stuff. Waiting for some one else to shoulder the responsibility and eventually to take the blame for the ruinous path they have chosen to be led down.

On a different and slightly cheerier note, Christian Right types all over the country are expressing their dismay that the President is not pushing forward with the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

George has bigger, more important, more lucrative fish to fry and has no plan to bring up such a side tracking amendment until it suits his agenda. Like maybe just before the next election, when brother Jeb can use all the help he can get.

Now that the evangelical right has helped put him back in power, George is suddenly less concerned about the fools that got so side tracked by their ignorant homophobia, that they appeared in record numbers to vote for the corporate rape of Iraq, years of war, record deficit spending and the abandoning of the constitution. Hey, did God tell them to do that? I gotta' wonder.

Well praise the lord brothers and sisters, and open your crusty eyes to a fact well known by half of America and most of the world. George Bush is a great big liar. A politician, who like all his breed, worships money and power.

Now ask yourselves again, seriously. Was it really God that told you to trust and vote for the party boy oil baron and his big business cronies? Was it really?

I would really like to know. Do you still think God has his hand on this liar, this promise breaker? This privileged rich war lover who walked away from service when it was his turn and who immediately put your precious amendment on the back burner when he was securely returned to office.

Once you realize he has lied to you too, go back and rethink some of the other lies the President of the USA has given life to. The ones you didn't care about as long as George was against queers ruining the sanctity of your marriages.

Sometimes, waking up is hard to do.


At 4:32 PM, Blogger frstlymil said...

"...In Alabama, I knew a lot of these matrons of war. Hair dressers, church ladies, tax collectors, school teachers, cheer leaders, home coming queens, aunts, girl friends and dear old mom...."

Or they just have a nice hefty insurance policy on the lads and are hoping to collect. Infantside is illegal, but war provides a loophole. Boy, am I cynical or WHAT?!?!

At 11:10 PM, Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

Frstlymil, I think the problem is simpler than that. I am convinced that these matrons genuinely love and cherish their fathers, husbands and sons, and that they really think that this is a good experience for them.

Here in America, we have a serious hangup on what it means to be masculine. Now I agree that at least some manly virtues are good for anybody to have: chivalry, a strong yet tempered will, strength, intelligence, etc. But there's the perverted extension of that, which insinuates that men:

--have to go out of their way to inflict pain on themselves
--are required to "be the leader" (in other words, the tyrant) of the family
--have to almost never show emotions or ever talk
--have to find every possible opportunity to flaunt macho behavior
--must have an unhealthy obsession with firearms or other modes of self-defense
--must constantly strut their sexuality, or at least go out of their way to deny gayness
--must be rich or have devoted a considerable fraction of their life to pursuing such a goal
--must always prove themselves to women, daily, either by being strong, rich, aggressive or otherwise any combination of the above traits

Because these traits are drilled so perfectly into men and women alike, they have become mythic aspirations. Every man wants to be Hercules and every woman wants a Hercules--never mind that Hercules was a fictional character. But because we feel this way, many men want to prove themselves--and many old-fashioned women are even more excited about the idea. Because it's like anything else: the further away you are from the reality of an idea, the better it looks from a distance.

Magnificent post, Thomas, and I'm honored that you credit me for its inspiration. Keep it up.

At 6:33 AM, Blogger frstlymil said...

Hercules was fictional?!?! Damn. Okay, I'm kidding. Forgive my previous sarcasm about insurance policies, and unfortunately, especially in middle America, your assessment of man as the mythic and in charge patriarchal icon is absolutely the case. I actually think that this is the true root of the problem with the gay marriage fight if one looks at it along those historic terms. It's not about the sacred union between man and woman - if it were strictly theological, we wouldn't marry people in the courts and it would be strictly a church ceremony. I think it has more to do with the fact that marriage is traditionally an institution where the man is in charge, makes the rules, historically was in control of the dispensing of money, could say who the friends were, etc. It is still this way in many cultures. Hell, until 1985 in the U.S. it was still legal to rape one's wife. Women entering the workforce in more empowered positions have screwed that up for many - look at the VEHEMENT hatred of Hilary Clinton that is so off the charts irrationally weird. So the concept of a union between two people where both are men, well hell, that just confuses the power structure, and for two women - who the hell do they think they are? I actually think in the final analysis that it has a hell of a lot more to do with this than with anything found in Leviticus.

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous chris moffatt said...

just came across your blog - don't feel so alone any more. My question is "how long are we going to continue that was written two thousand years ago about events that supposedly happened four thousand years ago in the mythology of another race of people"?

At 1:33 PM, Blogger ThomasMcCay said...

Chris, I suspect they will keep this going until they get their Armageddon.

This nihilistic version of Christianity that has swept the States is a sad and dangerous thing. Dangerous to everyone.

Any religion or philosophy that requires complete destruction for it's ultimate fulfillment, is by definition, nihilist. Anti-life, anti-human, and ultimately anti-God, unless you worship the devil as a god.

One supposes that the god of the new testament is too forgiving for modern Christians, they set themselves up to be his punishers because their all powerful god is two weak to do it himself, or so it would seem.


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