While we rightly eulogize Behnazir Bhutto's violent death it is also appropriate to ask whether America, or for that matter, any place else in the world is a haven for women's equal rights and equal opportunity. The sad reality is that women have always occupied a lower spot in the stage of life. They have always had to fight tooth and nail to get what has been men's as a birth right. It is therefore ludicrous and unfair to single out extremist groups of Moslems and Taliban for the plight of women.
A look at the short history of America and the contemporary time with respect to status of women will prove that not only this most industrial and progressive nation is no exception for the plight of women but is still behind many nations in that respect.
American history is a witness that its founders did not even include women, of any color including white, blacks and Hispanics in the political process. It is similarly unfair to blame the founders for not addressing women's issues some two hundred years ago when we have only addressed them partially some two hundred years hence during this twenty first century.
Originally the voting right in this new nation was limited to white male who owned property. Until 1869 and the passage of 15th Amendment each black man was equal to 3/5 of a white man and the women counted as nothing and had no voting rights. In fact women did not have voting rights until 1920 and even Hispanic Americans gained voting rights in 1965 during MLK's Civil Rights movement. With the Moslems as new target of demonization and discrimination it seems like the American history is repeating.
The universal culprit for this great disparity has always been a die-hard core of machos that were ignorant, arrogant, and greedy and in favor of status quo. In their small world or cocoons they were threatened by any change. With no offense to all conservatives, far more of these groups felt more at home with conservatives than liberals and more in religious groups than secular. Who were these groups, you might ask. In a way, these could be called the America's Taliban! The hidden truth is that Taliban were not born recently in Afghanistan. They have been around as long as humans have.
Rush Limbaugh, the mouthpiece of the neocons who could be considered as an American Taliban, symbolizes one major contemporary anti-feminist movement. Rush refers to the women's movement as Feminatzis! One major anti-Moslem could be the newspaper columnist Ann Coulter of the Universal Press Syndicate, who refers to Barack Obama as B. Hussein Obama to frighten the people of blacks and Moslems. There are of course others, but no time to go over them all.
One would expect that if there is one country in the world in which women have become equal to men, that country is America. In fact, the number one question of twenty first century is, why does America remain the only industrial nation in which a woman has not been allowed to become president, or even vice president when even in many developing countries that has happened many times. Therefore, the anti-women factions mentioned above, with some of the big media at their service have managed to neutralize the women's struggle for more equality or place it on the back burner.
The America's extremists have not only delayed equal rights for women, but have also taken major steps to undo the American Revolution and change the "government of the people, by and for the people" to government of a few, by and for a few to better achieve their agenda. Their secret weapon for doing this has been to make a mockery of public education, pacify the people with consumerism, luxury consumption, substance abuse and apathetic attitude to reach their goals unchallenged.
In the meantime while the extremists fought to maintain the status quo, the rest of the world moved forward. This hypocrisy has managed to keep not only the American public, but also the women opposed to equal opportunity for women. It was the continuation of that anti democracy movement that led to Electoral College, defeat of campaign finance reform that in effect excludes the people with less money from the political process. Not only that, but also the rich people's votes and popular votes were manipulated and ignored during the last presidential elections.
It is also the continuation of that anti-American policy that has turned the establishment and media against Hillary Clinton. No, this is the truth and not a paid campaign ad for Hillary. It is the resistance of the America's extremism to women and human rights.
There will never be a woman president in America unless the public and especially women realize that America's enemies are more domestic than foreign. Thomas Jefferson said it best, "An empire collapses more from within than from without." One can only hope that the American public wakes up to the reality that no future president, man, woman or in-between will be able to ruin America and our world more than GWB. This comes from the keyboard of a person who was misled to vote for GWB once.
The silent and apathetic public through no fault of its own is conditioned to self-destruct and to disappoint the world that used to look up to us as an example. As long as we have double and multiple standards in dealing with other nations with respect to human and women's rights, as long as we go to bed with regimes with notorious human and women rights in exchange for submitting to our bullying, we are damaging the moral authority of America. As long as we support terrorist regimes in the name spreading democracy and freedom we will be breeding terrorism. As long as we bomb Iraq to get rid of Ben Ladin in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and as long as we plan to bomb Iran for thinking of nuclear power and let Israel go scott free with more than 300 nuclear warheads, we are least likely to be looked at as the champion of women and human rights.
Even a simple common sense condemns our recent role as 'policeman of the world'. We never think a teacher can enforce discipline in a classroom by letting his fair-headed boy get away with misbehavior while the rest are told to put up or shut up and yet that is what we are doing in our global village and global classroom. In the Middle East this is called planting thorn bush and expecting to harvest dates!
Let us also add that as long as we shortchange the American public in education, health care, social security and the best use of their taxes, other countries will not believe that we are out to help them to gain freedom and democracy. America has the wherewithal to reverse this tragic situation and once again be an example of solving seemingly insolvable problems. As long much of our foreign policy is based on arrogance and colonial mentality and underestimating the intelligence of other countries and progressive human and women rights groups we make more enemies and pay for it too!
We should not forget that we as Iranian Americans have an obligation to protect this adopted country from all enemies, we equally have the responsibility of protecting our motherland Iran and the wrol from the erratic foreign policies of America especially that of neocons.
We have to realize that historically America's progress has largely been due to the constant influx of immigrants who kept this Nation of Immigrants vibrant and alive before becoming complacent and apathetic and taking its blessings for granted. We are also indebted to volunteer work of millions of decent Americans at home and abroad who are doing their best to counteract the destructive work of America's extremists and keep America's image until there is more public awakening.
Philosophically speaking, let us not forget that we are indebted to GWB and cohorts for making such a mess of things that will take us a few steps closer to saving America and the world from the grip of extremism.
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