The Patriarchy Strikes Back

Image by  Brigitte Werner  for  Pixabay

We live in a society, in a world really, that is constructed on the framework of a patriarchal code. Our social constructs, the manner in which we perceive and treat others, the manner in which we perceive ourselves, the rules of conduct, the undercurrents, everything is structured around a hetero wealthy white male-centric core. This is the patriarchy. We have built political, social, religious, financial, and familial mythologies around this code. In the patriarchy, everything is linear, everything is hierarchical. There are those at the top, and then there are the rest of us arranged by financial and social status struggling for placement or advancement. Sometimes there are some of us in the middle, and sometimes a few of us in the middle make it to the top, but that’s rare. The truth is, even when we do, we don’t make it to the level of the handful of people with the most wealth, power, and influence. Much of that is generational power, and it is carefully maintained. You may have wealth, power, and influence, but you are probably never going to get invited to this club. The current US president isn’t welcome in this club, and it drives him insane. So much of what has formed and informed him is the knowledge that no matter how much money he makes or how much status he achieves, he’s never going to be a part of that club. They’re happy to use him to achieve their goals, but he’s not one of them.

We are, always in all ways being limited by this code. It is the source of much of the world’s misery, this code. Unless and until we address this undercurrent, fully accept how we are complicit in the continuation of these mythologies, reject the messaging we’ve all come to accept, we will continue our slow march towards the end game of the patriarchy, mass destruction.

This brings me to the backlash we are facing globally as the patriarchy strikes back at the advances made for civil rights, children’s rights, worker’s rights, environmental rights, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights. When I say this, “the patriarchy strikes back”, I mean that there is a small group of people with considerable amounts of power, money, influence who have been working to consolidate their wealth, power, and influence and push back on the advances made by those who lack their wealth, power, and influence. This push and pull, the struggle between the haves and the have-nots is not new. We’ve been struggling with this for centuries. At this moment, though, the haves are winning the battle.

I want my fair share, and that’s all of it.
— Charles Koch

There are many ways to control people, and the best way is to get them to believe hierarchical mythologies are truths and use those mythologies to control them. Create scarcity, lack, war, then allow the resulting desperation to create chaos. Then pit people against each other, creating ‘the other’ through fear mongering and misinformation. Use religion to manipulate people’s emotions, twisting doctrine as needed to create division. When people are divided, distracted, and misdirected, when they are fighting for scraps, fighting for advancement, fighting for survival, and fighting those they perceive as enemies, they are not able to join forces and rise up to fight the people with wealth, power, and influence.

We don’t have to live in a linear reality. We don’t have to continue to believe that myths are truths. Yet so much of this is so deeply ingrained in us, these archetypes shape us, mold us, confuse us, and keep us separated. The people with the wealth, power, and influence know this. They know that borders are illusions, that governments will rise and fall, that their wealth, power, and influence make it possible for them to live wherever they please, which means they can create chaos, destroy, and rebuild and not suffer the consequences of perpetual war or corrupt governments. One country rises, another falls, so it goes. They’re not worried, they’ve got enough wealth, power, and influence to ride out the storm, and they’ll be sure to make as much money as possible regardless of the consequences. After all, my mother often shares this Sun-Tzu quote, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” When Chaos is a game plan, it’s the great disruptor and the great creator of opportunity. It can provide a pathway to great power for the right people with the right vision who lack any feeling of remorse for the consequences of their actions.

If you’re shocked at what’s happening in the US currently, shocked to see a political party that spent years touting themselves as the upholders of law and order, patriotism, and “American” values have tossed all of these things out of the window in support of the most corrupt administration in history, you’ve maybe not been paying attention. So much of what is currently being enacted has been years in the making. Trump is a happy accident, a reality show designed to keep our attention and it’s the perfect distraction. The media loves it, because it boosts ratings, and ratings boost revenue. Social media platforms love it because they can sell our data to the highest bidder and feign ignorance when those bidders use that data against us. The elected officials love it, because they’re profiteering on all of it, from for-profit prisons, to for-profit detention centers, to for-profit schools, to for-profit healthcare…and of course the biggest money maker of all, perpetual war.

It only takes a third of the population to support a dictatorial regime for them to take power. Adolph Hitler only had 36% of the vote in 1932 when he became Chancellor of Germany. This seems counter-intuitive, it seems impossible, and that creates complacency. People simply can’t fathom this. We can’t understand how Trump won by only 80,000 votes in three states, even though Hillary had over 3 million more votes overall. In the US, by 2040, two-thirds of Americans will be represented by 30% of the senate. The Electoral college, gerrymandering, voter suppression, wedge issues used to divide us, all of these things are the only pathway to power for a political party that no longer has the support of the majority. As our demographics continue to shift, that party can only maintain power through duplicitous means. If you listen carefully to the rhetoric, if you watch as our institutions, norms, and codes of conduct are shattered, it’s clear we are heading down a dangerous pathway that has already shaken this republic to the core.

It was the economy that solidified Hitler’s popularity. The economy, the vilification of ‘the other’, and a series of carefully orchestrated events used to consolidate power and create the Third Reich. Hitler had attempted a coup, for which he was imprisoned in 1923, yet only 10 years later, he took control of the German government and led the world into WWIIl. The Nazis murdered over 5 million Jews and millions of others. Those victims were targeted because of their ethnicity, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and sexual orientation. Sound familiar? 85 million people died in WWII. This is the end game of the patriarchal heirarchy.

We are hurtling towards something equally dark once again.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the center cannot hold,
And a blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity
— W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming

We are being divided further and further, micro-targeted messaging on social media is being used to reshape us. Notice that most of what is being done by the current administration is being done in broad daylight, shamelessly, even gleefully. They lie without hesitation, creating alternate facts and fake news, while attacking the free press. They’ve taken control of the Senate, the Supreme Court, state legislatures across the country, they’re stacking the lower courts, and they’ve gained full control of the DOJ. If creating alliances with dictators like Putin or corrupt regimes like those in Saudi Arabia is the means to the end, then so it goes. If turning our republic into an oligarchy or a Banana Republic is the means to the end; then so it goes. Everyone is expendable, except for the people at the top. What’s the worth of another 85 million people if it’s the means to the end?

Abortion, immigration, trans rights, LGBTQ rights, the “war” on Christianity and “religious freedom”, these are all wedge issues. They’re being used to create deeply emotional responses that cause us to see each other as enemies and act accordingly. This is calculated. This is about control. This is about brainwashing, manipulating, and playing to our primal brain instincts. This is about taking power away from us so we are powerless to stop them. We are under siege. This is not a drill. The world is on fire and they will burn it down to the ground.

You may be thinking, “You’re emotional, you’re exaggerating. We’re going to be fine.” I’m sure lots of people in Nazi Germany felt the same way. It’s easy to put on blinders and pretend things are fine when the economy is chugging along and the rights under siege aren’t yours. We’re becoming numb to the gravity of our current reality. Constant chaos is exhausting by design. When you don’t know where to look, how to focus, how to fight because everything is under assault, it’s a human response to shut down, to turn off, to become complacent.

Complacency is complicity.

We cannot become complacent. We cannot turn it off and pretend it’s going to be okay. If things continue down this pathway, it will most definitely not be okay.

The question is, what are we going to do about it? Because if we don’t smash the patriarchy, it will consume us.

Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.
— George Orwell, 1984

In solidarity,