Skip to comments.Steinem, speaking in Austin, says women's progress has also brought backlash (violence)
Posted on 09/06/2012 3:53:49 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Asked if the women's rights movement is in a period of retrenchment, Gloria Steinem says she prefers to describe it as a time of dangerous repercussions in Texas and across the nation.
Though advocates have made headway in their fight to bring issues like domestic violence to the forefront, it is precisely because of that progress that the country finds itself in a period of backlash, the celebrated writer and activist told reporters Wednesday before her keynote address at the Texas Council on Family Violence's state conference.
"We have the majority support on all the issues we care about," she later told a packed room at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the University of Texas campus. "Things are changing profoundly, and that is the source of the backlash."
Her words come during an intense political climate for women during which state lawmakers have cut funding for women's health and reproductive rights activists say politicians are waging a "war on women" in the national arena.
Conference organizers said there was no one better to share insights on the struggles of the past than Steinem, who paved the way for women's rights and embodies the movement.
"At the very core of feminism was not the idea of elevating women by diminishing men," said Gloria Terry, president of Texas Council on Family Violence. It was that by elevating women, men also could be strengthened, a lesson Steinem helped people learn, Terry said.
The feminist icon came to fame more than four decades ago through her social justice campaigns and activism. She founded Ms. and New York magazines and helped make domestic violence a national issue when she put a photo of a bruised victim on a cover of Ms. in the 1970s.
Steinem said Wednesday that she grew up in a time when there was no name for this form of abuse, and its victims often women were believed to be at fault. But there has since been a rise in consciousness and legal definitions, in police procedures and shelters.
"Are we a long way from where we need to go?" she said. "Absolutely. We are still in a place where the victim leaves home instead of the victimizer. We are still in a place where we talk more about battered women than battered men. ... But we have progressed such a very long distance that what we need to do now is look at the beginning and project that into the future."
Violence in the home normalizes all other violence, Steinem said. "So two things are true: We need to be aware of the danger and take care of each other we need to understand that this is a time of maximum danger in this country," she said. "And the other thing is that we are about to be free."
Indeed, the Clinton-Lewinsky defenseaccord which the feminists signed onto, can be regarded as feminism's Nazi-Soviet Pact. Their calculation was both simple and crude: If Clinton was removed, Hillary would go too. But she was their link to patronage and power, and they couldn't imagine losing that. Their kind was finally in control of the White House, and the conservative enemies of their beautiful future were not.
.....In the 1930s, Nazis used "The Third Way" to characterize their own brand of national socialism as a equidistant between the "internationalist" socialism of the Soviet Union and the capitalism of the West. Trotskyists used "The Third Way" as a term to distinguish their own Marxism from Stalinism and capitalism. In the 1960s, New Leftists used "The Third Way" to define their politics as an independent socialism between the Soviet gulag and America's democracy.
But as the history of Nazism, Trotskyism and the New Left have shown, there is no "Third Way." There is the capitalist, democratic way based on private property and individual rightsa way that leads to liberty and universal opportunity. And there is the socialist way of group identities, group rights, a relentless expansion of the political state, restricted liberty and diminished opportunity. The Third Way is not a path to the future. It is just the suspension between these two destinations. It is a bad faith attempt on the part of people who are incapable of giving up their socialist schemes to escape the taint of their discredited past.
Is there a practical difference in the modus operandi of Clinton narcissism and Clinton messianism? I think there is, and it is the difference between "triangulation"a cynical compromise to hang onto power until the next election cycle, and "The Third Way"a cynical deception to ensure the continuance of Us, until we acquire enough power to transform everyone else. It is the difference between the politics of getting what you can, and the politics of changing the world.
The idealistic missionaries in this true tale bite their tongues and betray their principles, rather than betray him. They do so because in Bill Clinton they see a necessary vehicle of their noble ambition and uplifting dreams. He, too, cares about social justice, about poor people and blacks (or so he makes them believe). They will serve him and lie for him and destroy for him, because he is the vessel of their hope.
Because Bill Clinton "cares," he is the vital connection to the power they need to accomplish the redemption. Because the keys to the state are within Clinton's grasp, he becomes in their eyes the only prospect for advancing the progressive cause. Therefore, they will sacrifice anything and everythingprinciple, friends, countryto make him succeed.
But Bill Clinton is not like those who worship him, corrupting himself and others for a higher cause. Unlike them, he betrays principles because he has none. He will even betray his country, but without the slightest need to betray it for something elsefor an idea, a party, or a cause. He is a narcissist who sacrifices principle for power because his vision is so filled with himself that he cannot tell the difference.
But the idealists who serve himthe Stephanopoulos's, the Ickes's, the feminists, the progressives and Hillary Clintoncan tell the difference. Their cynicism flows from the very perception they have of right and wrong. They do it for higher ends. They do it for the progressive faith. They do it because they see themselves as having the power to redeem the world from evil. It is that terrifyingly exalted ambition that fuels their spiritual arrogance and justifies their sordid and, if necessary, criminal means.
And that is why they hate conservatives. They hate you because you are killers of their dream. Because you are defenders of a Constitution that thwarts their cause. They hate you because your "reactionary" commitment to individual rights, to a single standard and to a neutral and limited state obstructs their progressive designs. They hate you because you are believers in property and its rights as the cornerstones of prosperity and human freedom; because you do not see the market economy as a mere instrument for acquiring personal wealth and political war chests, to be overcome in the end by bureaucratic schemes."................. Source June 2000