Saturday, January 26, 2013

John Kerry, Secretary of Ambiguity.

I like John Kerry as Secretary of State. His ambiguity over Viet Nam marked his character. He wanted to serve his country and yet, when he did, he found it was senseless. He fought and earned his medals, then threw them away. He could not resolve his inner conflict on the war. With far less effort, other people formed positions pro and con, but they did not find the truth.

The War in Viet Nam was maddening. You were damned if you fought it, and you were damned if you ducked the draft and stayed home. If you were a young man in those years, you were bound to lose. There was no path to honor. John McCain may have believed in the mission, but no one else did.

John Kerry, from his privileged family, could have avoided military service quite easily, but he joined up and saw what he saw, and came home conflicted. As such, he is a man after my own heart, and he might finish his career well by this last good service to his country as a diplomat.

Women in Combat. One things leads to another -- this is the law of social dynamics. Acceptance of same-sex marriage has led to the admission of women in combat. The broader trend is the battle against gender distinctions. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is not at issue here, but we ask a related question -- "What happens next?"

Target. Three exclusively male institutions remain in this country, standing as pillars of patriarchy. The Boy Scouts of America are reserved for male leadership and male membership as well as a prohibition of homosexuality. College and NFL football teams are exclusively male. The third and biggest pillar is the Roman Catholic Church with its all-male priesthood and hierarchy.

Prediction. The Boy Scouts of America is the smallest and weakest of these all-male citadels. Sex abuse law-suits will impoverish them. Their prohibition against homosexuality will banish them from most meeting places. They're going down, to put it bluntly, to be resurrected when they decide to invite women and girls to join the troop -- women as Scoutmasters, girls as scouts, and gay men and women as leaders. It will simply become the all-inclusive Scouts of America and go on from there.

As for football, the sheer bulk and muscularity of college and pro players will prevent females from joining the team -- but a campaign of awareness about head injuries will lead to changes and new rules. Hard-hitting will be discouraged. Women will qualify as referees and coaches, if not players, and an 11th player position will be created -- a no-tackle position, suitable for women and even disabled players. Even now, it is conceivable that a woman might qualify as a punter or field goal kicker........But, one way or the other, football is not going to about brawn, muscle, and gladiator combat any longer. They will learn to play nice and the "hits" will become ceremonial and symbolic.

Finally, the gender equality wave will crash against that bastion of faith, the Roman Catholic Church and it's all-male priesthood. This is where feminist leaders will encounter serious resistance. The Church is global in reach and vastly wealthy. Billions of dollars in pedophilia court settlements have not threatened the church's foundation. Traditional forces will rally around the Church and make a last stand. I don't expect a significant change here in my lifetime.

Well, that's the forecast. There's been quite a debate over same-sex marriage, but having gone over that hump, the admission of women in combat seemed the next obvious thing. So, not to discuss the right or wrong of these changes, but to examine the social dynamics -- what happens next? These are my predictions. What do you predict?

Fred Owens
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