Apalachin Community Press, July 2000

Independence Day Salute

by Terry J. Ward

Boys will be boys.

Wink. Nudge. Sigh, shrug your shoulders, and look the other way. You know, my old professor, Frank Czerwinski, used to say that I'd turn into a feminist someday. Well, I don't think that I'm really a feminist. Frankly, no pun intended, "feminists" often display some rather unattractive traits that I would prefer not to be associated with. But, Frank was right about one thing, the older I get, the more incensed I become when I see women slighted by men.

Do I hate men? Not on your life. I raised four of them. And if you've ever read my columns, or know me at all, you know that I love my kids to pieces. I continue to find men, in general, interesting, attractive, mystifying, irritating, and generally a necessity to my life. But, I don't hate them.

What I do hate is an attitude. An attitude that says that men are entitled to treat women as though they are less than men. This is a consciousness that is so ingrained that most people, men and women, don't even see it.

It isn't just so-called "jerks" that act and think this way. It's your pastor, your teacher, your counselor, your sensitivity trainer, your mother, your sister.

Am I kvetching - you bet (Well, someone has to, and I'm so good at it!). By the time you read this, several weeks will have passed since the Central Park Assaults. One phrase that was uttered that day says it all - "Welcome back to the caveman days!" Might I add, the Renaissance days, the Reformation days, the Civil War days, the Space Age days, and today when did this kind of behavior ever stop? Yup, by the time you read this, there'll be some new ruckus to cause an uproar (the media is very considerate about that), but that doesn't mean that the "caveman" mentality has ceased to exist. (If I were a caveman, I'd be starting to get insulted right about now.)

I don't have an answer for you. Like I said, I'm kvetching. The beauty of impressing your editor on a regular basis (OK, at least sometimes, anyway - give me a break!), is that you don't have to have an answer. Heck, lots of times, I don't even make sense!

But this time I do.

I'll leave you with this thought. Why are there more animal shelters than shelters for women and children who've been abused by men? Because this society cares more about man's best friend than women and children. Why are traffic tickets treated more seriously than domestic violence assaults? Because, not only do local governments earn money through traffic violations, but for goodness sake, someone could get killed by an unsafe driver. And, by the way, women probably have it coming to them if they get knocked around.

Well, Bev, look out, here come your fireworks. And these are constitutionally guaranteed, First Amendment, LEGAL.