The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus recoils at the thought of a man lamenting the demotion of women as beings less than sacred. From her vantage point, women should just be equal with men with no special consideration otherwise.
In her latest opinion piece, Marcus is referring to Gen. John Kelly’s press conference from last week in which he criticized how women, human lives, religion, and the U.S. military are no longer considered “sacred” in our culture:
“You know when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we’ve seen from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer.”
In the chief of staff’s speech, Kelly also gave a riveting account of how the bodies of fallen U.S. soldiers are handled from the battle field and back to their final resting place. And while Marcus said she was moved by some of Kelly’s words, she couldn’t help but have another, more negative, reaction quickly rise to the top:
My first reaction, and I doubt I was alone here, was along the lines of: Seriously, you’re going THERE? Leave aside the references to “dignity of life.” If Kelly was talking about abortion rights, he can talk to the Supreme Court. Leave aside Kelly’s lament for religion, which “seems to be gone as well.” How’s that, except maybe if you’re a Muslim refugee? I doubt Kelly had that in mind.
Leave aside, too, the puzzling reference to Gold Star families. Was Kelly criticizing Khizr Khan for speaking at the Democratic National Convention about his dead son and Donald Trump’s assault on the Constitution -- or was this a sly dig at Trump’s attack on the Khans? “Left in the convention” suggests the former, in which case Kelly should know better. A Gold Star family has the right to hold its grief close, as Kelly has, but it also has the right, when the values for which a child had given his life are under assault, to speak out. Both approaches honor the dead.
But about those women. Um, General Kelly, assuming you were referring to the report on Harvey Weinstein -- where were you, exactly, during the presidential campaign? The president you serve -- and I respect all the reasons for that service -- was shown on videotape bragging about using his star power to get away with grabbing women by their private parts -- and he didn’t phrase that in a way that showed the respect you think women deserve.
“This conduct is unacceptable regardless of party affiliation, whether the alleged perpetrator is Weinstein or Trump or, yes, Bill Clinton,” Marcus added. “Selective outrage is unbecoming.”
Marcus assumes that Kelly meant “to be respectful, not dismissive” of women in his statement, but failed miserably under today’s ever-evolving definition of feminism:
But, speaking for this woman at least, that is not what women want or need. To be put on a pedestal also risks being kept in a box. In the good old days that Kelly mourns, women were not so much elevated by gender as constrained by it. Imagine how Kelly’s remarks sound to the female service member struggling to prove herself in the male-dominated military culture.
If the upside of chivalry is the opened door, the cape spread upon the muddy ground, the downside is the presumption, perhaps subconscious, that feminine is the equivalent of weak; the impulse to treat women in the workplace differently from their male counterparts; and the consequent distortion -- sometimes overt, more often subtle -- of career choices and opportunities.
Forget sacred. I’ll take equal.
But let's be honest: even that will never be good enough for leftists.