June 10, 2016

Bernie has more progressive ideas, but Hillary is too important an opportunity to miss

The Most Polite Debates on Record

The conversation I had a few weeks ago prompted me to pull out the soapbox. As I’ve made obvious in my many status updates on Facebook and the material I published in the Op Ed pages of various newspapers, I detest inequality and the suppression of humans based upon some mythological superiority system. It may make me sound socialistic, and of course I *am* socialistic on many fronts, but the truth is that I’m simply humanistic. Demographically, being an old, Caucasian male, I fall into the most common category of the oppressor. Life would be so much simpler if I was to just go with the flow and be just another echo chamber WASP… but I can’t do that.

We briefly discussed the role of women in society. The person with whom I was speaking felt sad that her friends, two long term progressive judges, lost their jobs to primary opponents. In a way it’s a shame, because they *were* quite progressive, but I still feel that raising the profile of their female and minority opponents should be a prime concern. The way to defeat Stone Age thought is to drive the Stone Age thinkers back into the caves from whence they emerged. The old, white, male, while progressive, were… well… they were old, white males. They lost to primary winners will have a larger effect on our society… if they manage to get elected… just because they are female and of minority origin. The day will come when that won’t be as important, but today… this election… is not that time.

It is very, very important to advance the historically oppressed into positions where they cannot be oppressed. Women and minorities in the background won’t get it done. We’ve got to get those demographics out front and center. Women, Hispanics, LGBT, the disabled, the non-dominant religions, and anything else that isn’t old, white male. The status quo has got to be busted down. If you don’t understand why, pull up any major newspaper’s web portal and read the comment to the articles and editorials.

In that conversation we also briefly talked about minorities in science and technology. Let me ask you, if you were forced to come up with the names of 10 female or minority scientists, could you do it? 10 white, usually European male scientists would be easy, but it seems the accomplishments of minorities are either kept quiet or usurped by a white male colleague. As an example I offer the Pythagorean Golden Ratio. This simple mathematical principle has been used by scientists, engineers, architects and artists for centuries and Pythagoras gets the credit for its discovery. But did he really discover it? Look up Theano, Pythagoras’ wife and see what the math historians say about it. Why do we not already know these things? Why are the accomplishments of women and minorities buried?

Other unheralded minorities have accomplished fantastic feats, developed vaccines, eliminated plant diseases, designed large buildings, made great advances in medicine, and generally contributed to our human society… all in relative anonymity. Had they been white males there would be books written about them. The list below was gleaned from Smithsonian websites. Each of these people made large contributions yet still suffered persecution for the crime of being different.

Sind ibn Ali – 7th century Muslim, developed the first known astronomical charts
Bertha Parker Pallan-Cody – Native American archeologist
Doris Cochran, herpetologist and Doris Blake, entomologist. Lesbian lovers married to men.
Janet Bashen – First black female software developer to receive a patent on a web-based application.
Harlean James – landscape architect and huge promoter of the National Park System
Valentina Tereshkova – Russian Cosmonaut.
George Edward Alcorn Jr. – Black male who gave us the Xray.
Libby Hyman – Textbook author and zoologist with the University of Chicago. She couldn’t get any other job because she was Jewish.
Keith Black – Black male who was doing neurosurgery before Ben Carson

And then there is Penelope Jo (Maddy) Parsons. She is my age and won the national Science Fair as a teenager with an amazing demonstration of mathematical aptitude. Four years later she was awarded some kind of recognition by a European group, and then she disappeared into the crowd never to be heard from again…because she is a woman… and women don’t do science.

I’ll summarize by saying that mankind has managed to shed many of the chains that have bound us to the past, but we still have a few we must address. The knuckle-draggers, perhaps fearing a loss of power or stature, have made an astounding resurgence over the last half-century (Taliban, Evangelical Christians, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Fox News viewers).

From my perspective those efforts are going to backfire and right now the time is ripe to push back. Minority children being born today should, by the time they reach my age, be enjoying equal stature with white men of the same age… with 100% equality… and no foolishness about some kind of supremacy based on stupid reasons. Society should be able to look back in shame at the way we treated our fellow humans over these previous decades, just as many of us do now with the genocide of Native Americans, slavery and civil rights.

President Obama shattered the myth that kept blacks held down… now is the time for Hillary to break the next barrier. In 30 or 40 years… who knows? Maybe a transgender, black, Muslim, woman will be judged on her merits as a leader and not considered inferior because she isn’t an old, white male.


An old, white male who refuses to hate someone simply because they are different than me.