First is important; “can’t count” is better

Nine is enough

Margaret Chase Smith 1950I’ve long had this rule of thumb about progress for groups who have been traditionally underrepresented in an area. The person who is first is important, of course, indeed vital. But real equality takes place when one can’t count the number without looking it up.

So it’s excellent that Sarah Thomas is the first woman to referee a Super Bowl game. And there are plenty of other firsts in sports in recent years.

But “‘What is really going to excite me is when this is no longer aberrational or when this is no longer something that’s noteworthy,’ said Amy Trask, who in 1997 became the Oakland Raiders’ chief executive and the first woman of that rank in the N.F.L. Few have followed in similar roles.”

Once I knew all of the female spacefarers. Now that there have been more than five dozen, I look at the list and not recognize some of the names. And THAT is a GOOD thing. Too many to keep track of is the point of the exercise.

US Govt

There are currently 24 women in the US Senate and 58 all-time. That’s not nearly enough. Still, I can no longer name all of the current female Senators, which I could do as recently as the early 1990s. (Margaret Chase Smith, R-ME, was the ONLY woman in the Senate the year I was born.)

I’m looking forward to the point when I can’t name all of the women who have been on the US Supreme Court. (Hint: there have been five of them, and three are on the court presently.)

The late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a great quote about this. “When I’m sometimes asked ‘When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?’ and I say ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” Amen.

Of course, I needed to get my calculator to count all of the women who have been elected President or Vice-President of the United States. I can’t count that high. Lessee, there’s one…

United Nations

UN Women announces the theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021, as “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” It calls for “women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls…

“The majority of the countries that have been more successful in stemming the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to its health and broader socio-economic impacts, are headed by women.

“For instance, Heads of Government in Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand, and Slovakia have been widely recognized for the rapidity, decisiveness, and effectiveness of their national response to COVID-19, as well as the compassionate communication of fact-based public health information.

“Yet, women are Heads of State and Government in only 20 countries worldwide.”

Other than America; ending arguments

Moving closer to the equator doesn’t interest me much

CHILDRENAROUNDTHEWORLDLisa of peripheral perceptions wonders:

I don’t know if you’ve answered this one, but I’d like to know in what city/country would you live if you could live anywhere else in the world. And why. 🙂

I don’t think I have. I did this with states – I came up with Vermont – but not countries.

Part of the problem is that I’m just lousy with languages, so it’d have to be a country where a lot of people speak English.

The default answer for a lot of Americans is Canada. It’s like the US, except they have better health care and don’t fear the metric system, the argument has been. And if the globe is warming, Canada might be a thought. But those waves of cold weather this past winter in the US, all stored to our north, and fueled by the Arctic melting, worries me.

The United Kingdom my wife loves. But it appears broken economically and is subject to that same nasty weather we experience on this side of the pond.

I don’t know enough about Belize, but moving closer to the equator doesn’t interest me much. I loved Barbados, but, in addition to too much heat, and hurricanes, I can’t imagine living on a small island. Not diverse enough geographically, and too expensive.

Ultimately, I think it’d have to be in the Southern Hemisphere. While Australia seems interesting, the ghastly warm weather that has been experienced in the interior the last couple of years, north of 125F/50C would keep me away from everything except the east coast cities.

Another option, I suppose, is New Zealand. This is in no small part because Arthur the AmeriNZ has described it so well in his blog and podcasts. It’s reasonably progressive. Now I may NEVER figure out its electoral system the way I know the US system. Then again the US system is broken, so no big loss.

Climate change will affect NZ too, but the southern landmass of Antarctica may make that a LITTLE less terrible, for a time. Now, it IS on the ring of fire of volcanic and earthquake activities, which makes me nervous. Still, I guess I’ll say New Zealand because at least I’d know someone there.
***
SamuraiFrog wants to know:

At what point is an argument over for you? I know someone on Tumblr who recently engaged in victim-blaming just to end an argument. He felt bad about it, knew it was wrong, admitted it, and sincerely apologized. But some people are still invested in making him feel bad about it. At what point do you let something like that go?

It all depends. What is the “crime”, first of all? Some dumb comment someone makes in the heat of the moment might get a pass unless it’s so hateful and vicious that you have to surmise that, deep down, that he or she must be a really awful person.

Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame gave a really nasty racist rant, I hear. I didn’t listen to it. There’s a point, though, that it is in the past, and for me, Richards is there.

Of course, it matters if it is a real apology. Richards sincerely apologized. I’m sure I must have mentioned this topic somewhere about bad apologies. Oh, there it is, from 2009:

DON’T use the word BUT. An example would be, “I’m sorry, BUT you started it.”
DON’T use the word IF. My least favorite apology: “I’m sorry IF you’re offended.” The clear implication is that you really SHOULDN’T be offended, but I better say it anyway.

Lame apologies get zero points from me.

Nasty words written are more difficult to forgive. I do know that people can get caught up in a debate on social media, though, which is why I tend to minimize my contribution to the same.

But some acts are so egregious that even a sincere-sounding apology is hard to accept: “I’m truly sorry that I molested those boys over a 20-year period.” Not satisfactory.

Now, online fights, I’ll just walk away from, even if THEY think that, by not responding, they think I think they’re right. I suspect that your Tumblr acquaintance, assuming he keeps his nose clean, will come out OK, if only because his critics will latch on to someone else.

Whereas a face-to-face or phone argument might be a different issue, especially among friends or relatives. You may have heard stories of fights that went on for years or even decades. True of my maternal grandmother and her brother over the fact that he was “living in sin” with a woman in the 1960s.

Go, Argentina!
Go, Argentina!

And speaking of arguing – Not an ARA question, but rather a comment by Lisa to this post:

I would encourage you to try and get back into one of the groups at your church. That seems to be an area of importance for you and may be the best place to nurture those human interactions. But you’ll always have us…….:-)

As it turned out, I actually had an odd incident at one of these groups back in April, and it’s not entirely settled.

It was after The Daughter was starting to get better after her terrible March. I hadn’t gone to the previous meeting, partly because it was Lydia’s birthday, but partially because she was still having issues. Getting together with this group was something I was clearly looking forward to, as I had purchased lots of snacks.

But one guy dominated the conversation with references most of the rest of us did not understand for a good half hour. By the time I got to say something, someone made a joke that less upset me than distracted me from what I had hoped to be talking about. I angrily stormed out and didn’t come back for the last three or four meetings before the summer break. I may return in the fall.

Still, it’s not the same as one-on-one conversation with an old friend.