Saturday, August 29, 2009

In Every Dream Home a Heartache

My Sacred Heart of Jesus vigil candle is from my Flickr page.





Redemptorists? Did they say Redemptorists?

Watching Ted Kennedy's funeral, with all the ex-Presidents and Obama and Michelle and everybody else in attendance, I heard the priest announce that the Church they are in, the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, is run by the Redemptorists. That is to say, the order founded by one St Alphonsus de Liguori, an Opus Dei pin-up, major dogmatic hard-ass and Doctor of the Church, who is probably spinning madly in his grave.

I suddenly get a flash of one of Fellini's priests, reaching through the flimsy confessional screen and whacking young Teddy in disdain: You're a bad, bad boy, Ted Kennedy! (Yes, the priests in my Fellini fantasy have Irish accents, which I realize doesn't quite mesh, but they all acted the same: WHACK, upside the head.)

Again, rules are suspended for some people and not others.

I've been thinking about the matter of Ted, and similar men, who are littered throughout the Left and the Democratic Party. Men who do "the right thing" politically, yet abuse women and treat them like their personal blow-up dolls.*

I realize that Ted Kennedy's death has 'triggered' me, as the young bloggers say, and I am reacting to all the guys I have known throughout my life, who have been good political comrades, but also: constantly cheated on their partners; beat their wives (then usually known as the more benevolent "smacking around"); told women to shut up or called them stupid in meetings; would not pay child support; sexually harassed women with whom they worked on political events and campaigns; rewarded women who slept with them with high positions of authority, etc etc etc. And yet, we would rarely challenge these men, because they were savvy enough to do the right thing politically, even heroically. These men would stand up to even more dangerous men, men who would deny women's rights.

The juxtaposition of these men would sometimes make me dizzy --which one is the good guy?--I once thought, as I saw two local politicos debating on TV. The lefty, named Eric, had once physically-shaken me very hard (as you would a toddler) during a heated conversation. To make it worse, the supposedly-feminist lefties who witnessed this act, including my first husband, obediently stated that Eric was "out of line"--but of course, would not confront him or tell him his actions were violent. And there he was on TV, Mr Peacenik! (FUCK YOU, I thought.)

But the guy he was debating on TV? One of those "Drop the bomb and let God sort em out!" kinda Republicans that grow like corn in the Midwest. Certainly, I knew Eric was better... wasn't he? Wasn't he?

I realized, watching Eric run his arrogant mouth on TV, that I didn't know how the right-winger treated his wife. And he might be nicer to women in his personal life and one-to-one interactions, than Eric was. The thought crept into my head without my consent, shocking me.

If the personal is political, I thought, shouldn't that matter?

I thought of this yet again when video clips of Kennedy's speech at the 1988 Democratic Convention were shown on CNN the other night. The speech included the now-famous "Where was George?" refrain (referring to Bush senior). Blah blah blah happened, and WHERE WAS GEORGE? Blah blah blah happened, and WHERE WAS GEORGE? They keep showing it, to show what a great fighter Teddy was.

Am I the only one who remembers George Bush Senior's response to that question, which he delivered at the Republican Convention the following month?

"Where was George? In bed with his wife!" --he said, to Republican cheers and screams.

I am pretty sure a woman, Peggy Noonan, wrote that line.


~*~

My other posts on Ted Kennedy are here: Mary Jo Kopechne 1940-1969 and More on Ted Kennedy.

...

* And when I think of blow-up dolls, I think of the Roxy Music song that is the title of this post. I wish Lester Bangs had not been so nasty to Bryan Ferry, but yes, that's another post.

Desperately trying to learn not to DIGRESS so badly...

In Every Dream Home a Heartache - Roxy Music

7 comments:

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

So true, so true. And you have women doing mental gymnastics to express how ready and willing they are to suck old Teddy’s dick. “His crimes” that should be overlooked because of his good politics have been against women, not men. As you have stated, he left one woman to die and he testified to help a rapist. What a fucking asshole.

If this love for old Teddy ain’t some benevolent master shit, I don’t know what is.

La Lubu said...

OMFG. PREACH!!!!

all the guys I have known throughout my life, who have been good political comrades, but also: constantly cheated on their partners; beat their wives (then usually known as the more benevolent "smacking around"); told women to shut up or called them stupid in meetings; would not pay child support; sexually harassed women with whom they worked on political events and campaigns; rewarded women who slept with them with high positions of authority, etc etc etc. And yet, we would rarely challenge these men, because they were savvy enough to do the right thing politically, even heroically.

This. THIS. EXACTLY! That Grand Coolie Damn is still around.

CrackerLilo said...

This made me think. I think I've told you that I tend to assume that all politicians are cheaters, not-so-great parents, lousy bosses, etc. I tend to treat sex scandals as something that involves the individuals involved and their families only, really, not my business at all. It only becomes my business when they use taxpayer money/resources or let it get in the way of the job.

But maybe I should look at it a bit more critically. Maybe the cynicism is too easy, and my own slave response. Maybe I need to expect better, and not excuse some things, especially not against members of my own gender.

I also think The Fabulous Kitty Glendower above me has a hell of a point.

K.C. Jones said...

Right on!

As an aside, it's always makes me chuckle when I see bloggers talk about the word "trigger" being a young blogger thing. It's not-it's actually from the mental health system-I first learned the term in a mental hospital. People in treatment have been using it for awhile and now it's finally caught on and become trendy. haha If they only knew...

white rabbit said...

Sorry to latch on to the relatively trivial but 'In every dream home a heartache' is one of the wonderful moments when rock collides with surrealism to delicious effect...

'I blew up your body/but you blew my mind'.

Quite so.

DaisyDeadhead said...

WR, absolutely! It's BALLARDIAN! (one of the highest compliments I could ever give)

Hattie said...

Just discovered your blog via Twisty. You are exactly right about men of the left who believe in justice for everyone except the women in their lives. Luckily I got so badly mistreated in my first encounters with men of this kind that I was careful not to marry one of them but married a man who believed in treating women decently! What a square,as we used to say. We've been married for 44 years.