Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Play it again, Pat

Remember Pat Boone's tirade about semi-competent women back in June? Where he dismissed the achievements of female leaders throughout history as merely being the results of the men of the period coming up short?

Back then Pat regaled us with such gems as

Is it likely that these very accomplished and brilliant women would have attained these positions if there had been men in evidence who seemed equally or perhaps even better qualified?

and also
Is it likely that women would be chosen for our leaders in politics and government and business, if men assumed their traditional, time-honored and expected responsibilities of leadership and direction?

Pat concluded by ruining the book of Judges, a personal favorite, by claiming that it illustrates that God only asks women to do things when men are incompetent (this suggests Joseph was his first pick as surrogate mother, a-la this monstrosity).

Well, guess what. Pat's run out of ideas, so this week, he decided to plagiarize himself. Yep, after reassuring us that Pat has nothing against a black President (only he thinks it would be more fitting it they came from the party of Lincoln), we get treated to another rehashing of Deborah and Barak:

Many will bristle when I say this, but – while I'm well aware there are women who can do almost anything a man can do – in my long considered view, they shouldn't.

...Women shouldn't be trained to kill, to engage in hand-to-hand combat or to risk death facing hate-crazed enemies. What man wants to let that happen, no matter how it might appeal to some women themselves? Sure, they can … but they shouldn't. If it must be done, it's a man's job, a man's duty.

Yes, I 'm well aware of Deborah, in the book of Judges in the Bible, who led Israel to a resounding military victory. But God first called on another Barak, the Israelite general, to mount the charge, and he refused to do it unless Deborah went with him, almost to hold his hand! So God turned the battle over to Deborah, and it became a woman's victory – to the everlasting disgrace of Barak, the intended and preferred leader.

And that's how I feel about the idea of a woman president. Face it, Americans will elect a woman their leader only if there seem to be no qualified men – only if they feel she's the best we can come up with. Have we come to that? Can neither party present a man who so clearly has the leadership qualities we need that we'll decide to accept a woman – to sit across from Vladimir Putin or the Chinese, Korean or Pakistani leaders who all despise the idea of having to treat a woman as their equal, politically or otherwise? A woman to be the commander in chief of our armed forces? Can you imagine Hillary vowing to "pursue Osama to the gates of hell" as Sen. McCain did, or declaiming from the Berlin Wall "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" as Ronald Reagan did?

Wow, where to begin. First, we don't need someone to vow to chase OBL to the gates of hell. Sometimes less rhetoric and more action is a better combination. Look how productive Bush's rhetoric has been.

And second, anyone who's studied Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, or Indira Gandhi would know that will and strength can often be enough to demand and command respect across a negotiating table- REGARDLESS of how the other side feels about you personally.

Pat likes to say that his wife and four daughters shield him from any charges of male chauvinism. Maybe so, but I'd sure be interested in hearing what they think about dear ol' Dad's views on female leadership. They certainly seem to belie any claim towards an American meritocracy.

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