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You Can Handle
You Handle This?
too can handle this
there be a draft?
About the Selective Service Program
Related Issues: Can
You Handle It?, Land
I Be Drafted
Happens If I Don't
are the Benefits?
You Can Handle This
That's the title of the U.S. Government brochure addressed
specifically to young men just turning 18. (See
below). Just another example of how this country sees women and
men differently. There are special laws requiring men to do things
differently and others that aren't equal. Selective Service is just
that, selective. It requires men 18-25 years old to register . Their
brochure says "It's quick. It's easy. It's the law." While other
countries (i.e., Israel) require all citizens to register for
military duty, we still use sexism to hold women back and force men
to willingly give up their lives. But that's the way fathers
and mothers train their sons. Is it any wonder men grow up not
trusting other men. "I may have to kill you or someone that looks
like you someday."
I believe that women and men should have the right to do anything
in this country that they want to do, and I do believe that if men
are required to sign up for possible military service, women should
also be required. This doesn't mean combat, though I believe women
should have that option. (See the "Women: You
too can handle this".) There are all kinds of service areas that
don't involve combate and are not life threatening. Hospitals,
clerical, maintenance, the band, and the list goes on. Why should men
or civilians be the only ones expected to serve their country? Is it
just one more area, like women's
basketball, where there are special rules for women that prevent
them from fully participating in this society?
Wouldn't it be ludicrous if we trained our daughters, from the day
they were born, to kill other women? That's
what we do for our boys. Think about it.
too can handle this.
One that gets me is "If women ran the country, it would be
different." In what way? Do we have wars because men are
in power? Or is it power, regardless of the sex? Women have run many
countries and taken them to war. Margaret Thatcher and Indera Gandhi,
to name some recent ones. And, I'll never forget the cover of
Time magazine featuring Madeline
Albright on her cell phone during the Kosovo conflict. How about
Cleopatra? Since women weren't allowed to rule in her day,
she was forced to marry two of her brothers (in succession) to
provide a male figurehead. But she wasn't much of a big sister
anyway. She went to war against one brother and had another executed.
Then how about Isabella who created a country called Spain. She
threatened her brother Enrique, who was king at the time, with war.
When he died, she promptly had herself declared Queen of Castille but
Enrigue's daughter put up a ferocious fight. After years of civil
war, Isabella finally gained the crown. The story goes on, but it is
said that when Isabella's troops went to battle, she was usually
right alongside, decked out in armor, mounted on her horse, and
urging the soldiers on. Of course, while she wasn't the leader of the
country, another women went to war to liberate France, something
countless male soldiers, infantrymen and kings had found impossible.
Joan of Arc. The sagas of Scandinavia's greatest Viking's are filled
with the stories of women who loved a good adventure as much as their
male counterparts. And the Red Maiden, Old Red, was the leader of the
most brutal attacks on Ireland during the tenth century. There's
Lakshmi Bai the Rani of Jhansi who emerged as one of India's greatest
warriors and is now revered as one of the most valiant military
leaders of the famous Great Rebellion. Under the brutal laws of
warfare that governed the plains during the 1880s, no warriors were
more feared and respected than the Apaches. Lozen was one of the
bravest Apache warriors, and she was one of two messengers sent by
Geronimo to negotiate his final surrender. But fighting women were
not exclusive to the Apaches. The Cherokees legendary Ehyophsta,
Yellow Haired Woman fought fearlessly against the Shoshonis. In the
1600s, the Eastern-coast Wampanoag tribe boasted of the fearless
Wetamoo, Squaw Sachem, who led her people in may battles against the
British colonialists. There were "Lady" pirates. Two in
particular were two of the toughest pirates to ever sail the seas
Anne Bonny (the daughter of a prominent attorney) and Mary Read. In
Japan, there were eight different women emperors before 770 AD.
Samurais set the standard for the noble warrior class. To make the
grade as a samurai, you had to be strong, disciplined and fearless,
but you didn't have to be a man. Itagaki around 1200 AD lead her
outnumbered troops (3 to 1) into her last battle, riding gallantly
into the battle without a hint of surrender. She died like a true
samurai warrior, with her sword drawn and her honor intact. And Japan
had its share of famous female swordswomen, Itagaki, Hatsu-jo,
Miyagino and Tora Gozen, to name a few, avengers whose paths you just
didn't want to cross. The only female emperor to ever rule China, Wu
Zhao, was the kind of woman you also didn't cross. Having made
empress by her thirty-first birthday, if anyone got in her way, she
simply orchestrated one of her famous "disappearances" which covered
pretty much everyone from household help to family members. Finally,
in 660, her husband was struck with polio and in that moment, Wu Zhao
put herself into the imperial chair and went head to head with Korea.
Ordering an invasion by sea, she soon annexed the place to China.
There was Myra Belle Shirley, who earned renown as a thief and
rustler in Texas and Oklahoma in the late 1800s. And she didn't balk
at an occasional murder. Or Calamity Jane, a savvy gambler and an ace
with a rifle who was all woman and would shoot the hat off any man
who said otherwise. Or, in Mexico, where women fought along side the
men. Among the Mexican revolutionaries, the fighting Soldaderas were
everywhere - battling at the front lines, making speeches from the
podiums, and writing the manifestos that would lead to a new future.
Dolores Jimenez y Muro, was named a brigadier general by Zapata and
was one of the key contributors to the framework of the new
constitution in 1917. She still had a price on hear head when she was
nearly seventy years old. During World War II, the squadrons of
Soviet female pilots turned out to be some of the most heroic and
skilled fighters in the country's arsenal. Lily Litvak was the most
legendary and was famous for her dogfighting skills. Every German
fighter pilot wanted to be the one to kill her. In her final battle,
it took eight German planes to take down the greatest lady pilot
ever. Or two women pilots that took on forty-two German fighter
planes on a bombing mission. The dogfight that ensued has become
Russian military legend. Even the U.S. reluctantly had woman pilots
during World War II. The fearless flying WASPS (Women Airforce
Service Pilots), 1074 to be exact. And, though women demonstrated the
same endurance as men, learned just as quickly, had similar safety
records, completed the same rigorous training as male pilots, and
devoted years of their lives to the WASP program, the
US government refused to grant them military status
Did you know any of this? If not, it just may be the Matrix
Syndrome. Part of this is to say that man can be violent. So can
women. Man can be warriors. So can women. Women can raise children.
So can men. Women feel. So do men (and to ask them "What are you
feeling" is not allowing them to feel, but requiring them to think.)
What I want to see, in my lifetime, is that men have the same
opportunities in this country that women have. And women have the
same opportunities that men have. And to stop creating and supporting
an educational system that separates them. Allow women to fight for
their country, if they want to. Allow men to adopt children, if they
want to. Allow women to compete in sports without setting up
obstacles (the NCCA requires a smaller basketball for women than men
- which almost guarantees women who have always used the smaller
basketball won't be able to compete against men). Allow girls to play
football in grade, junior high and high school, as well as college.
"The Flea" was a runback specialist for the Kansas City Chiefs and
had many runbacks for touchdowns. He weighed 156 pounds. Allow men to
wear skirts, if they want to. (I dare you to make fun of a Scot or
Greek or Turk or Hawaiian about his skirt to his face.) Allow my
grand daughter to win the superbowl, if she can and wants to, or be a
stay at home mom, if she wants to, or be a combat fighter pilot if
she can and she wants to, or complete in the Master from only one
tee, if she can and she wants to, or to be a world class ice skater
wearing pants if she can and she wants to or do whatever her skills
allow her do without any exclusionary rules. Let's open things up.
Everybody gets the same rules. Let the games/life begin.
The information about women warriors came from a fascinating book
to share with your daughter, no matter what her age. It was written
by women and edited by Pam Nelson called Cool
Women then if you'd like to get your own copy, Buy
Men 18-25, go to any U.S. Post Office and look
on the counter or check with a clerk for this brochure. Fill it out
and send it in. It's sexism at work and it's the law.
* * *
Young Guns: The average age of U.S. Military personnel is
General Norman Schwarzkopf said, "I don't trust a man who doesn't
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