The philosopher and mystic Manly P. Hall once said “words are potent weapons for all causes, good or bad.” And it doesn’t take many words to create something good, or to destroy it all the same.
Florida congressman Ted Yoho only needed two words to show the world his sexism, and the two words are so terrible, we won’t even repeat them here. They were directed toward U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, yes is very outspoken and quite popular, but is still a person who deserves the same respect Yoho would offer any of his other congressional colleagues.
Yet, earlier this month, he attacked Ocasio-Cortez not as he would a political opponent, but as someone who has absolutely no respect for women.
Yoho later stood in front of his colleagues in what he billed an “apology,” claiming that he is respectful of women because he has a wife of 45 years, and he has daughters.
It’s a tired tune sung by too many people who think because they have some close proximity to someone they are insulting, then they are not really insulting them. Kind of like those who aren’t racist because they have a Black friend, or they’re not homophobic because they once saw an episode of “Orange is the New Black.”
Having a wife, having daughters, is fantastic. But it takes more than being married and raising young women to understand what is needed to respect women. It means listening, and learning, and being willing to destroy old ways of thinking while maybe being a little more conscious of your words and actions.
The funny part is that women aren’t even asking for much — just respect. But they shouldn’t have to ask for it. Respect should be a given. Yet, even in 2020, it’s not.
We also get no one is perfect, and people make mistakes. But forgiveness comes when the offender realizes what his mistake was, and what he needs to do to fix it. Judging by Yoho’s “apology” last week, he doesn’t even begin to understand, which means every woman in his line of sight will have to take cover.
Humans have this inherent inclination to lift themselves up by pulling others down. But we don’t live in caves anymore — and even then, we could have respected women better.
Just stop it. We’re all in this together. We’re all on the same team. And we all need each other. Equally.