Liberal Democracy is in historical perspective a very new idea about how human societies should be governed. It's roots lie in the European Enlightenment and it incorporates human rights values. A liberal democracy is characterized by such things as free speech, free press, independant judiciary, freedom of assembly, separation of church and state, election of leaders by citizens: liberty and justice for all. And in liberal democracies those who want to make war can only do so with the consent of the governed. As long a men alone make the choice to make war or not, history will continue to be made up of war after war as male priorities for domination and control play out at the community, state, or national level. Only if women govern equally with men as they would in a fully mature liberal democracy, allowing the female expression of concern for social stability and the welfare of community and children to temper male urges for domination, can we hope to establish a global peace.
For many millennia the ruling philosophy, actually the ruling reality, has been patriarchies. Societies where a single man or elite groups of men have made all decisions about public affairs. The world we see around us is still the result of millennia of all-male governing. A titanic battle between Patriarchy and Liberal Democracy characterizes the current global status with respect to how we will structure our societies as we move into the future, and this is illustrated in miniature at this moment by the action of the Chinese patriarchy to finally take over control of Hong Kong, a small piece of democracy that has been a thorn in its side.
Many of the slowly maturing liberal democracies of the world are dealing with authoritarian-inclined men (nationalistic), enemies of the values of liberal democracy. To end war, liberal democracy must win this titanic struggle. For that reason, Spread Liberal Democracy is one of the nine AFWW cornerstones. https://www.nytimes.com/…/as…/china-hong-kong-crackdown.html
Comedian Bill Maher was the first public figure familiar to me who several months ago raised the possibility, which he thought was a probability, that if Donald Trump won the 2020 election he would claim that it was rigged and thus not legitimate and he would refuse to leave the White House. Last night on his TV show in a conversation with activist Michael Moore, Maher made a new important observation. The White House is in Washington D.C. The police in D.C. are mostly African-American, a population overwhelmingly opposed to Trump. Also, Trump has trashed the FBI, which is headquartered in D.C..
Presumably those would be the people required to enforce his leaving the White House. The point being that they would not be at all reluctant to remove him.
Michael Moore added that he and presumably Bill Maher himself and Americans by the millions would converge on Washington to remove Trump from the People’s house should he try to remain in it. Moore, a boy born in Flint Michigan and raised by a dad who was an automotive assembly-line worker, made another point. He said that all those gun-toting guys you see on TV, “I went to school with them,” and that what they want to do is “make war with Bambi.” I think he meant by that that the guns are for show. Their actions are the result of insecurity. They are a way to plump up there feeling of masculinity, and if push comes to shove, in the face of overwhelming crowd size opposing them, they would not fight. He said, “Don’t be afraid of them.”
I don’t know if Maher’s worries are on the money. I hope that for the sake of the Nation, and the people of Earth for that matter, that Trump does lose the election and he willingly leaves so that massive disruption, and maybe some serious injuries are avoided.
I’ve been told that there is an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Boy, we are there!
Partisans on the political right are correct when they say liberals on the left were out to get Donald Trump from the very beginning. That they hated Donald Trump. Actually, that’s not precisely correct. Hate isn’t the right word. It’s more correct to say that they were appalled and profoundly alarmed from the moment the popular vote—the will of the people—was ignored by partisan members of the Electoral College and Donald Trump ascended to the most powerful office in the world.
It is true that while observing his actions over time some, maybe even many, have come to hate him. But initially students of history, and specifically the history of how democracies can be lost to an authoritarian as happened to German democracy under Hitler, knew from Donald Trump’s already known biography—e.g., his several bankruptcies, his failures to pay workers, his view of women as tools for his use or pleasure—that he was utterly, possibly dangerously, unsuited to possess the great power of the US Presidency.
But I, like many others, consoled myself with the thought “how much harm can he do in only four years?” It’s been a traumatic journey, and we now know the answer. The carnage has been massive: to the rule of law, to human rights, to the environment, and now because of his venality and incompetence and the incompetence of the cronies he selected to run his administration, the nation has suffered an historic tragedy.
The Obama administration, having experienced and dealt with several public health crises including the H1N1 outbreak, sought to prepare the future president for a global pandemic. They crafted a pandemic playbook which they passed on to the new White House. Donald Trump allowed his National Security Advisor, John Bolton, to discard it. Why? It could have guided an early response to prepare for the disaster headed for the Nation. So much lost time could have been avoided resulting in so much less damage. I believe it was because Trump, a man consumed by spite, made clear to all he appointed that he would be pleased when anything enacted or established by his predecessor was deleted or dismembered. Most of them, apparently including John Bolton, have been happy to oblige.
As of today, over one million of Donald Trump’s citizens have been infected with the Covid-19 virus. We are approaching eighty thousand human deaths with more to come. Eighty thousands deaths by suffocation, alone without family beside them. That is what can be done in even less than four years. And we must wait over another eight months of wreckage before we inaugurate a new president.
Should Donald Trump somehow win, or steal, the next election, well………..
I’m writing this in the hope that it will come to the attention of Melinda Gates, who is uniquely situated to lead a movement led by women across the globe that is the best hope of mankind to secure a global peace.
Why Melinda Gates? Any great social change movement needs a leader at its center who can convey the vision of the goal to be achieved to others and make the movement a reality; a Mohandas Gandhi, Alice Paul, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg. Having just finished reading her book The Moment of Lift, it’s clear to me that Melinda Gates is uniquely qualified to be that catalyzing woman.
The world is in the clutches of a global pandemic. Life has changed forever. Perhaps it can change again for the much better. I believe it can. I’m an evolutionary biologist and behaviorist and I’ve spent a lifetime studying the behavior of men and women. For close to 20 years I’ve studied and written about the relationship of men and women to war as the answer to the possibility of ending war. [My essays and books on the subject are available on two websites - www.afww.org and www.judithhand.net.] In short, I’ve concluded that there is no biological reason why we couldn’t end war, and that the empowerment and leadership of women in equal partnership with men will be pivotal to making that wish a reality, should we decide to pursue the goal.
If we have the ability to end the tragedy of war if we choose, the question becomes how. Over the last few months a number of thoughts and ideas have been at the center of my attention, all of which relate to questions of war and peace. I will list some of those thoughts here and describe them as succinctly as possible.
#WFGP. This acronym stands for “Women For Global Peace.” I’m also a novelist and I’m in the midst of writing a novel. As fate or coincidence would have it, it’s about a post-catastrophic pandemic future in 2045 in which women are working to secure a global peace treaty. They have named their movement Women For Global Peace, and the energizing center of WFGP is the female Secretary General of the United Nations. What our real world needs, what the children of the future need, is a champion such as Melinda Gates who can garner the recognition and resources needed to make the goal of securing a world peace not just a dream but a reality.
At this time in America in response to the pandemic, we have been ordered to stay at home. Only people deemed to perform essential activities are to be out and about. All nonessential activities are to cease until the pandemic is under control or ended. A few days ago a Facebook friend posted the provocative phrase: War Is A Nonessential Activity. Yes, indeed! I thought. War is a nonessential activity.
Lord knows we don’t need it. In fact, we’re going to need the resources we put into war to rebuild the global economy after this pandemic is ended and to fight the even more dire onrushing tragedies of global warming. I had earlier read a Facebook post about Saudi Arabia and Yemen agreeing to a cease-fire in their particular nasty little war because they had more important concerns on their mind. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, if they just never restarted that war but found a way to peacefully resolve their conflicts so they could direct their resources elsewhere. I also know there are enough empowered and wealthy and resourceful women around the world to energize millions upon millions of people to support the making of an enforceable global peace treaty. If only there was a leadership capable of mobilizing a global movement to do so! In fashioning our “new normal“ after the pandemic, why not include a powerful movement to establish global peace for the children of the future. Why not take this bitter lemon and make a magnificent lemon meringue pie.
Which brings me again to Melinda Gates. Mrs. Gates, I invite you to explore my work, especially as it relates to women and war. Perhaps the best place to start would be the small book on my personal website, War and Sex and Human Destiny. After reading it you could meditate on it and perhaps pray on the idea and consult with your close friends as you describe in The Moment of Lift. And of course, I’ve been thinking for many years about how such a movement would look and could work. I’ve proposed in several places an aspirational action plan for doing so. I would be profoundly happy to speak with you about any of this. And allow me to express my gratitude to you and to your husband for all the wonderful work you and he and the Gates Foundation are doing around the world. Be Well. And with profound respect, Judith Hand
Here are traits that qualify Melinda Gates, that in fact make her uniquely qualified, to inspire and if she chooses, to lead:
Above all, her book The Moment of Lift reveals her to be a caring and compassionate human being with the wisdom to see that making war is a nonessential activity, and that ending war would be one of the greatest positive turning points in all of human history. Something worth the dedication of her time, creativity, and resources.
I also post on FaceBook. In early April one of my FB friends who lives in northern California took the time to make a list of all the things that changed or happened as of that time that she wanted to be able to recall. It's an astounding and pretty thorough list so I want to post it here for the same reason. So I can appreciate with amazement what an extraordinary change the corona virus Covid-19 made in out lives.
Here is her fantastic list:
“Just so I never forget..... April 4, 2020
-Gas prices in Placerville, CA are... $2.47 at ARCO
-School cancelled the middle of March - online/homeschool
-My daughter's graduation has been put on hold, and/or cancelled (Not Fair)
-Tape on the floors at grocery stores and others to help distance shoppers (6ft) from each other.
-Limited number of people inside stores, therefore, lineups outside the store doors.
-Non-essential stores and businesses mandated closed.
-Parks, trails, entire cities locked up.
-Entire sports seasons cancelled.
-Concerts, tours, festivals, entertainment events - cancelled.
-Weddings, family celebrations, holiday gatherings - cancelled.
-No masses, churches are closed.
-No gatherings of 50 or more, then 20 or more, now 10 or more.
-Don't socialize with anyone outside of your home.
-Shortage of masks, gowns, gloves for our front-line workers.
-Shortage of ventilators for the critical ill.
-Many of the PPEs and ventilators listed above being received from the National Stockpile are past their expiration date and rotted or broken.
-Panic buying sets in and we have no toilet paper, no disinfecting supplies, no paper towel no laundry soap, no hand sanitizer.
-Shelves are bare.
-Manufacturers, distilleries and other businesses switch their lines to help make visors, masks, hand sanitizer and PPE.
-Government closes the border to all non-essential travel.
-Lake Tahoe has been closed to all non-essential travel (in other words, STAY AT HOME)
-Fines are established for breaking the rules.
-People in KY are being order to wear ankle bracelets if they refuse to stay home.
-Stadiums and recreation facilities open up for the overflow of Covid-19 patients.
-Press conferences daily from the President and the governors. Daily updates on new cases, recoveries, and deaths.
-Government incentives to stay home.
-Barely anyone on the roads.
-People wearing masks and gloves outside.
-Essential service workers are terrified to go to work.
-Medical field workers are afraid to go home to their families.
This is the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic, declared March 11th, 2020.
Why, you ask, do I share this status?
One day it will show up in my memory feed, and it will be a yearly reminder that life is precious and not to take the things we dearly love for granted.
We have so much!
Be thankful. Be grateful.
Be kind to each other - love one another - support everyone.
We are all one! ❤️
Copy and share.”
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Dr. Judith Hand writes historical fiction, contemporary action/adventure, and screenplays. Hand earned her Ph.D. in biology from UCLA. Her studies included animal behavior and primatology. After completing a Smithsonian Post-doctoral Fellowship at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., she returned to UCLA as a research associate and lecturer. Her undergraduate major was in cultural anthropology. She worked as a technician in neurophysiology laboratories at UCLA and the Max Planck Institute, in Munich, Germany. As a student of animal communication, she has written scientific papers on the subject of social conflict resolution.
Astronomy image credit: NASA: Full Hemisphere Views of Earth at Night.