Real Men & Real Doctors & Real Difference
In the Department of From-the-Ridiculous-to-the-Sublime Department, The New York Times is batting a thousand this morning. Seriously.
Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, tweeted, “I want to be clear: the Supreme Court is not the deep state. The case had no merit and was dispatched 9–0. There was no win here. Complaining and bellyaching is not a manly trait, it’s actually sad. Real men accept a loss with grace.”
You’re a little late to the party, Mr. Kinzinger. What real men? Where? Because there’s nary a one anywhere near The White House. I still maintain that getting him out on January 20th, which is allegedly accomplished by a literal army of staff from the moment the Inauguration starts until the new inhabitants arrive at the door of their new home, is going to require a Special Ops extraction.
Opinion Columnist Ross Douthat maintains that there are two G.O.P.s. “The other G.O.P. is acting like a bunch of saboteurs: insisting that the election was stolen, implying that the normal party’s officials are potentially complicit and championing all manner of outlandish claims and strategies — culminating in the lawsuit led by the attorney general of Texas that sought to have the Supreme Court essentially nullify the election results in the major swing states.”
Oh, you mean the real men and women who are doing their jobs and upholding the Constitution they’ve sworn to uphold? Them? The unsung heroes of this electoral travesty. The faceless and nameless people who have done and are doing and will continue to do the legal, moral thing for which we may be profoundly grateful.
Mr. Douthat continues in the vein I noted yesterday, “The Republicans behaving radically are doing so in the knowledge — or at least the strong assumption — that their behavior is performative, an act of storytelling rather than lawmaking, a posture rather than a political act.”
Yes, indeed, step right up, folks, see the Amazing, Freak …, uh, I mean, Sideshow we have come to know as the federal government. It has, indeed, been performative, positional jockeying so as not to upset the labile Reality-Star-in-Chief. Truthfully, they actually think the sun rises and sets on the whims of this one despot, or maybe, that their political fortunes rest thereupon.
Isn’t it time we enacted term limits so that this fossilized behavior might slowly be eroded by people who are meant to serve the constituencies they purport to represent? Long overdue, as far as I’m concerned. Long, long overdue. The behaviors exhibited by the Senate in particular since May have been a partisan condemnation of representational government. They are only representing their own political selves. If their constituencies were even a consideration, there would have been a second relief package.
Then, “The American Institute of Architects said Friday that it had approved new ethics rules prohibiting members from knowingly designing spaces intended for execution or torture, including for prolonged periods of solitary confinement.”
How’s this for In-The-Too-Little-Too-Late Department? “The decision came a day after the Justice Department’s high-profile execution of a Black man, Brandon Bernard, for a murder that he committed when he was 18 years old, even as requests flooded into the White House asking to give Mr. Bernard clemency.” Ten such federal executions have happened in the past month. Ten.
Michael Kimmelman, the architecture critic for The New York Times, wrote in June, after the murder of George Floyd, “Architects should not contribute their expertise to the most egregious aspects of a system that commits exceptional violence against African-Americans and other minorities. The least the American Institute of Architects can do now is agree.”
Indeed, and here is a lesson best learned this very minute by all of us. You will note, please, that Mr. Kimmelman did not overreach his expertise or his influence. He did not call for the dismantling of the Prison Industrial Complex, although he might easily have done so. No, he limited his CTA [business-speak: call to action] to his own realm.
Mr. Kimmelman cannot destroy the entire system; he doesn’t have that kind of power. But what he can do, he has done. He can call for disruption of the blithe continuation of designing and building physical spaces “that incarcerate and execute an overwhelmingly disproportionate percentage of Black Americans.”
Mr. Kimmelman has done what he could do. The American Institute of Architects has done what they could do. That is all that is ever required of us, Beloved. Ever.
Then, there is this little gem. “In an opinion piece published online on Friday, the author, Joseph Epstein, addressed Dr. Biden as ‘kiddo’ and offered her advice on ‘what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter.’
“‘Any chance you might drop the “Dr.” before your name?’ he wrote. ‘“Dr. Jill Biden” sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.’”
Really. It made me sputter, which is hard to do.
“Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, said Dr. Biden had earned her degrees ‘through hard work and pure grit.’ She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country,” he wrote on Twitter. “This story would never have been written about a man.”
No, it wouldn’t have. And I loved the response of most women and the Twitterverse, and I wondered severely at the editor at no less than The Wall Street Journal who published the essay. Why, sir, why would you do that?
This paragraph reminded me of a story from my own life. “(The New York Times’s house style allows for anyone with an earned doctorate, such as a Ph.D. or Ed.D., to be identified by the title on subsequent references, provided it is ‘germane to the holder’s primary current occupation.’)”
Yeah, well, I personally changed the policy of The Times’ wedding pages when I was hired years ago to do a New York high society wedding. The paper called me at home to check on my title for the wedding announcement, as per their policy. I promptly told my caller, “Rev. Dr.”
There was a slight pause, and the young woman said, “We don’t do that. We use either Reverend or Doctor but not both.”
“So?” I challenged. “You asked for my proper title. I told you what it is. If you refuse to use my proper title, you dishonor me and the work that I do. I suggest you take this to your superiors.” She gulped audibly and hung up.
An editor called me back within the hour. In full argument mode. I finally interrupted her, “Look, I was ordained, ergo Reverend, then I went back to school, post-ordination, to earn a Doctorate in Divinity, a D.D.. My proper title is Reverend Doctor. Too bad. If you want to get it right, you’ll use both.”
A long story made a lot shorter, the editor of the wedding pages overruled The Times then editorial policy. I was Rev. Dr. Susan Corso in The New York Times that Sunday, and the policy stayed changed.
I made a difference to an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny subset of professionals. #DrJillBiden, #MeToo. Dr. Jill Biden, by using her hard-earned title, elevates the entire profession of teaching — which has long been in need of such altitude — in both esteem and, hopefully, eventually, compensation. Dr. Biden is making a difference in her own arena, Beloved, as we are all called to do.
You have to give it to us humans, Beloved, there are all kinds amongst us, and it is our choice how, if, or whether to honor one another or not. The best part of today’s news is that change is in the air. Change is the only constant in this miraculous adventure we know as life, Beloved. And as always, we have a choice. We can go with change and make a world that works for everyone or we can fight change kicking and screaming which works for no one. So, what’ll it be?
Dr. Susan Corso is a spiritual teacher, the founder of iAmpersand, and the author of The Mex Mysteries, the Boots & Boas Books, and spiritual nonfiction. Her website is susancorso.com.