Fear and Hockey (or fear and the power for change)

My plan, here, is to combine hockey, Rush Limbaugh, and the Vatican all into one cultural musings post. Yeah, I know. Tricky. But stay with me.

Hockey’s the easiest, so I’ll start there. The NFL, National Hockey League for those of you who don’t have hockey fanatics in your house, is in its end of year playoff schedule. Right now, the first round of playoff games is coming to an end.

What’s remarkable in this year’s tally, and why it’s landing in this post, is that the old powerhouse teams are losing: Detroit, down; Vancouver, down; Chicago, down, Pittsburgh, down; and the Boston Bruins barely keeping their hopes alive. The upstart, younger teams, like Nashville and Phoenix, and Los Angeles, for goodness sake, are moving into the next round. We could have a Sunbelt Stanley Cup finals! As hockey champions?

Rush Limbaugh is old power too. And he’s in the process of being dumped from his throne because of a 20-something female college student testifying before Congress on the need for insurance to cover women’s contraceptives. Now, keep in mind that most insurance plans cover Viagra.

And keep in mind that this 20-something isn’t going to let this incident die a graceful and quiet death. She’s been empowered by it. She may be busy with semester finals right now, but I expect we’ll hear from her again.

And the Vatican. Well, they’ve decided after a four-year study that nuns are out of control and need to be reined in. The nuns have been entirely too liberal in birth control teachings and support of gays and lesbians. In addition, they have been promoting “certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” Read women’s ordination.

I know a few nuns. They aren’t likely to go quietly into full-cover habit again.

And then, along with that, we have various state legislatures, and the Republican front-runner, wanting to shut down Planned Parenthood; Kansas legislators wanting to ban abortions in the entire state; Virginia GOP legislators wanting to probe women’s bodies with transvaginal sonograms; and Arizona legislators wanting to legislate a requirement that women prove they have a medical need, beyond contraception, for oral contraceptives.

This isn’t just a “war against women.” Or even a war against people of color although civil rights has been raising the banner again, too. This is a fear based war.

Fear of freedom, of liberality, of thinking (god forbid we educate all kids!!), and fear of anything not white and not male in power. Except for hockey, of course, that’s still white guys being powerful. Except they are young white guys (and young black and young multi-racial) and those young guys on young teams are upsetting the established power base.

We are in a revolution, as in turning things upside down, and most of the time we’re just trying to keep up.  Often, I’m reminded of the 60’s song line, “We want a revolution. Now!” Beatles, wasn’t it? Willy will know.

So there’s the cultural musings of a woman old enough to have participated in the 60’s cultural movements and anti-war movements and women’s liberation and civil rights and whatever was going on movement. And I see the same topics coming up now in a new format.

My students are talking about civil rights and Treyvon Martin and women’s rights – and civilly. Not shouting. And even listening to each other. And thinking through ideas.

Is it time for all of us to be talking about these changes? To think aloud in civil discourse? I know lots of people are afraid of one thing or another, but what does fear accomplish?

What do you see? Granted, because of my history, I see radical change occurring. And its backlash. But what do you see? Let’s discuss. Civilly.


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