For many Americans the Academy Awards are little more than a fantasy distraction from the day-to-day miseries of living in an all-too-real nation chock full of hate, divisiveness, and animus for ‘the other.’ It is curious why so many Americans tune in to see their favorite Hollywood celebrities gather to watch a few of their own get recognition for a craft they all work equally hard to perfect, but that is the nature of any industry awards. Once in a while, and not very often, one award-winner actually says something worth hearing and as is usually the case, if it is an important social message it will irritate some group. Apparently, when Patricia Arquette called for equal rights for women, and specifically appealed to other minority groups to join the war for equality, it raised the ire of the right and left.
Whether Ms. Arquette realized it or not, there was a message within her call for equal rights for women that highlights a serious character flaw prevalent in Americans; they are inherently selfish and have very little-to-no regard for other Americans’ plight no matter what it is. It is true Arquette’s plea for support for women’s equality was certain to get a negative response from the right, and Fox News stepped up to assail the actress and display their typical ignorance and patriarchal bona fides; even though the criticism was from an “actress and Fox contributor” Stacey Dash who was “appalled” by Arquette’s comments.
Dash claimed that Arquette needed to “do her history” and claimed rightly that John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963 and that “she didn’t get the memo I didn’t have any rights.” However, Arquette never said women did not have any rights; she said “For every taxpayer and every citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all! And equal rights for women in the United States!”
First, the moron that needs to “do her history” is Dash. If she did she would know that when Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, he said the law was only a “first step” and impressed on Americans that “much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity. Our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.” Predictably, that “first step” has been the only step because little has changed since 1963; something Dash would know if she kept her “appalled self” away from Fox News and picked up a book. Women still earn 78 cents on the dollar if they are white, and women of color earn 64 cents on the dollar, compared to white men. As is usually the case, Americans as a population are too self-centered to fight for true equality for women, or anyone but themselves, due to their selfish nature Republicans claim is typically American “rugged individualism.”
Some on the left apparently took issue with a remark Arquette made backstage that reiterated her original statement that women “have fought for everybody else’s’ equal rights” remark. She said, “It’s time for all the women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve fought for, to fight for us now.” It apparently irked some on the left who condemned and criticized a “wealthy white woman begging people who are often worse of in society to help her out.” It is a pathetic mindset to think for a second that Arquette was begging people who are worse off in society to help her out and illustrates exactly why Americans are inherently self-absorbed and greedy. Likely, Arquette’s message was lost to a majority of Americans who misread her remark; if anyone had a right to speak out, it was a wealthy white woman who has advocated for all human beings’ equal rights; something a fair number of Americans simply cannot comprehend or comport.
There are very few Americans who fight for anything that does not directly affect or benefit them personally no matter which demographic or minority group they belong to. For example, the majority of middle class Americans could not have cared less about income inequality or the plight of working class slave-wage earners until their own incomes began declining and their wages stagnated threatening their comfortable lifestyles. The elderly were champions of cutting government social programs for the poor, disabled, and disadvantaged until Republicans began talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare; then all Hell broke loose and “keep your hands off ‘MY’ Medicare” became a rallying cry; cut everyone else’s. Very comfortable retirees were staunch advocates and supporters of Wall Street and financial sector deregulation until tens-of-thousands of them lost their retirement savings and were impoverished to the point of working at Walmart and McDonalds. The list goes on and on and there is no demographic in the nation that is blameless, and perhaps that is why Arquette’s message rankled both the left and right; if they understood her message at all.
Republicans certainly comprehend that if the disparate minority and demographic groups in the population ever rose up as one voice and demanded equality for all Americans, their veritable reign of terror would be finished in one election cycle. President Obama also understands that if all Americans fought as one for equal rights, whether it was voting rights, equal pay, gay rights, women’s rights, equal access to healthcare, education, or employment opportunities there is no political force in American that could stop the impending ‘change‘ he campaigned on. However, Americans just cannot be bothered to fight for anything that does not benefit them personally and it is precisely what Republicans depended on in promoting their vicious “rugged individual” ideology on Americans. President Obama has used an aphorism in the past, “a rising tide lifts all boats” that self-centered Americans apparently are incapable of comprehending due to their inherent selfishness. They support anything that lifts themselves, but oppose, often vehemently, anything to help their fellow citizens.
Ms. Arquette, as a wealthy white woman, was exactly the right person to call for a concerted effort from disparate minority groups to fight for equal rights for women. She certainly was not begging people who are worse off, she just made a plea for something this pathetic population is lacking and glaringly incapable of; a united front for equality for all Americans of which women are and have been particularly underserved. She, in retrospect, may have articulated her statement better to make the point that if all the women, men who love them, people of color, gays, elderly, and poor fought for equal rights and everything they entail for all Americans, maybe idiot Emoprogs would have tempered their criticism, but they are Emos and typically miss the bigger message.
It is likely that a fair number of Americans missed the meaning of Arquette’s comment because they are programmed to be self-centered by the Republican Ayn Rand ideology that anything benefitting another American, any American, is at their personal loss. One would like to think Americans were not always selfish, or uncaring about their fellow citizens, but something terrible happened in the early 1980s when the concept a united populace perished with “rugged individualism.” A concept that Republicans knew would prevent Americans from fighting for equality for all the people and erase any unity including that this was once a United States.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.