Since America’s founding women have been regarded and treated as second class citizens and one defies any American to say otherwise. Yes, it is true that women have made great strides in being ‘kind of’ treated as equal citizens, but despite the various lengthy and hard-won battles leading right up to today, over half the population is still regularly discriminated against. That is the price women pay for living in a decidedly religious patriarchal society like America, and yes, patriarchy is founded on religious dogmata and nothing else.
This past week in yet another glaring example of women being treated unfairly when compared to a man, a woman is facing a year in prison for having the temerity to “chuckle” during then-senator and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate confirmation hearing. It is particularly noteworthy to mention that while then-Senator Jeff Sessions blatantly committed perjury under oath before the Senate, he did so with impunity and protection of his Republican cohorts. A woman who dared laugh faces prison time.
One obvious question of which the answer is just as obvious is; why was Session’s federal felony ignored and a woman arrested, charged, and convicted by the criminal justice system for “laughing quietly” at an absurd and mendacious statement by a lying Republican senator? The woman’s “chuckle” was in response to a statement by Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) that renowned racist Sessions had a well-documented record of “treating all Americans equally under the law.”
The answer to why an American woman is facing a year in jail for laughing while Sessions garnered a top-cop job despite committing perjury is that this is America; a patriarchy where misogyny is revered and rewarded for complying with religious dogma that women are subservient to men and not allowed to speak in assemblies where men are present. It is right there in the Christian bible’s New Testament and may as well be enshrined in the U.S. Constitution; it is apparently part of the law in Washington D.C.
Actually, three women activists with the Code Pink movement were convicted in connection to Sessions’ confirmation hearing, but two of the ladies were ejected and arrested before the hearing got underway. Their crime was for dressing like Ku Klux Klan members and standing up; what federal prosecutors charged was “parading or demonstrating” that won them a conviction and the possibility of spending a year in prison. Even the mythos in the Christian bible didn’t call for a prison sentence for women standing up or daring to speak in the presence of men.
The third woman, Desiree Fairooz, was found guilty of, and convicted for, “disorderly or disruptive” conduct for laughing at Senator Shelby’s assertion that Sessions’ civil rights record is “well-documented” and above reproach. According to federal prosecutors, Ms. Fairooz’s chuckle caused “enough of a disruption” that someone turned their head and diverted their attention from the hearing; the hearing where Sessions committed perjury under oath. The federal prosecutors also accused Ms. Fairooz of causing a further disturbance when she demanded to know why four Capitol law enforcement officers seized her, pulled her from her chair and two of them ejected her from the proceedings.
The Code Pink campaign director, Ariel Gold, was sitting near Ms. Fairooz and described the alleged “disorderly laugh” as merely “reflexive and fainter than a cough.” A reporter for Huffington Post, Ryan J. Reilly, was in attendance at the hearing and recorded Ms. Fairooz’s forced removal by Capitol Police. He tweeted:
“Another protester escorted out of Sessions hearing. Her original offense appeared to be simply laughing.”
It is beyond refute that women are treated differently than men in America whether it is earning less pay or not being allowed to make their own reproductive healthcare choices. That inequality apparently applies to the criminal justice system when, if a woman is accused of a “crime,” the system is swift and extraordinarily harsh.
The Code Pink women committed their “crimes,” laughing in the presence of men and “standing up” while in costume in the presence of men, in mid-January and now they await sentencing that could earn them each a year in prison. Contrast those “offenses” with a sitting United States Senator who glaringly committed perjury while under oath in front of the United States Senate and earned confirmation as the top law enforcement official in America. The only thing Attorney General Jeff Sessions should earn is a five year prison sentence and a hefty fine for committing perjury under oath before the United States Senate; a federal felony according to 18 U.S. Code § 1621.
Any American who still doesn’t believe there is a difference between how a woman is treated in America compared to a man is either a patriarchal misogynist or an ignorant sot. When a woman is arrested, charged, and convicted for laughing while a man that commits a federal felony is rewarded with a prestigious Cabinet level job, there is rampant manifest gender disparity. The atrocity is that with a misogynist in the White House, and a Republican-majority Congress Hell-bent on perpetuating the religious patriarchy that defines America’s raging inequality, things are only going to get worse for women. And that should terrify every American whether they are a woman or a man with a wife, mother, sister or daughter because it is beginning to look like all of those hard-fought battles for women’s equality look increasingly to be in vain.
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.