Third road: Women’s rightsLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Third road: Women’s rights

There has been a lot of talk this campaign season of roads, high and low. The high road is supposed to be a morally superior road. I can appreciate wanting to choose words with care, wanting to be aware of their impact and the feelings of others. And I do believe it’s preferable to choose actions that cause the least harm and the most benefit. I can also understand the desire to be authentic, to say and do what you want to without a filter. I think that is how many of us see the high and low roads.

There is something empowering about the low road. There is a siren song to express our emotions, and say what we want without a filter. In empathic communication we call that the “Jackal Show.”

We learn that show is telling us our needs are not being met, we are happy to see that show because we are going to learn something about ourselves. Not only that, we are going to be able to get our needs met figuring this out. But if we act out that jackal show, it’s not going to get our needs met. That’s what is tragic about it.

However, if we are not being authentic while taking the “high road;” if we are just saying and doing things because that’s how we “should,” we aren’t going to get our needs met either. So I see both of these roads as less than optimal choices. We need a third road, particularly in this election season. We need a road that is going to help us connect with ourselves, and each other. We need a road that is going to help get our needs met. We need a healing road, a third road.

This is the beginning of a series of articles I plan to right as we finish out this election season and head into a time where we need to start coming back together as a nation. I want to help show this third road. I’m going to translate comments I find on social media regarding the topics that are driving our separation into the language of the third road. More specifically, I will look at the comments found under news articles from sites running the spectrum of political beliefs. I would love to hear your feedback as well. I will do my best to translate what we are all feeling and needing.

I’m going to start with women’s rights. These comments may not look pretty, but the needs behind them are beautiful. The translation/guess at feelings and needs is in italics for clarity.

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“Curbelo is a far right Republican who is hoping to be a career politician. He’s a member of the do-nothing obstructionist tea party. Vote him out of office and send a message to the other GOP obstructionists that their anti/women, anti-minority, anti-everything behavior is no longer acceptable.’

I’m very frustrated and want to trust that our elected officials will work to represent all citizens. More than that, I want them to do their job of working with their fellow congress persons to get legislation passed that will help us all!

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President Barack Obama speaking to late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel (YouTube)

President Barack Obama speaking to late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel (YouTube)

“The idea that Trump is advancing women’s rights, even unintentionally seems laughable. Despite all he said (and maybe done??), he will receive millions of votes in November.”

I’m angry at hearing even the suggestion that Trump values women’s rights. I need to trust my elected officials about their beliefs about this, and I can’t trust unintentional actions. I’m also frustrated that more people don’t understand him the way I do, that they will actually vote for him.

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“Then again, the idea that Hillary, who enabled Bill’s behavior by sticking with him and going after his accusers, is any champion of women’s rights seems equally laughable. The only woman Hillary is interested in advancing is herself.”

I’m frustrated that people who don’t trust Trump about women’s rights, trust Hillary. I really want people to see this the way I see it. I want to trust my elected official as well to be working for all of us.

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“The GOP likes their bitches quiet and in the kitchen. This is nothing more than to make them feel better like a good pet before they get home and slap them.”

I feel resigned about how Republican’s see a woman’s role. I’m having the hardest time trusting that any Republican will treat a woman with respect.

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“Anyone here ever been to Military Basic Training??? Trump doesn’t even compare to locker room talk. Go watch YouTube. Anyone here ever used a cigar on a woman as a sex toy? Bill Clinton has.’

I am so angry that people don’t understand the concept of ‘locker room talk’. I trust that Trump isn’t doing anything that most men do. I’m also so frustrated, and want some equity in viewing what Trump said. I want some fairness in this conversation.

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“Since when it is required to believe that because women are actual human beings to be afforded actual dignity and respect, one must also back various forms of “pro-woman” social and economic engineering through the federal government?”

I want some understanding that I do respect women, and I want some choice in how we choose to show that in our society. I want to trust that we will choose actions that really support women, not just give ‘lip service’.

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Newt Gingrich has said some inflammatory things in this campaign season. (Wikipedia)

Newt Gingrich has said some inflammatory things in this campaign season. (Wikipedia)

“Entitled pigs support continuing to use the government to enforce male privilege, because they would never be able to compete if the playing field were level.”

I’m so tired of male privilege. I just want to believe men actually want to change our society in a way that supports women equally.

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“Wow; another tempest in a teapot media circus. While the whole world faces existential crises; from thousands of nuclear weapons to catastrophic climate change to some horror escaping out of some lab; the cause du jour is vulgar locker room banter. What Trump could have said and should have said “and meant” was that the kind of things he said in private are commonplace among American men; especially jocks but this has caused him much soul searching and he will never say these kind of things again and use whatever influence he has to persuade other men to do likewise and in every way he can; support women in all their issues because they are his issues too. Instead; what do we get; Bill Clinton is a bigger scumbag than me which is true but it’s like a couple of 3 year olds accusing each other of starting it. Trump; your narcissistic egotistical bluster is putting an evil war mongering wall st. sucking witch in the oval office.”

I’m so frustrated with Trump. I long for a candidate that can take personal responsibility and reach out to people who are hurting in a meaningful way. I’m also frustrated with our media, and long to see us discussing issues that I see as vitally important in our world. I’d also like to trust that whoever wins the presidency isn’t going to get us into a war.

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“Cover your ears folks. That sound of the last glass ceiling breaking will be loud. The whole world will celebrate.”

I’m so excited! I can’t wait to celebrate our country’s first woman president with the rest of the world!

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“This #repealthe19th trend is just another example of how dangerous it is to be a woman in a Donald Trump world.”

I’m really worried. I want to be sure we elect someone who will support women’s rights.

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“Can’t deal with the male rhetoric of ‘you’re lucky we even gave you the vote’ like it’s a privilege and not a right #Repealthe19th#feminism

I am so angry and tired. I want understanding that woman count as equally as men. I’m longing for the day when this won’t even be questioned.

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I believe if we take this third road, we can find ourselves someplace that will meet all of our needs.


About the author

Heather Schlessman

Heather Schlessman, PhD is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who has spent her career either working with or teaching about families. She is also a mother who, like so many other parents, spent years muddling her way raising 3 wonderfully different children, one who happens to be experiencing a disability. Fortunately she has a life partner who muddled along with her. Spending most of her time trying to be perfect, as that would be the safest way to live, she became aware of a desire to be able to see people in a more compassionate way. Little did she know that the person she needed the most compassion for was herself. There is a saying that when you are ready to learn a teacher will appear, and so it was for Dr. Schlessman. She was introduced to the work of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the developer of Nonviolent Communication, and her world completely changed. She learned a way to have an intimate connection with herself and others, a way to truly contribute. Her passion now is to help others find their way to a more compassionate life. You can find more of Dr. Schlessman’s empathic expressions along with her husband’s, Rev. Mark Schlessman on their website. Contact the author.
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