True character is self-sustaining - R.H. Joseph

Ever wonder why conservative men are intimidated by intelligent, independent women?

As proud that my wife doesn't hesitate to speak her mind as John Kerry is of his, it is difficult to imagine a weakness of character so overwhelming it demands unremitting servitude of one's life partner.

My wife is a formidable individual and that's a cool thing to be. To paraphrase Tina Turner, "What's sex got to do with it?"

Even as Kerry and I find the character and achievements of our mates stimulating, conservative men resort to assertions of divine decree to maintain a dominant/submissive relationship in their households. Some family values!

You needn't be Sigmund Freud to detect deep-seated issues plaguing the subconscious of the Republican male constituency.

That conservative men are as unsettled by homosexuals and black males as they are by the presence of strong women is both disturbing and disturbed. That they are not disquieted by the presence of East and South Asian men is no doubt equally revealing.

Had conservative males kept to themselves, protected within the bolstering womb established in response to their debilitating psychological uncertainty, who could gainsay their desire to make the context of their lives as devoid of intimidation as possible?

But they are not content. Conservative males are reflexively compelled to diminish or eliminate the psychological challenges presented by those groups whose presence leaves them foundering in a sea of emasculating insecurity. This is why they are a danger to the rest of us.

These men, and the Republican Party representing them, will continue attempts to legislate the threatening groups into disenfranchised subservience, and through the imprimatur of legislative consequence, designate their own potency unrivaled.

American women, particularly those most active and integrated culturally, are in danger. As conservative men would have their spouses acquiesce to the will of the husband in their households, so will they inevitably demand female servility in society.

Can America afford to render half its population secondary citizens? Should half the population remain inert as the Republican Party seeks to disenfranchise them?

Women must take a stand now.

We can only wonder how far conservatives will go if their attempt to dominate all three branches of government succeeds. Attend to history, both past in the West and current in those countries dominated by an inflexible patriarchy, to review the extremely limited options permitted women.

My wife, and I'm sure this applies to Teresa Heinz Kerry as well, will not stand passively by as others attempt to define what she can and cannot do.

Women, blacks and homosexuals have never ceased struggling against the efforts of conservative men to deny them their human rights. To continue to empower such men is tantamount to subverting the American dream.

How far will conservative men go? Only recently women called to the pulpit by visions and experiences of the transcendent have been denied this forum. To protect themselves, such men would repudiate the influence of the divine.

It would behoove those within whom a catholicity of spirit rejects the limitations imposed by the blinders of religious intolerance to examine the contributions to world (and religious) culture by Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) and Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). We can only imagine what these women might have contributed had they not been fettered by patriarchal misogyny.

How many Teresas and Hildegards are among us today and how many will be denied expression by the same repressive forces that have plagued womankind, and by extension, humanity, since the butchering of the mathematician, astronomer and Platonic philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria by Christian monks 1,589 years ago.

Will women in the armed forces once again be confined to secretarial positions, women in hospitals to nursing positions?

Will women still have access to family planning technologies? Will women still possess physical autonomy, command of their own bodies?

Conservative males feel they know what is best for women. Do you agree?

Will you willingly empower those most challenged by your sexuality to define the limits of its expression?

Knowing men as you do, should you entrust weapons of mass destruction to those compelled to elect a pathologically over-muscled fictional action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to represent them (in every sense of the word)?

R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at rjoseph@news-daily.com.