A Woman Visible

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Kicking and Screaming in the Fish Bowl

I hope my last post didn't cause all this violence that's cropped up in the last few days. Actually, knowing the sources of these two violent cases, I'm not surprised. There have been two rather visible and famous women in the news as of late that have acted in ways we wouldn't normally expect from women of their position. Or maybe I'm an idealist wishing we still lived in Mayberry. I give you:

  • U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D. GA) and her altercation with a Capitol Police officer. Actually, this is nothing that we in Georgia don't expect from Rep. McKinney. She is a woman that is very visible, and goes way beyond revelling in her visibility. Unfortunately, her visibility is often less than complementary, as in this instance. All the officer did was try to do his job. She was not wearing a pin she should have been wearing, and she went around a metal detector like she was above reproach (those of us that have seen her in action here in Atlanta know better). The man did his job. He called her back repeatedly, but she was too full of herself to respond. Is it any wonder that he took her arm and stopped her? I have to wonder what would have happened next if it had been a mortal like me going around that metal detector. But it was a representative of the United States, and in all of her representativeness (I think I created a word), Cynthia McKinney punched this poor cop. What angers me the most is that he didn't press charges, and so she got off scott free--again. Our young girls need role models. We want them to be competitive and ambitious. We want them to serve our country. How can we expect our girls to act with any sort of grace, or charm when there are women that are very visible and acting like someone that is above the law?
  • The brawling doesn't end there. Naomi Campbell, famed fashion model,was arrested for beating up her housemaid with a telephone. Campbell's "people" swearm it's a lie and the housemaid was just fired, but I don't know. Campbell, much like McKinney, has a track record of punching, screaming, and acting like a diva gone mad. Intense visibility can cause a sort of mania in women, I think. They get all full of themselves, believe that they don't have to work within the rules and regs of the world that the rest of us live in, and then crazy things happen. And yet, in spite of this diva-ism, there are girls that want to be Naomi Campbell. Is this what we want our girls to be like? Is this what we want them to think of when the consider their own visibility?

I'm not saying that we should all be demure, carry our pastel pink purses, and cross our legs at our ankles. I just think that women in very visible places should consider the larger consequences of their actions. They have chosen the fish-bowl life, and there are eyes on them that take their actions as gospel.This is a lesson I learned during my time as a minister's wife. As a minister's wife, you live in the bowl, people see and make decisions about you and, perhaps, how they should live based on what they see you do. It's like Spiderman (yes, I am secretly in love with the ol' webhead) says, "With great power comes great responsibility." These women bear the power, but abuse the responsibility. I would paraphrase Spiderman and say, 'With great visibility comes great responsibility.' It's too bad these two haven't learned this lesson after so many years in the fish bowl.


In an amazing turn of events, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D, Ga) may actually have charges brought against her after her altercation with a Capitol police officer. Of course, in true Cynthia McKinney fashion, she had a press conference that ended up sounding more like a rally. "This is an incident caused by the inappropriate touching and stopping of a female, black congresswoman," says McKinney.

So, I guess if she had been a female, white congresswoman, the touching would have been ok. It probably would have been even better if she had been a male, white congressman. Then the cop could have done his job with no outcry or press conference or no punching. Lord knows that the cop singled her out because he wanted to fight with a female, black congresswoman. He was just spoiling for that opportunity.

Visiblity demands that we take responsibility for our own actions. It demands that we not act as victims, especially when it's so obvious that we are not victims.

I hope that the cop presses charges. If McKinney is convicted, it could cost her up to five years in prison. I wonder what she would have to say about the "inappropriate touching" that might go on there. Some how I doubt that the women she'd be joining will care less that she is a "female, black congresswoman."


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