With Great Responsibility Comes Great Power
We continue our series in celebration of International Women’s Day with Clare Galloway
A question rises up for me, out of the ashes of the pointless fiery talk from the heating debate on the Scottish referendum. Heckle-based rhetoric and heid-bashing comes across the airwaves to me, and through the blurry clouds of social media. I hear a lot of repetition of the ‘But what will happen when…?!’ and the ‘Oh lord help us, the instability…!’ But the more potent question that I want to ask everyone is: do you have the faith in yourself to make the decisions which come with independence? A quote by Erica Jong came to me this morning: “Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no-one to blame”
As a woman particularly, this resonates for me; to my responsibility as a Scot; as a Scottish citizen in the world, and as a person aware of the downward trajectory of much of modern life and values. My hope is that we will learn to leap from the turning of this tide, onto better shores. But it is certainly far easier to blame, and to whinge from a greater distance indeed, than it is to bring the responsibility for social, economic and national well-being into one’s own home, one’s own very body, and life choice.
We live in an age where taking responsibility for the ripple effects of our every action and thought is becoming increasingly obviously vital (not optional, but essential) to the very continuing of life on the planet. This year, and this ballot box, will decide not just a) YES! or b) no about our parliamentary location, but will have vast world-changing consequences in just about every area of modern life, from which grand echoing effects south of the border, and over and beyond the seas around us, will ensue.
If it does go the way of the status quo then there are several things which we will be guaranteed –which perversely the no campaign are not shouting from their dubious propaganda machine- there will be wars; death and destruction of innocent lives, and of essential ecological systems, and there will be further debasing of the most basic of civil liberties and human comforts, which are already evidently severely compromised. And what the hell is this happy continuity : the privilege, naw – the honour, of having been permitted/ had the capacity to bail the banks out?! What the fuck* does that say to you about stability?!
What we are also guaranteed, on the other hand, and if we speak up, particularly as women, is that… our voices will be heard, and will be acted upon: our opinion and decision will be heard by a parliament proportionate to our size and character, and who will be housed in a building in the centre of our capital city. A place where, if we find their contribution to be insufficient, we can get on a ferry and/ or a Megabus and go and speak to them face-to-face and rap them over the knuckles if need be. They will not be housed in a guarded fortified street where it is forbidden to enter, nor behind the sinister façade of big business and banking.
It’s no accident, women, that we are marginalised. We’re singled out as inferior (different and therefore less), alongside anyone and anything else who/ which isn’t part of the all-consuming material model: the white, male, privileged few aggressors, who see the rape-and-oppression-of-all-things as par for the course of their own powers’ comfort and pleasure. Women’s gentler ways and acceptance, our ability to thrive on so little, to make marvelous things out of nothing, these qualities have purposefully been permitted minimal influence for centuries. But we all know now, how vital their place is becoming in the world: we all know how essential it is that we all learn the art of listening before directing, of honouring all voices, of paying attention to the wee ’uns, of making sure there’s enough for everyone.
THAT my friends is stability, and all we have to do, to bring this stability to the world, is to quietly, in our inimitable feminine way, calmly walk to our polling station and tick a positive box. THIS is how the world changes, and it’s about time we showed the whole world! It’s most definitely the time for us women to start being the positive influence by our actions, and not continuing the preposterously barbaric course of history with false words.
I ask you all, beautiful sisters, to look at the mannerisms and stance of this argument for Scotland, to listen well, deep inside your heart and your truth, and to feel your way into the right path for Scotland. It’s obvious to me (as a woman who has never compromised nor held back, and who chose the freedom of a creative path and a nomadic lifestyle) which path we choose, to lead our country to a wildly different and more positive place and time, but it needs to be obvious to us all: we all need to look into our hearts, to ruminate long and hard. We need to know that we are responsible in this, and to act like it.
*I’m sorry to be harsh about this, but it really needs saying in an appropriately firm manner, as folks don’t seem to be noticing these elephant-in-the-room incongruences in the negative campaign. The no campaign is riddled with them: the status quo only works as a palatable model because our country has been so demeaned into believing the inevitability of familiar discomfort. Watching from a distance, in a supposedly peasant-ish Italian culture (folks working mostly from the land), the quality of life here is phenomenally higher simply because people, food, land are placed at the core of societal values.
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