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A form of suicide

By Jordanna Thigpen

October 2, 2006

Lately, America has been called many things.

Strapped against our will to the stainless steel hospital table of global public opinion, we have been diagnosed as schizophrenic (because we have dark symptoms with early adulthood manifestation); sociopathic (because we do harm without regard for others); and psychopathic (well, you know why.)

This week in dentist's-office-read Time, Hugo Chavez says that America is suicidal. "Bush wanted Iraq's oil and I believe he wants Venezuela's oil," Chavez says. "But the blame for high oil prices lies in the consumer model of the U.S. Its reckless oil consumption is a form of suicide."

Suicide is the ultimate revenge, isn't it? And revenge should appeal to red-blooded Americans, right? But at least for those who have considered suicide, there's something really pure about it. And it's comforting - if you're ever really sad or angry it's like coming home. It's always there, if you're really desperate; just like you can always make a PB&J if you're really hungry. But unless you're one of those who consummates this aching and final desire, something always brings you back, and it's not fear - it's compassion.

Is it possible, in your most ebony hour, to feel compassion for others? Our nation is about to find out.

Our prosperity, and our consumption, has been subsidized by the rest of the world for generations. No American can say she is truly prosperous. No American can truly say he is a self-made man. No American can say that he is not living off the blood, sweat, and tears of hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women around the world - many, as we saw this week, living without basic sanitation. Every American, from the homeless of San Francisco who are supported by tax and nonprofit dollars, to the top out of sights whose names you will never know, is subsidized by cheap lives and cheap oil.

So have we become a nation of vampires, even serial killers, methodically and knowingly assassinating the lives and character of those in the so-called second and third worlds? Hugo Chavez sees this clearly. And so does the rest of the global community.

At the very least, we are exhibiting suicidal ideation - we haven't actually committed suicide yet, so there's still hope.

Epidemiological factors associated with suicidal ideation include being male, white, greater than 65 years of age, with stressful life events and access to firearms. A majority of those seated in Congress, as do Cheney, Rumsfeld, the majority of the Cabinet, and department heads meet these qualifications.

Psychiatric disorders associated with suicidal ideation include major depression, substance abuse, schizophrenia, panic disorder, borderline personality disorder and - this is key - in adolescents (and our nation can fairly be considered adolescent), antisocial and aggressive behavior. Certainly our nation has exhibited signs of each of these disorders, particularly in the past six years.

In a 1999 article, Dr. Michael Gliatto from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Dr. Anil Rai from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine proposed a several-step process for evaluating and treating suicidal ideation. The hospitalization process involves determining the following:

(1) Is the patient expressing suicidal ideation?
(2) Does the patient have access to lethal means, have poor social support, and poor judgment, and cannot make a contract for safety?

If the answers to both questions are yes, the patient should be hospitalized. We are so there!

Many people have spoken of America's "addiction" to oil. But our collective behavior is indeed closer to suicidal ideation. Nothing can ever be as final or chilling as actually doing ourselves in, and yet every day we return to our favorite comfortable place, taunting the members of our global family with the prospect in an increasingly desperate game.

A happy ending will come, when we behave with compassion towards ourselves and the world's people. Our nation as we knew it no longer exists. It will live in memory. The era now is a collective one: one of shared wealth, and shared oil. Our prayer now can be, may no nation have hegemony.


Perpetual war for perpetual profit

By Jordanna Thigpen

September 24, 2006

There are plaintive and increasingly desolate cries coming from all corners, all faiths, all disciplines, for an end to the war in Iraq. It is time for the public resources that are being misspent in the private sector to be returned to the American people - but we must have an active plan for domestic improvement, if we are to avoid economic disaster.

The modern United States was built because of war. World War II caused housing and infrastructure to be built. It created the military-industrial complex, an unholy alliance which is now transforming our country into a nation dependent on perpetual war for its survival. Yet, where would our country be, if not for World War II? And where would it be, if not for the war in Iraq?

Everyone sells something to somebody. This country is now selling war.

What industry is left? Garish and fickle tourism, subject to the whims of international polity and fluctuations in major currencies? High technology, established now and soon in "developing" nations? Chemical and plastics production, shifting even from Louisiana?

There is nothing left. The high cost of health care, of living wages, of our very American existence, has forced every viable industry to make the mundane choice of profits over people. And it will continue to happen, until we agree to look at the reasons why.

By September 30, 2006, the war in Iraq is scheduled to cost this country $318.5 billion. Contractors of all stripes are raking in money - from 2002 to 2004, Kellogg, Brown, & Root (a subsidiary of Halliburton) pulled in $11.4 billion, although it has been under investigation by the General Accounting Office for non-performance of work and severe accounting problems.

Calling KBR's actions in Iraq incompetent is simply too kind. There are many egregious issues with the Iraq contract system, too numerous to mention here - but you see for yourself at the Center for Public Integrity.

The war in Iraq is the most perfect and exquisite example of war profiteering that has ever occurred. Perhaps I am spending my precious youth as a cynic, but the handwriting's been on the wall so long it's faded.

The war in Iraq is truly, madly, just for money.

What is of grave concern - what should give everyone pause - is that a sequel to the war in Iraq is being pitched up in some corners: a nuclear weapon may be unleashed on Iran. The fact that there are even whispers of such an act is evidence that this administration is entirely and completely out of control.

In the chronicles of human existence, there is no excuse for the nuclear option.

The only responsible thing to do at this point is for our country to take the billions it is spending on this desperate fiasco and re-direct the spending to domestic programs. Re-build our own cities and towns, starting with New Orleans.

Re-build our fine schools, from K to beyond. Prioritize grants in everything from the arts to physics, so that the young can develop ideas to sustain this country and help us evolve past perpetual war.

Our entire world economy depends on a robust United States. But it does not have to be a United States that is engaged in a fifteen-year Crusades - Part 2000.


San Francisco's Green Collared Future

By Jordanna Thigpen

March 9, 2006

San Francisco has a thriving small business community and a healthy tourism industry. We are lucky to have several of the world's largest corporations headquartered downtown.

Our nonprofit community is one of the biggest in the country, and an urban legend abounds that we have more lawyers per capita than any other American city. Hey, a point of pride!

But to stay sharp, it is time for San Francisco to develop a new industry: a green industry. Green collar jobs for low-income workers are part of the solution.

Thus far, "green collar" jobs have been limited in the public discourse to green and sustainable interior design or architecture on one hand, and engineering and alternative technology development on the other - both highly creative fields, yet neither providing a lot of opportunity for low-income workers except in the construction, installation, or manufacturing phases. It is time to change the perception that green collar jobs are only the provenance of the liberal elite.

In Washington DC, there is a program called DC Greenworks (www.dcgreenworks.org). This program trains low-income workers to develop the urban ecosystem by installing landscaping and Low Impact Development technology. The workers benefit by gaining a marketable skill, and the entire community benefits by having a greener city. By creating a similar program here in San Francisco, we can train workers for the public and private sectors in green collar jobs with a future.

DC Greenworks goes beyond tree and sidewalk landscaping. Low Impact Development (LID) technology includes green roofs, rain gardens and bioretention, and permeable paving. All of these solutions lessen the impact of storm water and runoff. The plants collect up to 30% of the water before it hits the sewer system.

In a wastewater system such as ours, which is in the process of a major upgrade, these technologies are vital. We should implement them now in areas in which the system is subject to heavy use and flooding, pending PUC upgrade. Mayor Newsom and Supervisor Alioto-Pier's pending proposal to lower the sidewalk landscaping permit fee is a perfect vehicle for private implementation. The City can set aside a small portion of the budget surplus to address public implementation.

Yet who will install these solutions?

At DC Greenworks, workers are trained on installation of LID. In turn, they can translate these skills into the private sector. More sustainable homes are being designed, and private contractors are looking for workers with the skills and knowledge to work with sustainable materials.

Here in the City, there is a growing demand for green design for new homes and for remodels. The demand is here - but there is no supply of suitably trained workers. Employing workers in this capacity would provide them with jobs in which they could continually develop new skills. Some could end up owning and operating their own landscaping and LID businesses with the skills they learn.

As an example, green roofs are already in use in many cities around the country. For locals who are interested in learning about green roofs, a Green Roofs 101 course will be offered by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (www.greenroofs.net) on March 31. The course is meant for professionals, but by taking the course, perhaps individuals will be inspired to train workers to install green roofs. Better yet, perhaps someone will be inspired to create an analog to DC Greenworks.

It is time to provide green collar jobs with a future.


Player Hating

By Jordanna Thigpen

March 3, 2006

What does true power look like? How do the truly powerful treat their constituents, their employees, their friends? Certainly not by playing Frogger 2006 with human lives and dignity.

The truly powerful are nonviolent.

Harper's February 2006 edition has a divine essay by Garrett Keizer entitled Crap Shoot: Everyone Loses When Politics Is a Game. This is a very timely and very necessary truth for us to accept if we are to implement and endorse progressive values.

In a resigned, delicate, and hopeful voice - hopeful the way the hopeful believe our country does not engage in war profiteering - Mr. Keizer describes the destructive influence of what he calls "players" in the American political system.

Drawing on a 1938 theory from Dutch academic Johan Huizinga, Mr. Kezier contrasts "players" with "workers." In their worst manifestations, players treat the world and all those within it as pawns in a game, and workers dumbly, blindly, go about their business doing the work the players tell them to do.

In the end Kezier calls on progressives to lay aside our identification with either players or workers, to accept that if we want to be the change we wish to see in the world, we must fight for it. Never mind that through fighting we might ourselves become players, unless we remember to adopt Nochnoi Dozor (Night Watch) vigilance.

Here in San Francisco, players are alive and well.

In my mere five years in San Francisco politics, the most pathetic, most despicable scenes I have witnessed have resulted from the players' chess games. Some are entrenched, some are on the periphery, some believe they're in the game when really, they're just watching, or were benched long ago.

Players, a special invitation! There is a place for you, and it's not public service: it's the corporate sector! The Enrons and the WorldCom's of the world need you. Stand in your black trench coat and black hat next to Jack Abramoff (with the Neighborhood Watch guy on your other side, for symmetry's sake), and be counted.

We use the term politics as a general term for the players' games. Alliances form, armies are raised, lines are drawn, battles are won. The outcomes of wars have yet to be determined and the contracts are still up for sale. This series of events could describe "office politics" where all that's at stake is a promotion or an office with a view, or our very party system.

Sadly, in all industries, there are players who intervene in the normal course of affairs, who can't just let things be.

The worst players are those who play just for the sake of it. They're not attached to any political outcome or, God forbid, societal progress. They are the mercenaries. They are the most destructive because they bear loyalty to no man or cause. Their dark and only joy is to know that they have seeded chaos. They usually abhor the spotlight, although sometimes in their vicious, viscous little way they can't help but seek some public recognition.

They will take quick, coiling and wry pleasure in the fact that our upcoming primary occurs on 6/6/6 this year.

As long as we tolerate the presence of these individuals in our political system, we will never evolve. As members of the public, we must shun the players. The players among us, interfering with our leaders and our process, do violence to our democracy.

How do we change? We refuse to engage. We see the game, we know the rules, and we simply do not play. If we are threatened with machinations, with players' vile, base display of their power, then we must act with nonviolence and with quiet dignity and ask the players to join our league. A truly powerful act is an integrative act, and yet, an act of integrity. True power is the elimination of players from our very political process. It doesn't mean we do not have the courage for the fight. Our effort will take sustained strength and valor far beyond what a mere player could sustain.

For true power, let us reform our political system from the inside out. We shall no longer write off politics as a dirty business or a game.

Who among us desires immaculate government, through our own conception?

Stand and be counted.


Let's scrap San Francisco bio-solids Road Show

Turn night soil to black gold

By Jordanna Thigpen

February 24, 2006

Recently, the SF PUC has been touring the City with an Antiques Road Show describing the changes to our city's sewer system. The road show is educational and interesting; and the agency is looking for feedback, so if you have any, you know that now is the time to provide it.

Part of the road show describes an imminent problem that the City is facing: in 2007, the ordinance that enables us to ship our bio-solids to Solano County is expiring.

Rather than lobby for renewal, it is time for the PUC to look at new technology for solid waste management, one that can help us turn night soil into black gold.

Anyone else a child of/remember the 80s? Bio-solids are the like the Banana Round of Ms. Pac-Man: supposedly the final outcome of the sewage treatment process. And like the Banana Round, you've got to stay alert and move quickly unless you want to lose. Our current, hopelessly 20th-century solution of shipping bio-solids from densely populated urban areas to Solano, Kern, or (Any Agricultural County) is not going to work in the long term.

Of course after Banana Round, the fruit was random. Remember that pure adrenaline rush the first time you made it past Banana! We will have a more focused approach, but bio-solids are not as final as we have believed.

Locally, bio-solids are already in use as fertilizers for animal feed. Bio-solids are used in Melbourne, Australia as a base for soil mix. Dewatered bio-solids have helped rehabilitate land laid to waste by industrial processing because of chemical reactions they help produce. They are also important as a base for cement mix. With the ongoing construction in China Basin, Mission Bay, and still, SOMA, perhaps it's time to consider a set-aside of local bio-solids for local construction.

There was a recent announcement that dog poop in its raw form would be collected at certain City parks and turned into energy. There is a plan to harvest the methane, as we currently do with human bio-solids. But dog poop is very different than bio-solids.

Across the world, cities must deal with bio-solids. It's not easy. Besides the public relations issues regarding beneficial use, there are obvious environmental problems. Bio-solids are very high in heavy metals such as zinc, mercury, cadmium, and copper, all of which can be poisonous to humans. Various applications create other problems. For example in London and Paris, bio-solids are burned for fuel, but the process creates ash which still needs to be disposed of. It's important to note that modern processes allow for excellent air emission quality, and that the life-cycle costs of incineration are the lowest of any feasible bio-solids management option, according to some studies.

There is another method of disposing of organic waste, which is nascent, and just beginning to gain respect after years of R&D. It is called thermal depolymerization (TDP). First developed by Illinois microbiologist Paul Baskis in the 1980s, and evolved now into TCP by Changing World Technologies (www.changingworldtech.com), the first major plant to use this technology is located in Carthage, Missouri, next to a Butterball turkey factory. The plant uses turkey waste to produce crude oil. Believe it or not, Changing World actually has to pay for the turkey waste. It's legal to use turkey waste as feed for cattle and other animals, so the plant owners could make a profit on their garbage in other industries.

Admittedly, the plant has run into some problems due to NIMBY complaints about odor, although you have to believe that the turkey factory hasn't always channeled the perfume counter through the years. Missouri's Governor Matt Blunt shut the plant down in December 2005 due to citizen complaints.

TCP can convert plastics, human and animal waste, and major chemicals to living energy in an alchemical, beautiful magic. It breaks down poisons and even rogue prions like BSE. For this reason it is touted as the solution to the spread of animal diseases that exist because factory animals are currently subsisting on diseased, rendered animals from other factories. TCP can even remove the heavy metals that other bio-solids management practices can't eliminate. Most importantly, TCP is taking waste and turning it into fuel - and will soon make it impossible for companies like Exxon, with a $36B 2005 profit, to claim with cocksure, breathtaking arrogance, that, "The US will always be dependent on foreign oil."

It is time to bring TCP to San Francisco. Changing World Technologies formed a joint venture with Con-Agra, owners of the Butterball plant, to address the turkey waste problem. Its business plan depends on "partnerships with entities which have waste streams under control." As a municipal entity with a relentless waste stream, we need to find a similar partner who will help us fund construction of a TCP plant. Perhaps Senator Perata's ambitious and necessary infrastructure bond plans can emphasize alternative waste management practices, but we can't wait. We must act now, perhaps in concert with adjoining counties, and even the federal government, to create a TCP fund. Our world cannot wait.


San Francisco Bedbugs: A global epidemic

By Jordanna Thigpen

February 17, 2006

There is a global epidemic, and it's not avian flu. Instead, it's a broader and more insidious problem: bedbugs. Our city is just one of many across the world with the problem.

Since 2001, SoMA, Mission, and TL have been infested with bedbugs. Central City Extra's November 2005 issue was devoted to the problem. It can be apparently/allegedly be traced to several sources: (1) SRO and hotel management which refuse to address the problem; (2) residents, who will not agree to cooperate with a major and necessary extermination; (3) infestation from other cities and nations; and (4) a lack of cooperation and coordination between local government agencies. Why is this a critical public health issue for the whole city to address? Because even if you do not reside in District 6 and don't consider it your problem, the bugs have started to infest tourist hotels, and that means our economy is at risk. There are recent reports of the bugs turning up at some big name San Francisco hotels. Perhaps as a city we can now come together to solve this problem.

Some psychologists say it's comforting for a human to experience suffering with the knowledge that other humans are going through the same experience. Is it comforting to know that other humans are having their blood siphoned from their veins on a nightly basis, all across the world? Is it comforting to know that each of us is a potential carrier, because the bugs can lay flat and hitch a ride on clothing, luggage, and personal effects? Is it comforting to know that other cities are having as much difficulty solving the problem?

Here in San Francisco, we have to address all four components of the problem. First, management should be accountable for the conditions in the hotels. At a bare minimum, all mattresses should be covered in plastic. Rooms should be treated with stronger pesticides (to combat both cockroaches and bedbugs; apparently finding a dual agent has been difficult.) More stringent amendments to the Health Code need to be passed by the Board of Supervisors, and failing that, must be introduced by our Assembly members at the State Level to literally create a new chapter in Health & Safety. Assuredly, we need fewer chemical agents in our society. But this is precisely the type of threat that we should save the heavy artillery for.

Next, residents need to cooperate with management in solving the problem. Some residents are unable to leave their rooms - obviously, these individuals need special aid and procedures must be set up by management to deal with the elderly, the disabled, and the ill. But some residents are unwilling, and since any untreated area can cause a re-infestation, raging against the machine in this instance is a public health risk. Should residents be forcibly removed from their rooms for treatment? What means justifies the end?

In Australia, in the capital cities of Europe, in New York, in Los Angeles, the bedbugs are biting. Like tuberculosis, bedbugs are experiencing a second adolescence in our dense urban societies. It is a worldwide epidemic, and our infestation is due in part to the mobility of humans (hostels are particularly susceptible.) Other cities are apparently just as hapless at dealing with the problem. Only regular treatment of problematic locations will keep address the continued re-infestation from travelers.

There seems to be a lack of coordination between the various city agencies which address the problem. The Department of Public Health needs dedicated resources and a directive to address the issue in a meaningful way. Perhaps major tenants' and landlords' groups can finally come together, with DPH as a facilitator, to eradicate bedbugs.

What we need is a Bedbug Partnership. Before snarky spectators dismiss this solution, note that New York has recently established a task force in response to its own epidemic. We do not know what solutions are feasible, and what laws may be passed, until we examine the issue with all sides at the table.


The decline of the middle class

By Jordanna Thigpen

February 10, 2006

We have several major problems in this country, but here's a pressing one: in twenty years, we likely will not have a middle class.

I am clearly not an economics expert - amazingly, being a small business owner doesn't require a solid base in economics. But it seems to me that in the first half of the 20th century, we built a solid middle class in the US by manufacturing and consuming our own goods. We were able to invest in infrastructure, in education, in massive public works projects. The middle class grew in part because of unions. In 1955, when the AFL-CIO formed, 35% of the American workforce belonged to unions. Today only approximately 8% of Americans in the private sector are union members.

In the postwar era, we started accumulating a sizeable amount of debt, and we shifted manufacturing overseas. Everyone claimed the service economy would make up for this massive economic transformation. Now, service jobs are shifting overseas as well. Exactly what will people do for a living in the next twenty years in this country? The destruction of the middle class is problematic for everyone.

Last July the Teamsters, SEIU, and others announced a split from the AFL-CIO because no one could agree on the vision for their partnership. The Teamsters even said they would consider backing a Republican because they want to follow a more bipartisan effort. The split was troubling because it further weakened the labor movement. And that means our society is further weakened.

A lot of people, especially professionals and small business owners, have a poor opinion of unions. They feel that unions prevent meaningful civil service reform from taking place. They feel that historically, Democratic politicians have been forced to acquiesce to Labor demands, in order to gain valuable endorsements and for fundraising purposes. They feel that collective bargaining agreements hamstring employers and the government by driving costs to unbearable levels. Perhaps, there is something to these allegations. Perhaps what some call Big Labor has contributed to this negative image. Perhaps collaboration on civil service reform, which is in progress, is the most direct path to resolution. The stark truth is that unions are absolutely necessary and must become more viable if we are to get our nation back on track, because unions are the only reason we still have a middle class.

Unions built America. Unions brought safer working conditions. Unions won decent wages that raised generations. It's no accident that the decline of unions over the past fifty years has coincided with the apparent genocide of the middle class. Multinationals declared war on unions because it makes for better profits to send jobs overseas. This is a short-sighted and failed approach, economically speaking. With no middle class, there will be no consumer class. If multinationals won't come to support unions for humane reasons, perhaps they will to protect their long-term future.

How do we increase union membership to 1955 levels? We have to go to the largest employers. As consumers, we must ask multinational corporations such as Wal-Mart and Starbucks to stop unlawfully discouraging union membership. There is actually a Starbucks Workers Union, an IWW affiliate, although it is not currently NLRB-certified. New York City has seen a lot of activity with this union. At 42% insured, Starbucks actually has a lower percentage of workers with health insurance than Wal-Mart's 47%. To avoid potential threats of employer-mandated health coverage, Starbucks only employs 20% of workers as full-time employees. The rest are part-time employees with no guarantee of a regular schedule. This is a practice (common to employers in communities where employer-mandated coverage is the law, by the way) that unions could address.

Wal-Mart, obviously, is a different animal. Much has been written about Wal-Mart's opposition to unions. Consider that Wal-Mart purchased the domain name www.unionizewalmart.com, and it's registered to headquarters in Arkansas, but there's no website in existence promoting union membership in its stores. Wal-Mart won't even spring for the extra $10 per year to hide the WHOIS information on Network Solutions' website. Another brilliant public relations move!

Corporate America has become quite clever at blaming unions for its problems. Some commentators blame unions for the implosion of the airline and auto industries. But it is a stunning lack of innovation and, in the auto industry's case, a long and unholy alliance with Big Oil, that has caused these industries to fail. Making life more difficult for unions might help multinationals with their profits, but it won't rebuild the middle class. America needs a new industry, and a strong union base for support. It is the only way we will be able to rebuild ourselves from the inside out.


How much significance does feminism have today?

By Jordanna Thigpen

February 3, 2006

It's hard to say how many women my age consider themselves feminists. How much significance does "feminism" have today? The truth is that it matters more than young women think, and sometimes more than we would like to believe. Shouldn't we have been able to shelve feminism with the rest of the Social Philosophies We Have Known and Loved hardbound collection years ago? Shouldn't we be speaking of the need for it with the same laughing, sobering wonder that we now speak of with regard to lithium and cocaine in soft drinks, or maybe eugenics? It may be disheartening to some, but the reality is that feminism is more relevant now than ever.

When I went to law school, some women spoke scornfully of others who came to law school solely to get their "MRS Degree." You know – meet a fellow student, get married, he becomes a corporate lawyer, she stays home with the kids. Some women were forced to go to law school because of family pressure, and being a mother and a wife was their only ambition. They were able to satisfy everyone by getting the degree and promptly rendering themselves unable to use it. Of course, being a mother, wife, and holding a job are not mutually exclusive. W hat the white liberal elite call "having it all" is the de facto reality for most women. There's absolutely nothing wrong with graduating with an MRS - it's just that such women are in a unique and privileged position because they are deliberately choosing to stay home with their children, an option not economically available to most of our community. Is "feminism" relevant? You'd have to ask them.

For years, I sloughed off feminism—certainly respecting the movement and being grateful—but quietly, secretly, internally rebelling. I didn't understand the continuing need for a full-fledged, separately defined socio-political movement to make others accept which was so optimistically obvious to me. Why not just act as if we're equal? Why not just cooperate with males? The battles are over, right? Why do we ever have to speak of gender differences again? And so it goes for most young women, until you brush up against the proverbial glass ceiling. Or in my case, the double standard. Most of us come to realize that what's good for the gander isn't always good for the goose, after all.

When I speak to older women about this situation, they are mostly of three minds. The first group smiles knowingly and says, I told you so. They are the ones who lived and breathed active feminism, who seeded (and ceded) the movement, the warrior queens to whom we must always be grateful. They are the ones who worry desperately for the future, since the dialogue on "women's issues" has now been relegated to domestic violence and possibly healthcare, and young women aren't experiencing the searing, breathtaking rage that comes when you realize you've been discriminated against because you are a woman. Some in this group tend to have deep scorn for all men and feel that women are superior in every way. They just can't believe that after all the work they did, young women would just roll over, as it were.

Another group, although claiming to be feminists, believes that all women are jealous and catty creatures, desperately and pathetically plotting each other's demise. Of course these women will tell you, they don't fall into that category. They are just warning young women: Watch out. The most disarming and most destructive agents in your future won't be males holding you back, but females who don't want you to succeed. In the minds of these individuals, it is actually women for whom the feminist movement was required – to empower them to have a higher opinion of themselves. This is a lonely path if it's the only one you can see; for one thing, it requires a belief that 50% of the population desires your failure. It simply cannot be reality, and in my opinion, it is far from the definition of feminism.

There is a third group which genuinely desires the empowerment of women, and of all individuals. This group feels that female leadership is key to solving our current social problems, particularly where peace is concerned. This group does not listen to the drone of negativity or stop when it feels the cool smooth glass ceiling because it has an unshakable and quiet confidence in the ability of women as leaders. Absolutely nothing will prevent members of this group from achieving their goals. To these women, we owe our undying gratitude. They are carrying the energetic burden for us all.

It's easy for young women to forget how far the feminist movement has come in the past half-century, but even easier to forget how far we have yet to travel. Today feminism is more important and relevant than ever before. Today it means that women can and should be prominent leaders in all segments of society, in all industries, in all nations, and that the US should have a representative government which includes at least 50% elected women. Today it means that as young women, we should remember the battles royale that were fought so that we could make our own choices about our futures. Today it means that women should support one another to make the world a better, safer, more livable and sustainable place—for everyone.

District 6 resident Jordanna Thigpen is an attorney, small business owner and a Commissioner with the City's Small Business Commission. You can usually find her at work and she doesn't get to Ocean Beach often enough.

Email Jordanna at jgthigpen@gmail.com.


Editor's Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.



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