One of my friends recently raised the raised the question of whether the world might be better off under a matriarchy. He seems to believe that life would be kinder if women were in charge. However, there is very little evidence that power, and the reasons for wanting it, are gender specific. I offer Madeline Albright and Condoleeza Rice as living evidence to the contrary.
I know I’m not going to earn any popularity points for saying this out loud, but one of the main driving forces behind the quest for power is sex. People with power get to have more of it. For those born poor, sex is often the only power they have. We all have our time in the sun as we bloom with youth and beauty and the power of desirability. As we age, we lose that power, and if we are gracious, we accept this as a fact of life and pass that torch to the next generation while giving thanks for the ways in which our lives were enriched for having enjoyed that temporary gift.
Our generation is not graciously passing the torch, as the multi-billion dollar anti-aging and erectile dysfunction medication industries clearly illustrate. Rather than passing the torch, those in power seek to circumvent the natural order of things by impoverishing and destroying those who threaten to replace them in the sexual arena. Perhaps if we came to terms with our own mortality and stopped treating death as a dirty word, we could then enjoy the compensations that old age affords like gratitude, respect, rest and relaxation.
We like to think of ourselves as a higher order of being, but we’re really not much different from the old silver-backed gorilla stockpiling all the bananas to attract young females who would otherwise be more attracted to the handsome, virile and still-agile younger males. That’s the real reason old men send all the young men off to war—so they’ll have more impoverished young females to control with their stockpile of bananas. I can see no reason to believe that if women were in power, they wouldn’t do the same. They already have. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?” We all know that Snow White was almost murdered by a queen who sought to destroy any woman younger and more beautiful who would challenge her position and all the privileges that went with it. (I guess powerful women slept with moat-boys instead of pool boys back then.)
In our quest to keep that torch, what are we passing to the next generation that they can respect and be grateful for? Our desperate attempts to hold onto that torch rather than pass it to its rightful recipients will only end with us scorching ourselves—as well as the earth we depend on for survival. Hey, Nancy Pelosi, pass it on already.