Think Piece – Fractures, Fissures and Femme Fatales
Random thoughts on the media, America’s culture war, girl power and defense doyennes.
2018 was a year of fissures, factionalism, and freak-outs across every part of America’s angst-inflected socio-political milieu. Footwear, football, and Facebook all got ragingly PC, and if the opening sessions of the newest Congress were any indication, last year was a mere teaser.
The media has made much ballyhoo about Congress’s newfangled diversity and drools over its demi-celebs and political Pop dames (Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Devi Harris, A.O.C., etc.). CNN, MSNBC, HuffPo and other outfits have been cockahoop about the unprecedented array of backgrounds comprising the 116th Congress: a record number of young moms (go girls!), two Muslim women, a few female Native American newbies, and of course the youngest congresswoman ever elected – viral twerker and full-tilt socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (below – ugh) of New York.
VIVISXN is happy about our uber-heterogeneous body politic, so long as the legislators keep the sectarian cacophony to a low decibel and forge some semblance of consensus for the greater good. Unfortunately, ‘progress’ thus far seems only to correspond to cursory optics and showy statecraft; peel away the veneer and you’ll find a hectic mash up of intersectional ire, dense misandry, ‘manufactured crises’ and scrappy cultural relativism. The possible legislative outcomes are making us mental.
Fixated on ‘social justice’ and virtue winking, the media is making mucho drama about the Congress’s gender, racial, and religious complexion so much that rational policy debate has been all but pulverized. Silly and scatterbrained know-it-alls are economically delusional (yeah, you, Bill de Blasio), and some of the noise coming out of a few talking heads is deeply disturbing (‘70% fair share’ marginal income tax, anybody? ‘Socialized medicine’ for all in NYC?!). Listen below.
If this Congress wants to go down in history for being anything other than a bunch of rookies and radicals, legislators better suppress all that onanistic ‘intersectional’ pitter-patter. Lawmakers should channel their energy into crafting policies that advantage more than just their tribal constituents (remember E Pluribus Unum, boys and girls, and individual rights?!). The gyno-racial-narcissistic hysteria has got to hush up.
On that front, in keeping with the ‘girl power’ theme for a hot sec, VIVISXN has a suggestion as to where this newly minted chamber can look for raw inspiration: America’s mighty military-industrial complex (MIC) and its girly managerial elite.
That’s right: it turns out a significant number of the people calling the shots in America’s formidable MIC are gals. This month not only marks the historic numbers of women in Congress, it will signify an era in which four out of five largest defense firms – and the Pentagon’s most senior procurement officers – are women. Top gun girls, indeed.
The media seldom broadcasts such stories. It’s probably because these broads are too busy negotiating arms deals and running multi-billion dollar transnational conglomerates than huffing and puffing about ‘heteronormative oppression’ and male hegemony. But they play a whiz-bang, behind-the-scenes role, especially in the areas of influence peddling, geopolitics and projecting power. They also transcend the gender schism wholesale.
When it comes to lobbying, though, the defense industry made $27,578,436 in donations during the 2018 election cycle, and 58% of those donations went to Repubs. That trend was mirrored by the donations of the four biggest firms run by women CEOs, with Lockheed Martin leading the pack and splitting its largesse 60–39.6% in favor of old-guard rightists.
Those donations, in aggregate, originate from big shots working in the sector, and from PACs supported directly (and indirectly) by that nexus of companies (call them cabals), and are a good gauge of the industry’s prevailing political winds. The defense establishment’s big guns, led by frontline femme fatales with no shortage of macho chutzpah, is a near paragon of virtue, despite its relentless and ideological advocacy. Ironic, eh?!
The excellent performance of chick CEOs – Kathy Warden, Phebe Novakovic, Marillyn Hewson, etc.- amidst a predominantly ‘sexist’ cultural backdrop, indicates that largely white, hard right bros aren’t reflexively hostile toward a damn talented cohort of queen bees and ice maiden warriors; women represent an indispensable input and expanding opportunity set for all industries, including the highly strategic sectors/pillars of the economy like defense, aerospace, tech, engineering and STEM.
It probably also helps that Boeing, IBM, Northrop Grumman, etc. don’t have PR hacks and trolls incessantly tweeting about the latest specs/kit/quantum GPUs and aren’t throwing compulsory unpaid holidays to celebrate themselves. Like Rihanna said, they just ‘work, work, work, work, work.”
Our Diversity deans in Congress should take a closer look at those maverick femmes who lead the MIC firms and remember ‘progress’, to be sure, is derived of diversity and heterogeneity; but progress (esp. in the gender domain) is best achieved by alpha girls who don’t get hopelessly mired in the culture wars. Rather, they transform ‘toxic masculinity’ and gender inequality by way of goal-oriented action and doing a job well done. A good lesson for all of us – including America’s crabby-ass Congress.
Images SHOWstudio + Wikimedia Commons + Rand Corp
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