17 August 2011

The Easy Out

‘But the Lord says, be submissive, wives, you are to be submissive to your husband.’ – Ephesians 5:22–24, à la Michele Bachmann

I don’t want to go too deeply into semantics.  Although there are those who claim the contrary, there really are big, huge, enormous and consequential differences between the meanings of the words ‘Respect’ and ‘Submission.’ The former is commonly defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.  The latter is ‘the act of submitting to the power of another.

Much like Michele Bachmann, Tea Party candidate for President and winner of the recent Iowa straw poll, I respect my husband and I believe he respects me. I do not, however, submit to him, unless, of course, he were to insist that I do something I want to do anyway, in which case, why not?  For instance, if he were ever to order me to go on a shopping spree, or command me to take a day off and check into a spa, or require that I must allow him to whisk me off on a romantic weekend – in all those instances he would find me as submissive as a kitten. There are maybe a couple other examples that come to mind too, but I’m just not going to go there.

But – and it’s a big but, when it comes to submission as a general concept governing the relationship of married women to their husbands, then I do have a problem. I especially have a problem with a submissive wife running for President of the United States, who believes she should submit to (or let’s face it, even respect) a man who runs a clinic to convert gays to non-gays. Of course, as she has a habit of doing, Bachmann has already backtracked on her words and stated she meant mutual respect: uh, duh…

Nonetheless, it’s that the submissive concept appeals to certain women at all, be they evangelicals, Tea Party members or any other that most frightens me. Michele Bachmann is who she is. (That, in my opinion, is a dangerous fanatic and utter nutter.) I can safely dismiss her since I refuse to entertain for one second the notion that such a bigot could ever get elected President.

Still, Bachmann does have many followers, women who obviously like the concept of submission. You have to wonder why. The only reason I can fathom is that submission is the easier option.  A submissive wife bears little, if any, responsibility for her actions. She goes from the little girl who obeys Daddy to the little wifey who obeys her husband.  Such women never grow up. They are not responsible for their own actions. The one who submits is not one who must bear the consequences of her decisions. She doesn’t have to make any. Hence she makes no mistakes; she learns nothing and never becomes a responsible adult. It’s an easy out where you get to throw up your hands and say ‘I had nothing to do with it.’ Nothing because it’s what my husband wanted or even what God willed. It’s the blame game, passing the buck, or just plain copping out. The thing is, when those thrown high hands belong to the President of the United States, then we all bear the consequences. If that doesn’t frighten all women, at least all those outside of Stepford, then it should.

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