The Boston Marathon tragedy has prompted knee jerk responses as well as thoughtful, nuanced discussions of immigration policy. When confronted with unspeakable evil, rational thought is often the first casualty. It’s tempting and even comforting to cocoon ourselves in familiar things and spout Nativist sentiments—Until we pause, take a breath, and look around us.
Today’s Boston Globe recounted the events leading up to the capture of the miscreants. (I refuse to say alleged since the survivor has already confessed.) I was stunned by the surnames of first responders, police officers, and others who exhibited exceptional bravery in time of crisis. Irish, Italian, Polish, Hispanic—a veritable league of nations and races that reflects the strength and vitality of our great nation. Ironically, it was an immigrant from China who eluded the terrorists when they hijacked his vehicle, and sounded the final alarm.
My point: they are the true face of immigration, normal Americans with shared values who seek to help not hurt their community, to build, not to destroy. We have escaped the stagnation and decline faced by other nations in part because of them. The influx of talents, ideas and zeal from other cultures continually revitalizes America. We are better because of them, and our values are a constant rebuke to extremists everywhere.
Are all observations about appearance off the table in our politically correct society? President Obama recently stepped into a buzz saw by noting what was clear to anyone with eyes: California’s Attorney General is one beautiful woman. Immediately the chorus of protest arose (mostly from women’s groups), about objectifying females and devaluing their professional attainments.
As a card-carrying feminist and author who has fought and won those battles, I have a different view. Appreciating beauty is a gender-neutral trait that is also a fact of life. Gorgeous women and sizzling men raise our thermostats to boiling and make even the monogamous among us sit up and take notice. We experienced that phenomenon in Massachusetts recently with the senatorial candidacy of Scott Brown, a respected attorney, legislator and astoundingly handsome guy who once posed for Cosmo. People noticed and that’s not wrong.
My novels are categorized as romantic suspense and I happily subscribe to the formula that the protagonists will ALWAYS include an attractive woman and an especially hot guy. Naturally, the hero is also brilliant, successful and fabulously wealthy, just like the men one meets every day. In speaking with readers of all ages, I find that my mostly female audience expects and appreciates male beauty. After all, reading transports us into a land where fantasy becomes reality for at least a short while. We all need a chance to dream. Reality pummels you every time you stand in line or use public transportation, and very often it’s not pretty.
To those who lament the tendency of men (and women), to celebrate physical perfection, I say this: Get over it! It’s normal to acknowledge everything a person brings to the table in both form and substance. Let’s keep that in perspective and discuss the things that really count.
I try not to overreact. Truly, I do. But when I see yet another publication lament about “bereft empty-nesters” (always women, may I add), I go CRAZY! Today’s Boston GLobe waxes on about women, “even those who worked full-time” who feel desolate when in the natural course of events, their children strike out on their own. It implies–hell, it outright states–that these unfortunate females have no more purpose in life now that their maternal duties have waned. I recognize that PARENTS may indeed long for and miss having their children close at hand.That’s a good thing, and not exclusively the domain of a female. But stable families forge bonds between parent and child that will never be eroded. I’ve heard far more grumbling about the “boom-erang” generation that returns to the nest.
Face facts: life has stages. That means change, growth and evolution. Don’t fight it–embrace it. And don’t consign all mothers to the group of aimless souls who bemoan the “Empty nest”. While you’re at it, please pledge never to use that absurd, essentially sexist phrase ever again.