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Learning from the Iroquois

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The last election appears to have been won by the women--at least until we saw the roster of committee chairs in the House. Maybe we're ready for the next step.

Abigail Adams, John's wife, plead to him in vain to "remember the ladies" as he worked with others at the convention in Philadelphia. But the founders were not at all impressed by the politics of the fairer sex who should be tending the children, keeping the fires, cleaning the homes, and staying out of men's business. They couldn't see at all the wisdom of the Iroquois, though they were familiar with their league since it provided them the only example of a working federalism in existence. The Colonies were separate units and while hostility to England provided a unifying force the Iroquois provided the example of how they could all join together and that joining increased their strength. The Iroquois League was a living example on their doorstep of E Pluribus Unum . Our founders took much from the League in writing our Constitution and hoped that the Union they established would have some of the staying power of the Iroquois League, which has an oral tradition dating its origin to the 12 th century.

But  because of their patriarchal view of women they were blind to some of its balances, the very reason for its durability. Any long lasting system of government must give room for expression to all, i.e. both male and female. Yes women got the right to vote a few decades ago, but in the Iroquois nation a committee of the grandmothers could impeach the chief. I myself cannot think of any group who has a better handle on male grandiosity and abuse of power. At the same time I cannot think of a better way to empower women than to have every political action guided by how it will please or displease them--as well as the concern the grannies showed for those seven generations down the pike. In our day if it came to a choice between the grannies or the corporations wielding this clout I'll go with the grannies any time.

Maybe it's time for an Iroquois Amendment.  

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Retired osteopathic physician; developer, with my wife, of Xlear (R) nasal wash with xylitol, which optimizes our own nasal cleaning and eliminates many of the problems arising from the nose, both allergic and infectious; author of The Boids and the (more...)

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