I watched the first episode of “Turn,” last night. It’s an AMC “fact-based” drama on a spy ring during the Revolutionary War.
In it, the British officers aren’t painted in the best of lights, particularly one creepy cad who chases around an innkeeper’s wife after the innkeeper himself gets thrown into prison. Said creepy cad ends up getting taken prisoner by colonial soldiers, so alls well that ends well in that matter (so far, at least).
But it got me to thinking…
The “Turn” writers make it clear that the British officer in question is actively progressing from innuendo into intimidation with full intent on flat-out rape if the first two strategies don’t get him what he obviously wants. I’ve always thought the philosophy that says rape isn’t about sex is stupid. I mean, how can it not be about sex when it’s the very act of sex?
And then it hit me: Rape is the act of forcibly valuing sex above dignity.
And then it hit me again: People have a tendency of valuing a lot of stuff above dignity.
For example, back during the Revolutionary War, there were plenty of colonists who actively and persistently decided that they didn’t care how much their government taxed and misrepresented them. Their dignity wasn’t that valuable. Just their so-called security.
It should. Because today, Americans have a lot more authority than we did back during our colonial era. We have a vote. We have the power to kick our highest leaders out of office when they don’t listen to us.
Yet they don’t, and neither do we. Instead, we let them trample all over our freedoms, disregarding our concerns and behaving like they’re monarchs answerable to nobody but themselves.
For any hostile eyes reading this, I’m not pushing for a physical revolution like our forefathers were so brave to pursue. I’m pushing for a psychological awakening where we realize that our dignity is a lot more precious than we’re willing to bet right now.
We need to start standing up for our freedoms instead of our security, recognizing that we do have something long-term to lose that isn’t worth the irritation of not getting what we want right away.
Dignity is always worth fighting for, whether we’re fighting our selfish selves for that virtue or selfish individuals, physically or psychologically. And if we refuse to learn that lesson the right way, we’re going to find it’s true in much less pleasant manners.