America is a great country. In fact, there is no place else like it in the world. People come to America from all points on the globe – often overcoming tremendous obstacles to get here – to attempt to capture for themselves a piece of the American dream. To them, and to most of us, America is the “promised land.”
America is a great country for many reasons - it is a land of freedom, a land of opportunity, a land of hopes and dreams. In America, a person with an idea and the willingness to work hard can rise from the depths of obscurity to the heights of fame and fortune. America values grit and determination and places no limits on personal achievement. In fact, if a person can’t make it in America, he or she likely can’t make it anywhere.
But America does have its failings, one of which is America’s failure to protect its young women. Assuredly, feminists across the country will decry this notion. Remember, feminists live by the famous lyric, “I am woman, hear me roar.” To a feminist, women are fully capable of taking care of themselves and, therefore, aren’t in need of protection, especially from men. Feminists, of course, are entitled to their opinion. Nevertheless, the evidence is clear that America often fails to protect its young women.
I, for one, happen to agree with the feminist position that women, in general, don’t need my or anyone else’s protection. I suppose my perspective is based on the fact that I grew up in a household dominated by a very strong female figure – my mother. If there was ever any truth to the old saying, “Dynamite comes in small packages,” my mother is the proof. She is tiny in frame (5’ 2”) but indomitable in spirit. Even my father, a tall, powerfully built man, steers clear of her when she is in a “bad mood.”
Even so, however, my mother, like many women when they are young, lived through a period in her youth when she was too trusting, a little naïve, and very vulnerable. And, unfortunately, someone took advantage of that vulnerability. As a teenager, she fell for the charms of a popular young man in her neighborhood. She married young, had a child young, and soon found herself abandoned after he left. Living through this difficult circumstance forced her to grow up fast and develop an inner strength far beyond her years.
However, the cost was high. She was forced to quit school to care for her child, thus forfeiting all opportunity for higher education and a career of her own. She made the best of her circumstances, eventually met and married my father, had five more children and lives a good, fulfilling life. Of course, she wouldn’t trade her life or her children, but, had she the opportunity to do it over she would do things a little differently.
And therein lies my point. Young women in America, especially now, have tremendous freedom to chart their own course in life. And that is a good thing. Unfortunately, these same young women often fall victim to their vulnerabilities.
I have long believed that no nation can reach its full potential unless it allows its women to reach their own full potential. In fact, Third World countries remain Third World countries, in my opinion, because most of these nations severely restrict opportunities for women. America is a great nation, in no small part, because of the contributions of its women. To remain great, and to become even greater, America should expend every effort to teach its young women to be strong, capable and independent. Further, America should exalt its young women as our nation’s future wives, mothers and leaders in their chosen fields.
When a young woman drops out of school or faces pregnancy when she is unprepared, America has failed her on some level. All these young women deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential and to live the best lives possible. This can only occur when America stops failing its young women.