America inaugurates a new president every four years with all the hope of peace, justice and equality. But compared to its state ideals, the U.S. is a grave disappointment. America is militarised up to its eyeballs and it has spent much of its history fighting wars in other people's territories - Native Americans, Mexicans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Bosnians, Kosovars, etc.
Yet whole classes of America's own citizens have spent generations at the back of the bus and not one of its 42 presidents come from the female majority. Elizabeth F. surprised herself by being elected to Congress. She doesn't fit the mould and not just because she is a woman. She has also been a full-time peace activist for years. And last year, she earned less than the minimum wage.
"It's time for those of us who have been disempowered in many ways, who felt that they were on the outside of the mainstream to udnerstand that we can incredibly powerful.
"I think this is a very male institution here, you know. When the 103rd Congress came in and we are of colour and we are women - it's a marvellous group of people but once we got into the whole of the congress, I suddenly realised how few of us there really were.
"Less than 10% is female. You look at those portraits on the rotunda and somebody from outer space would say this is a country made up of white men. They have no women or people of colour in those statues."
The founders from America were trying to escape the avils of the past. They thought all they had to do was create a democracy. They didn't realise that the pattern of violence and oppression was part of the civilisation itself. Now we do and we even have a name for it. The abuse of the patriarchal order.
When the concept of patriarchy is abused or manipulated by men, one king or emperor makes the laws. Those who enforce them have lots of power and priviledges but people at the bottom have no rights at all. According to American history, the poor, slaves, almost all women have had either little or not rights at all; and outsiders can just be killed if they get in the way.
If fact, American war planes were bombing Iraq the day President Clinton was inaugurated. Member of Congress, Elizabeth F., "What I think about it now, about this cat and mouse game that we play, is that there are thousands of children dying in Baghdad from the last time we were bombing. What are we doing? When do we beging to say that an Iraqi child's life is the same as a white American? Until we do that, we will go on having wars."