Why history is not about the past
I know that my students think that I write about history, which in their minds means writing about things that happened long ago. What they don’t realize is that I think I am writing about today. When I wrote about Sarah and Hagar, I was writing about the war in Iraq and Gaza and the West Bank. I was also writing about me and about how to read the bible. Now, when I am writing about Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, I am also writing about today’s war on women — yes, I think it is real and it is happening.
When I hear Santorum et al, I feel as though I am living in that Margaret Atwood science fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. I gave my mother West Wing for her birthday and had a happy time retreating into the first season with her, particularly that great first episode where the president tells off the evangelical right, or, at least those on the right who fight a woman’s right to choose. I needed a dose of Aaron Sorkin to cope with Santorum. But better than Aaron Sorkin, far better than watching West Wing is hearing the no nonsense voice of Mary Wollstonecraft. She seems fearless to me. I wish she could go on Charlie Rose or The Colbert Report. The world needs to hear her voice.