Last Tuesday, Mother Jones published a profile of 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders as “a restless political activist and armchair psychologist…struggling to square his revolutionary zeal with his overwhelming rejection at the polls.” The article describes a time when Sanders, a long-time Vermonter who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, was trying to make it work as a divorced, “aimless” freelance journalist and carpenter who lived in an “A-frame farmhouse outside the Vermont town of Stannard, a tiny hamlet with no paved roads in the buckle of the commune belt,” in the late 1960s.
In 1972, Sanders, then 30 years old, published a creative essay in the Vermont Freeman, called “man—and a woman,” which “reflected [Sanders’s] affinity for Sigmund Freud,” reported Mother Jones. Here’s the piece:
A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.
A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.
The man and woman get dressed up on Sunday — and go to Church, or maybe to their “revolutionary” political meeting.
Have you ever looked at the Stag, Man, Hero, Tough magazines on the shelf of your local bookstore? Do you know why the newspapers with the articles like “Girl 12 raped by 14 men” sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?
Women, for their own preservation, are trying to pull themselves for all of humanity that they do so. Slavishness on one hand breeds pigness on the other hand. Pigness on one hand hand breeds slavishness on the other, Men and women — both are losers. Women adapt themselves to full the needs of men, and men adapt themselves to fill the needs of women. In the beginning there were strong men who killed the animals and brought home the food — and the dependent women who cooked it. No more! Only the roles remain –waiting to be shaken off. There are no “human” oppressors. Oppressors have lost their humanity. On one hand “slavishness,” one the other hand “pigness.” Six of one, half dozen of the other, Who wins?
Many women seem to be walking a tightrope now. Their qualities of love, openness and gentleness were too deeply enmeshed with qualities of dependency, subservience, and masochism. How do you love — with-out being dependent? How do you be gentle — without being subservient? How do you maintain a relationship without giving up your identity and getting strung out? How do you reach out and give your heart to your lover, but maintain the soul which is you?
And Men. Men are in pain too. They are thinking, wondering. What is it they want from a woman? Are they at fault? Are they perpetrating this man-woman situation? Are they oppressors?
The man is bitter.
“You lied to me,” he said. (She did).
“You said that you loved me, that you wanted me, that you needed me. Those are your words.” (They are).
“But in reality,” he said, “If you ever love me, or wanted me, or needed me (all of which I’m not certain was ever true), you also hated me. You hated me — just as you have hated every man in your entire life, but you didn’t have the guts to tell me that. You hated me before you ever saw me, even though I was not your father, or your teacher, or your sex friend when you were 13 years old, or your husband. You hated me not because of who I am, or what I was to you, but because I am a man. You did not deal with me as a person — as me. You lived a lie with me, used me and played games with me — and that’s a piggy thing to do.”
And she said, “You wanted me not as a woman, or as a lover, or a friend, but as a submissive woman, or submissive friend , or submissive lover; and right now where my head is I balk at even the slightest suspicion of that kind of demand.
And he said, “You’re full of _______.”
And they never again made love together (which they had each liked to do more than anything) or never ever saw each other one more time.
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