Kathleen Parker

It didn't take long for ideological scavengers to descend on the storyline of rescued POW Jessica Lynch. The spunky girl-soldier who fought with grit and survived was a gift to the surface-skimmers who now will subvert her heroic status to their own political ends.

Already the 19-year-old soldier-clerk is being heralded as incontrovertible proof that women are as capable as men in combat. The fact of her endurance and survival, hoo-ah, provides the missing quotient, they say, in America's perplexing gender equation. Harrumph, harrumph.

Then there's Florida, home of the ironically challenged, where Jessica's name is being used in vain to justify resurrection of the colossally superfluous Equal Rights Amendment. If ever there were a time when the ERA has been proven irrelevant, it is now.

Suffice it to say that Pfc. Jessica Lynch didn't need a constitutional amendment to join the Army, to become a prisoner of war, and now to become an icon for people who before this brief intersection of Fate and Politics wouldn't have given her a nickel bag of Lance's peanuts to go with her Nehi grape.

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that Hollywood was scouring Lynch's home state of West Virginia in search of an unsophisticated "country" family to ridicule in a reality-TV remake of the Beverly Hillbillies?

In a newsroom minute, the Lynch's clapboard house was converted into a real-time movie set, strung with klieg lights and surrounded with microphones as the media invasion paralleled a Baghdad universe.

While Jessica was rescued from captivity by dauntless comrades, her family was being surrounded and held captive by a friendly nation ravenous for hero chum and news with good legs.

No question about it: Jessica Lynch is a star, a darling young woman who deserves our hearts and admiration. But she is also something else that we fail to note at our peril - not a product of the feminist oligarchy, but the offspring of a traditional American family with a strong father and a big brother who says he'll probably tackle his sister when he sees her.

People who have grown up Southern and country with a father and brother don't need a screenwriter or gender-studies expert to explain how Jessica Lynch survived her ordeal. It had nothing to do with loins girded by feminist dogma. You can bet your satellite dish that Jessica has never studied "The Vagina Monologues" or gone in search of her inner goddess.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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