Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a giant step backward for women

I vowed to myself I would NOT write anything more about Sarah Palin and her candidacy. But I have been thinking about what it means for women to have this particular woman as the first major party nominee. I don't see anything positive about it. Forget the interivews, forget the sound bites, forget the right wing radio appearances. Think about what it means about how women are seen in politics and, in fact, in the corridors of power. I don't think those women who support her are really interested in what this means for the women's movement, or for how women are viewed in general. Yes, I know. They don't care.

  • What does it say when a woman candidate has to be protected from the media because she's not "ready"?
  • What does it say when the big worry about the debate is that she will be asked questions that are "tough"?
  • What does it say when the buzz is all about her readiness to be the president?

Don't get me wrong. I want a woman in the White House. I want to be able to hear talking heads and journalists and pundits say and write, "In her State of the Union address the president . . ." blah, blah, blah. But I don't want any woman's presidency ~ or vice presidency ~ to be clouded by charges of "unprepared" or "inept" or "just like a woman." I know that last is a loaded comment. What's wrong with being a woman? Absolutely nothing, except if you are trying to do it in a "man's" world and it becomes a pejorative label and a monumental put-down. Do I think Hillary could have done it? Yes, but it would have been tough, and she would have had to fight every inch until she could convince those boys she was smarter than they are. I don't think Palin is smarter than they are, although that it not to say that someday she might be. But this is not the day.

I think McCain has done women a huge disservice by choosing Palin. He has not chosen a woman with experience, knowledge of the process, with gravitas. He has done her a disservice, too. He is promoting her to pander to the conservative base. She is a living, breathing example of what men think about women; cute but brainless. Coy but clueless. Good legs but nothing upstairs. Why was he willing to subject her to what he must have know would be intense scrutiny, probing questions, and intense ridicule? What kind man is he to push her out in front to take that kind on heat? She is a lamb to the slaughter.

She is not the woman I want to see on the national stage at this time, and not because she is a conservative. It's because she lives up to every single stereotype of a woman.

As I have said earlier, Joe Biden is in a bad spot. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.


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