Saturday, September 13, 2008

And Now A Very Good Word From My Sponsor.....

We have been talking politics in our home. A lot. In fact, on the drive up to Massachusetts on Friday (to pick up our Big Gay Marriage License), we spent most of the three hour trek up discussing various elements of this year’s election, politics, etc. I think it wouldn’t shock anyone that we are both democrats, both voting for Obama, both bitter that Hillary wasn’t selected as a running mate; but we both can concede to certain republican ideologies and principles, too.

Nicole became so enlivened by the recent turn of political events that it wasn’t enough to just talk it out with me. For the first time in, I don’t know, ever, she typed out a fast and furious manifesto that I happen to think is brilliant. I find this essay about politics to be quite politic (in the true definition of the word: tactful, diplomatic, shrewd). But I am not exactly the most equitable judge. She has allowed me to post her manifesto here, so you can be the judge. I think she has a future as a blogger!
Or politician. Or, a the very least, doctoral-of-something student.

Are we that gullible?

No, we can’t be. I was convinced that after McCain announced his pick for VP that the majority of women would see right through it. I told myself, “Women are smarter than that. We won’t fall for such an obvious ploy and this will backfire.” I was wrong.

As I listen to the chatter and read my friends’ Facebook comments I’ve come to realize that McCain’s move was sheer brilliance. McCain was right to underestimate American women. He made the right bet that we would pull our heads from out of the sand long enough to catch a few sound bites, conclude that Palin is just what we need (she’s an everyday Jane just like us, right?), and proceed to stick said head right back into said sand. Ignorance is truly bliss.

The women I know are intelligent, sophisticated, successful. So, what makes them like Sarah Palin? She has very little in common with these women and Palin doesn’t represent Feminine values. Yes, she wears lipstick and skirts, is a mother and wife. But, if you think about it she mimics the Masculine and the values of the fundamentalist right-wing party. She’s a modern day Jim Crow, if you will. Palin was chosen to humor women. We may not be exactly equal but it’s close enough. Clearly the right-wing values us; that we made it. If we have a female VP what could we possibly complain about?

Diversity is not just about different genders or ethnicities. Diversity of thought is important as well. Sarah Palin may bring gender diversity but she will not bring a new Feminine way of thinking to the White House. Women bring more that just estrogen to the table so what is the Feminine? I am not a Women’s Studies scholar but I will give you my thoughts. The Feminine is our maternal, peaceful, loving, collaborative side. Men have it as well; some more than others. It is what drives us to care for our children and children of others, to be charitable, to be diplomatic and choose aggression only when threatened, to embrace family, and to connect with others.Most women speak as if they are proud of these values (family, education, charity, peace) but their actions are incompatible if they vote for McCain/Palin. Have we been completely indoctrinated into a culture that snuffs the Feminine? Have we been so brainwashed that we ignore, even deny, the Feminine – what makes us different, special – and adopt the Masculine? Clearly, this is what some women admire in Palin. Who doesn’t want to be the chick who can give guys a run for their money; whether it’s slaughtering caribou, on the sidelines of a hockey game, or in the government offices of Alaska? She must be able to translate this sassiness into something great in DC. In fact, we think she has so much potential let’s put her one step away from the highest office in the country. Really? What’s that about?

We’re scared. For seven years we have been bombarded with propaganda. Al-Qaeda is coming back any day, Iraq is threatening, some Muslim or another is going to sneak in with all the other illegal immigrants (they’re scary, too) and bomb the hell out of us. We watch “24” and thank God that the Republican administration is full of Jack Bauers without whom we all would have died six times over and without a doubt Jack wouldn’t work for Democrat. We need men to keep us safe – let’s ignore the fact that they are the ones that got us into danger.

We’ve brushed aside the Feminine for the good of a nation. We’ve come to believe that striking first is the right thing to do, that lots of guns at home keep us safe, and that healthcare and education are other people’s problems – those issues are important but just not now. We’ve come to believe that it’s OK to be second class citizens, that it’s OK to make 70 cents on the dollar, that we should be proud that a woman actually tried to run for President. Isn’t that an achievement? No, it’s not. A woman should have already been President. We’ve been humored, placated. We’ve been complacent.

Since when is shooting animals out of a helicopter a good thing? Since when is pro-life with no exceptions a good idea? Since when do we believe that the government knows what’s better for us than we do? Should the government tell us what to do with our bodies, what books our children should read, who we should worship? Sarah Palin wants to do exactly that. Doesn’t exactly sound like Feminine values to me. In fact, it sounds a heck of a lot like what fundamentalist men have been trying to accomplish for years.

Whether you are Republican or Democrat is not the issue. What concerns me most is that lack of objectivity and critical thinking. This Alex P. Keaton behavior in which folks are do-or-die Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) regardless of the changes in that party’s dogma. And the dogma has changed.

I was amused recently when an old friend reminded me that I was pretty conservative in high school. In fact, there was a time during my teens and twenties – dare I say it – when I identified with Republicans. Frankly, the Republican economic theory (aka, “trickle down”) directly benefits me and I do subscribe to some of its ideals. But what was once a party that believed in small federal government and low taxes has morphed into a right-wing fundamentalist, imperialist, and intrusive ideology. Yes, the “Family Values” ideology has been part of the Republican dogma since the eighties (and I wasn’t a fan of it then) but think about how much it’s devolved over the past 20 years.

We think we’ve come a long way and we’re proud of ourselves. We’re politically correct now. We don’t talk about the d*kes, t*wel heads, n**gers, j*ps, ch*nks, w*tbacks, and k*kes the way we used (although, bitch and fag are still fair game). Yup, I just used those words (or at least I would have if I weren’t afraid that Facebook would shut me down regardless of my intent). You don’t use them anymore but if you support the fundamentalist right-wing ideology you vote for something much more subversive and much more dangerous. I’d rather you use those words as then I would at least know who I’m dealing with. The right-wing hates anyone who is different. Are you an immigrant? Oooh, scary. Are you gay? Oh dear lord, please don’t try to marry. Are you black, Hispanic, Asian? Wow, not sure how to deal with you. But, wait, please, please, don’t be Muslim. That’s really scary stuff. Those are the kinds of people that attack countries with no provocation. Those are the kinds of people that send their children to die on a bed of lies. Wait a minute that sounds a lot like us…odd.

Over the past few days I’ve come to realize a few things…

- Women don’t have a cause. We’ve lost all interest in the feminist movement. We’ve grown complacent. We have come to believe that the man will keep us safe. Why don’t we think we could do it better? Do you really think a woman would have attacked Iraq? (Sarah Palin would have but that just proves the rule.) Why did McCain choose Palin and not another more experienced strong Republican woman? Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman come to mind and I am sure there are many other solid choices for VP. What was his motivation?

• People don’t want to think. They choose a side. They find people they identify with. They stick with it. They ignore the overall impact – on themselves, those they love – in lieu of feeling a part of something. I am amazed that the people who benefit the least from Republican policy identify with and vote Republican.

• People don’t want to take responsibility. We’d prefer to leave the decisions to our organized religions and/or political parties. It’s much easier to point to our religions and say, “Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. That’s how God wants it.” Believe it or not, you can be Christian (I was raised Catholic so this is the religion I am most comfortable discussing) and think for yourself. In fact, I would argue that Christ’s teachings advocate individual responsibility and ownership for your actions. Christ preached the Feminine; peace, love, charity. If Christ were running the country things would be a lot different. The sick wouldn’t go untreated, the hungry would be fed, we would truly strive for peace. For those of you who are Catholics or are part of an organized religion my goal is not to offend. That said, Christians should take the time to read the Gnostic Gospels and the vast amount of credible research on Christ and his teachings. I wonder why we prefer to hide behind religion but I guess the answer is clear. Why is it that your divorce, your abortion, your theft, your aggression, your lack of charity is OK? When you go against your religion’s teachings God’s Ok with it but my homosexuality is not. Because you confess and I don’t? Isn’t that convenient. I guess it is nice to have unlimited do-overs in life and our organized religions provide that.

• People won’t accept the fact that what we should be really afraid of is not outsiders but ourselves. It’s the people who are working hard to quietly erode everything this nation was built on - our rights, our privacy, our independence. Every time we make a decision like, “I think it would be great for Jennifer and Nicole to marry but there are bigger issues like national security.” or “Sure, I think a woman should be able to choose but Republicans won’t be able to overturn Roe v. Wade so what’s the big deal?” or “They would never tap my phones so I think it’s fine that they go after suspected terrorists,” we come a step closer to what we truly fear.

I’ve asked a lot of questions in this diatribe but here’s the really important one. Did you really think it through when you chose your candidate? There are a lot of reasons to vote for McCain (some of them are actually good). Palin isn’t one of them. In fact, I dare say that if you are truly objective and think critically you would realize that Palin should be the final nail in the proverbial coffin. And this year, and maybe only this year for you Alex P. Keaton Republicans, you should vote the Democratic ticket.


calliope said...

This is brilliant. Pointing out that Palin is SO not bringing diversity to a ticket is spot on. Also your point about how people just choose a side and stick with it- oh man does that resonate. I am so tired of people not wanting to talk issues and instead just shrugging and saying, "Well I'm a republican".

Thank you so much for posting this.

Lynnbug said...

I love your piece! I totally agree that Palin is McCains consolation prize for women. The only thing she has in common with Hillary is she is a woman and that is not enough for me to vote for the McCain ticket. My mother is even falling for this. She is 83 and I may give her a pass in the name of something elderly but I will be spending a week with her explaining the issues and what Palin really stands for.

Thank you for the piece. It is so dead on.

jeannineomalley said...

Quite elloquent. I am a Catholic who was educated by the Jesuits and taught to question everything. I try to live by the example of Jesus - walking the proverbial walk, not just talking the talk, like so many of my fellow "Christians". That said, I agree with your manifesto. As a Christian, I believe that all life is sacred, whether it be the unborn child, the person on death row or our troops overseas, fighting not for freedom (as they are led to believe) but for greed and to settle an old score. I believe in peace. I believe in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick. I believe that love is right(it is the golden rule, and what Jesus said is the most important thing of all) and who you love is your own business. Marriage is the ultimate expression of love, and should be a right in this country for any two people in love. I believe that hard work gets you what you want and need, that the fruits of your work should be protected and I also believe in sharing the fruits of that work with those who need it most, not usless big government agencies/burocracies that have huge payrolls and don't give a hand up but instead perpetuate poverty generation after generation. That said, I can't honestly say that any party or canditate, although all claim to be Christians, supports my views and stand on issues. So my delimma is, in casting my ballot, what can I give up? Not an easy decision. Perhaps Nicole should run for something one day. You'd make a great first lady Jennifer!

ann (fchen) said...

really brilliant. you should send it to

Carey said...

Awesome. Just awesome. I love it.

utRus said...

Excellent. Please let us know whether we can copy and email it out to friends... thank you Nicole for articulating what I fail to, but what I think!

Malea said...

Did anyone watch Tina Fey and pal do their spoof of Palin and Hillary on SNL last night. Funny as hell!

amy said...

thanks for writing this nicole and sharing it jennifer! everytime i get in to a discussion about politics i cover so many of the points she made. my favorite is the one about many of the people who vote republican get absolutely no benefit from their policies, that's the craziest thing to me!

i'm with you guys, we are fiscally pretty conservative and totally could have aligned with the republicans had they not been so absolutely radical on social issues. i liken it to selling your soul to the devil to choose your pocket book over your conscious. so therefore, i vote democrat unless/until there's a better option...

Mikhela said...

Well said. It certainly was a cunning move by the republicans. most of the rest of the world is praying that americans see through it. i had a catholic upbringing too & the nuns used to say jesus was the first communist! i agree- with him in charge things would certainly be different. And what about mary magdalene, she would be a good running mate :)


This Mom said...

I would also like to know if I could copy this to email to my friends. Nicole's points are so well articulated. It makes me proud that there really are women out there that won't fall for this.

For the Long Haul said...

Wow. How wonderful for her to articulate so beautifully the jumbled, frustrated thoughts that have been running through my head. She rules. Thank you Nicole for writing this, and thank you Jennifer for posting it. Just what I needed to read on a Monday morning!