I just haven't had much to write about lately. And since I'm about to write some nice things about Sarah Palin I have to brace myself for the following:
1) I will lose Facebook friends
2) our Facebook Women Win Too site will lose a few likes
3) I will open myself up for being called a dumb ass and worse
4) I will be accused by some dimwits of setting back the entire course of women's rights for the rest of time by saying something nice about Sarah Palin
Sigh------it is all just so TIRESOME. And actually, it has become BORING. People who like Palin for any reason whatsoever will get stereotyped by the very people and forces that make it so very difficult for women to run for office. And let me be clear-----those forces are alive and well on both sides of the aisle. People on the left have martyred Sarah Palin and her ilk, and people on the right have done the same for any woman on the left who dares stand up and thinks she can be a power player. And truth be told, people on the left do it to the women on the left (Hillary Clinton anyone?), and people on the right do it to women on the right (Sarah Palin or whomever-----take your pick).
I'm just feeling listless over the current presidential field. It feels like the men are off and running again, playing their old games about how they can one-up each other and win. And their bases are just jumping up according to cue, reacting to the correct bait. People are just so predictable. We've had the Tea Party excoriated on the left as racists, astroturf, etc. We now have the Wall Street protesters excoriated by the right as astroturf and people who want something for nothing. And the supporters of both movements are hypocritically defending themselves against the very things that they've criticized the other side for. You've just gotta love free speech when it comes down to this!!!!
I'm feeling uninterested because Palin isn't running. And you know, I really don't blame her for her decision. People can say whatever they want, but until you're the one running for office, you just can't even imagine what happens and what it feels like until you put yourself out there as a candidate. I can't imagine that I can totally understand what it is like to run for president. But as a two-time Congressional candidate in a high profile race, I've been on the hot seat. And let me tell you, you'd better be tough or you will fall apart. Your being a candidate gives people the license to tear you from limb to limb, figuratively speaking of course. You will be caricatured in the worse possible way, and then that caricature will be taken as the gospel truth about you. Sometimes it is really funny. But sometimes it stinks.
I've watched that phenomenon take over Sarah Palin, and it is through how she has handled it that I have grown to admire her. She broke into the national consciousness, of course, as John McCain's running mate. I for one, was so excited that he'd chosen a woman. So what if people thought that he did it to attract Hillary supporters, the type of Hillary supporters who were totally involved because they'd longed for a woman to break the ultimate glass ceiling. That was part of it. Of course immediately, we had to deal with the people on the left that said we would lose our right to an abortion by supporting Palin, the only woman's issue that matters. Pffft. How short-sighted was that? What about the symbolism of a country who ranked #70 in the world in female representation finally throwing off its sexism to elect a woman? Apparently the woman's movement had devolved into something so ridiculous that it couldn't appreciate the value in women's progress in such an event.
But what anyone who supported Palin suffered paled in comparison to the blowback that Palin got for having the unmitigated gall to be a woman who wanted to run for VP. She was pilloried, ridiculed, her image distorted. Her family was also mashed up in the process. Palin was accused of views that were not true, misrepresented to such an extreme that even the caricatures were caricatured.
I could expand on the treatment Palin got, but I won't. What I saw was a self-made woman, conservative, who was a working mother who aimed high and achieved. What's not admirable about that? What have her naysayers done lately that makes them qualified to knock her down? Palin not only achieved, she singlehandedly took on her party's establishment and won. Find me many politicians of any stripe who started from nothing and were able to do that? I found her mettle in that regard to be admirable. But what really won me over in my admiration was how she fought the sexists. WOW!!!! NO ONE IN POLITICS had done what she did, using the current social networking to completely short-circuit the establishment and get her points across unfiltered and real. And she was able to needle the establishment mercilessly!!! She invented a new way to be a woman running for office, and she has inspired a new generation of women to go forward as she did, aim high, and don't take any guff.
Except that she's decided not to run. And I am truly disappointed. I had wanted to see more of the famous Palin mettle. But I understand why she isn't and I'm not holding it against her. I'm just reflecting on the fact that not only must a woman be perfect to run for president, but she needs to be twice as tough. We put all of our candidates through the meat grinder, but there is a special meat grinder reserved for women, one in which they can't win no matter what they do. If this sounds like a bit of a pity party, I guess it is. Things are what they are.
I can only hope that we have learned a few lessons from the Hillary/Sarah experience. First of all, some women's things are more important than the abortion issue. Things like breaking glass ceilings, especially the presidential one for all of its symbolism. Secondly, we women need to stop being such jealous and hateful b****es. So what if some women really get ahead? And so what if the women are from the other party? The more women who reach high and achieve, the more room that makes for more women to achieve too. All women of all political stripes!! It's nothing but good news for all of us!!!! Third, we women need to stop letting the political parties use us to their sexist ends. I'm not saying that both parties are 100% sexist. Not at all. I'm just saying that as long as the parties say a few key words and ring a bell and we come running to do their bidding, we short-circuit our own power and we sell it cheaply.
I'm sure that there are other lessons as well. I'm just trying to find a way to get excited again about the 2012 election. Hope it's not just another election with women being exploited for their votes and then nothing is delivered.