Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is it Because He's Black? Is it Because She's a Woman?

A response to comments that it is "ironic that people say Sarah Palin is only where she is today because she's a woman. Obama is only where he is today because he's Black."

Obama is where he is today because he is well-educated, intelligent, rational, articulate, and persuasive. That he is half black is icing on the cake to many voters who, for years, have felt disenfranchised - including white voters who worked for and supported civil rights. These very assets - his intelligence, his Harvard education, his record as a community organizer and senator, his top-notch ability to deliver a speech - are also his shortcomings, along with his being black, in the eyes of a disturbingly large segment of American society. When did it become a sin to be smart?

Palin is where she is today because she is a woman who represents the most extreme fundamentalist views of the neo-cons. She is the poster child for their most deeply held beliefs (anti-choice, pro-guns, anti-sex-education, pro-big-oil, anti-environment - the list goes on) -  and the fact that she's a woman won't hurt because, after all, she's not a black man. Moderate Republicans I know are horrified. This woman doesn't represent them, either. I'm offended that McCain so obviously believes that women's votes can be had so easily. I resent it. Any woman who truly supported Hillary, who now switches over to the McCain/Palin camp, was never a supporter of Hillary Clinton or the Democratic party. If the candidate's being a woman or a black man is all it takes to sway your vote, then you are not voting on the issues, you are not voting on your values - you are reducing this election to nothing more than a high school popularity contest. When my daughter was twelve, she tried to persuade me to vote for George W. Bush because he was "better looking than Al Gore." This is why we don't let twelve year olds vote. Unfortunately, too many adults still think like twelve year olds.

The Katie Couric interview (see snippet at Lipstick on Pygmalion, below) when compared to Sarah Palin's acceptance speech at the RNC highlights just what a good speechwriter, a little cram-coaching, and a big-print teleprompter can do for one's image. But the real test of someone's mettle is to see them wing it extemporaneously. Until I saw that interview, I though, "Okay - she stands for everything I'm against, but she's a sharp cookie and a woman not to be underestimated." Now? I am thoroughly disgusted. I don't know what possessed McCain to choose her, but I think it's about to backfire. As my son (age 12) observed last night after watching that clip:

"I'm starting to like Sarah Palin after watching that."

My jaw dropped. "WHAT?"

"She's making it much more likely that Obama will win."

Out of the mouths of babes. Maybe we should let the kids vote, after all.

By the way, I don't let my kids play "I'm for [fill in your candidate's name] because my mom [or dad] are voting for them," or "I hate [fill in your candidate's name] because my mom [or dad] says they stink." Oooh, no. I make my children think for themselves. I had my son watch the debates last night (which he gamely did, after I bribed him with pizza and root beer). He admitted, later, that he didn't understand any of what either candidate was talking about. I told him to keep watching the news, the debates, the papers - that eventually it would all click together in his mind. We discussed some of the issues and where both sides agreed and differed in their views and proposed solutions. Some of it, I don't understand either. ;) But no, my children will not be little automatons spouting the parental party line. It's much more important to me that they grow up thinking critically for themselves, that they be able to distinguish logic and fact from emotion and clever rhetoric.

A Democrat...raising Independents for the future. What a concept.

P.S. I did tell him to stick to CNN and the local news and not to watch Fox "News" or Pat Robertson. He's too young to be exposed to that much obscenity.


  1. Great post, Holly--I have to agree with this. My son was 11 the last elkection and I was lucky enough to have two counselors coming in regularly for him--both were extremely involved in politics, both held his respect--one was Democrat, one Republican.

    I used the elections as a homeschool exercise in Civics -- and he learned how to weigh issues. I was quite proud on election day. He was allowed to go into the booth with me under the rules he touch none of the buttons and I had him write down who he would vote for.

    When I was finished, we discussed his choices--one was different than mine--and he articulated very valid reasons for his choice.

    Maybe if more parents get their kids involved now, future elections won't be based on race or gender--but on what the candidates stand for!

  2. Hello Holly,

    I saw your comment at Rob Sellen's blog so I clicked over here to see what you were blogging about. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    I don't care for Sarah Palin at all. I mostly blog about humorous situations, but I've discussed my political views at a second blog called Marti's Mouth.

    You also mentioned Twitter, and I do sell books though there, so I think you should try dropping a link there from time to time. Not too often or it seems spammy. Be sure to use the @ function to reply to people too, as folks don't like people who only drop a line in but don't respond to others. Again, I don't know how you tweet, because I can't find a link to your Twitter name on your blog. If you'd like to add me, I am Marti_L on Twitter.

    Wishing you all the best!

  3. Thanks, Marti! Please come back often and chime in whenever the spirit moves you. Appreciate your invitation to Twitter; I use it, too, but not excessively. (I'm finally figuring out why I'd want to...) It does force concise writing - that's a good thing, right?


  4. Excellent. I am in complete agreement with you here. I am totally disillusioned with her understanding of big-scale politics. I simply cannot follow when she speaks (and I'm not an idiot - she just has NO logical flow). She's been so indoctrinated with soundbites and pat answers that when she tries to insert them into her illogical flow, I'm just doubly confused.

    I cannot express how disappointed I am in John McCain for nominating her.


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