Friday, September 12, 2008

Here she goes again

Dear reader, I'm sorry that this is another political-themed post. You can skip it; I won't be offended.

But -- I just read another of Judith Warner's anti-Palin columns in the NYTimes, though this one has a very different tone than last week's. I suppose one is bound to get a bit frightened when completely immersed in a group of folks who are ideologically different than oneself, so I'll cut her some slack.

I will not, however, cut her any slack on this: In this column, she's setting up working moms (who, I suppose, she sees as more liberal, progressive, and forward-thinking) against stay-at-home moms (who she seems to set up as the dumb conservatives). This is offensive. I'll say it one more time: We women need all the support we can get from one another, regardless of our working and childrearing situations, and we should not be playing this us-against-them crap! How can this seemingly enlightened columnist fall in to such stereotypical thinking? I'm going to chalk it up to writer's block and a tight deadline -- maybe she's just having a difficult time coming up with a new spin on Palin, what with the rest of the news media going berzerk on the topic and all.

As always in these columns, the comments prove to be the real food for thought. Unlike last week's column, the comments here are much more, shall we say, bipartisan -- meaning, both liberals and conservatives, Obamaniacs and Palin-drones alike have weighed in.

This comment, especially, caught my attention (I've added the italics for emphasis):

"Here she is the super Sarah doll, an action figure who raises five kids, has a handsome husband and governs Alaska on the side. What more could America want? Her appeal is real to overworked women who have kids and a job. The question is can the Dems make clear to these women that she is a role model who doesn't wish to accord them privacy in their doctor conferences or their sex lives. She’s not much on observing free speech or the right to read freely. Dems must make clear what programs they will enact to support working women and do it quickly."


Here, here! Why are you not speaking up about this stuff, Barack? Joe? I've heard you speak about recognizing and valuing families as they are in modern society -- and I'm all for it. But how about speaking more definitively on the individual issues the really touch American moms?

I did just take heart to read another NYTimes article about the Obama campaign stepping it up a notch (about time!) in their advertising and speaking engagements. One of the topics we'll start hearing more about is equitable pay for women (though who knows how he could make this happen...short of just sending us all checks, which of course, the Bushies managed to do this year).

Barack, you need to devote more air time to your ideas on family leave -- paid maternity leave for women and men. Often the birth of a child and subsequent unpaid time off is the difference between living comfortably or just squeaking by -- and it's often the biggest factor in throwing a family into poverty. Speak up, too, about how you'll work for paid sick leave for everyone, so a single mother doesn't have to make the decision between feeding her family or caring for her sick child!

How about talking more about how your universal healthcare plan can help families with only one income? And how will you support research on HIV/AIDS and cancer, so we can finally stop living in fear of lumps?

Why aren't you really hammering home your ideas about early childhood education and how you'll ensure quality daycare and after-school programs? And how will you make sure our kids can afford college educations when the time comes?

Tell us how you'll invest in more women-owned businesses, increase the minimum wage, and protect social security?

Speak up, Barack! Tell us what you want to do for us! I've read your website, and I know you have great ideas. The rest of the country needs to see and hear you speaking on these issues. Now!

I truly hope the Democrats roll up their sleeves and emphatically take on some of these "women's issues" -- because, really, they're American issues...but 52% of us are women. I hope, too, that more of us will engage our sisters in intelligent discussion about what aMcCain/Palin Washington would mean for this country. You may talk about electing a woman as VP as a historical step forward, but Palin's policies would mean a tragic step backward. (And by the way, her policies are much more right-wing than McCain's -- we haven't heard much from him lately, though, have we?) But please, please, don't let this turn into an abortion-rights thing -- this election is about so much more, which frankly is one of the things that troubles me most about Palin as a legitimate candidate for any major office...she's stuck in time.

To quote my dear friend, Sarah Palin is George Bush with a vagina. Don't be fooled, ladies!

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