Monday, September 1, 2008

AV: The Pain of Progress

I agree with all that has been said about Sarah Palin.

Yes, I agree that it is progress. And I especially agree with WC's friend Dennis when he said that what we really want is for the same opportunities for mediocre gay people as for mediocre straight people (my paraphrase, of course). Goddess knows I'm working my tukus off out here in California for the rights for every queer couple to get divorced in the same average 5 years after marriage as any straight couple. Now that's equality! And I'll give my last for it.

All that is true. Sarah Palin is a woman and she's done a damn good job of climbing through one of the "Old Boys-iest" Networks in local government that one can find in the state. She did it through a talent for opportunism, charm, and intelligence. She also did it by picking up on the fact that the populace at large doesn't seem to care about policies and "all those notecards" and stuff. They want to be entertained and led. She's smart. She sees the cracks in the door ... or ceiling, in this case.

And that's a good thing. A woman running on the highest ticket in the land. And, as has been said many places, one that could land her in the President's seat. Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled about this. In the abstract.

I was tremendously thrilled about Hillary running and thrilled about the very real possibility of her getting elected. I loved the idea that girls everywhere were seeing every day the power and potentiality of their gender, and that it was hot -- and not in the conventional sense, necessarily. But HOT as in "on fire." I love that. I still love that. It won't -- can't be undone. Even by all the egregious sexism from both sides. It can't be undone and girls and women have learned something that cannot be unlearned. We're moving on up, sisters, and it's about time.

So yes, Sarah Palin has succeeded in her world and has been chosen by the GOP (whether or not it was McCain himself remains to be seen) and it's a horrible choice for the county.

I am applying the same thought processes here to Sarah Palin and her potentiality as co-pres or maybe even President that I would apply to anyone else at all. No softballs. No handicaps. Because in my mind she is a candidate, just like Joe Biden is a candidate. Let's acknowledge the history and the shattering of gender assumptions in America and then let's move the genitalia issue to the back burner now, shall we?

On a purely political field, her ultra-conservative values are anathema to anyone remotely middle-to-left of the social conservatives who have been striking at the heart of this nation for years. Her anti-choice, pro-oil, anti-environment stance is enough for me to realize, regardless of her gender, that I don't want her anywhere near the White House. Heck, I don't want her near the statehouse in AK, but she was elected in a time of sweet opportunity.

Did you know she lobbied to remove the Polar Bear from the endangered species list? Did you also know that the North Slope, one of the last purely pristine places in her state, is now the site of a multi-billion oil pipeline (builder: TransCanada) and that her husband is an oil worker on the North Slope?

Did you know she has no education policy, no infrastructure, state services, health policies? She's a picture and as progressive as it is to see a woman on the ticket, we should all be disappointed in this choice. There are other qualified ... and steely conservative ... women out there in the political world who could have captured the percentage of voters he's looking at.

And honestly, I don't see how anyone who voted for Hillary could consider voting for the McCain/Palin ticket. Why were they supporting Hillary? In any case, based on my conversations over the last several days within the party and with independents, social moderate repubs, etc, I believe that the instances of Hillary supporters who support the GOP ticket are grossly overreported. Heat vs. light.

And, BTW, if the GOP is soooo besotted by her "tough gal maverick" image, why are they shopping her around to voters wearing a blouse unbuttoned to her bra, hair soft and down ...and not in the image she says she chose for herself (and hasn't departed from in years): skirt suit, blouse buttoned to collar, hair up ... "school marm". What, is she not sexy enough for them? Not "accessible" enough in the way only an unbuttoned white blouse and long flowing hair can imply?

There's more to say on this, of course.

But let's return, shall we, to the historic and jaw-dropping, ceiling-busting, taboo-breaking potentiality of a brilliant black man to the highest office in the land. Let's have a few words about the cultural movement there.

And don't tell me he hasn't got any experience.

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