Thank you Gloria.
Date: Thursday, September 11, 2008, 10:31
> Gloria Steinem on Sarah Palin
> Here’s the good news: Women have become so politically powerful that even
> the anti-feminist right wing — the folks with a headlock on the Republican
> Party — are trying to appease the gender gap with a first-ever female vice
> president. We owe this to women — and to many men too — who have
> picketed, gone on hunger strikes or confronted violence at the polls so
> women can vote. We owe it to Shirley Chisholm, who first took the
> ‘white-male-only’ sign off the White House, and to Hillary Rodham Clinton,
> who hung in there through ridicule and misogyny to win 18 million votes.
> But here is even better news: It won’t work. This isn’t the first time a
> boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and
> opposes everything most other women want and need. Feminism has never been
> about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for
> women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too
> many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.
> Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no
> way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin
> shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and
> deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that
> has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential
> candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that
> opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for — and that
> Barack Obama’s still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be
> like saying, ‘Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.’
> This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on
> issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can’t do the
> job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn’t
> say the same about a father. I get no pleasure from imagining her in the
> spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero
> background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden’s 37
> years’ experience.
> Palin has been honest about what she doesn’t know. When asked last month
> about the vice presidency, she said, ‘I still can’t answer that question
> until someone answers for me: What is it exactly that the VP does every
> day?’ When asked about Iraq, she said, ‘I haven’t really focused much on
> the war in Iraq.’
> She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular, and
> she’s won over Alaskans mostly by using unprecedented oil wealth to give a
> $1,200 rebate to every resident. Now she is being praised by McCain’s
> campaign as a tax cutter, despite the fact that Alaska has no state income
> or sales tax. Perhaps McCain has opposed affirmative action for so long
> that he doesn’t know it’s about inviting more people to meet standards, not
> lowering them. Or perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration
> habit, as in the Justice Department, of putting a job candidate’s views on
> ‘God, guns and gays’ ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is
> filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.
> So let’s be clear: The culprit is John McCain. He may have chosen Palin out
> of change-envy, or a belief that women can’t tell the difference between
> form and content, but the main motive was to please right-wing ideologues;
> the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of
> reproductive freedom. If that were not the case, McCain could have chosen a
> woman who knows what a vice president does and who has thought about Iraq;
> someone like Texas Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison or Sen. Olympia Snowe of
> Maine. McCain could have taken a baby step away from right-wing patriarchs
> who determine his actions, right down to opposing the Violence Against
> Women Act.
> Palin’s value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every
> issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that
> creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global
> warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women’s
> wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves ‘abstinence-only’
> programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and
> abortions; she tried to use taxpayers’ millions for a state program to
> shoot wolves from the air but didn’t spend enough money to fix a state
> school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation;
> she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500
> million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports
> drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has
> opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly,
> only younger.
> I don’t doubt her sincerity. As a lifetime member of the National Rifle
> Assn., she doesn’t just support killing animals from helicopters, she does
> it herself. She doesn’t just talk about increasing the use of fossil fuels
> but puts a coal-burning power plant in her own small town. She doesn’t just
> echo McCain’s pledge to criminalize abortion by overturning Roe vs. Wade,
> she says that if one of her daughters were impregnated by rape or incest,
> she should bear the child. She not only opposes reproductive freedom as a
> human right but implies that it dictates abortion, without saying that it
> also protects the right to have a child.
> So far, the major new McCain supporter that Palin has attracted is James
> Dobson of Focus on the Family. Of course, for Dobson, ‘women are merely
> waiting for their husbands to assume leadership,’ so he may be voting for
> Palin’s husband.
> Being a hope-a-holic, however, I can see two long-term bipartisan gains
> from this contest.
> Republicans may learn they can’t appeal to right-wing patriarchs and most
> women at the same time. A loss in November could cause the centrist
> majority of Republicans to take back their party, which was the first to
> support the Equal Rights Amendment and should be the last to want to invite
> government into the wombs of women.
> And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs
> than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national
> stage from male leaders who know that women can’t be equal outside the home
> until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on
> their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their
> This could be huge.