A landmark year

On my way home from work yesterday, I was listening to a speech from Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate selection, on NPR. Politics aside, here is a woman who sounded intelligent, articulate, and interesting. Finally, the kind of ground level feminist America’s been waiting for. She worked her way from the bottom in a man’s world, starting with just trying to change her community… And she found herself ascending up the next wrung in the political ladder. (If the media has not exaggerated her story.)

I said politics aside. Before you start firing off comments and email messages containing links showing all her connections to Big Oil and whatever other unliberal agendas the internet has managed to scrounge up in the last 48 hours (including an interesting scandal I heard on NPR about how twenty-four hours before her nomination as running mate was announced, someone went through and changed all her wickipedia entries to sound more favorable), I realize she’s Republican. I have not lost sight of my ideals and I’m not going to cross to the Other Side to vote for McCain just because he has a female running mate. Trust me.

I’m just saying that the thought occurred to me yesterday that this is truly a landmark year. Come November, we’re going to see a first of somekind: Either the first African-American president or the first lady VP. Plain and simple. Have you stopped to think about the absolute awesomeness of this moment? A barrier is about to be broken, either for African-Americans or for women in an institution that has, since its inception, been a completely “white male” only club! Please do not ignore the fact that we, as a nation, may be finally growing up!

Actual ballet considerations aside, we also cannot overlook at all what has happened in this election series. I may not like Hillary Rodham Clinton all that much, I may denounce as a feminist role model, but I cannot overlook the fact that she was, at one point, a very serious presidential contender. We almost, quite possibly, could have had a female president. Now, we’ve got a female vice presidential nominee and no one is batting an eye. Welcome to politics in the world of 2008. Even though I’m pretty sure McCain took on a female VP to try to sway some of the jilted Hillary supporters to his side (since he is known as the “maverick” Republican–thanks, Michael, for the wording), I still feel overwhelmed by the urge to kiss him.

Okay, maybe not.

It gives me chills. I don’t care what the strategic reasoning for any of it is. We have turned a new, positive chapter in our history and I am proud–really, really proud–of my country for the first time in my life (and I had no objection to Michelle Obama’s mirror statement to that). Yeah. Go figure. I’m such a skeptic, such a nitpicker; too much of a display of patriotism inevitably makes me squirm (I used to openly mock the Lee Greenwood song, “I’m Proud to be an American”).

You know why this is so great? Because regardless of who wins this election, it paves a the way for more African-Americans and women and people of minority to enter the world of politics with the belief that they can make it all the way to the top (provided they’ve got the income to support it because, let’s face it, folks, you have to have some serious dough to run for president anymore). And it should be that way, dammit, in the Land of the Free, the Land of Opportunity, the Land of Plenty. We are finally practicing what we are preaching: If you have the will, you can find a way to the top and you can make a difference.

Okay, maybe I’m getting carried away. I’m just so excited. I don’t care at this moment what anyone’s politics are… I know, I know, I should because I’m not voting for Barrack Obama because he’s black… I’m voting for him because of my own ethics and morals and values that lead me to that choice. I’m not voting for McCain because Palin’s on the ticket. And you should be happy that for me it’s still about the issues… and the best person for the job (in my humble opinion) just happens to be African-American.

I’m filled with hope that we’re coming to a time when a person’s gender or race or–God, I hope some day this comes true–sexuality plays a role in their ability to do a job. I am filled with hope that we’ve reached a time when people can begin to look beyond a person’s exterior to view the candidates by their own merit. It’s a small step, true, but it’s a step nonetheless and I will not overlook the greatness of this moment.

Now. All we need next is an openly gay Jewish man with a life partner and three adopted children to be a serious president candidate… ;)

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25 thoughts on “A landmark year

  1. I think McCain picking her as his running mate is an insult. I’m insulted as a woman that he chose someone completely unqualified to be a VP as his running mate just to try and get the female vote. This woman is completely unqualified. She was the mayor of a small Alaska town, and has only been the Governor of Alaska for 14 months. To me, this is a desperate move from the McCain camp. He’s just using Sarah Palin.

  2. Yes, but the conservatives are shouting, constantly, that Obama is unqualified because he hasnt been in the Senate too long.I really am not insulted. I dont think she’s wholly unqualified. I’m listening to both sides. She sounds very intelligent. I wouldnt undercut that lack of experience. (Again, because one can throw that at Obama.)

  3. to further the point.. What made Hillary more qualified? One term in the senate? To use her husband’s accomplishments as her own is a bit of a stretch and not very feministic in thought. I think the republican argument deals more with foreign policy experience and judgment than with cumulative years in any particular office. Which is the obvious question to ask since that is one John McCain’s strengths. He understands the dynamics involved. Whether or not you believe he makes the right decisions, the fact remains he has been right about what would happen in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Georgia.Sure Sarah Palin has the added advantage of bringing in a small percentage of Hillary supporters, but she also fits with John McCain because she has proven that she isn’t afraid to go against her own party (as has John McCain). Obama and Binden….ah ..not so much.peace

  4. Exactly… and really, let’s think about this… How can being in the Senate–or any branch of government–for <>any<> amount of years equal the experience of being the president? I am sure no one fully understands what that job position entails until they are smacked right in the middle of it. It’s one thing to sit in a room with hundreds of other politicians and propose bills and such, and a completely different thing to becoming the Chief Executive.How many times have you (anyone here reading) started a job that was similar to what you were doing previously where you thought you would know exactly what you were doing when you got there, only to learn the job had more caveats than you could even have anticipated? This has happened to me quite often as I switched from Technical Writer to Software Support Representative to Quality Assurance Analyst. You could say I had the experience and qualifications for anyone one of those jobs when I started, but I still had to really learn the position while I was starting to actually DO the position.I am sure that’s what it’s like to be president. Because I’ve succeeded when challenged this way, I’m sure any one of these people–who are really newbies as none of them have been president yet–will have to learn the job on the job. So, really, no one has the required experience for this position… plain and simple… The only ones who do are those who have already done it. Like if Obama had Al Gore on the ticket. Then you could say, “Hey, there’s a guy who has been VP so he has had the experience.”

  5. McCain not afraid to go against his party? That would explain why he’s kissing ass to Bush and showing that the “straight talk express” guy is a fraud. He’s hugging Bush at every opportunity and promising to continue his legacy.

  6. Taken from a friend’s blog:McCain’s selection of Palin is opportunistic, disingenuous, cynical, and an egregious insult to women in that it suggests women are: A) interchangeable; B) monolithic; and C) too unsophisticated to cast a vote based on issues.Also for the record: Water is wet.

  7. Insanity reveals itself. None of the candidates are frauds. It is nice to make a list of things that would be an insult to women, but please explain how those items relate to Sarah Palin. What is the logic that separates it from Obama’s decision to not pick Hillary Clinton? Is it because this woman doesn’t share the same political philosophy as you? If Sarah Palin brings in votes (or if McCain feels she can help him win an election) isn’t that a credit to her? How does her success become an insult to women? Show me the logic. It seems like your hope is not more women in politics. Your hope is for more women that think like you in politics. Once you make that separation you lose your ability to speak abstractly. Just be honest with yourself. The point is that you don’t have to vote for Sarah Palin, but you shouldn’t be insulted by her nomination.

  8. Palin’s nomination is an insult in that it tugs on the heartstrings of people who were hungry for a woman to hold the office but felt disappointed by Hillary’s loss. These tried-and-true Democrats are even considering not voting for Obama because of it. They feel that the Obama people “stole” it from her/them.This is an absurd idea, since Hillary tried every trick in the book and it was her own lack of planning due to her own sense of entitlement that probably facilitated her loss. Still, I can understand why people are hungry for the glass ceiling to break. But in this election, a lot is at stake. Global warming, an insidious war in the Middle East, the US teetering on losing its standing in the world due to financial mis-management, etc. Obama has much more experience than Palin as far as I can tell, and just the fact that he worked his way up to the nomination and didn’t get it handed to him is a big factor in my mind.So “insanity reveals itself”? Fancy words, but where is the meaning?

  9. I think if we all look at the issues and the candidates- (regardless of sex or race)and judge whether they can do the job, it does not matter what type of strategy went behind the choice for office (unless of course, it was unfair). The real issue is that many folks don’t investigate issues or candidate qualities, they often act from assumptions. I think as a country, this is our greater risk. We need to be informed, before pushing the lever.And I agree that we will be truly experiencing history in this election. Peaks my interest.

  10. Well, I must be a simpleton or a dullard and not the feminist I think I am, for I was not insulted by McCain’s VP choice in the very least. She sounds articulate, intelligent, and like she actually holds to the values she believes. Plus, she is a bit of a maverick herself, having gone against her own party to stop corruption.Um, does that mean I will vote for her? No. Those values she holds strongly to do not align with my own. However, I am allowed to admire someone with whom I do not agree. It is refreshing to me to see a Republican woman who isnt that horrible loud-mouthed shock-pundit, Ann Coulter (whom I find an insipid woman).I personally think she was a good choice. I was actually surprised that McCain would go the route of a woman (even though my coworker kept theorizing that Condi Rice would be asked because he thought the Repubs would love to lay a double-wammy to trump the Dems).Either way, I’m never insulted when an intelligent woman is selected for a position. Even if I dont agree with her.Maybe I’m not really a feminist, after all. Oh well.(But I think I am so there! :P)

  11. Insanity reveals itself because you think that you are smarter than most people. You have no faith in the intelligence of others. You believe that Obama is going to lose votes because women are going to vote for McCain. If a campaign is being held together but heart stings so easily pulled then maybe that is the real problem. The white male stereotype of the Republican Party was just cracked slightly and all you want to do is sulk about it. If you are a true liberal you should be rejoicing.

  12. Concerning Hillary’s experience, she may only have one term in the senate, but she’s been involved with politics, even if only on the sideline participating in campaigns, since she was a teenager, before she met that Bill Clinton character. I would imagine one learns a thing or two about politics that way.Concerning the fact that McCain picked a woman for his vice presidential candidate is on one hand exciting, but on the other hand given the timing just leaves a sour taste in my mouth – I can’t help but feel cynical about it. And as historical as this is, it’s not like it’s the first time a woman has been picked as a vice presidential candidate, so that lessens the “wow” factor for me, too. What worries me about any vice presidential candidate – male or female, democrat or republican – is when they’re on tape only a few months prior to their appointment asking what exactly it is that the vice president does and if it will be a “fruitful” position for their home state. When you’re president or vice president, you should be concerned about ALL the states, not just your home one.

  13. Di… but what <>does<> a vice president do? I havent a clue. I just think they’re kind of in the background… What has Cheney been doing all this time, for that matter? Does anyone know what Dan Quail did, except bumble a lot of words unintelligently?My view of what the VP does is stand in the background, ready to be president, if the current one dies. Now, I am sure the VP does a lot. Anyone out there who payed attention in government class like I didn’t (and I took it in a quick summer school session) could probably tell you…I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate here. I think the media finds nasty sound bites about everyone, and I personally dont take much stock in them. I’m more anxious to see how Palin does in the debates… And, for that matter, how McCain and Obama do. That provides fodder for blunders I can see with my own eyes and not out of context and presented to me through the media.(I think the media just grabs onto whatever outrageous thing they can find–they are neither right wing or left wing. They are out to sell themselves, and they will drudge up whatever dirt they can find to make someone look bad.)

  14. Well, here are her remarks in context for you to be the judge of! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oro2Yh9HoEM As I said in my previous comment, I got the impression that she has Alaska-blinders on. Again, I want the President and VP to have the whole country’s interests at heart. If she was in contention for the VP slot and she knew she was in contention for the VP slot and was seriously considering it, wouldn’t it make sense to do some homework herself to find out what all is involved instead of asking others to tell her what’s involved? I’m in the camp that’s thinking, “Hmmmm, she’s only been the governor of Alaska, one of the lesser-populated states, for a short time, can she really run the country if need be?” Comments like the one she made in this interview don’t reassure me that she’s ready for the position. Most people don’t take on a new job – especially a life-altering job – without doing some sort of research behind it. She may have thought she was being coy and clever when she made that quip, but as a voter it just makes me nervous.

  15. Di, I hear ya… But then, again, this morning, I heard yet another reference to Obama’s mistake of saying “57 states” and that was months ago and probably just a slip of the tongue. But no, people are making all kinds of dumb references to it, like how there are 57 Islamic states, and–oh my gad *exagerated*–what does that mean? Is he going to help those damned Muslims when he gets into power? (Oh, the travesty! *sarcastic*)So, I’m just saying… you cant just trust any of these media sound bites of anything… I’m so glad I’m not in politics cuz god only knows what people would dig up about me… All the times I put my foot in my mouth… drunken college pictures (some of which you have)… ugh… quetionable alliances with people…

  16. Well, “Anonymous”,I am not sure where to begin to unpack the string of illogical conclusions you have reached. Let’s start with a couple, and I’ll leave the rest due to time constraints:You seem to think you know an awful lot about what I’m thinking and feeling, and yet complaining that I think I am “smarter than most people.” That’s what we usually call “hypocrisy.” You might want to check your own assumptions and work on forming a coherent argument rather than spouting.Your argument boils down to: You think you know what I am thinking which you assume means that I think I am smarter than most people (and you haven’t given reasons for supporting that argument) which somehow translates into a charge of “insanity”! Wow. And the “insanity reveals itself” line was something you wrote in response to a comment that McCain has changed his approach and platform to be more like Bush. I wasn’t even talking about Palin at that point. Let’s stay on topic, shall we?

  17. Woa, doggies. Let’s not get so angry here on my blog… let’s take deep, clensing breathes… in, out, in, out… that’s right.Remember, when I started this entry, I said “her politics aside” meaning that I was just saying it was great that we had two potential changes in the structure of the white male-only politics of the past. I told you all that I didn’t want to have a debate over her politics…

  18. By the way, I think Anonymous made some very good points, particularly in pointing out that the reason liberal women are taking insult to McCain’s selection has more to do with the fact that it is a woman with whom they do not agree (so therefore she is unqualified).I found Hillary Clinton to be an insult to feminism and refused to see her as such. I have never gotten anything by flying off the coattails of a husband/lover/etc.’s coattails, nor have I wanted to. A true feminist works from the ground up and breaks new ground on her own merit and skills. Without a man. Finds a way to work within the man’s world. And, yes, even without submerging her feminity to fit in (which has been suggested as what I think a woman should). No, you should be able to retain your personality and characteristics as a female, yet still manage to push yourself through a male-dominated environment.Unfortunately, along the way you have shut out the male voices who are judging you by means other than your intelligence (ie, how she looks, which something the world never judges men by).

  19. It is a myth that somehow women are being held back by men. It is the easy cheap shot to blame men, but in my experience it is a whole society issue. It is not like all the women are on one side and men are on the other. More women will judge your looks than men–And women will be less forgiving.Not saying that men are innocent of all charges here. Men are in power and people tend to promote people who think and act like them, so it is not a surprise that men in power naturally see qualities in other men they want to promote.But the opporession of women is a whole societal problem, and is not the fault of just men. As a man, I am sick of hearing it.

  20. I’m not saying we’re oppressed. I’m just saying that we’re often held to different standards than men often are, even, yes, by women themselves (some of whom are oppressed for real).I’m just sensitive to being treated differently than a man… It always bothers me on some level… I like to hang with the guys and be treated as one of them. Though, I guess, sometimes that’s annoying when they get too comfortable and start talking like guys around you. Then, you just get disgusted with men.So I dont know. The genders are different, that’s for sure. But not in intelligence or ability (only by the individual).

  21. <>But no, people are making all kinds of dumb references to it, like how there are 57 Islamic states<>Well, duh, he was REALLY referring to “Heinz 57.” It all comes back to Teresa Heinz Kerry.

  22. The logic is simple. You think that women that were previously voting for Obama are now going to vote for McCain because he has a female VP. You are assuming that these women are only compelled by Sarah Palin BEING a women and not her intelligence. I assume this because you have said she is unqualified. In your opinion, large amounts of people are going to be tricked. However, you are not among them. Can’t this argument then be simplified down to your belief that large portions of the population (in this case, women) are not as smart as you? I personally have confidence in the intelligence of people and women. Further, I don’t know if anyone noticed, but Obama is black. Shouldn’t you also be upset that black people are voting for him for that reason? Or that racists won’t vote for him? Consistency is important. Trying to simplify a problem that has thousands of variables by one variable when it is convenient for your hypothesis is a terrible approach.Furthermore, your hypothesis assumes that the majority of these women had already completly decided which candidate they were going to vote for. I think this is also a big assumption since it was so easy for them to change their mind. If you are a Obama supporter and you believe Frank’s conclusion is accurate then you really ought be concerned with why your candidate hasn’t connected enough. If these supporters are so easily persuaded then they were never really 100% from the beginning. That is the real problem.

  23. Anonymous,I think this discussion would be best served if you would address the issues I actually brought up rather than spend so much time assuming you know what I’m thinking and assuming you know what my hypothesis is. It would be more respectful if you did. I do think McCain’s strategy in picking Palin is a calculated move designed to bring an emotional response from people disgruntled over Hillary’s loss, and I have said that.Republican campaign strategy is designed (on purpose) to reach people on a primitive, gutteral level. Just do some research on Rove’s strategies and such and you may find out the same thing. Republican strategy in recent years is intentionally designed to play to peoples’ fears and basic emotional responses rather than issues–THEY are the ones who don’t respect the intelligence of the American people by attempting to win them over through these kinds of approaches rather than issues. I think a person would have to be hiding in a cave not to see that recent presidential elections have been more about personality than issues. Or maybe you’ve never seen what a true issues-based election actually looks like? Does that mean McCain thinks he is smarter than most people? By your logic, it seems to be the case…You wrote:<>Furthermore, your hypothesis assumes that the majority of these women had already completly decided which candidate they were going to vote for. <>Actually, my “hypothesis” assumes nothing about what the majority of women are doing. I would appreciate if you could give me a direct quote of what I said that gave you this false impression.You wrote: <> I assume this because you have said she is unqualified.<>Again, where did I say she was unqualified? I’d like a direct quote for this, too. Thanks.You wrote:<>You believe that Obama is going to lose votes because women are going to vote for McCain.<>Uh…. I never said that <>women<> are the ones who are going to be affected by the nominaion of Palin. I said “people.” But you are right in one respect: If people vote for McCain, then that is definitely a loss of votes for Obama. Hey, at least we agree on that!Be careful, I actually read what you write, and you are stepping all over yourself with your own words!

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