Dear Sisters (and I mean all you gals out there--no matter how old you are or what party you belong to, whether you work or stay home and care for your children, whether you live in the heart of our country or are flung on the farthest coast),
Even though we all know that women's votes have been important since we got the right to vote nationally in 1920, this year it's suddenly news, spin, or at least a media cycle--that women matter. Our votes matter. Didn't we matter before? Let's just say this year women have become extremely visible, and politicians in both parties and of both sexes have worked the female demographic particularly--Hillary when she finally embraced her womanhood after she discovered that by doing so she could lay claim to a sizable segment of women voters, and McCain after Hillary lost to Obama. Some of Hillary's supporters were fit to be tied and McCain wanted them to think that as their "man" he could be tied into pro-woman submission. McCain took his opportunity since these women had been encouraged to rage against Obama, who was actually the one with real credibility for being on the side of American females.
Most of these women have seen through McCain's act. God help the ones who haven't. Ladies, don't let McCain try to snuggle up and fool you. He may not always have been The Great Pretender, but face it, he is now. Although it's the nature of politics for politicians to manipulate the truth as well as the voters, McCain's skullduggery--though marvelous in its twistedness--will deliver a bomb after the election. If it weren't such a hard and terrible time in our country's history, if the American public hadn't been the target of untold political corruption, machinations, and greed over the last terrible eight years, this election might not be so extraordinarily crucial.
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the Republican Congress, and the Democrats who went along with them have nearly killed us, and make no mistake: John McCain has been a rip-roaring part of the downfall. Our country is still heaving from the disastrous results of Republican attitudes and policies, like in the current economic crisis that is yet-another wake-up call of how this Bush administration leadership has almost done us and our families in. Check out Naomi Klein's (a sister who actually predicted this) The Shock Doctrine and take note of where we citizens are likely headed if we don't vigilantly stand up now to protect ourselves--the future for your children and mine.
Let us be clear about what the Bush years have wrought us. Let us be clear that John McCain will give us more of the same. Don't forget, ladies, when you're sipping cocktails or coffee, remember:
1. We are less safe from terrorism than we were before 9/11. George W. and his Neo-Con buddies have creamed their own country and the rest of the world with the Iraq War. More terrorists have been bred. More have learned to hate the USA. More than 4,000 American men and women have tragically lost their lives, not to mention thousands and thousands of Iraqis--men, women, and children--with another 2 million Iraqi refugees who have fled their country as well as 2.5 million Iraqi who are displaced within it. What has it cost us, financially and in every other way, that the Bush Administration lied to its own citizenry and the world to engage in a war that shouldn't have happened? And who is making their fortunes in Iraq?
2. Our democracy has almost been destroyed with this administration's machinations to take it down so they could wield totalitarian control. Among other shameful acts is signing up to torture. John McCain may be a war hero, but he doomed young American soldiers by being in favor of torture--and after he was tortured himself. (Would you want this to be your son or daughter?) With this--with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and extraordinary renditions--we have not only doomed our own soldiers, we have lost the world's respect, which is a common theme throughout this administration. John McCain opposed expanding the G.I. bill and then, cynically, took credit for it. His non-support of our servicemen and women is a disgrace, while he claims double indemnity for his heroism.
3. The poor are getting poorer. It's getting harder to put food in your children's mouths. The cost of gas has gone up 400%. The cost of health care is terrorizing and the lack of insurance is demoralizing. Many Americans have lost their homes while Wall Streeters have been enriched. We all already know: the whole economy is in a shambles. What a joke! McCain and his fellow Republicans are Capitol Hill. They've made this national mess what it is today. The little guys and gals and families will never benefit under their reign. Rich guys will get richer, and corporate America will profit.
Ladies, we women voters are in the crosshairs. But don't forget that McCain is a crotchety old man, a chauvinist, who traded in one damaged wife for a younger and richer model. (And where was the The New York Times or The National Enquirer when McCain' lobbyist friend got a free pass from an investigation about what their relationship actually was.) McCain doesn't understand women or our issues. He--not Obama--is the elitest with millions of dollars and mounds of cars. He has made his own village of houses.
If you are attracted to Sarah Palin and her energy, fine. No problem. But McCain didn't choose the hot governor because of his enlightenment toward the female gender or because of her intelligence or readiness to face the fiascos out of which our country must dig ourselves. (Otherwise, he would feel confident and comfortable about her speaking to the press.) He chose her because his campaign was sagging, and he was willing to bet that she would sex it up. When he had no appeal and Obama was pumping up the country with his, McCain chose her because he was desperate. Now, sisters, I'm not saying she's not intelligent, but let's just lay it on the table. The old guard has gone postal with political risk. McCain is counting on himself to not die in office, because it's obvious from his and her interviews and how they're handling her that he doesn't think she's prepared to speak to reporters much less lead on this scale.
And, Hillary, where are you on this touchy female issue? I can see why you don't want to go up against Palin, although I find it disappointing. You could wax Palin with your knowledge and skill, but she might wax you with her native crowd magnetism. I suspect you also don't want to piss off your female base. But let's get beyond labels here, sexist or any other, and compete on equal terms. What we've got here is: your brains vs. Sarah's dominatrix heat. But you could make a bigger difference in this campaign.
Dear Hillary supporters who are voting for McCain,
Of course, it is your decision. But if you vote for McCain/Palin, you will disavow every single thing for which Hillary's campaign was supposed to have stood. You will be hurting yourself and every other woman in this country and those abroad. Hillary was against Obama, because he was her competitor. She wanted the victory. You wanted the victory. But that didn't happen. It's time to suck it up and move on. Do the right thing for your gender now.
And, ladies, if you connect to Sarah Palin, that's dandy. Send her a friendly email. Tell her you admire her guts and that you hope Alaska doesn't melt from global warming, that her child's hockey team wins, and that her struggles with her Down's Syndrome child will work out fine. But please don't vote for the Republican ticket and John McCain because she is on it. We have too much at stake. There are too many dire consequences for women.
Pass it on.
Update: Whoa, McCain wants to cancel his first debate with Obama as well as the vice-presidential debate. Clearly, this is stalling for time--because of the embarrassing financial crisis that has come home to roost on Republican shoulders--for McCain. Oh, and for Palin, they're dying to push back the vice-presidential debate as well. Stall, stall, stall to give her more prep so she can try and catch up. No way.
Beth Arnold lives and writes in Paris. To check out more of her work, go to www.betharnold.com.
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