Since Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain's running mate, I've had a pit in my stomach. McCain's gimmicky choice was an obvious attempt to outdo what the Democrats had accomplished in the primaries, that is, by setting historical precedent by narrowing the candidates down to a woman and a black man. McCain's hope was clearly to sway the undecided former Hillary voters to his side by injecting femininity into his campaign.
Although I had initially thought that his plan would fail, it seems that some women, hell-bent on getting a woman into one of the top spots in politics, are pushing Palin's beliefs to the side. The fact is, Sarah Palin is the polar opposite of Hillary Clinton; her views on foreign policy, abortion, education, and the economy couldn't be more different.
Fortunately, for every woman who will blindly vote for the McCain/Palin ticket in the hopes of securing a place for women in the White House, two more are speaking out against Sarah Palin.
On September 3, 2008, two New York women sent an e-mail to their friends (who sent it their friends, and so on). The e-mail called on American women to fight back against Palin:
First and foremost, Ms. Palin does not represent us. She does not demonstrate or uphold our interests as American women. It is presumed that the inclusion of a woman on the Republican ticket could win over women voters. We want to disagree, publicly.
That one e-mail has made it around the world and back, and inspired its authors, Quinn L. and Lyra K. of New York, to start a blog to record responses and share the thoughts of women worldwide. Reflecting upon the number of responses which have poured in thus far, the authors remarked:
As the hundreds of responses above show, Sarah Palin does not represent American women. Her policies fly in the face of everything our mothers and grandmothers have fought for. While some of us may relate to her trials as a mother, we refuse to accept Hallmark tales as a substitute for real political qualifications.
In a recent comment to the New York Times, Alaska delegate Bill Noll had this to say about Sarah Palin and her recent family turbulence: "If this doesn't resonate with every woman in America, I'll eat my hat."
Dear Bill, get ready to eat your hat.
The responses have truly been inspiring and demonstrate that, despite the fact that Palin's struggles resonate with many American women, her politics do not. One 82-year-old Missouri resident responded:
I am an artist who works alone but am a resident of rural Mississippi delta land who is dedicated to community service for the enrichment of lives through the arts. I am 82 years old, and have been such a member of this community for 53 of them. My mother, a North Carolinian, and my grandmother, a Virginian, were both college graduates who devoted their lives to their families and to bettering their fellow citizens. We are environmentally aware and a part of our natural surroundings. But we are "on the internet" and standing for enlightenment and dead set against the likes of Sarah Palin. Thank you for your efforts to consolidate our single voices into a chorus.
A Pennsylvania woman who spent 15 years working as a community organizer takes a stand against Palin's statements about Barack Obama's experience as such:
I can hardly begin to express the depth of my anger at hearing Ms. Palin denigrate the many community organizers I worked with and proudly call my friends. Community Organizers make the world a better place, doing God's work day in and day out, night after night. To hear that convention audience laugh in response to her snide remarks really pissed me off. I didn't realize just how steamed I was until a dear friend (another longtime community activist) sent me an e-mail with this message: Jesus was a Community Organizer. Pontius Pilate was a Governor.
This Missouri woman is surprised at how little Palin respects the women who paved the way for her:
What is remarkable to me about Sarah Palin is that she seems to have no awareness that feminists of previous generations are what have made it possible for her to present her unwed, pregnant daughter without any public shame. As few as thirty years ago, Bristol would have been shipped off to have her baby in private and the child would have been put up for adoption. Because of Roe v. Wade feminists, unmarried women can now have children free from the shame of previous generations. Every generation of feminists has a burden or hurdle to overcome. Seventeen years ago Susan Faludi coined the term "backlash", but at this moment we are experiencing something infinitely worse: it's more like "whiplash". The powerful discrepancy between the image of a woman and what that woman represents is going to result in a dangerous election for all women.
Finally, one Vermont woman's cry against Palin represents succinctly what many women are feeling:
Women! Think! Speak out! Talk with each other! Share the facts about Palin's term as mayor of a tiny city; extrapolate her incompetency at that level to the national and international level. Get out the vote. This is the most important election in many years. Keep Palin out of the White House. Yes, she's a woman, but she's unqualified and pig-headed.
To respond to the Women Against Sarah Palin blog, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Jillian York on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jilliancyork