For the first time since she has been in the public spotlight, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was able to talk her way into an issue that really resonated with the masses. I watched her interview with Today Show's Matt Lauer. She rambled on in her usual Palinesque I don't really make any sense I am just talking style. Like a "Bridge to Nowhere," she shocked me when she began to make sense about her problem with David Letterman attacking her daughters. Alas she was right! After one very stupid mocked apology, Letterman finally felt the heat and said sorry. And, of course true to her usual incoherent ways, she accepts his apology adding some disconnected statement at the end about men and women in the military and free speech. Oy, go figure!
While this battle raged between Palin and Letterman, it was a joy to watch women pundits from the left struggle to not go too far into Palin's court. They agreed Letterman was gravely wrong referring to a sexual act of A-Rod knocking up one of the Governor's daughters. However, liberal lady pundits quickly cited she was using this issue as a publicity stunt. They said things such as "Palin should know when she put her children in the spotlight this type of thing could happen" or "she is exploiting her children." Some horrifically agreed Palin should understand that this was just a joke! Wow, what a painful position to put oneself into avoid taking Palin's side on an issue that is cut and dry when it comes to women exploitation. Was this not being Catty?
The truth is mothers and the NOW organization and not Palin pushed this issue into Letterman's face for the apology. Otherwise, I really believe if groups like these did not come to the forefront, Letterman would have moved on without skipping a beat. I can only imagine the meeting NOW's leadership had in the office or via conference call discussing the strategy for putting out a statement reacting to Letterman's comments without appearing to be too close to Palin. I am sure many feminists cringed at the idea of being on the same side as the Republican Party's Right Winged Wonder Woman.
Women leaders were delayed in their response to Palin and many remained silent knowing that this is an issue women must unite on, but gosh why does it have to be Sarah Palin who brings it? Ladies from the feminist movement, Sarah Palin is not going away. Whether you like her or not, she is here to stay. So, whether you think or believe she should try and crack open a book about American and World History and perhaps do some real studying to at least give the impression she has intellectual prowess, she like the Ever Ready Bunny will keep going, going, going and going. Tina Brown, she is not going to shut up!
Deeper than Sarah Palin, women must be committed to speaking out immediately when someone goes too far over the line and says something that is offensive to women. We should not review the messenger and deliberate on who she is, her political position or even how smart she is, but rather how the message impacts us all. One thing I will say that when it comes to issues of race, African Americans do not have this problem at all.
When former WFAN/MSNBC television aired radio shock jock Don Imus referred to the Rutgers University basketball team; mostly African American women as "nappy headed hoes." Not even an hour past his show ended that day African Americans pounced all over Imus and MSNBC. Revs. Sharpton and Jackson (both whom many black folks are sharply divided about), called for Imus' dismissal. African Americans went on a national tirade calling Imus a hardcore racist. Suffice to say Imus was fired. He met with the Rutgers team and apologized for his remarks saying his comments were "insensitive and ill conceived." Although Imus has made a "comeback" on WABC radio, he paid a price for going way too far.
David Letterman won't pay any real price for his remarks about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin dressing like a slutty airline stewardess. His sorry was enough and women will accept it. It appears a number of women find it more fun to attack Sarah Palin's non-sensical comments and her agenda rather than making sure comments like Letterman are checked and acted upon.
I am not a Sarah Palin fan and I believe when the time comes (towards 2012), the group who will try and snatch Palin out of the spotlight, discredit and burn her politically will be her own Republican Party -- a group of chubby old white men who want the titular head of the party to be one of them.
Nevertheless, in the future, women ought to step it up more quickly on these types of issues and unite against statements that demean us no matter who says it or brings it to our attention.