I admit that while watching Sarah Palin in action at the Republican convention, I was mesmerized. On the surface, it seemed that she actually was a strong, positive, female role model. She reminded of some of the best characteristics of the powerful women in my own life. Palin has it all — and she has it all at once. I found my woman-self feeling proud and impressed.
But when I listened to Palin speak on the radio, without being bombarded by visuals, I was jolted back to my senses and was reminded of something I, and every other progressive American woman knows well: that the media image of this would-be-maverick, tough-girl reformer was all style over substance.
Sarah Palin may be the only person in America who believes that George W. Bush is a wimp. She doesn’t represent 4 more years of his failed policies, she would move us so much farther to the right, that we might just fall off the edge of her flat earth, which is not warming due to human activity or the fossil fuel economy, but was created in 7 days; after Alaska seceded from the Union; abortion was outlawed; everyone abstained from sex, but still gets pregnant; Dwight Eisenhower was a founding father; Jesus had no actual responsibilities; Hillary supporters voted McCain/Palin and the polar bear lived happily ever after.
As a long-time advocate of women’s issues, I have concluded that you can judge any society, organization, government, religion or person by the way they treat their women. And any such group or individual who would deny a woman the fundamental right to choose safe and legal abortion, is at base, simply attempting to control women and strip them of their personal autonomy and dignity.
Anti-choice executive, Sarah Palin is advocating a position more retro-grade than any our nation has ever seen. Yes she wants reform, but any change she seeks on the issue will hurl women backwards in time and erase the hard-fought gains of the feminist movement since Palin doesn’t even believe in allowing abortion for victims of rape or incest.
I know from vast, personal and political experience in the trenches on the abortion issue that “Feminists for Life,” a group in which Palin claims membership, is an extremist group and certainly not the people that American women and families want making national policy on the abortion issue. Palin thinks so highly of zygotes, that she wants them to have more rights than those of us who came successfully through the birthing process and developed into self-actualized women.
Palin supports “Abstinence Education,” in which the curriculum is: “Just say ‘No’ to sex.” While any concerned parent might hope abstinence is the path chosen by their teenager — the abstinence-only sex ed curriculum does not educate young people to make informed choices about how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, in situations where they do not abstain from sexual activity.
Palin’s 17 year old daughter is living proof of the fact that abstinence-only education does not prevent pregnancy and it doesn’t work as a public policy. In order to believe that abstinence ed is anything but a failed concept, Palin would have to believe that her daughter did abstain from sex and still got pregnant. Uh, didn’t that happen about 2008 years ago to a woman named Mary?
The truth is, when uneducated young people engage in sexual activity, without protection, there are adverse consequences that reverberate throughout their lives and the lives of children and family.
Her daughter’s pregnancy is a private, family matter according to Palin and her handlers. That’s what abortion rights advocates have been saying for decades, but apparently we haven’t convinced Palin. Her daughter’s pregnancy may be a private matter, but Palin’s approach to sex ed is not — especially when she is asking to lead our country and wants to inflict her stone-age policies on our children.
Climate Change and Endangered Species
The International Panel on Climate Change, the world’s scientific authority on climate change, has concluded that climate change is caused by human activity on the earth. Sarah Palin, a nemesis to environmentalists, has said, “I’m not one though who would attribute it [global warming] to being man-made,” She’s out of step with other Evangelicals on this issue. Even John McCain believes that people are causing global warming.
In the face of a fossil fuel economy that is driving us to war, destroying our environment, exacerbating global warming and jeopardizing our national security, all that Palin can say is “Drill, drill, drill.”
And she doesn’t want those pesky polar bears in her way of her insatiable search for oil. That’s probably why she helped Alaska sue the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from its endangered species list. The charismatic polar bear is swimming until it drowns in warming, rising waters, exacerbated by global warming, driven by the fossil fuel economy.
Palin’s disrespect for science does not stop with the denial of the biggest climate emergency humanity has ever faced, and ignoring the threats to endangered species, it extends to her desire to dumb-down our children with “Creationism,” which belongs in Bible school, not public school.
Her respect for other forms of wildlife is dubious at best as she reportedly advocates helicopter hunting in which the hunter pursues the hunted to exhaustion in a helicopter and then kills them. Oh wait, Alaska says they are not “hunting” wolves and bears from helicopters, they are “managing” them. I don’t think that makes them any less dead.
The Pledge of Allegiance and Country First
When asked in a 2006 Alaska Eagle Forum questionnaire, “Are you offended by the phrase ‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance,” she replied, “Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.”
The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892, long after the time of our founding fathers. Bellamy’s original Pledge read, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill amending the Pledge of Allegiance to include the phrase “under God,” on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.
An advocate of “Country First,” Palin and her husband Tood have reportedly dabbled in secessionist politics. Does she really want Alaska to form its own country? It’s alright with me as long as she stays in Alaska — but which country is it that is supposed to come first?
The Best-Ever Community Organizer
During the Republican Convention Sarah Palin said, “Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.”
You would think that a “reformer” and major Jesus freak such as Palin would recognize that J.C. was one of the most effective community organizers to ever live and not take such a condescending tone toward those unmoved prime movers of reform — the grassroots political organizers — like her opponent Barak Obama.
Ms. Christian, whom we’ve already discovered is no student of history, probably doesn’t see the irony in the fact that the dude who tried Jesus and presided over his crucifixion, Pontius Pilate, was a Governor.
Hillary Voters Going for McCain/Palin — Are You Kidding Me?
To those in the media who keep asking whether Palin will attract disaffected Hillary voters, and to John McCain for his cynical hope of manipulating women voters I say: Sarah Palin, you are no Hillary Clinton. Women voters understand the profound differences. Implications to the contrary are insulting. And Sarah is indeed Palin by comparison.
KARYN STRICKLER is a writer and political organizer living outside of Washington, DC. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Copyright KARYN STRICKLER 2008.