Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why We Get Sarah Palin

The McCain ticket, as well as America's incessantly shrill and one-note corporate media, wanted us to believe Sarah Palin was there to bring women to their side. You know, make Hillary supporters believe Oh look, she's one of us. She's wearing...a skirt. To get us to vote Female First, issues and intelligence and demonstratable ability and country last. Vote with our vaginas, as if our vaginas weren't beyond exhausted as it is.

Seriously, with all the laundry and coq au vin family suppers and spontaneous acts of complex multi-tasking our nifty anatomical regions must perform on a daily basis, how ever do they find time to cast a deciding vote? Oh so that's where the term ballot box comes from! 
But wait, once again, I digress. 
For six, seven weeks—although, dear reader, it feels like 107—everyone propped up Sarah Palin as if she were the crimson-clad answer to all things womanized. Even Geraldine Ferraro, whom I used to respect, acted as if Palin deserved extra girl credit simply for being utterly X instead of nasty old Y. Gravelly-voiced newscasters trumpeted how wonderful it is that someone from tiny Wasilla could shatter our eternal glass ceiling. My husband turned to me in utter horror after the VP debate saying 'Will women honestly fall for that?' because even an intelligent man such as he was wondering if the pundits were right, and there's some sort of female gender switch which automatically ignites, requiring we vote for the one most 'like' us, regardless if she's completely unqualified, against every ideal we espouse, dangerously inept and incurious, strangely arrogant and oddly over-confident, miraculously uninformed and stupendously dangerous for our democracy. 
And to my husband I screamed a mighty No! Only women who are (all those words above) would vote for her! 
And then, friend, I got angry. And I've been growing steadily more angry ever since. 
This Governor wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. This Governor would enforce a Constitutional Amendment on gay marriage. This Governor wasn't simply into banning books, she was into pulling books off library shelves with her own evangelical hands.  This Governor believes she is on a mission from God and this God can pray the gay right out of you. And 'win' Iraq. She doesn't believe climate change is man-made, but she does believe in Armageddon. She doesn't believe in sex education unless it's abstinence-only, but she does believe in making rape victims pay for their own rape kits. 
She has opposed clean water regulation and has approved legislation allowing oil and gas companies to nearly triple the amount of toxic waste they can dump into Alaska waters. She loves earmarks as much as she loves aw-shucks folkisms, believes creationism should be taught in every school in America, believes in unlimited off-shore drilling, thinks slaughtering wolves and soon bears from on high is not simply good clean fun, but a God-given right, too. 
She believes in cronyism and nepotism but more than anything, anything, she believes in what got her where she is in the first place, and that's the last refuge of the female scoundrel: The Almighty Wink. Winking at cameras and crowds and world leaders as if she's....she's....gosh darnit, the second-prettiest lady in Alaska. Winking as if that, forget the nod, can make all sins wash away in the night.
But see this is where my anger ends. And my chromosomes stand up and applaud. 
Because women, regardless of our political affiliation, regardless how far left or right we are, know the shallows that lie beneath a lady who winketh. And last week, as her numbers plummeted, I was proved right. See, we know she's part Mean Girl we knew in high school and part Human Being Who Doesn't Deserve These Heights. We understand her wink-ness is a way of deflecting any sort of intelligent response, of leveling the playing field to something truly subterranean. She can't answer the question, so she bats it away with an eyelash. She squeals Gosh and Darn and because it worked for Bush, perhaps it will work for her. She uses mascara, liner and shadow like they're the Holy Trinity of Vanity, projecting the humble unity of 'we're all in this together don'tchaknow.' As well as 'See how easy breezy this whole running the United States thing really is?
But we see it and we're embarrassed. Not embarrassed because she's a woman but embarrassed that anyone believes she represents us, as Americans. As thinking individuals who care desperately about the direction this country takes. 
And it turns out, as it always turns out, her biggest appeal isn't to women and never has been. As it turns out, her biggest appeal is to—ta da—men.  
Men in trucker hats and baseball hats turned backwards and inside out, men who think Barefoot and Pregnant is the name of a sweet new cologne (Man where can I buy me some?) men who yell 'You tell 'em baby' at rallies and wear buttons proclaiming 'Proud to be voting for a hot chick' and who far, far overuse and misunderstand the word 'dude.' Men, in other words, who think she's winking at them. Because she sure as hell isn't winking at us. 
And that is why, with fingers crossed and hope in my heart, I hold my breath and await Election Day. 
My vagina is voting for Obama/Biden.
I hope yours, no matter how exhausted it may be, is too.


  1. My vagina is wide-open to change. Dropped my ballot off this morning. Feels great! Now it's time to go work on other vaginas. Only 7 more days!

  2. mona mensing11:08 PM

    If I had a vagina it would be open to change too!
    My favorite: " She uses mascara, liner and shadow like they're the Holy Trinity of Vanity..."
    You are so brilliant. I love reading your words. It's like eating at Marios in Vegas, each bite, each word, yummier than the next.
    Have you seen the Obama buttons in Hebrew??