Palin(g) in Comparison
The stupid part of me is glad I had it on record that I thought fearfully of this prospect several days ago, but I'd've been so much happier to be wrong.
I know bubkas about Ms. Palin except what's written in the above-linked article, so I'll have to learn some more. Chances are she's not even that bad. I will probably be killed by many friends for saying this, but I'm not even positive that abortion views are a make-or-break for me. I do support the existence of abortion rights, but on a level I believe to be somewhat more pragmatic than visceral—that is to say, there is something that has always, in spite of everything, felt hollow to me about the "my body, my choice" rhetoric and concept, but I don't believe that we are a society that can function well without women having the right to safe abortions. However, I don't think we're functioning all that well now, either. Nor does Ralph Reed's public endorsement of any individual make me feel hopeful about him *or* her.
I imagine, honestly, that if I do more research on Gov. Palin I will grow to like her. As I liked Mr. McCain eight years ago. Which clearly is exactly what the McCain campaign intended. Nothing against Mr. Biden, of course, but many on the fence, many who were turned off by the vociferousness of the Democratic primary and/or can't forgive Obama's triumph in that primary despite his former opponent's Tuesday night entreaty, will brake for a congenial female politician.
I know that many who share my general political views will be inclined to dismiss Sarah Palin's womanhood because she's conservative and anti-abortion—to say, as many say of Phyllis Schafly or some other such figure, that she's not a real woman, that she's anti-woman. That, in spite of my intense anger and fear, I want to preemptively disown. Sarah Palin is a woman; she is a real woman, although she does not support abortion rights, and probably a good woman, although she supports a huge natural gas pipeline in the North Slope and will quickly prove tremendously destructive to (Mother) Earth. Though I know it's in large part cheap political pandering that pushed Mr. McCain to this point, I have to appreciate the historicity of this election, and Sarah Palin's position as the Republican vice-presidential candidate contributes to that. The fact that a woman whose views are diametrically opposed to those of many who call themselves feminists is, perversely, a triumph of the feminist movement. Just as Barack Obama disagrees vociferously with, say, Clarence Thomas and Colin Powell. There have been enough inroads made in race and gender relations, inroads I am perfectly willing to attribute entirely to the left, that women and people of color can now campaign as individuals with individual views, not only as representatives of their race. It is a triumph, however perverse, to have Ralph Reed wholeheartedly support the ascension of a female politician. You've got to appreciate it. You've got to have the perspective to appreciate it. In part because that distance may come to be the only way to stay sane, but you do.
Last night, watching Barack Obama speak at the DNC, I got it, for the first time. For the first time, I really, viscerally wanted Obama to be president, not because I wanted him to beat McCain or because I wanted the Republicans out of office or because I appreciated how deeply he inspired people and I wanted that inspiration to have genuine power in the country or because I wanted Sasha and Malia Obama in the White House because they would be the coolest First Daughters EVER. I wanted, and still want, all those things, but I want Barack Obama to be president because I felt like it was possible that he could make this nation, for the first time in my adult life, a place whose present I was genuinely proud to be linked to. (I was still annoyed that his stance against the Iraq War in 2003 was touted, given that he was in the Illinois State Senate at the time and so his views didn't MATTER, but that's a small quibble.) Sarah Palin might turn out to be a wonderful individual and I might be very glad she is the governor of Alaska (although her desire for certain natural-gas pipelines as well as her anti-abortion views at least partially suggest otherwise), but I cannot delude myself into believing a McCain administration, whosoe'er his running mate may be, could create, change or foster a national atmosphere I want. Come 2009, the odds are good that I will have an even harder time being an American than I already do.
This post is somewhat incoherent because I am busy paling in terror at the prospect of a McCain administration, a prospect realer than it has been for months.
Our enemies are SMART. Anyone who is powerful enough to become our enemy rather than just an annoyance or eyesore is always SMART. Why do we forget this so easily?