Sunday, March 11, 2012

Game Change, Sarah Palin and Women in Government

I apologize for my absence over the past few days--spring break proved to be a bit busier than I had originally anticipated.  But I'll be here with a couple posts today and there is plenty coming up this week that needs to be posted about.

Last night, HBO's film Game Change premiered.  The film, starring Julianne Moore, follows Sarah Palin's time as a Vice-Presidential candidate in 2008.  I have not gotten the chance to watch the whole movie yet but from what I've seen--which is most of it--it is a basically sympathetic portrayal of Palin.  It does not shortchange her lack of knowledge and lack of preparation to be on the national stage, but it shows her as a scared, unprepared small-town gal who was manipulated into being the latter half of a weak ticket by the Republican old-boys' network.  I can't say for certain whether that's a fair portrayal--I don't know Palin personally, and don't want to--but assuming it is true, there's plenty wrong with that.

I know this is going back a few years, but there's a broader point, I promise.

I think that a lot of women believe that the choice of Palin was manipulative, both at the time it happened and today.  After Hillary Clinton had made so much headway on the Democratic side of the election, and Obama became the first black man to be nominated by a major party for President, the Republicans saw it was time to nominate a minority of their own.  The film confirmed this.  And yes, they just picked a woman--any woman--who was conservaitve enough, and who had a vagina.

And then they chose to patronize her, belittle her, and insult her behind her back throughout the campaign.  She was portrayed as kittenish, as a diva, and not particularly bright.  And maybe those things are true.  There is very little about Sarah Palin's current public persona that lends itself to sympathy.  But was she treated this way in the 2008 campaign because she is a woman?  And this isn't just coming from the film, this is the way the media treated her at the time of the campaign and right now.

What McCain did probably ended up pushing Republican women back a decade, and that seems irrelevant to the Republicans.  And why should it?  Less than one-fifth of Congress is made up of women.  And not a whole lot of those are Republican women.  I'm not a huge fan of women being Republicans--I think it goes counter to our interests as a demographic--but I totally respect the rights of women to choose their own beliefs and lead based on those beliefs.  So what do women have to do, in a post-Sarah Palin age, to get respect in the United States government?

At some point, women have to stop being a demographic to be won and start being a force to be reckoned with.  We need women in government, we need to be represented, we need to be taken seriously.  That's why Pittsburgh has programs like Run Baby Run and Ready To Run that teach women how to run for office.  One of the best ways to stop the rollback of rights that we're experiencing now is to put women in national elections.  And to put prepared, intelligent, eloquent women into those positions--women who will be able to prove that they deserve the spotlight, not just the token women that the Republicans feel they need to put out there.  They're out there in equal numbers.  There are just as many strong, capable women as men in America.  So can't we get them out there?

Oh, and by the way, Sarah Palin herself never said "I can see Russia from my house."  That was Tina Fey.  Enough ridiculous stuff has come out of Sarah Palin's mouth that we don't need to attribute stuff to her that she didn't say. 

I'll be back later today with a post on mangagement rings.  Hopefully slightly lighter fare. 

1 comment:

  1. Sarah Palin was a ploy to get a dead campaign revitalized. It was a desperate move. And it didn't work. Sarah got one big benefit from being used...something that she wanted. She got a national voice ( for better or worse) and she got rich...richer than she could ever have gotten in Alaska. Rich enough to quit the alaska gig. These things are connected.

    Btw Sarah Palin will probably never be elected president, etc., but she can always go back to Alaska and invest her money in a house or senate seat, or maybe run for governor again. She has name recognition.