Having lunch yesterday with my good friend Christiane to discuss my upcoming trip to Afghanistan, the talk eventually turned to the RNC and more specifically, Sarah Palin’s nomination as veep. Disclaimer: I’m voting for Obama – no question. Despite being a feminist, I believe Obama is the change this country needs. A woman as president? Hell ya. I loved seeing Hillary dispelling the myth that women can’t be strong, competent leaders. We seem to be one of the few western countries that hasn’t had a female leader. England, New Zealand, France, Germany, Iceland, Switzerland, China, Ireland, Israel, many African and South American nations, and India have all had female head’s of state. Twenty six countries in all have had women at the helm.
The fact that it’s such a big deal that we have women vying for the two top positions in the country is a sad indictment of the state of our nation. Seriously, Burundi? Liberia? Haiti? These are nations not considered progressive by Western, democratic nations like the United States, and yet they’ve all had female leaders. Switzerland has had five female heads of states, two of those as President. At home in the United States, many can’t get pass the hormones, menopause, and perceived irrational mood swings that would make women seemingly incapable of leadership. Soft on national defense? Hillary was more hawkish than many of her male colleagues in Congress.
Its now 2008 and we are finally breaking ceilings and letting the glass rain down. So it should be an simple choice right? Vote for the woman and prove that women should be standing shoulder to shoulder with men as their equal. Let the feminist’s voices ring loud and clear. Right?
But feminism is not feminism when you are willing to vote for a woman JUST because she is a woman. As Christiane’s husband put it – “You can’t just substitute one vagina for another”. Really? Tell that to McCain.
As for McCain’s choice for vice president…let’s not kid ourselves, he wouldn’t have chosen Sarah Palin if she was a man. Her lack of experience coupled with a closet bursting with skeletons would have made her way too risky. He picked her because she’s a woman and thus can potentially sway the woman voters to stop using their brains and automatically side with the Republican ticket. No questions asked.
The true irony is that Sarah Palin, while being in possession of said vagina (one assumes), is not on the side of women’s rights. She is not a feminist. That’s okay. Woman have the right to choose their political viewpoints liberal or conservative the same as men – ironically its women’s ‘right to choose’ that may be at risk should the McCain Palin ticket prevail this November. As a woman, I’m simply insulted that the Republicans think my vote could be swayed by gender rather than issues. That we’re lumped together in big gender pie and that a Hillary vote is the same as a Sarah. Causes be damned.