The following appeared on Free Republic in April, 2011.
Sarah Palin: Woman to Woman
By Susan D. Harris
Conservative women who hate Sarah Palin confound me. What has especially alarmed me has been the amount of women who hate her as a woman. I know this is the reason, because – and this is the important part – when you ask them what “scares” them about her (a favorite “Halloweeny” term they use in place of “hate”), the answer is the same from conservative and liberal women alike: “She’s so dumb.”
“Why do you think that?” (Crickets chirping.) “She’s just so dumb!” Oh, okay.
Discrimination against Palin coming from women is unfathomable. These are the same women who demand that they themselves be taken seriously when they walk into a room tottering on their high heels with their short skirts, high pitched voices, half-exposed breasts and chirpy, silly giggles.
Since the 1970’s we have fought for women to be given equal pay in the workplace and have the same upward mobility there. We made great progress. My generation, Sarah’s generation, came into the workplace on the cusp of society already having made great strides in this area. So much so that many of us took it for granted. Tina Fey certainly did. She took it so much for granted she thought she could take that progress out of its fragile box, abuse it, and put it back in and everything would be okay. Well, it won’t. Never before has a comedian so single-handedly destroyed a woman’s public persona, and on such a personal level. When you hurt a good woman doing good things, you hurt all women. When you take a decent, intelligent woman and strip her of her respect and yank out the platform that it took other women decades to build…you’ve done it to all of us.
Granted, things weren’t great for Ferraro, don’t get me wrong. But what Palin has endured has been tenfold compared to what the 1980’s dished out for Ferraro. Clips of Fey portraying Palin were played so regularly in the media that I saw many people who could not differentiate between the two, at least for the first few minutes. And sometimes clips of Fey were so short people didn’t have time to distinguish. These people would wonder why Palin seemed like such an airhead when they knew she sounded smart and idealistic during her last speech. And so, like so many others, they were left with general “impressions” of Palin scattered in their mind. Usually the wrong ones. Dangerous impressions that played themselves out in the voting booth.
And women seem to love to hate her. They embrace it, feed on it. Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan now famously said in the Wall Street Journal: “There is little sign that [Palin] has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office.” Wow. Philosophical grounding? That is low. That’s up there with telling a soldier he does not have the courage to fight, or a mother she has no maternal instinct. Of course, Noonan had already been choosing her carefully crafted words with embellished enunciation to talk up Barack Obama’s bringing “hope” to America. (Since women made it acceptable to diss their own, allow me this once). Since Obama had 36 months as a Senator who’s time was mostly spent on campaigns, and Palin had 21 months of time solely spent in the executive office of Governor, Noonan forever lost credibility to me. I mean forever. Noonan, a former speechwriter to President Reagan, apparently didn’t appreciate not being picked for a VP spot herself, as remote as that chance was. Noonan then became to me something I do hate: someone posing as something they are not. I have never been able to say that about Palin thus far.
Public remarks about Palin even inferred her fellow women wanted to see physical harm come to her. Disgusting, uncivilized remarks, vile remarks, reminiscent of the French going off with their picnic lunches for a lovely day of viewing bloody heads dropping at the guillotine. (When the French pretend to be superior to the rest of the world, I often remember that.) We all have our discriminatory views, don’t get me wrong. I, for instance, should have no reason to dislike Former Governor Huckabee. Besides some comments that I thought were beneath him indicating he was jealous of Palin, he basically has the same values that I have. Trouble is, he rubs shoulders with too many liberals, and gives them a pass because he might agree with them on ONE particular social issue. I don’t give them a pass anymore. Their single issue sympathy is only a foot-in-the-door, and they’ve taken advantage of naïve conservatives for too long. I’m done with that. Worse yet, he looks like Gomer Pyle to me. So did my first boyfriend. I see both of them when I look at Huckabee which isn’t a good feeling. It’s a personal thing I just can’t shake; but I surely don’t hate him. But what about Palin? I don’t think Palin haters have a person in their lives that reminds them of Palin and thus accounts for their feelings. (Unless of course they hated Tina Fey first. It WAS a despicably annoying character.)
Then there is the idea that Palin held down a career as a successful reformer and politician with a baby on her hip. Quite a few babies even. Women are terrible when it comes to how other women have their babies, raise their babies… anything “baby” can cause hateful and spiteful comments on any given day where there is more than one woman gathered. I never had a baby, so I always looked at that form of nastiness from afar. Of course I could resent Palin for having children and a career, which I did not. I could be a very bitter, childless woman. For some reason, I’m not.
On the flip side of that, some conservative women also resent Palin having a job and not staying home with her children. While I might be inclined to feel the same way, when I see the closeness Palin has maintained with her children, I have to give her credit for not dropping them off to be raised by strangers, like most of today’s women do with their own children at what they like to respectably call “daycare centers.” (Whether you HAVE to do it or not, don’t sit there and pretend it’s right. You know it’s not. You just know it.)
Then there is the extra added annoyance that Palin has a husband. With all the struggling single mothers and divorcees in this country, that is something to be jealous of right there. Even more annoying, she’s still married to her high school sweetheart that she eloped with! Add to that the fact that he is the daddy to all of her babies. Same one. Each baby. Wow. How weird is THAT?
Palin also has a “sympathy trump card” that can irritate the crap out of any woman. She has a special needs child. I’ll let that make those of you uncomfortable who suffer from this irritant.
As for Palins’ speeches, if you were to print them under the authorship of A.M. Barnard or George Eliot, I’m sure women would applaud her (apparently male) knowledge of constitutional facts, her braveness in condemning her colleagues and the media when warranted, and her plain, blunt, cut-to-the-chase style that women seem to like so much in everyone besides anyone named “Sarah Palin.”
And for all you southerners that hate her, did you ever wonder why no one with a southern accent is ever hired to be a national news anchor? Because they (the media moguls) want the news to be taken seriously, not like it’s being delivered by… a hick. I learned this in radio and television broadcasting in college. A more “mid-western” voice was the ideal for a national news broadcast. Just so you know …if you hate Palin’s folksiness and her colloquial language…half the country would be considered “hicks” for the sound of their voice on national TV — so I wouldn’t cast any stones too quickly.
Palin also looks good. She dresses classy chic and has a great smile. There are so many things to hate about her they are too numerous to mention. But we can add a few more. How about her knowledge of the founding fathers? Taking on her own party in Alaska? Being the governor of the second largest state in the nation for crude oil production?
And by the way, would someone get Tina Fey by the scruff of her scrawny little neck and take her up to the various points in Alaska where Russia really IS visible? Perhaps she should read “The Bering Strait Crossing” by James Oliver. (I’m sure Fey can read. Has anyone ever asked her?) Oliver describes the Strait as “undefeated in terms of a terrestrial link between the USA and Russia – so far.” Its history in the cold war, and the proximity of the land masses is not a figment of someone’s imagination, it’s real…thanks to Palin for pointing it out. Thanks to Fey for making it into a joke that most people STILL think is a only joke. When they read reports of Russian subs close to our shores in Alaska, boy, must they be surprised! But what of it? Russia has always been our friend. Right? What?
I like Palin. Is her voice a little harsh for public speaking? Yes. Do we need to get her retrained to sound like a robot, like say, Hilary Clinton? Spare me. Do I care if she writes a couple of words on her hand but never uses a teleprompter? Yeah, it’s okay with me if she can speak from her head and heart without assistance on every word.
Mostly I like what Palin has SAID and WRITTEN. She is real. I would trust her to take care of my dog. I would trust her with my life. People who hate Palin, people who are “scared” of her…they scare me. Perhaps, just perhaps, Sarah Palin is a litmus test for good and evil in the world. I mean that literally. I have never met anyone who hates Palin who I would trust or want as a friend. I didn’t start out using Palin as the barometer, but it has been an odd incidental finding along the way.
If Palin runs for President, I believe she would probably do a better job than most anyone on the scene today. If Palin runs for President, I will be down on my knees praying for the Lord to protect her everyday. For surely there is an evil force at play that longs for her suffering, her pain, and her demise. It will be up to those of us who have passed the “litmus test” to protect her, and make sure that GOOD ultimately prevails.
Women have tried for hundreds of year to abandon references to “witches.” Too many innocent women died in witch hunts across Europe and North America. Mostly women. Mostly dead because they were women, and mostly indicted by women. Women: It’s time to decide for yourself whether you will float or sink. It is time to decide if you will stand up for justice instead of speaking against others because it is fashionable. Many of you embrace your hate and your false accusations just as you did 400 years ago. The rest of us have evolved. Don’t drag us back there.