Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cindy McCain on Sarah Palin's knowledge of foreign policy

Interviewer: "But she has no national security experience."

Cindy McCain: "You know--her-her--the experience that she comes from is--is--with what she's done in the government. And also remember Alaska is the closest part of our contient to Russia, so it's not as if she doesn't understands what's at stake here."



I don't make assumptions about the intelligence of any potential or existing First Lady, or male politicians' spouse (no one should), Republican First Lady's included.

It's arguable that First Lady's Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton functioned as president while their husbands were in office; the former, when her husband fell seriously ill and the latter as a co-partner or co-president, if you will.

Feminists, anti-sexists, and male allies in the struggle to end gender oppression will agree that the historical absence of women in the Oval Office is no indication of U.S. American women's inability to occupy the most powerful office in the country (and the world), but rather, evidence of all women's historical, systematic exclusion from the most powerful, prestigious political leadership positions (as well as women's under-representation in high power, high-income positions in government and business) in the U.S.

It's unfortunate that when a female public figure, like Cindy McCain, says (or does) something deemed unintelligent, that the discourse on the woman's blunder collapses into sexist, misogynist jabs and diatribes.

It annoys me when even the vilest of women in the public eye are criticized, abused or assaulted -- by people of all genders, but men (of all sexual identities) in particular -- with woman-hating slurs like "cunt," "whore," and "bimbo" and/or sexualized and objectified (as adequate repositories for the male phallus and semen) -- i.e., "they're dumb as rocks or evil but still very 'fuckable'" (which can also be interpreted as a kind of rape impulse or rape fantasy, a way for men to articulate a desire to "shut the bitch up" using violent, forced sex or sex as a weapon).

Which means that when bloggers refer to Ann Coulter as a hateful "cunt," I typically leave a comment that acknowledges she is, indeed, a vile human being but there's no reason to bring "cunts" into it.

Across lines of class, gender, sexuality, and race, sexist bashing of women "offenders" are tolerated in the media, blogs and blog commentaries time and time again.

So, I don't want to contribute to the abuse of women in the blogosphere by ridiculing Cindy McCain.

And yet, I am compelled to highlight the sheer ridiculousness of her statement!

What do she and John talk about? If her statement is any indication of his own aptitude at judging someone's competency in the realm of foreign policy, I am very very concerned.

But, let's face it, Governor Sarah Palin was not selected for her shrewd political mind with regard to national security or domestic issues.

I believe that she's McCain's VP because it is hoped that her brand of religious neo-conservatism will appeal to far right Christian fundamentalist voters/social conservatives -- a constituency McCain's more moderate and liberal views and voting record has, prior to her selection, alienated -- and to draw votes from, and thus exploit the racism of, embittered Hillary supporters, who have vowed to vote for McCain in November or not vote at all rather than support the candidacy or "an inadequate black male" (i.e., Barack Obama).

The reaction of far too many women and men who voted for Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama receiving the Democratic Party's nomination reminds me of the way in which 1st wave white feminists/early feminists of the post-Civil War era responded to white male Republicans decision to pursue voting rights for black men, and not women (of any race) during Reconstruction (roughly 1865 to 1977). White women who had invested invaluable time and energy in the anti-slavery movement, women who had also abandoned the pursuit of "women's rights," quite understandably felt betrayed by by white male Republicans -- the same men who partnered with women to work towards the abolition of slavery -- who chose to support "black man suffrage" and not "universal suffrage," which would enfranchise black men and women of all races. Early white feminists also deeply resented and felt betrayed by newly emancipated black women and men (just like the white masters, mistresses, and children who had been stripped of legal ownership of black bodies -- how could their "happy slaves" leave them! ) White feminists response to the movement to enfranchise black men was marred by virulent racism -- racism that they used to gain white male Democrats support for "universal suffrage" (don't "give" the vote to "Sambos;" give it to white women, producers and care-givers of the superior white race. Paula Giddings' When and Where I Enter provides an excellent, more in-depth and nuanced discussion "black man suffrage" vs. "universal suffrage" history).

In the end, at least for a short while, black men's voting rights were recognized. (When the federal government withdrew northern troops from the South, white supremacy fully revived itself; black men and women would not vote until 1965 when black civil rights activists and their white allies -- for a brief moment -- brought white supremacists to their knees, and thus, created a political context where President Lyndon Baines Johnson would implement and  sign the Voting Rights Act.)

Black men won the vote.

Obama will win the presidency.

And for a brief moment, white supremacists will be brought to their knees once again.

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