Sunday, October 3, 2010
Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and Spongebob
You know....it is amazing when you spend time in the ER with a sick child..... just what you will read, watch or think about in the time it takes you to get called back to be seen....right up until the time you actually get to leave. Last night, while at the ER, I watched Spongebob the Movie until I felt brain cells oozing out my ears and I read every pamphlet available from the treatment of Hepatitis C to Polio....Making a Comeback. Finally....a Child Life staff person realized that I needed something more to do than trying to keep one child from escaping in his wheelchair and watching the other one flip flop on his ER bed in pain....so she kindly brought me some fairly current, current event news magazines. Now in situations where you are already distracted by sick children....usually magazines full of celebrity gossip and nice big pictures of fashion faux pas are what you need to kill the time and avoid the reality of your situation. But apparently....those types of magazines were no where to be found....so I got magazines with in depth articles on real world subjects with nary a celebrity divorce, arrest or drunken outburst to be had. Lucky me. But being that it was after midnight and it was either this or Spongebob....I began to read.
As I leafed through the pictureless articles of dry facts and depressing possibilities, one magazine had an article that caught my eye. Why? I am not sure. We will chalk it up to exhaustion and the need to read something besides another article about global warming, PETA, or the oil spill. This article was about Hillary Clinton. Now let me say up front....I am not a fan of her politics NOR was I a fan of her husband, but this article was interesting. It talked about a young Hillary and the lawyer Hillary, the First Lady Hillary, the Senator Hillary, the Secretary of State Hillary and finally.....the mother Hillary preparing for her daughter Chelsea's wedding. It humanized her and made her not just the public figure that often appears hard nosed, out spoken and somewhat shrill (my description...not the articles), but it softened her and gave a glimpse into "the woman", wife and mother that she is. As I finished the article....it left me seeing her not just for her political views....but also a human being...a flesh and blood woman.....not so unlike myself.
Still waiting on blood work and needing more distraction.....I continued on, searching for more to read. After finishing flipping through that particular publication I was convinced I had read the only truly readable article in it.....so I moved onto another equally stimulating piece of media. Again....articles so dry that they rivaled the Sahara jumped out at me.....and then low and behold....an article about ex-Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin. Now this woman....I have never really been sure of. While her politics "appear" to be more in line with mine....I have just never really been sure of the woman behind the image....so away I read. This article too was fairly in depth talking about her time as governor, her love and devotion to the state of Alaska, her run for vice president, her possible run for the presidency and her life as wife, mother and grandmother. Again....a very humanizing article....and very much like the article I had just finished on Clinton. In fact, so much like it that I had to check the bylines to see if they were both written by the same person. They were not. The articles however.....did get me to thinking.
Here I was in the ER and I was thinking about Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. It must have been my mind rebelling against the little yellow sponge on tv or perhaps I was just....THAT.....tired. At any rate....I came to some conclusions about these women....and women in general.....and sadly....us women in general didn't come out looking so good.
After immersing myself in these two different articles I realized that at first glance Clinton and Palin appear to be polar opposites. But on a deeper look.... these women are more alike than most of us ever dreamed possible. Don't believe me? Well let us look at the facts: both grew up in conservative house holds, both married, raised families, have held political offices, are strong out spoken women and both have their eye on the White House. While the political roads that they have taken have been quite different.....they both have the same goal.....to be the first woman president of the United States of America. While the list of similarities goes on and on....these are the high points.....and the biggest similarity of all is......these two women have fought and won battles and achieved fairly lofty goals in an arena dominated in the past by men. If you really stand back and look at the big picture of each one of these women.....you don't have to like their politics.....but you really must admire them both for being strong enough, and not afraid to speak up and speak out in a career path where women have historically taken a back seat.
This brings me to women in general. I find myself often disappointed by my own gender. Yes...men often make degrading, unkind, and often unfounded remarks about these two women. Both women have been berated and humiliated by less than flattering articles and photos, and the butt of many a joke on late night television. Often this kind of behavior comes from the male of our species and is not unexpected.....after all.....these women are touching a deep seated nerve in men that often they aren't even aware of. It is a primal desire in them to keep the status quo and keep women "behind" the "successful" man. It somehow messes with their male ego and inner balance to have a woman leading the charge.....or the country. However...I expect more of women!
Facebook is a pretty good barometer of where people stand on most subjects and what I see from women is often astounding. More than once I have been disappointed to see women degrading other women, viscously taking jabs with nasty remarks and many times.....going after the very women who are in their own way.....carving out the future for a whole new generation of our gender. While I love my women friends, I cringe to the point of pure frustration when I see women I know personally, so totally disregarding the fact that love or hate Palin and Clinton.....we really should respect these courageous....yes I said courageous women for not only fighting for their place in history despite all the nastiness, disrespect and down right personal floggings they have had to and still have to endure every time they open their mouths....but also remember that they are showing young women that if you hold tight to your convictions, aren't afraid to speak out, work hard and fight....that they too can achieve any goal they choose. Unfortunately though....we women of the general population are teaching young women a very different lesson. We are showing them through our very disrespect and hateful cattiness that other women will not support you. Other women will not respect you as a person if they disagree with your politics, religion, family life, sexual orientation....etc. even if you are working to do something ground breaking, amazing, or paving the way for other women. I really find it sad and a scenario where most of us women come out looking pretty darn bitchy. We want to move ahead, conquer, be whatever we want to be with no ceiling to stop us.....and yet we have nothing but hatefulness and negativity for those doing just that. We are sending out a mixed message to future women that we want them to succeed....but if at any point we disagree with them on their road to success.....we will refuse to support them....and more over.....will bombard them viciously with twisted truths and down right lies with the hopes of degrading and humiliating them. In other words.....we evolved 21st century women are creating a story....in which most of us don't come out looking very good in the end.
But alas....this is just one woman's opinion. One woman who is very tired, has sick kids and who finds Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton just a little more enlightening than Spongebob. But then again.....what do I know?