Monday, March 28, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro, Sarah Palin, and the Death of Dignity

News Real Blog
by Wendy K

I just heard that former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro passed away last Saturday. Hearing this news evoked so many memories.

I recall being a young feminist when Walter Mondale selected Ferraro as his vice presidential running mate. I was so proud and excited. What a turning point for women, I thought!

I admired Ferraro; she was a no-nonsense, straight-talking New Yorker, like me.  Although my New Yorkese had been seriously watered down after a few years in California, I still appreciated an East Coast’er.  You always know where you stand, as opposed to Californians who hide their displeasure behind an artificial smile.

I’m sad to hear that Ferraro has died.  But my sadness isn’t just for Ferraro, it’s for all of us; it’s the death of an era when female politicians were respected and protected.  What a 180 degree contrast between how Ferraro was treated and Sarah Palin!

Back in the ’80s it would have been unheard of for any woman politician, either from the Right or the Left, to be blasted with obscenities. No one would have dared.

In the very unlikely circumstances that someone did lob an obscene comment at a woman the person would face stern consequences. Certainly when Ferraro was on the ticket she was never called a monster or a b__ch like Hillary Clinton.

But whatever was done to Clinton pales in comparison to the treatment of Sarah Palin.  Sexually degrading and menacing words have been hurled at Palin on a daily basis. Because no one in a position of authority called off the dogs early on (think Obama here,) it’s been open season on her and other conservative women.
With no one demanding that the verbal rape stop, the abuse has only gotten worse. Not surprisingly, just this week, Bill Maher has gotten away with a vile characterization of Palin, with no consequences at all.

Back in the day women of both parties could run for office without their daughters being subjected to rape jokes. And it wasn’t just liberal politicians. Republican Paula Hawkins was the first woman to be elected to the Senate in her own right.  It would have been unthinkable for anyone to use sexually objectifying language towards her or her colleagues.

What has happened since then?  So many things: there’s the Internet’s immediate gratification and anonymity.  We’ve seen the unraveling of the social and moral fabric with 24/7 pornography and violent media.  The Judeo-Christian values that bind us together lay in tatters.

And last, but not least, we have the reign of Obama.  He apparently gestured with his middle finger when invoking Hillary Clinton’s name during a campaign speech.  Obama made the classless remark comparing Palin to a pig with lipstick.

And, most significantly of all, when Palin and her daughters were menaced with sexual threats, when her church was torched with children in it, Obama said nothing.   The not-so-subtle message to his base was that it was open season on female conservatives.

This elegy that I’m writing is for Geraldine Ferraro, whom I admired as a hard working woman dedicated to bettering this country.  But my goodbye is not just for her.

I also say goodbye to my younger self who truly believed that having women in high places would restore civility to this world.  To my shock I have discovered that women will sell out each other without blinking an eye. Just look at how enthusiastically leftist women have trashed Palin.

I also say farewell to my younger self, that former leftist who believed in identity politics.  Now I’m older and wiser and vote for the most competent choice, regardless of race or gender.

And, perhaps most sadly of all, I say goodbye to a bygone era when women could run for political office and not be the target of rape jokes. Those days are dead and gone.

Ironically, Ferraro learned first-hand how much things have changed when she helped to run Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President.  In her straight talking manner, Ferraro made the obvious point that Obama was a serious presidential contender not based on stellar credentials, but because of his ethnicity.

Of course Obama’s handlers and the politically correct media cried racism.  Ferraro took the hit and resigned from Clinton’s campaign.

As a Queens DA, a Congresswoman, a VP candidate, and an Ambassador, Ferraro spoke her mind. But the rules of the game had changed once Obama entered the national arena.

It was all over for women, the dignity and the decency.  Racism, alleged or real, trumped everything.
The lesson for Ferraro, for all of us?  Women are fair game. The sky’s the limit when it comes to degradation.  Because in the age of Obama, women do not matter — and neither do men, frankly.   It’s all about power –  his, not ours.

Somebody got murdered on New Year’s Eve
Somebody said dignity was the first to leave
I went into the city, went into the town
Went into the land of the midnight sun
Searchin’ high, searchin’ low
Searchin’ everywhere I know
Askin’ the cops wherever I go
Have you seen dignity?. . .
Drinkin’ man listens to the voice he hears
In a crowded room full of covered up mirrors
Lookin’ into the lost forgotten years
For dignity
(from,  Dignity, by Bob Dylan)

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