'"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities"
Governor Sarah Palin, AK
Ok, it doesn't take a genius to know I am pretty fucking liberal. I make normal Democrats look kind of uptight in some cases. Since I know I'm pretty far left of the left, I have learned to have somewhat of a thick skin and a strong sense of humor. I can make fun of the Democrats with the best of them, and I try not to take things too seriously. I also love talking politics with other people, especially if their opinions differ from mine and they can have a dialogue without stooping to attacks or overgeneralizations.
All that said, I watched the entire DNC last week. I fell in love with Michelle Obama, and her speech moved me to tears more than once. Mind you, I AM pregnant, so take that for what it's worth. I also enjoyed the Kennedy tribute and laughed at what an old coot he is, and cringed just a little when Clinton (Mrs., not Mr., as I missed his speech since I was stuck in traffic) broke up the banshee voice. And, in the interest of fairness, I decided I was going to tune into the RNC this week, at least as much as possible. I've missed some of the speeches I wanted to hear (GW, for mocking purposes, and Cindy McCain because I wanted to see whether her Botox would hold up under ALL THOSE LIGHTS), mostly because I've been swamped at work. Speaking of work...I did NOT miss Gov. Palin's speech, which in an effort to dig at Obamam (about 8700 times) managed to dig at people just like me.
You see, what Ms. Palin failed to recognize is that Community Organizers actually DO have responsibilities. In my case, it's to provide outreach and education on a statewide basis for a program that serves almost 600,000 of Arizona's most vulnerable citizens every day. It's also to work with partners and communities to help those in need find the resources they need to stay on their feet, especially in this tough economy. My boss is a Community Organizer. My co-worker is a Community Organizer. Most of the people I went to school with...Community Organizers. Whether they work to protect the rights of minorities, prevent major corporations from taking advantage of low-income customers, advocate for policies that are fair and Consitutional, plan rallies and meetings...whatever they do, their heart and their lives are poured into finding ways to build upon the strengths of their communities by involving community members in finding the solutions and working with partners across the board...and across both sides of the political aisle. Last I checked, what these people do is not something to be mocked. It is not free of responsibility. Maybe Ms. Palin should take a moment to look into her own community and see who the Community Organizers are, and what they do to make things better for the people she professes to know so well and love so deeply. Maybe she should recognize that Community Organizers are people like the Alaskan Conservation Commission, Feminists for Life, Alaska Outdoor Council, Iditarod Parent/Teacher Association, and the Salvation Army...all organizations of which she claims to be a member. In her effort to castigate Obama and minimize his experience (an issue, if I were her, I would have left the fuck alone given her own lack of experience), she succeeded in insulting and alientating quite a few people. Granted, we're not people who likely matter to her...after all, for all her lip service about reaching across the aisle and working together, we all know her time lies in winning the favor of her own party...many of whom have no idea who she even is.
This is not the root of my issue with this selection of a VP candidate. But it is, to me, a glaring example of just what kind of person she is. Add it to her riding on the coat-tails of Senator Clinton (the 18 million cracks comment in her speech when she was introduced as the VP choice), having little real political experience to speak of, and selling herself as having accomplished many things when in truth a lot of her claims are a stretch of the truth, at best. I realize the VP candidate is the attack dog (comparing herself to a pit bull, but 'with lipstick', is an insult to my dogs) of the campaign so the P candidate can stay above the fray. I am not naive. But I also believe in integrity. I believe that Palin, given her relative unknown status to most of the U.S.A., is in a position where she needs to prove her merit and her belonging in the office of VP. And I do not believe that cutting down her opponent for some of the very same issues that plague her own sparse biography is the way to do this. I suppose there are some who will respond well to this sort of speech...to the attack mode mentality. But I like to think the rest of us, and most notably the women at whom I do believe the choice of a female VP was aimed, are much more complex than that, and expect much more from our leaders than that. I believe most women want a woman in the office of President or VP....but only if that woman DESERVES to be there. Nothing will set back the movement for equality....nothing will patch those '18 million cracks' faster...than a woman being placed into one of the highest offices in the land as an appeasement to the American public with two X chromosomes. I'd like to believe there's more to it than that, but Palin and the McCain campaign have yet to show me a reason to believe there is anything different going on.
I hope they prove me wrong. I would love a real race, where the opponents are there based on public will and merit...not to 'make history' or fill a perceived gap. Here's hoping Governor Palin has something more insightful to share with the world, asided from digs and juvenile insults, come VP candidate debate time. Although, quite honestly, I *am* looking just a wee bit forward to watching Biden eat her alive.