Palin, Feminism, Politics, Chit Chat
One of the hardest things about being on the left, apart from being on the losing side of every economic argument for the last thirty years (until -tee hee), is having to share space with buffoons like Terry Kelly or worse Rosie Kane. Not that the left hasn't produced a few stars over the years but face it folks we are on the whole losers.
Still at least we can spot a right-wing buffoon at a glance. Or can we? I am referring to Sarah Palin and the reaction to her appointment as Mr McCain's running mate. Whilst I don't count the Democrats as part of the left what with them being so right wing, almost everyone else seems to.
I must start by saying I rather like tough women. My heroines are Mae West and Phoolan Devi. Devi could handle a gun and West was too witty to need one. So naturally, politics and animal slaughter aside, the huntin, shootin, fishin ex beauty queen Palin rather appeals. If nothing I'm else I'm grateful to her for preventing anyone falling into that peaceful women / violent men nonsense which our own Mrs Thatcher should have put paid to years ago.
Oh and before anyone has a fit of the vapours I'm not too sure why anyone outside the U.S cares which party rules America. What's the choice right wing, anti-abortionists v right wing pro-choicers? Excuse me whilst I fail to get into a lather. I'm all for legal abortions and it is an important women's rights issue but in the world league table of outrages against women I submit that our cousins in the US aren't even close to top priority. For example I hear life in Saudi Arabia is a bit of a drag for the ladies. I also know a couple of Iranian women who have suffered tortures that are even worse than reading a magazine feeling a bit fat and demanding the government intervene to make you feel better.
In any case the U.S, as it is fond of reminding us, is a democracy so I'm sure the ladies there have the means to make their voice heard. Oh and with women in the U.S getting the vote 8 years before their British sisters they've had a bit more practice.
I am quite pleased to see that Palin is a member of the anti-abortion Feminists For Life and hope that she will raise the profile of the organisation. It's high time anti-abortion voices found a home in the feminist movement, not least because, pro-choice as I am, I cannot help thinking that in many cases the beneficiaries of legal abortion are the men who enthusiastically embrace 'a women's right to choose' if it means a man's right to absolve himself of any responsibility. A rethink is as overdue as it is welcome.
If feminism is about anything it is about improving the lot of women. There is no question that the freedom to leave abusive marriages, relationships and the social acceptability (up to a point) of single mothers has benefited women. However most of the single mothers I know and there are many, were unceremoniously dumped by their husbands for reasons that would get a man lynched in a truly feminist society. My favourites being 'I'm just not ready for a family' -a man who'd left his children 7 and 4 years old for another woman and 'I just don't find you attractive anymore' to a very attractive size eight blonde who he left for a woman twenty years his senior. Too often the right to be a single mother is duty and struggle for women and the freedom to be self indulgent and irresponsible for men.
A feminist movement that embraces all voices is truly exciting and the presence of high profile, openly feminist candidate on the world scene is welcome. More so having one that doesn't toe the established feminist line. Oh for a movement where one can criticise Julie Bindel without being accused of misogyny by 'worried gardeners'.
Still there is a lot one can criticise Palin for, in particular her inconsistent views on the environment, her abuse of power, her increasingly ludicrous attacks on Obama, her weakness in spontaneous exchanges and more so for her babyish insistence on blaming the press for her current woes. But let's recall that we live in a world that survived Dan Quayle and not one but two Bushes-we will survive Palin if it comes to it, flaws and all.
I'm not suggesting anyone go out and vote for her or start a fan club. I'm just asking the fucking bedwetters to acknowledge she's hardly a new low in American politics and that she does have one or two good points. Honestly the next person who mentions her to me in a tone that suggests she features prominently in the Book of Revelations is getting a sore face.
I note some of the rumours spread about her. I have also noted the absence of liberal voices condemning them which is odd given the sexist nature of several of them. Any woman with a family who is pursuing a career might wish to take note of Democrat concern that you are harming your children and putting career first. Oh and before anyone starts about race - meet Klan member and Democrat senator Robert Byrd. A fine example of the master race!
Unless of course I've got myself all mixed up and one isn't supposed to look to the left for progressive social values or maybe one is and the U.S election is just a gang of right wing puppets fighting in a sack.
I expect someone is going to mention warmongering in all this. Well much as I opposed the last Iraq war, let's not forget Bomber Bill Clinton's record abroad. Does a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant that contained chemical weapons that have never been found ring any bells? That sits along with the owner's links to Osama Bin Laden that don't appear to have been proven. Oh dear! Still it's not like there's a lot of ill health in Africa so I'm sure they managed. It's odd but it sort of reminds me of something though I can't for the life of me think what.
Then there was the policy of regime change in Iraq to rid it of weapons of mass destruction swiftly followed Operation 'Desert Fox' which may or may not have foxed the desert but certainly foxed me as to the point given the spectacular failure to achieve it's aims. Come to think of it -that reminds me of something as well. What is it with anti-war Democrats are they just pissed off a Republican got to do the bombing this time round?
Barack Obama in his pronouncements so far has been pretty hawkish. I very much doubt the residents of Iran and Pakistan will feel particularly relieved in the likely event of his victory in the election. Not I hasten to add that the Republican candidates are any better. But if you think a Democrat presidency will herald the birth of lovely, cuddly America you are deluded. Whoever is elected will act in either what they truly believe to be America's best interests or what they can get away with saying are America's best interests. Sorry folks but no matter how solemnly you tell us this election is 'really important for the rest of the world' , no matter how late you sit up watching debates -none of the candidates give a fuck about you.
It truly is, an election I wish everyone would lose. I did rather like McCain earlier on for his apparent willingness to put principle before party but as the campaign has gone on I find it increasingly hard to see the point in him -though I still think he seems like a nice man and he is friends with Judge Judy which gives him kudos in my book. Palin is the sort of woman I'd like to work with -instead I'm stuck with a load of showboating drama queens and she's running for vice president. Obama is just a Tony Blair I'd like to fuck. His running mate exists.
Now can everyone just accept that I regard this as little more than the world's ugliest beauty contest and stop the apocalyptic banter. In twenty years time we'll all be quivering under the mighty Asian jackboot and the USA will be wheezing and stumbling like a punched out boxer. Naturally the British Isles will still be swaggering about moaning that we used to be top country till the foreigners got too big for their boots.
I have seen nothing worth working myself up into a frenzy about -liberal misogyny aside. Here's a prediction for you -in the grand sweep of history this election will be lucky to merit a footnote. So relax and find something worth fretting over.