Monthly Archives: September 2008

One Debate. Two Bracelets.

It was perhaps one of the best moments of the debate: “I’ve got a bracelet too.”

Some reports have said that Sgt Ryan Jopek’s mother has asked that Obama stop wearing the bracelet, stating that she wanted him to know her son’s name, but did not wish for it to be a media exploitation. Others say that she approved of the manner in which Obama referenced her son in the debates. Well, the AP now reports that it’s a little bit of both. Back in February, Tracey Jopek requested that her son’s name not be used on the campaign trail. She does feel that Obama’s use of her son’s name in the debate was “appropriate,” however. In response to the rumors of her disapproval Jopek said, “I don’t understand how people can take that and turn it into some garbage on the Internet.

Whatever the case, both candidates don’t simply wear a bracelet. They wear them because we should never forget the sacrifice that the young men and women in Iraq are making… whether we approve of the mission or not.

Remember not just the jabs of the debate, but think of these men and women when you cast your ballot this November.

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I Like Polar Bears Too, Eve

Eve Ensler, vagina warrior and creator of V-Day, loves empowerment. She loves seeing strong woman setting bold examples for us all. Sarah Palin ain’t one of those women. The fabulous America playwright, performer, feminist and activist best known for “The Vagina ¬†Monologues” tells us why…

Drill, Drill, Drill

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it’s their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don’t like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story — connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God’s plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin’s view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, “It was a task from God.”

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist’s baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God’s name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don’t move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, “Drill Drill Drill.” I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

Published in The Huffington Post, 9/8/08

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Palin Supports Aerial Hunting: A Video

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Get Out Her Vote!

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John McCain’s Latest Lies

Oh John McCain. I want to like you, I really do. But sex ed. to kindergartners? Come on now. That ain’t classy.

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Charging for Rape Kits? Say it ain’t so, Sarah!

Wow.

According to recent reports, under Sarah Palin’s leadership as mayor of Wasilla, AK, rape victims were charged for their own rape kits. These kits are used to collect evidence for sexual assault cases and can cost $300-$1200. As if rape isn’t already horrible enough, this policy adds insult to injury.

For more on this story, check out feministing.com.

Please note, Gov. Tony Knowles changed this policy in 2000. Meanwhile, Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon publically disagreed with the decision, stating that the law would require communities to come up with the funds to cover these investigations. “I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer,” he said. By his estimate, the law would cost $5,000 to $14,000 a year.

I guess a dollar from each Wasillan was just too much to ask for to help the women of their community in crisis. Thanks for showing us where your priorities are, folks. This one is truly disgusting.

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This is What a Feminist Blogs Like: Steinem, Palin and the Power of Choice

On September 4, feminist icon Gloria Steinem shared her views on Sen. McCain’s now infamous running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin. I’ve seen news reports lately where some are saying that feminists need to reevaluate what it even means to be a feminist now that this ultra conservative, Feminists for Life member has been brought to the surface as the voice for the women of our nation.

Although I’ll admit to being initially offended at the Republican trumpets blaring that Sarah Palin is the modern day face of feminism, I let this thought resonate a bit while wondering if in my liberal ways, I have been somehow inconsiderate to the views of my fellow women… women who are pro-life, women who are pro-guns; in short, women who are just as deserving of their opinions as I am, but who stand for different ideals than I do. I wondered if in the time that I have spent promoting and working for women’s rights, I had somehow silenced my fellow sisters.

This alone, to me, is an interesting notion… the idea that not supporting Sarah Palin and recognizing her as a feminist somehow makes me less of an advocate for women. Feminism is about equal rights for ALL women, not a lucky few. My being a feminist does not mean that I have the desire to chastise Gov. Palin for her views and call her inferior for disagreeing with me; it simply means that I have the right to disagree with her. Equal rights means equal opinions. That said, if Gov. Palin is pushing to overturn Roe V. Wade and only teach abstinence education, then that is impeding on my rights. Just because there is the right to choose, it doesn’t mean that women who define themselves as pro-life are tied down and forced to have abortions. It does, however, mean that if Roe V. Wade were to be overturned, women who are pro-choice would be faced with dangerous¬† and criminalizing choices.

Let’s take a look at sex ed, for example. Teaching children about sexuality in schools does not mean that they are being encouraged to have sex. I know that for me, personally, the sex ed at my school made me want to cross my legs tighter than ever. It wasn’t because they tried to scare us either– it was because I was informed and I knew the consequences of teen pregnancy and unprotected sex. I got to carry around Baby Think It Over (aka my little Maximus) and because of the education I had received, I knew how to keep that plastic baby from morphing into something all too real and more than I could handle at my age and maturity level.

Sexual education based on FACT means that youths are learning about the biology and emotions that go into being a human. Parents have the ability to talk with their children, and they are absolutely welcome to talk to their sons and daughters from a values perspective¬† should they desire. They can, of course, talk with them about not having sex before marriage; it’s their family. We can say that they will teach them the facts as well, but honestly, how many are informed enough, and on top of this, comfortable enough, to talk to their children about birth control, STIs and safe sex? Providing sexual education in our schools is part of allowing our nation’s youth the opportunity to make healthy and informed choices. There is a separation between church and state for a reason, and our health classes should be about FACTS. Science is for the classroom, the values can be discussed at home. Abstinence only education programs leave the science to those who are often uninformed and unwilling to talk about the touchy topics. Forcing this into our schools as the only option is not showing our youth respect. It is not giving them the whole truth. This is not feminism.

And how is it that just because we may disagree with this high-profile woman, we are somehow less of feminists ourselves? That we are asked to question our own definition of the very word “feminist”? The answer is, we are not less of feminists! We are exercising our right to CHOOSE. Part of all this is also having the right to disagree. It’s that level of respect that acknowledges there are different strokes for different folks. It does not mean choking your ideologies down the throat of your neighbor… it is showing your neighbor that you believe in his/her own ability and capacity to choose.

Feminism is about knowledge and empowerment. If I am to vote for a woman, it will be because she reflects what I believe in… it will be because she represents what America stands for– freedom, independence, and yes, choice. Sharing the same organs is not enough to make Sarah Palin my choice, but never doubt that I am grateful to have that very option of being able to choose. We should all be grateful for this, and we should do our damnedest to preserve it.

To speak to this point, I give you Ms. Steinem:

Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.

Steinem, like me, supported Sen. Hillary Clinton. She now supports Sen. Barack Obama. Please check out what she has to say. This is one of those times when I think our society truly needs a reminder of what a feminist looks like. Can a conservative be a feminist? Yes. But it’s one thing to be conservative in your own lifestyle, it’s another to dictate that it is the golden way for all. Our nation was founded on the ideals of freedom, and in these trying times, we should not forget that the power to choose –on all fronts– is integral not just for ourselves, but for that very freedom of our nation. We must preserve this right, as this is truly a part of liberty and justice for all. With this in mind, let’s make Gloria proud. Get that new pie bakin’ already.

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