Another thought. Now that I am emerging from the Ultram fog, perhaps I will have more of them.
Before McCain's VP pick, I read in various spots that perhaps Obama's candidacy would inspire us to have a national conversation about race.
My question there is, when has anybody ever shut up about it? Is there anything new to say?
Now with the Palin candidacy, I'm seeing, from people on my side of the political aisle, something other than disapproval of a mother having a life. I'm seeing some discussion of what we reasonably ought to expect of a mother versus a father. And from a right-wing site that I visit for information (they link to interesting news articles from all over the world) but have never registered at b/c of the hateful commentators, the suggestion that now perhaps we can do without the ugly insinuations about Chelsea Clinton's parentage (yes, really). That's a step in the right direction, surely. I've seen conversation about what it really means to be pro-life, and why it matters that Sarah Palin chose life for her baby with Down Syndrome. There's discussion of Palin's looks, and discussion of why there is discussion of her looks. (I'm kind of bummed out by the fact that if she weren't physically attractive she likely wouldn't be getting quite the positive response that she has; some positive response, surely, but not all that she has now.)
All of this moves us forward. Obama said this: "I assume she wants to be treated the same way guys are treated, which means their records are under scrutiny." One of these days the assumption will be made so automatically that it won't be mentioned.
Rush Limbaugh said once that feminism came about so that unattractive women could have access to the mainstream. I think he's exactly right. Remember Christine Craft? She was a news anchor who was fired because focus groups said she was "too old, too unattractive, and wouldn't defer to men". Never mind that male anchors could broadcast until they were good and ready to retire. This was in 1981, by the way, not that long ago. I don't think that nowadays that kind of sexist garbage is openly expressed or thought by anyone to be really socially acceptable. Certainly it is widely frowned upon to suggest that a woman's value rests largely in her appearance, and we have the feminist movement to thank for that.
So every woman who comes close to high office - we don't forget Geraldine Ferraro, of course - or who has a position of great responsibility, like Condoleezza Rice, gets us a little closer to that happy day when women in those spots aren't a novelty anymore and we can quit discussing their hair and their pantsuits and talk about what they actually have to offer.
And just to finish up this rambly post, here's Gerard Baker in the Times:
The best line I heard about Sarah Palin during the frenzied orgy of chauvinist condescension and gutter-crawling journalistic intrusion that greeted her nomination for vice-president a week ago came from a correspondent who knows a thing or two about Alaska.
“What's the difference between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama?”
“One is a well turned-out, good-looking, and let's be honest, pretty sexy piece of eye-candy.
“The other kills her own food.”