A Dark Moment for Our Country
July 3, 2009 by Amy Siskind
What am I going to tell my daughter?
That was the first thing that popped into my mind this afternoon after watching Governor Palin step down.
My 11 year-old daughter adores Sarah Palin. She is too young to understand pro-choice and pro-life. The difference between drilling and being environmentally cautions. My daughter looks at Sarah Palin and she sees herself. My daughter plays point guard in basketball like Sarah. My daughter is a competitor and works really hard like Sarah. My daughter will be devastated.
For not once, but twice in the last two years, my daughter has seen a hero fall. Three years ago, when Hillary was serving at a NY State Senator, my daughter wrote a third grade report about Hillary. I took my daughter to meet Hillary, who took the time in the throngs of thousands of supporters to stop, read my daughter’s report, and ask her about it. This is when I became inspired into political activism. This is when my daughter found an important role model. And my daughter believed “I CAN BE PRESIDENT.”
I still remember an email that a mother sent me last October. She was grieving because her 12 year-old daughter, who prior to 2008 had aspired to a career in politics, told her that she no longer wanted to be a politician – that the boys wouldn’t let the girls win. Teenage girls might experience sexism in a different way, but believe me, they “get it” nonetheless.
I hope, no I pray, that in the end Sarah Palin will run for President. I watched today as many of you did and saw a woman who had just had enough. Not only the onslaught of sexism and vitriol aimed at her, but also at her family. In the last month alone we had Letterman, John Kerry’s comment, the Vanity Fair trash and all other sorts of snipes and sexist attacks. I’ll bet that Todd Purdum is celebrating tonight and getting congratulatory emails and high-fives from his “friends”.
How did we let it come to this folks? This is our country – a country we are proud to live in. How did we allow such a high level of acceptable sexism to exist and flourish? What about our daughters? As Mary Matalin said this evening on CNN:
The price of public service should not be personal destruction.
But there’s more than just destruction. Sarah Palin was treated differently solely because she is a woman. And our country let this happen – you would have thought that we would have learned a national lesson after the national shame of what happened to Hillary – but sadly, no.
I’m proud that we started The New Agenda last August. I’m proud that we decided to speak out against sexism against all women – after all Sexism Against Conservative Women is Still Sexism:
When a conservative woman is the target of an attack, many so-called feminists stay silent. This “selective sexism”, or speaking out against sexism on a case by case basis, does not advance our national dialogue on women’s issues. Rather, selective sexism allows a dangerous level of permissible sexism to live and breed in our country.
But at the same time, I am outraged by how many other women have turned a silent ear to the sexist attacks on Sarah Palin. Or worse, how our old line national organization actually aided and abetted these attacks. I recall how NOW featured Costume Idea: Sarah Palin as a Halloween spoof on their website. This is an organization who holds themselves out to national organization focused on women’s rights. Yet, they allowed this clear and utter sexist attack against a female politician on their organization’s website?
And I want to be hopeful that NOW can reinvent itself under new leadership. I wrote an article for The Huffington Post about the importance of NOW as a national organization. But then a National Board Member of NOW has taken the time to come to our website and write this:
We are not new agenda/Palin supporters. We support candidates and women that adhere to choice
Sigh, this type of thing makes me lose hope that despite their decline, the folks at NOW “get it.”
Because today’s loss is much bigger than Sarah Palin herself. Today we lost the second hope in as many years of getting a woman to the highest office. Today we lost an important role model for our daughters. Today was a loss for our country, and the next generation.
So I ask you all to join us at this moment. We need your help. We simply cannot let this continue. We need you all to join us right here, right now, at this moment. And if not for ourselves, then for the next generation. They deserve a better country than what we are currently leaving them. We must fight sexism and misogyny together and eradicate it starting today.
And we need your help. Please join us. Let’s draw a line in the sand and say NO MORE! This is a moment of darkness for our country, and it’s time to start letting in the light!