I’m going to admit it, America, that one of the reasons I’ve been so happily focusing on my house and the transformation of the land it sits on into a landscape of woo-woo-y-ness, is that looking square at the world lately just scares the shit out of me.
I’m pissed that the Clinton candidacy, first, and now the Palin candi…
Okay, let’s talk frankly now, just for a second. I’m struck, lately, by all the pundits asking if it’s okay to go after Palin’s husband, if the media should be reporting on all the time he spends in the state house. I mean, fucking duh, folks. Do you really think anybody can run a state by themselves? Shoot, people, anyone, anyone at all who looks with clear open eyes at the front of a church can quickly figure out that the necessity of keeping women from being ministers is rooted in the plain fact that one person alone cannot do all the things a church needs to keep things moving along and the easiest way to get the labor the church needs without having to pay for it is to make the only channel women have to ministry that of marrying a minister and aiding him in his vocation.
For the most part, that is still very true with politicians–one man alone cannot govern and fund-raise and host things and keep track of appointments and do al the things one must do to run for office and run the office and having a smart, capable, person working along side of you, being there, but kind of invisible, is pretty damn helpful.
And it is invisible. We, for the most part, don’t see what is right in front of our faces and, indeed, it takes something like seeing Todd Palin doing the exact thing that many female spouses do to have it click that it is mighty strange–in general–how much unpaid labor female spouses do and the mixed reasons they have for doing it.
But, I don’t see anyone going “Oh, hey, isn’t it weird what politicians’ spouses do without being elected or having any kind of oversight, all across the board,” instead, we’re just fixated on Todd Palin.
I’m afraid, just to get back to my point. I am really afraid that somehow McCain’s going to win.
Okay, just to get off-point for a second, too. One of the things I see is that there’s this idea that feminists are the pissed off women and that women untainted by feminism are somehow still content and happy and if only those feminists weren’t ruining it for everyone by stirring folks up, things would be fine.
I think you see this, too, with Palin’s nomination–this idea that she somehow proves that conservative values rule, even though, of course, the fact that she can even be nominated for vice president of a major party is precisely because liberal values are insidious (in a positive way).
Anyway, I keep thinking about Palin’s speech at the RNC because I was viscerally repulsed by it. I thought she seemed mean and snide and I am scared to death to think that in November we might decide, as a nation, that we need more meanness and snideness leading our country.
But I’ve been thinking about it, too, in terms of those women who would never, ever consider themselves feminist, who, in fact, think that feminists are all hairy-legged lesbian sluts who steal people’s husbands just so that they can abort their babies, who sit in kitchens all across America while the men are out in the other room watching sports bitching about how much those men suck.
I mean, I can’t sit here and tell you that I don’t harbor some man-hating attitudes. I do. I grew up learning them in the kitchens and church basements of the Midwestern towns I grew up in. One of the things I appreciate about feminism is that I see now that it is disrespectful of men to let them think that everything’s okay between us when I am secretly seething with discontent. I don’t believe men are monsters and I do believe that they are capable of changing behavior we find harmful.
I’ve been thinking about Arthur Silber’s latest post, about Oscar Wilde’s Salome.
I don’t like Palin, as I’ve said. And I recognize in her that visciousness that women who play by the rules and still feel screwed get. But it makes me feel uneasy to see how the sentiment agaist her bubbles from a place of deep ugliness.
I remember, and this has been ages ago, sitting in a circle with a bunch of women in undergrad, students and professors, talking about whether we would change our names when we got married (or maybe if, but back then the whole idea of it being an “if” as if you ever could choose not to be married was a joke) and the College Professor said that it never occured to her to change her name, that she had shifted paradigms and it just didn’t come up.
And that has stuck with me–this idea of the personal paradigm shift–where you are living in one type of world right along side of people who are living in a much different type of world.
And for me, this election season has been about me skipping gaily through the meadow towards some happy place, hand in hand with all the people of America, only to look over and find that, actually, my hands are empty.
That’s hard to take, over and over again.