Identity Politics: Not Just for Democrats Anymore?
Conservatism appeals to me for numerous valid reasons. Topping the list is the unapologetic championing of the individual, along with his or her right to pursue their dreams, make their own choices, rise above their circumstances through hard work and perseverance, and share their wealth with whomever they deem appropriate.
For all intents and purposes, the Republican Party has been the vehicle through which conservative principles find their way into public policy though until last summer's Don't Go movement in support of lifting the ban on domestic drilling, and most recently, the House GOP's display of solidarity against the so-called "stimulus" package, you'd be hard-pressed to make that case.
So imagine my surprise when, during the course of a talk delivered by a guest speaker at a Republican function, I was basically told that as a woman, it is incumbent upon me to support all women running for political office, regardless of party or platform. The speaker based her remarks upon two premises: 1.) that both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were victims of rampant sexism during the 2008 campaign; and 2.) the United States has a deplorable track record when it comes to women in government, lagging behind even Third World countries like Cuba.
Let’s examine that first one for a moment. Our passionate female orator expressed unabashed outrage at the media’s treatment of the two female candidates in the race—a phenomenon she attributed to insidious misogyny. But is that really what happened? Or for Hillary Clinton, was it more a matter of her party’s identity politics chickens coming home to roost?
After years of being held up as feminine role-model by the left-wing press for her relentless advocacy of sacred cows like abortion-on-demand, nationalized health care and blame-America-first foreign policy (although she was for the Iraq War before she was against it - er, well at least before the Daily Kos became a thorn in the side of her presidential aspirations), a funny thing happened. A black man entered the Democratic Primary, thus derailing Hillary’s coronation, as skin color took precedence over gender in the Donkeys’ endless grievance-mongering game.
As Geraldine Ferraro correctly opined, if a white man with Obama’s identical qualifications or lack thereof had been Hillary’s opponent, the media would have yawned. But because Obama happened to have dark skin, journalists everywhere were getting tingles up their leg. And while I agree with Geraldine in this regard, I’ll take it a step further: if Hillary had been up against a garden-variety, white liberal male, CNN, MSNBC and the rest would’ve been rhapsodizing over the fact that she was a woman—never mind the fact that unlike Sarah Palin, Hillary owed her entire political career to her husband’s influential coattails.
Contrast our new Secretary of State with the Governor of Alaska, a truly self-made woman who financed her own college education, started a successful business, and rose from city council to mayor to Alaska’s highest office through her own initiative, talent and determination. There was no politically entrenched nepotism lighting the way for Sarah’s ultimate arrival on the national stage as the “historic” Republican nominee for Vice President—her remarkable ascension was a result of her own diligence, something alleged “feminists” pride themselves on championing.
But unlike Clinton, Palin also possessed a “tragic flaw” the Steinem crowd and the MSM simply couldn’t forgive: she not only espoused conservatism, she was a living, breathing testament to its validity. Nowhere is this more evident than in Sarah’s choice to give birth to her youngest child Trig, rather than abort him for the “crime” of having Down syndrome (as the younger sister of a Down's brother, I can assure you the world is a better place because of people like him).
For this and other heresies, Sarah Palin became a target of the most repugnant character assassination ever aimed at a politician, male or female. Rather than tout her many accomplishments, the MSM went into full assault, calling into question her ability to be a good mother while assuming VP duties, mercilessly scrutinizing her pregnant teenage daughter’s decision to keep her child and marry his father, splicing her interviews to make her look incompetent in the eyes of the public, and in the most despicable act of media malpractice, propagating the lie that Trig’s mother wasn’t really Sarah, but her eldest daughter, Bristol (a feat that would’ve defied medical science). Can you imagine Hillary being put through such a wringer?
Through it all, Palin remained stalwart and gracious, proving that women can be simultaneously strong, beautiful, principled and feminine. So I’ll concede that a woman in the 2008 presidential campaign was a victim of real injustice—but please, save me the sexism rants. And if it’s so wonderful that Third World countries like Cuba have more female representation in government than the USA, why are they still totalitarian hell-holes? All things being equal, when given a choice between a liberal woman and a conservative man, I’ll vote for the man every time. It’s what an independent, free-thinking, conservative woman would do.