Unintended consequences of Palin’s… existence
The vice-presidential nominee is out there representing conservative ideals and principles in American government.
But the degree of revulsion liberals, and particularly feminists,
are revealing in their reactions to her show that to them, she
represents a threat to their goals for American government and culture. On Fox News’ Special Report yesterday, Charles Krauthammer said she is a “silent rebuke” to these women.
Look at the viciousness of the attacks.
In Palin’s case, I think what adds to it is her decision
at her age with four other children to have a down syndrome child.
This, too, as Joseph Epstein wrote, in feminist circles if abortion is
not about this, what’s it about?
And they look at her as sort of a back room — a backwater hick, who,
for religious reasons, went ahead and had a child that they would never
Underneath it, I think, deep underneath it, I think it’s a
self-loathing on the part of these feminists, knowing that what she did
is virtuous and a generous act that they would have never have
undertaken. And her having undertaken it is an affront to them, a
The liberal women I know–and most of the women I seem to
know are liberal–loathe Sarah Palin. They don’t merely dislike her, the
way one tends to dislike politicians whose views are not one’s own,
they actively detest her. When her name comes up–and it is they who
tend to bring it up–their complexions take on a slightly purplish
tinge, their eyes cross in rage. “Moron” is their most frequently used
noun, though “idiot” comes up a fair number of times; “that woman” is
yet another choice. A wide variety of adjectives, differing only
slightly in their violence, usually precede these epithets.
They have become unglued. As Epstein says, if the candidate with
these same values were Mike Huckabee, the reaction would be very
different. But this is a conservative woman.
One might think that liberal women would have some
admiration for Governor Palin’s appearing to have solved the working
mother problem that bedevils most contemporary American women. She is
very feminine yet doesn’t regard herself as a victim, and seems to be
entirely at ease with men. Here is a woman raising five children who is
able not only to have an active hand in the life of her community but
actually win the highest political office in her state. As the governor
of Alaska, moreover, she took on the corrupt elements in her own party,
which requires courage of a kind liberated women especially, one would
think, might admire.
But they “relentlessly condemn” her.
Strongly liberal women get most agitated over the
issue–though of course to them it is no issue but a long since resolved
matter–of abortion. Abortion, to be sure, is the great third-rail
subject in American politics. But when a male politician is against
abortion, these women can write that off as the ignorance of a standard
politician, if not himself a Christian fundamentalist, then another
Republican cynically going after the fundamentalist vote. A woman not
in favor of abortion is something quite different.
And it is all the more strikingly different when the same woman not
only holds this opinion on abortion but acts on it and knowingly bears
a child with Down syndrome, a child that most liberal women would have
thought reason required aborting. What else, after all, is abortion for?
It’s all about abortion, in the end. And the abortion culture that
grows around it. Protecting that engenders rage in the most adamant
proponents of abortion.
The daughter of a dear friend of mine used to say of her
mother, “I sense her rage.” Of course when the daughter said this, my
friend’s rage would only increase. Suggesting that liberal women feel
rage over Sarah Palin is, similarly, likely only to enrage them all the
more. But rage in their reaction to Governor Palin is emphatically what
I do sense on the part of liberal women–that and delight in any attempt
to humiliate her…I wonder if the women who loathe Sarah Palin with such
intensity oughtn’t perhaps to reexamine the source of their strongly
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