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Does Progress Have a Gender?

With the recent selection of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska by John McCain as his running mate, I have been thinking a lot about the significance of his choice. What seemed like a simple choice for many women who were Hillary or Obama supporters, may have just gotten more difficult.

While I think it is amazing progress that a woman could be chosen as a Vice Presidential candidate and that choice is considered a strength rather than a weakness, I am distraught at how the selection of Sarah Palin could effect our country and our world’s future.

I have to tell you that in expressing any doubts about her, I am feeling very sensitive about potentially criticizing and putting down a woman. From my other blog entries, you know that I am a huge proponent of women coming into leadership and power. But can I stick by that position even if I don’t agree with the woman’s values?

For example, Sarah Palin is a proponent of oil drilling. I am not. Sarah Palin is against women having a choice for an abortion. I am for women having a choice. Sarah Palin would put America first beyond all other countries. I on the other hand feel that an “America First” attitude will lead us to more “us vs. them” contentiousness and ultimately more war.

Since John McCain’s announcement of his Vice Presidential running mate, I have been challenged by the questions: Does progress for women simply mean more women in power no matter what their political view? Does it mean men in power who respect, support and promote women? Or does it mean women in power who focus on what may be our future’s most important issue — the interrelated nature of humanity and our Mother Earth?

I have heard that people like to vote in their own image. This makes sense to me, but it also worries me. Will there be Democratic women voting Republican because there is a woman on the ticket? Where are men on the issue?

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13 Responses to Does Progress Have a Gender?

  1. Ingrid September 5, 2008 at 3:33 pm #

    I don’t think gender or race should be the issue when it comes to the election. I think we need to choose our leader in terms of his or her Purpose, Principles, Promises, and Policies. Go to this site for a free e-book:

  2. greg zukowski September 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm #

    I have to share a conversation I overheard relating to this yesterday…and it frightened me, although it didn’t surprise me. I was waiting for my breakfast sandwich from a local deli, when I overheard some guys there. I will paraphrase the gist of their conversation…”Did you see the Republican convention last night?…man, that woman is HOT! …sure hotter than Hillary, that’s for sure, I wouldn’t mind looking at her for the next four years…and you know what? I am voting for McCain anyway, cause I don’t want no terrorist leading this country…if Obama wins, dude, I am moving to Canada…” My stomach sank, making me not only ashamed to be an American in that moment, but also a man. Did I really just overhear this????? UGH! I AM SO SCARED THIS IS THE IGNORANT ATTITUDE THAT WILL DOOM US FOR ANOTHER 4 YEARS, OR LONGER! GOD HELP US…or should I say GODDESS! HELP US PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!! WE NEED YOUR HELP LIKE NEVER BEFORE!…………I shot him a look as I left, and I wish I went up to him and said, “DUDE, Canada wouldn’t want someone like you, so you better find somewhere else to move!” I am afraid McCain did sign on Palin BECAUSE she WAS a woman, and he knew that SOME Hillary supporters might vote for him simply because of that fact. What a world we live in.

  3. BlendNewYork September 5, 2008 at 6:20 pm #

    This is such a great topic – and an interesting discussion. As I do want more women in power, the outcome of that person picked, I think, should be the most important issue. I believe that John McCain’s announcement of his female Vice Presidential running mate was a strategic move, since Hillary is out. Whatever does happen in the near future, I am happy that women are becoming more involved…

  4. Lydia September 5, 2008 at 7:01 pm #

    Thanks Ingrid, for the link, and Tabby for keeping the conversation up. I agree with Ingrid, let’s get past race and gender and look at the candidate’s positions, policies, qualfications and character — in this instance, I’d love it if the media could just keep it simple and stick to what matters. Race, gender, age…it only matters if we want it to matter to distract us from the real issues.

  5. Robert September 5, 2008 at 7:58 pm #

    In other words, she is evil.
    Yes, you should stand up against this woman. She is not a good person!
    Loved what you wrote.


  6. Carole September 5, 2008 at 11:17 pm #

    Good discussion to put out. Oh, both my husband and I were distraught after her speech, mainly for her disturbing values and the fact that she comes in a package that is so charismatic and good looking to some. Certainly McCain doesn’t have her charisma, but the substance of her message is quite anti-feminist, anti-environment, etc. Not to mention her complete lack of knowledge and experience in foreign policy. My husband put it this way (probably because we are so steeped in reading children’s literature with our young son) – he felt she was like a poisoned apple. Very attractive at the first look of things – but it’s substance is poison nonetheless.
    An excellent op-ed article was written by Gloria Steinem in the LA Times on Thursday called something like “Wrong Woman, Wrong Choice”. Worth finding it online, as I had begun to get very worried after Palin’s speech (besides being angry about her views).

  7. Tabby Biddle September 5, 2008 at 6:25 pm #

    Thank you Ingrid for the link to the inspiring revolutions e-book. I am going to check it out!

  8. Tabby Biddle September 5, 2008 at 6:34 pm #

    Hi Greg.

    Thank you so much for sharing what you overheard. I too fear that this might be the attitude of many who don’t keep up with politics very much — the surface lookers. I guess the best we can do is continue to put our ideals out there and spread more awareness that way. I trust in that.

    Keep writing!!!!


  9. Tabby Biddle September 5, 2008 at 6:38 pm #

    Hi Christine.

    Thanks for writing!
    I think you hit the nail on the head — that the outcome of the person picked should be the most important issue when hitting the polls and that nevertheless, it is exciting that more women are becoming involved.

    Great to hear from you,

  10. Tabby September 6, 2008 at 4:05 pm #


    Thank you for writing. A poisoned apple is an interesting analogy.
    I am going to check out Gloria Steinem’s op-ed in the LA Times as you suggested!

  11. Bita September 7, 2008 at 2:47 am #

    You know in all honestly looks can be deceiving. I was drawn to our 24/7 CNN (as my roommate doesn’t miss a bit) just to see who she is but I got turned off when Palin talked and I learned more about her. My aquaerobics friend told me that for the first time in her life, she doesn’t know who to vote for because the candidates’ views are similiar and current topics are very confusing. To me, if people listen and pay more attention to the speeches and forgo the race and gender issue as some said earlier then the decision for president is easy to make.

  12. Robert September 9, 2008 at 8:35 pm #

    Here is a list of books that Sarah Palin tried to have banned from the Wasilla Public Library, according to the official minutes of the Library Board. When she was unsuccessful at having these books banned, she tried to have the Librarian fired.

    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

    Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

    Blubber by Judy Blume

    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

    Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

    Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

    Carrie by Stephen King

    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

    Christine by Stephen King

    Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    Cujo by Stephen King

    Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen

    Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite

    Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck

    Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

    Decameron by Boccaccio

    East of Eden by John Steinbeck

    Fallen Angels by Walter Myers

    Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland

    Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes

    Forever by Judy Blume

    Grendel by John Champlin Gardner

    Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

    Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

    Have to Go by Robert Munsch

    Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman

    How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

    Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

    Impressions edited by Jack Booth

    In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

    It’s Okay if You Don’t Love Me by Norma Klein

    James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

    Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

    Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

    Lord of the Flies by William Golding

    Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein

    Lysistrata by Aristophanes

    More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

    My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

    My House by Nikki Giovanni

    My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara

    Night Chills by Dean Koontz

    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

    On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

    One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    Ordinary People by Judith Guest

    Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Collective

    Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

    Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

    Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz

    Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

    Separate Peace by John Knowles

    Silas Marner by George Eliot

    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

    The Bastard by John Jakes

    The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

    The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

    The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth

    The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs

    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

    The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

    The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

    The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder

    The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks

    The Living Bible by William C. Bower

    The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

    The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman

    The Pigman by Paul Zindel

    The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders

    The Shining by Stephen King

    The Witches by Roald Dahl

    The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder

    Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume

    To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

    Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster

    Editorial Staff

    Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth
    Courtesy of R. Matter

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