My Soapbox: That Nervy Broad From Alaska

Warning: If you like Sarah Palin, you might want to stop reading now because this post will make you angry. If you keep reading, please know that nothing you write in my comments section will make me like her any better. Comments that insult me for not liking her will be quietly deleted.


So. Sarah Palin is now on TLC showing us the beauty of her home state, the homespun appeal of her family, and how much we should all love her. And buy her book. And donate to her PAC. And eventually vote her into office again. Because this series is nothing but an 8-week campaign ad, if you ask me, and I want no part of it or the candidate it’s selling.

Few things in recent memory have had the frightening effect on my blood pressure that Sarah Palin has. From the moment she stepped onto the stage at the event where John McCain announced her as his VP pick and she made some simpering remark about the women of America not being done yet, I hated her on a visceral level. “The women aren’t done yet? I knew that already! Women have been fighting for two centuries, why would we have given up now?” I thought.  “Fuck you, lady, you’re not the second coming of Simone de Beauvoir.  And fuck you Senator McCain, if you really thought that everyone with a second X chromosome would tumble into your lap because you picked some obscure western governor with a baby and an up-do as your running mate.” I felt like my intelligence was being insulted.

Turns out I was right.  Apparently there is a whole cadre of high-ranking people who think I’m too dumb to understand how history gets made and thought that maybe I’d buy a made-for-tv-girl-VP as a bona fide ground-breaker. The joke’s on them, though, because I paid attention during the part of US History when they taught me about women’s suffrage.  I know that Susan B. Anthony was arrested for trying to vote in 1872. I know that it was 140 years after we declared independence from Britain before this country elected a woman, Jeanette Rankin (R-MT), to Congress. I know there wasn’t a female Supreme Court Justice until Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981 and there wasn’t a female Secretary of State until Madeleine Albright in 1992.  I know the Democrats selected Geraldine Ferraro as a VP candidate in 1984.  And I know damn well that Hillary Clinton didn’t lose the nomination because she was a woman.  I also know that Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton, no Madeleine Albright, no Sandra Day O’Connor, no Jeanette Rankin, and certainly no Susan B. Anthony.

What angers me to this day is that Mrs. Palin is standing on the shoulders of giants but she never once looked down to see the giants’ faces.  She seems to have no idea what it took to get her where she is.  She isn’t the all-American story of a working-class, small-town, traditional-values, every-mom made good; she is actually is the story of women’s rights finally, FINALLY reaching a point where an empty-headed, pretty-faced politician doesn’t have to be a man to get ahead.  Even a woman can be a publicly elected dimwit and not have it reflect badly on an entire gender. That’s progress, folks.

Mrs. Palin is a semi-educated former beauty queen with nerve.  That’s not nothing.  Unless you compare it to the resumes of those who came before her.  And then it’s impossible not to realize what an empty suit she really is, with her notes on her hand, her inability to name what she reads, and her stubborn refusal to talk to reporters who might ask her the kinds of questions that show the massive gaps in her education. She calls herself a Mama Grizzly but she’s never fought for anything except her own advancement, unless it was earmarks for Wasilla. She claims the mantle of feminism but she’s not working on behalf of women, that I can see; she’s working on behalf of herself and enlisting women to support her in her quest for attention. She doesn’t talk about how to fight the fights of women, the battle of support for working families, equal pay for women, protections for mothers in the workplace, a health care system that doesn’t consider being female a pre-existing condition, safe schools for children, and care for the aging that free working women up to earn a living. And she doesn’t thank the women who have been fighting those fights for decades already.

Not to say a woman politician must make women central to her work. But it rubs me raw when women politicians don’t bother to look out for fellow women at all.

The adage “a woman must be twice as good to be considered the equal of a man” has long been entirely true. We have danced backwards, in high heels, for generations, just to be allowed on the same stage as guys who didn’t have our footwork or our rhythm.  The women who made waves and made progress were rarely beloved (just Google the nasty things people said about Eleanor Roosevelt, another woman whose example Mrs. Palin fails to live up to, by the way) but they laid a foundation, brick by hard fought brick, to make a road to equality and respect that their daughters and grand-daughters could walk.  Now, Sarah Palin walks it in her Naughty Monkey heels as blithely as if she had no idea what the women before her had to do.  Because I strongly suspect she doesn’t even know their names.  Or why she should.

Do you know who Bella Abzug is, Mrs. Palin?  Emma Goldman?  Margaret Sanger? Ann Richards? Sojourner Truth?  Rosa Parks? Do you know who your sisters-in-arms are, Mrs. Palin? Do you know who the Women of America really are? Or do you believe that you are the only one who was pulling on your bootstraps to get you where you are today, that you weren’t helped by 200 years of female strength and determination?

This is America and even a girl from Wasilla can run for President.  But this girl won’t encourage her by watching her show. Or reading her book. Or voting for her if it comes to that. I hope it doesn’t. I want the first female President to be someone better than that.

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50 comments for “My Soapbox: That Nervy Broad From Alaska

  1. November 15, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I am pretty sure I’ve left this comment before, but you are my heroine!!! I am going to share this everywhere.

    What has bothered me since she came on the scene is the assumption (by my friends and family, as well as my chromosomal community) that I support her simply because she also has a child with Ds. I mean, seriously? Ugh. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

  2. Lora
    November 15, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Yes, ma’am!

  3. November 15, 2010 at 10:24 am

    When McCain picked Palin I felt bile in my throat. Because it really did say that the Republican party believed women were too stupid to vote on principles or politics. It said the party believed that women would vote with “their kind” much like people said about African Americans and Obama. It’s insulting. It’s humiliating. And Sarah Palin should be embarrassed to be a part of those kind of politics.

    But if she were, she wouldn’t be Sarah Palin, and she wouldn’t be so dammed infuriating.

  4. jane anderson
    November 15, 2010 at 10:26 am

    woo hoo! you go girl !

  5. Joslyn
    November 15, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Sing it, sister.

  6. peggey
    November 15, 2010 at 11:04 am

    “Even a woman can be a publicly elected dimwit and not have it reflect badly on an entire gender. That’s progress, folks.”

    THAT IS SO TRUE!!! It is progress that we can have two *vastly* different women so boldly on the political radar and no one is shocked by the fact. But the fact that “all the women” are expected to all go running to one side or the other shows that we still have some distance to cover….

  7. Michaelanne
    November 15, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Thank you for putting into words my thoughts exactly! Palin scares me, I really don’t understand how so many women and men are so in love with her?

  8. judy
    November 15, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Very well written article.

  9. November 15, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I’m just going to sit here and applaud everything single thing you wrote. 🙂

  10. LAW
    November 15, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Oh yeah! and while I hate the very idea that women having their very own Dan Quayle is somehow progress… I suppose in some twisted little way it is. I doubt she knows who MizAnne Richards was.. other than she had a way with hair! She doesn’t know the rapier wit, the thought, the sheer hard work MizAnne did to get ahead. As for Susan B… nope, not so much…

    I actually had some conservative friends point to this twit and tell me “see, at least WE (the Rs) are going to have a female VP!! aren’t we wonderful”. Sorry, breasts and a uterus aren’t what or who I vote for. It’s the brains and the working FOR women’s ISSUES that I vote for.

    Great piece.

  11. November 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm


  12. November 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I am not a huge Palin fan. As far as what she does for the country, I don’t like her. I find her fun to watch, but not anyone I would want to see in office.

    That said, as my disclaimer….

    I do not expect her to run for presidential office in 2012. I could be surprised, but I think she is saying she may run to get rating on her show….more than the other way around. Because comments saying she’d rather be in Alaska than in an office will do her no favors (I think that’s what she said, I can’t quote because I didn’t watch I just saw the preview). I think the teasing about a possible run in 2 years is more for ratings than reality.

    But I could be wrong. I hope not.

  13. November 15, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    HEEEEYYYY!!!! Get it guurrrl! 😉 I have a girlcrush on you now.

  14. Amanda
    November 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    *Clap clap clap clap* Amen sister. Thanks for putting into words my gut feeling about this bubble headed beauty queen.

  15. November 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Roar! I love this.

  16. November 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I have laughed until I almost peed on myself watching her commercial for her new series about her beloved Alaska. They show her in a boat very close to a grizzly bear and while she talks about her affinity for the mother bear because her children always come first and how a grizzly will do anything to take care of and protect her young…..Sarah says, “Let’s get that fish before the bear gets it!” WTF???

  17. November 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! You’ve said everything I’ve thought about Palin, but with more knowledge & eloquence!

    It just amazes me that people really think she could do anything for ths county at all. Or that people are NOT appalled by the fact that the Republicans expected us all to come running because they had a woman on the ticket. They picked an ill-prepared, uninformed, nit wit just because she was a woman. Did they really think we wouldn’t care about her knowledge and experience? *wink, wink* You betcha! Ugh…I’d better stop now or my head will spin off my shoulders. Again, Bravo!

  18. Kimberly Hampton
    November 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Amen! You just said everything I have been saying since Johnnie boy introduces that self serving media whore to the American public!

  19. November 15, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you again and again for putting my thoughts out there in your words and doing it so succinctly too! Your piece completely mirrored my thoughts about Ms. Palin. And, I loved this piece so much I sent the url to this piece to my son’s ex-girlfriend -who is a card-carrying member of NOW, a feminist and liberal through and through as I know she will be jumping up and down, screaming for joy when she reads this piece!

    Keep up the great writing job!

  20. Jennifer
    November 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Oh yeah! If you haven’t seen this video (background on the linked page), you might like it:

  21. LJ
    November 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Really? You want to make fun of Palin for having notes on her hand when the current President can’t make a speech without his teleprompter?

  22. Joslyn
    November 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    @LJ — Bahahahahahahaha! Everyone uses teleprompters for speeches. However, most people over the age of 15 don’t write crib notes on their hands to answer general questions.

  23. November 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I really hope Tim Pawlenty kicks her ass so Barack can kick his ass. I dislike Tim Pawlenty and the smarmy way he has about him – and his rob the poor attitude, considering his upbringing – but I would rather have him as president than this idiot.

    I told TLC that I give up. I cannot watch them anymore with SisterWives and Sarah Palin.


  24. November 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Love this post! I firmly believe that not everyone needs a college education to do a job, but I do believe that the person who holds the office of the highest elected official in the most powerful free nation should at least have a post-graduate degree and an undergraduate degree from ONE school. I cheered when she was nominated, because I knew Obama (or as I like to call him, “my future husband”) would win for sure. Check out my new favorite blog:

  25. November 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Fantastic! Well done :->

    *Standing Ovation*

  26. November 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    God save our country if she becomes president…God save us all.

  27. Laura
    November 15, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Brilliant!! Sums up my thoughts on her exactly. I was completely disgusted when McCain picked that dimwit as his running mate. We don’t vote with our uterus! I want my Presidents, and VP’s to have BRAINS. I’d much prefer hard working, brilliant women like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi who bust their asses off to get where they are. God help us if that moron is elected. It would not be an advancement of women, it would be an insult. I want a woman President, but I want one with a functioning brain and an understanding of the world around her.

  28. Virginia
    November 15, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Here’s what I don’t get about people who still think Palin is a great politician: Even if you — somehow — truly believe she’s a bright, principled person with awesome values who understands politics and can get things done, how could you even consider supporting a candidate for public office who QUIT HALFWAY THROUGH HER TERM FOR NO APPARENT REASON????????

    Sorry, I usually try not to yell, but sometimes I can’t stop myself.

  29. November 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. I am terrified that this woman might actually get support from a large number of people to launch a presidential bid. We seem to have forgotten that the one time she was actually elected to an office of some importance, she bailed on it! She couldn’t last through one term as governor. This speaks volumes on her level of real, honest dedication to the well-being of her fellow humans. If it isn’t about her, it isn’t worth pursuing. Can you see her at the G20 round table? “Well, fellas, my wallet sure seems like it’s got a hole in it.”

  30. amy
    November 15, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Thank you for writing it all down cuz this “politcian” and woman absolutely frives me insane. She is not very bright but knows how to market herself. I prefer Tina Fey’s version of Mrs. Palin than the actual Mrs. Palin.
    Just don’t get me started on what a good christian woman she is when her own daughter had a child out of wedlock. Oy.

  31. November 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    ::Standing ovation::

  32. November 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Outstanding piece, Belinda. If you haven’t read Rebecca Traister’s new book “Big Girls Don’t Cry: How the 2008 election changed American women,” do pick it up. You will love it.

    Now may I just say that if you weren’t already married and if we were both gay and if it was legal, I would totally marry you! 😉

    Write on, my friend!

  33. November 15, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Correction. I thought your name was Belinda because a woman named Belinda posted this on FB. Oops. Everything else I said, I stand by. Great, great piece.

  34. LAW
    November 15, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    LJ… did you never watch GWB’s speeches? I tried to avoid them like the plague they resembled, but he used teleprompters at all times. If he didn’t, he couldn’t get a sentence out that made any sense whatsoever. Maybe you should do some independent thinking?


  35. Kelly
    November 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I LOVE this article! Thank you for articulating my very thoughts.
    This is one of my favorite lines: “What angers me to this day is that Mrs. Palin is standing on the shoulders of giants but she never once looked down to see the giants’ faces”
    I can’t wait to see what you write next.

  36. Dottie
    November 15, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Mama Grizzlies take care of their cubs. They don’t leave their pregnant teenager and baby home while they galavant around the country spending exorbitant amounts of money on clothes and making speeches that don’t make any sense. That’s all I’m sayin!

  37. November 15, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    You took the words tight out of my mouth.

    I’m glad she is dumbing down her image with this TLC show. It will further distance her from any chance on the 2012 ticket.

    She’s providing and endless pool of fodder for Jon Stewart and The Soup. But of course, we’re all just jealous of her success as a beautiful women in politics. Pffft.

  38. November 15, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    I spent all my emotional energy venting about her during the campaign, and glad that others like you are continuing. As someone who was old enough to be a pioneer, I have to confess I’m somewhat horrified that this is where the struggle for women’s rights got us. I haven’t watched her show and maybe it’s wishful thinking to believe more attention will just shine more light on what’s missing.

  39. November 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    I knew I loved you for a reason!

    Very well said. I also agree with Virginia – could you imagine in Obama had quit the Senate to write a book, have a reality show and be a news correspondent before his run for President???

  40. Jessica
    November 15, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    I have been following you, MIAM, for a while, and while I do agree with everything you say about this “politician” I must make a comment: THIS IS THE BEST DAMN BLOG POST I HAVE READ OF YOURS YET! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  41. Ken Denk
    November 15, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    My God, that is exactly how I have felt about her! Well done and beautifully written!

  42. Tonya
    November 16, 2010 at 12:10 am

    **Standing ovation**

    Very well written, I completely agree with you. Also, I love you LAW. As a liberal married to a military man I often feel like a lone ship, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. 🙂

  43. LJ
    November 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I have no problem, BTW, with any politician using a teleprompter, or writing notes on paper, or writing notes on his or her sleeve, or writing notes on the forehead of the guy standing in front of him or her. I DO have a problem with a double-standard being applied. Palin is sooo stttuuppidd she has to have NOTES whereas our “clean, articulate” (quoting Biden) President can use a teleprompter non-stop with no comment on his intelligence or lack thereof.

    And you know what, I have a problem with the word “broad” being applied to any woman. Isn’t that why we fought for civil rights for ALL women? So that none of us would be demeaned by the use of terms like this? Nervy broad – kinda like uppity, isn’t it? Dang woman doesn’t know her place.

  44. 2forgetful
    November 16, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    You are awesome. Thank you for this well written article. *huge round of applause*

  45. Pam
    November 16, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Rebekah, I wish there was a way to post this article on every billboard in the country, but I guess that just wouldn’t be safe. Whistles, fist-pumps and huzzahs for everything you’ve written here. This non-sentient person (in deference to LJ’s objection to “broad”) gets to me like nails on a blackboard and it scares me to death that she has such a mindless following, whether male or female. McCain owes the entire country an apology for putting this twit into the national spotlight.

  46. Erica Snipes
    November 17, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Rockin’ post, Rebekah. You put into words what every woman in this country should be feeling regarding Mrs. Palin. I cringed when I watched her on one of Bristol’s recent Dancing with the Stars spots…she was being all beauty-queen-y and making insipid comments on Bristol’s dances…and said something like “oh, is it lapdancy scandalous?” *Cringe*…the Democrats must be praying she’ll run for Prez in 2012. I truly am frightened if this woman ever gets elected into any public office in the future. Still, if she wants to make a tv show about Alaska, more power to her. I just won’t watch.

  47. Tina
    November 17, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Holla! This was fan-fucking-tastic! Loved every-single-word-of-it. Damn, I spread this post on my toast, dunked it in my coffee and ate it, I loved it so much. When I saw that freakin TLC ad, I almost threw the tv out the window. Sarah gives me a rash. My neighbor has a bumper stick which I am now on a mission to mail you, it says “SARAH DOESN’T SPEAK FOR ME”
    I am signing my comment b/c I am new, and I have no idea what I am doing. Yours truly, Tina aka Three In The Bed.

  48. physicsmom
    November 23, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Wonderful post! This woman scares the bejeesus out of me. I agree that this teevee show is just an 8-part infomercial on her candidacy. I didn’t want to believe it for a long time, that she would run, but the fact that politics has come to be such a part of her phony “documentary” just shows that she is already running. Around here we call it “Sarah Palin’s Home Movie,” but we don’t watch it.

  49. Michelle
    December 1, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Thank you for articulating what I’ve been feeling for a long time.

  50. Brigitte
    December 9, 2010 at 2:12 am

    I have stopped watching TLC because of all the crap they’ve been showing … Sarah Palin, Sister Wives … EEWWWWW. Any of us women would be better politicians than Palin, but we probably wouldn’t be eye candy while doing it. Like that’s what matters …

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