Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I've been thinking about some the questions I posed in the last post.

When I wrote that post, it was pure Dawn mental jumbley stream of consciousness thinking. I had ( and have) been trying to puzzle out just what it IS about this particular woman that seems to get me bewildered and anxious.

And yes - it is VERY true that my politics lay fundamentally at the polar opposite of hers...But I know and Love people who have different political views than my own. It isn't JUST that.

And I tend to Like strong, intelligent, successful women. There are far too few of us stepping up to public service...and I know that first hand from my years in the New Hampshire State Government.

And I was, am and will always remain a Working Mother. I know what it is to attempt to balance family and home and child and self. I know what it is to have someone ( man or woman) ask you in a less than complimentary tone if you can "make" a meeting since you have - you know - a KID to take care of.... I know the sinking feeling when you need to call in to work because you have a sick child ( who ALWAYS seems to get sick on a day when you ABSOLUTELY need to be at some meeting at 8 a.m.).

Shit, I had a male boss tell me how much nicer I was since becoming a mother, as he felt that I was softer and other women could relate to me better. He also found a way to terminate my employment when I disclosed I was taking Prozac and being treated for depression, but that is another post.

It wasn't until I read this article that I realized what I had been trying to scratch away.

I resent the subtle implication that if I don't like this woman, that I am a misogynist. I resent the ridiculous view of motherhood that she is perpetrating - and the Republican pundits are howling over as ideal. Sarah Palin has set herself up as the super mom, and asked us all to buy into it.

As a child care worker for many years, I resent the idea that working mothers do their jobs alone. I was a working partner with Many, many families - just as I had the love and support of many, many other teachers and child care providers as I worked and studied.

When a person - any person, but particularly the Republican party, who has actively sought to eliminate Head Start, decrease funding for child care for low income working families, or designed punitive educational benchmarks such as No Child Left Behind, which further guts the educational opportunity for children in at-risk communities...made it MORE difficult for single parents to go to school for more than 2 years in order to increase their earning potential for their families....It makes me angry.

It is the same type of anger when I had to face in public service when watching decision making by people who didn't know, didn't care or actively sought to punish low income working parents by changing rules or limits or program specifications.

It's also the same type of anger when I faced political appointees who could not find their asses with two hands and a flashlight - let alone understand and empathize with the fact that only having a welfare office open until 4 p.m. just didn't cut it for the VAST majority of clients who needed our services.

"Well, if they really needed or WANTED services, I guess they could find a way to get there...."

If they just wanted to Not be poor hard enough, they could make it happen. If you want to be a successful working mother - you just have to work harder. Not Whine.

I resent the idea that asking someone to be intelligent and knowledgeable about a job they are interviewing for is Sexist.

I mean it's like the whole republican party has suddenly discovered that they really LOVE affirmative action, in it's most token and misunderstood way. And it is making me queasy.

Last, but not least, I wanted to take a moment and list the other women teachers who have helped me raise my daughter. From the moment I handed her over to Linda as an 11 week old infant, I have depended and relied upon this group of people to help me find and define my role as working mom.

I have done none of the work in my life alone, and I wish deeply that I could have paid each of them 5 times the amount of money that I did for the invaluable service they offerred not only me - but more importantly, Emily.

So Thank you Linda, Mary Ann and Cindy
Thank You Heidi, Katie and Amy
Thank you Carla and Becki ( Bebbi, as Em called her)
Thank you Beth and Julie
Thank you Cheryl and Erica
Thank you Cynthia and Jenny
Thank you Deb - for both years you had Emily
Thank you Mary
Thank you Frances

Thank you for being partners with me. Thank you for telling me the truth, or softening what you had to say so that I could hear it once my own "Mama Grizzly" reared it's head . Thank you for allowing me to grow in the circle of women who know how hard it is to raise a child - or five - and work, and attempt to retain some vision of myself as Professional Dawn.

So Yes. I don't like Sarah Palin because her Hubris repulses me and I reject the version of warped female empowerment she is happy to lead.

9 Baleful Regards:

Madeleine said...

You are right -- thanks for pulling out the threads on this.

Bitch Ph.D. also has a nice analysis of why it isn't anti-feminist to hate Sarah Palin.

Anonymous said...

Since she was brought out, I have refused to feel guilty for poking every hole that I can find in the illusion surrounding what amounts to a female misogynist. You shouldn't either.

That and, as you put so well in your last post, that amorphous feeling of dis-ease that comes from being raised by a woman shockingly similar to her, if not in political and religious leanings, then in methodology and disregard for those they "love".

MarciaAnn said...

Pride goeth before the fall. Another inciteful post, Dawn. Thank you. I've thanked those who have contributed to my Zak's upbringing. All his teachers at his preschool, and those throughout his elementary, middle school and now high school adventures. Nothing replaces the care and heart that some teachers contribute and evoke.

E said...

I am still so amazed when many of my male friends are fascinated by the fact that I am not a Sarah Palin fan, just because she' a woman doesn't mean I have to like her, it's driving me crazy.

Anonymous said...

And that right there is the big picture. She portrays herself as just a regular working mom and yet she faces very few of the challenges facing every other working mom. She took her newborn to work because she could! Her husband is currently taking care of the kids because they can. It's disgraceful to parade that out as what's possible for any woman and patronizing as well.

Squire McGuire said...

You do realize that Cobert, Fey, et al, are comedians and get paid for their work, right???? Not sure what courage has to do with it.....

Dawn said...

The same courage it took for court jesters to mock those who were paying them, I suppose.

Mignon said...

Can I quote you on my blog, or would you rather be linked?

Anonymous said...

Now I'm following your logic. Thank you. :)

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