Friday, September 12, 2008

Hearting Civet, Hating Palin

I want to say thank you to all of you leaving comments about the tribute to Mia. It's wonderful to read about all the lives she's touched. I've sucked at replying to blog comments lately because I'm still behind on everything, so excuse the mass thank you, but I hope to better with it and everything next week.

And because I'm so freakin' obsessed with the band Civet right and I want to get everyone pumped for their upcoming Women Who Rock Wednesday visit. I thought I'd share their music video for "Son of A Bitch" with you. This is the song that made me fall in love with them in a way I haven't fallen in love with a band since The Distillers. I hope they become hugely popular and famous because they totally deserve and they get me revved up the way music did in high school which just feels so good.

On another note, I need to get political for a second. If you don't like politics or don't agree with my politics (which I think I made pretty clear in the subject header), that's fine, you don't need to read the rest of this blog then. But due to the nature of my writing (stories that are punk rock and feminist), I'm guessing that many of you might be politically oriented. And I can't not share how I feel about the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin.

I kept my boyfriend up late last night worrying about where we'll move if she and McCain get elected into office because I seriously could not handle being in this country anymore. Canada seems like the obvious choice, but I worry about work visas and if we can take the cats. I also pondered if one of us could get dual citizenship in the countries where our grandparents are from (Italy for him, Poland for me), but I'm really afraid we couldn't take the cats to Europe... I'm trying not to think about this right now and just focusing on Obama getting elected because I don't want to feel like I have to flee my home because Sarah Palin is like a natural diasaster. So the pro-Obama thing I've done today is contributed a signed copy of IWBYJR to a group doing a silent auction to fundraise for him and now I'm also writing this blog as a way of making my views public.

I'm disgusted by the nomination of Sarah Palin for many many reasons, but today the top reason is that I think it is such a slap in the face to American women, particularly to Hillary supporters, for the Republican party to choose her. I mean it really shows that Republicans think women, particularly Hillary supporters, are idiots. They really think that if they wave a woman in front of us, no matter how anti-women's rights that woman has to be, that we'll vote for her. Like we're more concerned about ovaries in the White House than, for example, our right to choose what happens to our bodies if we get raped. I mean, seriously, to say that even rape survivors shouldn't have rights to abortion??? Does this woman have any empathy? I have so many friends that are survivors of sexual abuse or assault and I wish I could make Palin to sit down and listen to all of our stories and what it would be like to have carry a physical, growing reminder of that for nine months. Ugh.

Anyway, I know many of my readers may be Hillary supporters and I do hope you won't fall for this Republican trick. Personally, I have been an Obama supporter all along because his beliefs were most in line with mine (there are no mainstream candidates that I would ever 100% support because I've got kind of radical political views), but I do admire Hillary for certain things and I do admire her supporters and like them, really want to see a woman in the White House in my life time. But not this woman.

There is a blog,, which is posting comments from women about the Palin nomination. I encourage my outraged female readers to contribute to it and my outraged male readers to pass this on to the woman in their lives. They invite you to reply to womensaynopalin at gmail dot com (don't spell out the at or dot) with a short, succinct message about why you, as a woman living in this country, do not support thiscandidate as second-in-command for our nation. Please include your name (last initial is fine), age, and place of residence. I have sent in my thoughts and will share them below. Also I would like to share something a a friend passed on to me by Eve Ensler creator of the Vagina Monologues as her thoughts are written much better than mine (it's been awhile since I wrote a good political piece I guess.)

Anyway my thoughts:

As the daughter of two healthcare workers, I cannot support Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate. My father is a public health worker who, among other things, has been working to end the AIDS crisis since the 80s. Palin's stance on sex education and birth control will set back all of the progress he and his colleagues have made. We need more education, not less. My mother, a neonatal nurse who often cares for premature infants from communities without access to birth control and sex eduation, can also speak to this.

As a long-time vegan and lifelong environmentalist, I cannot support Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate. The people of our nation have finally begun to recognize the danger our environment is in and have begun act on it. We need to keep that momentum going. Sarah Palin will deter those efforts and that would harm us all and leave our children and grandchildren with a world they may not be able to save.

As a writer, I cannot support Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate. She is a major threat to free speech and the exchange of ideas that makes this country great.

As a survivor of sexual abuse, I cannot support Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate. In stating that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape, she shows absolutely no compassion for her fellow woman, especially those of us who have been violated.

Ultimately, as a women, I cannot support Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate because her views and policies would create an extremely dangerous world for me, my family, my friends, and especially their children.

Eve Ensler's piece:

Drill, Drill, Drill by Eve Ensler

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God."

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

Okay, I will get off my soapbox for now and go listen to more Civet since this is clearly a time for real girl power!!!


Gabbi said...

I live in Canada and even though there is a country-wide election going on here, all the media focus is on the American political situation, therefore, I know the bare minimums about politics outside of the Great White North.

(Btw, Canada totally welcomes you!)

I am a Hillary supporter through and through, but I can completely understand why Obama's camp did not choose her. McCain has been sickening me all summer, trying to use Hillary's words against her own party.

When McCain selected Palin, I was outraged. Not only does Palin have very little political experience - the main selling point of the McCain campaign - outside of her hometown in Alaska, but she is horrible at being interviwed and delivering speeches.

Also, using her only vulnerable, 17-year-old daughter as the poster child for her campaign is a terrible thing to do.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Thanks for sharing your very intelligent thoughts, Gabbi! I agree 100%. And thanks for letting me know I am welcome in Canada. I hope it doesn't come to that because I'd rather see the US get a strong leader and then just come to Canada to visit because I have enjoyed my visits up there!

Keri Mikulski said...

I hate getting political too, but there are some definite scary things being word vomited out of SP's mouth. Great post, Stephanie.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Thanks Keri! There really are so it's important to say something back!

Anonymous said...

Great article Stephanie. The news of Palin's e-mail breach was mildly interesting, and the media spin and fallout from it might actually dissade some voters from supporting Palin. The Palin nomination was the final straw for me, as I have now become very disenfranchised with the whole political process...

I stumbled into a political cartoon that kind of expresses the hopelessness I feel with our political leadership as the first decade of the 21st century draws to an end. Thought you might appreciate the commentary.