It wasn’t too long ago that Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both from California, broke the glass ceiling along with other women candidates – Carol Moseley Braun comes to mind, but there were others. And it was surely heralded in the media as “the year of the woman.”
Naturally, we were excited. It meant a radical shift in the direction of American politics, if not in substance then in spirit. No more immoral wars. No sweat shops if we could help it, whether at home or abroad. Equal rights for each and every one, citizens and “illegals” alike. Women are the epitome of the spirit of compassion, of the maternal instinct, and surely the proponents of fair play — so we were told. Things were bound to get better, especially in light of the oppressive, Republican regime in the White House and both Houses. Wrong!
Then came Nancy Pelosi. Madame Speaker, can you imagine the form of address? The entire establishment, white ole boys and all, was stood on its head. I’m not here to defend Ms Pelosi’s performance in her coveted role, only to register the reaction.
The last draw was Hillary, yes, the same Hillary who opted for wearing a business suit lest she be criticized for her unseemly ankles. It didn’t work, the put-downs came down regardless. She was demonized by all and all alike, her own party and the opposition. “Get Hillary” was the daily mantra. Nothing was below the belt. She was fair game.
Enter Sarah Palin, the GOP wild card. The thinking was, the aging McCain needed a booster; besides, the Republicans wanted to prove their tent was large enough for minority candidates. True to form, Ms Palin was unjustly attacked, this time by the liberal camp. How could a part-time housewife be a heartbeat away from the presidency, was on everyone’s mind. We didn’t know about Sister Sarah’s intelligence quotient then, but that’s beside the point. She was attacked just the same.
Two years into Obama’s presidency, and one would think the Republicans had a change of heart about minorities and all that. Apart from Michael Steele, the Republican equivalent of Obama, there are women everywhere. Sarah Palin herself has come of age. Having effectively freed herself of McCain’s apron strings, she became the Tea Party’s darling. And now, we come to the recent primaries.
Judging by the spin, you would think June 11 was the turning point in American politics. From California, New Mexico and South Carolina, including the beleaguered Lincoln Blanchet from the conservative state of Arkansas, women scored big in the key-states primaries. Even Cynthia Tucker, usually a levelheaded columinist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and many times a Pulitzer Prize nominee, couldn’t contain her enthusiasm. For full story, see discussion on National Public Radio.
How soon we forget! Americans have a knack for reinventing themselves, and nobody does it better than our politicians. Since the “hope ‘n change” finesse set the Democrats down one trick and counting, it’s the Republicans’ turn (all the easier, I should think, since the precedent has been set).
The more things change, the more they remain the same.