Friday, June 8, 2012

Dear Sarah,

I know you and I have never met, and likely never will.  Geographically, we're well over 3,000 miles apart, you up in Alaska, me in the lower 48 here in West Virginia.  I was a big Hillary supporter, still am, although disappointed in the compromises that were made.  I'm old enough to understand the need and value in compromise but still idealistic enough to not want my heroines to make them.  I want them to be a little bit better than me in their ability to stick to their convictions, go after what they want and take no prisoners along the way.  I admire strong women.  I volunteered to do the phones for her Charleston campaign headquarters and proudly put up signs in my yard in a very conservative neighborhood.  Hillary was finally going to break the glass ceiling in 2008 and I was going to be there, a part of it, no matter how small.  I was not going to miss my chance to participate in history.  Having been a women's studies major in the 80s, (which immediately was proof, along with my military service, that I was a lesbian) was going to make Hillary's victory that much sweeter.  Screw everyone who ridiculed my "feminism is not a dirty word" T-shirt.  To hell with those who told me I was too "crunchy granola" when I breastfed my kids and used cloth diapers (although I confess it was to save money, not the planet, we were broke and trying to get through college-with 3 kids).  Those who said you couldn't be smart and a good mother and have a career could kiss my ass.  Hillary was going to fix it all, right the wrongs and be the woman who made the final step-who closed the gap and shattered the glass ceiling once and for all.

Then some upstart punk out of Illinois showed up and arsed up the whole shebang.  And Hillary's victory lap turned into a vicious bout of infighting where, once again, the Democrats ended up doing the wrong thing where women are concerned.  They backed Barack and threw out Florida's votes-handing him the primary.  The campaign of "Hope" made we want to vomit, all I could hear was "hope we don't elect a woman for president."  She had it all, the experience, the brains, the connections, the drive, and she had paid her dues.  Didn't matter, it wasn't enough.  WV went 70% for Hillary.  Yep, the redneck, hillbillies voted a chick in the top spot.  We get  a lot of things wrong here, but for a few glorious days, WV had done right by me and my beliefs.

And then, out of nowhere, comes a very pretty, very accomplished unknown woman from Alaska as the Senator from Arizona's running mate on the other side.  I was absolutely tickled to see a woman in the race.  I also had a deep respect for McCain and his service to our country both in the military and in the senate.  Up until then, I'd never even considered voting for a Republican, but with Hillary off the ballot my vote was up for grabs and the only one I saw who looked like he could earn it was John.  And John came with Sarah.  As I dug into who the media let me know, I was amazed.  Almost simultaneously, I was sickened by the way she was immediately thrown under the hooves of my so-called liberal feminist sisters. Whoa!  Girls, girls, before you write her off as an emptyheaded stereotype, while also ridiculing her clothes and shoes, remember how pissed you were when all the press could comment on was our girl's headband du jour and penchant for pantsuits.  We cried foul then, and rightly so, but Sarah's long hair and penchant for heels was now fodder for blogs and newscasts with blood on their fangs.  Criticism about your appearance became a national sport, your hairdo, how much your glasses cost, who was paying for your campaign wardrobe, how high your heels were, what color your suit was, designed by whom?   It pissed me off.  And it pissed me off twice as much when it was being served up by women. 

I'll tell you what I saw.  I saw competence.  I saw merit.  I saw achievement.  I saw tenacity.  I saw shows-up-and-does-the-work.  How?  Not from your political achievements up there in Alaska from small town mayor to freaking governor, upsetting the old boy status quo single handedly.  Nope, I saw it in a twenty plus year marriage, a woman who gave birth to five children (one while governor), an unapologetic christian committed to her faith, a distance runner who competes in and finishes marathons, a woman who put herself through college on scholarships, and a mother who watched her child join the military during wartime.  This proves to me you are a woman of great strength, honor, integrity, tenacity, courage, discipline with plenty of common sense.  

I decided to do a little comparison of you and I, and the results-well-I thought I would do better than I did.  It wasn't even close.  I know my first person, third person thing is all screwed up, but I think you'll understand.  And it makes more sense that way (to me).

1.  Marriage.  Sarah wins, zero divorces.  Me?  not zero.
2.  Childeren.  Sarah wins, FIVE live births (one while in governor's mansion).  Me?  THREE live births (one while in law school).  I had mine naturally, but I'll bet Sarah did too.  (I get to shout numbers of births, we earned a shout out).
3.  Education.  I win.  College, Law School.  Sarah?  College
4. Work.  Sarah wins, governor! mayor! fox news correspondent! television personality! vice presidential candidate!  Me?  government lawyer.
5. Athleticism.  Sarah wins.  She trains for and competes in marathons.  Me?  I've run a 10k race once in my life and have never, ever run 10 miles much less 26.2, although I am training for my first half marathon in November in Huntington (Whew! There, I said it, made a public announcement to make me meet my goal).
6.  Hobbies.  I bet I win.  I knit, sew, bookbind and rubberstamp.  Sarah?  I don't know, I don't even know if she likes to craft, but I bet her grade school aged childern had access to glitter, glue and crayons at her house, just like mine did.
7.  Faith.  Sarah wins.  She professes devout Christianity and I believe her.  Me?  I'm a very quiet Christian who chafes at most of the teachings I disagree with, plus the divorces are not exactly putting me in grace.
8.  Patriotism.  A draw.  I served in the Army during peacetime and Sarah watched her son enlist during war.  

So.... final score.  Sarah-5   Me -2    with 1 draw

So this woman my friends scorn, ridicule and continue to write off as meritless, as a caricature of the far right, easily dismissed as something of a bimbo?  It's not even close.  Sarah kicked my ass 5-2 and I'm not even weighting the categories!   I can't equate my passion for my hobbies to the value/weight of her faith or her strong marriage.  Of course, these are the same friends who will look at me and say, "I don't know how you do it!" as they shake their heads at my heavy single-mother-of-3 load.  I'll confess, I sometimes get a lift from that admiration.  Meanwhile, back to reality, I can't really even carry Sarah's gym bag to the locker room so she can get in a 10 or 15 mile training run in.  

When all of who Sarah is comes through to me, I find that I really don't care what her politics are, even if they are wildly opposed to mine (which they are, polar opposites) I already like her.  I like her if she's opposed to abortion (I'm strongly in favor of a woman's right to choose), in favor of war (I joined Patriot for Peace and publicly opposed the war in Iraq) and I like her if she takes other stances I don't agree with.  Lots of my friends do not hold my same political views, but they have a lot of other qualities I do like.  So do you.  I think that you and I would be friends if the circumstances (and the fact that we shall never meet) were different.  You stood by your convictions and you didn't compromise, even when it would have helped vote wise.  I guess what I'm saying, and taking a long time to get to, is, I think you got treated unfairly in the media, by the Democrats and most of all by other women who should have stood by a sister who was finally rising to the top, shattering the last glass ceiling in this country (you understand I'm talking about the White House and not the Augusta Clubhouse) cheering her on, political affiliation be damned.  I mean it.  In 2008 I voted for an exceptional woman and a soldier, hardened by war with a lifetime of wisdom.  I voted for a mother of 5, a marathoner, a scholarship student, a christian and a public office holder.  A prisoner of war, a Senator, a decorated veteran.  I'm tired of not speaking up when folks talk about that last election as this next approaches.  I'm tired of saying "I voted for Hillary" when asked, rather than admitting that I did not vote for Barack and Joe, I voted for John and Sarah.  I did.  I admit it.  I did not vote for a political party, I voted for who I thought would make the best president.  Sarah, I dislike and disagree with nearly all of your political positions but I know you are a high quality person that will do a hell of a job at whatever you decide to tackle.  I guess I just wanted you to know I voted gender over platform because most of the ways my life is different from men you already understand.  We need a woman in the white house.  When I lost my dream of Hillary, I turned to you.  I voted for you.  If you run, I'll probably vote for you again, unless Hillary is running.


A Reluctant Fan

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