Posted tagged ‘Maureen Dowd’

I Know I Should Be Happy About All the Women Candidates

October 17, 2010

Maureen Dowd today compared some of the “new” women candidates to the mean girls at school, the ones that painted your locker and made up stories that you were pregnant.

I am lucky not to remember a a big contingent of “mean girls” at my high school.  (The minute that I write this the fear arises that someone from my high school will post a comment saying that the reason I don’t remember the mean girls is because I was one of them.  I really really hope that’s not true.)

My high school, an all-girls’ school, was not a social Shangri-la.  There were girls that were more popular than others, more sophisticated, more cool.  But it was a relatively small school, and during the time I was there (the early 70’s), most of our emnity seemed focus on an external rival–the boys’ school, our brother school, which was only about a block away, but infinitely richer, with more land, buildings, more equipment, and far more edible food.  (Male alumni had money and power, women didn’t.)

The boys’ school, an in-our-face symbol of societal unfairness, not only quelled our internal bickering, but also made us conscious of a certain kind of responsibility.   If we wanted to get to the very same places as those boys across the green, we couldn’t afford to be just as good as they were, we were going to have to be better.

I don’t know if this turned out to be true.  When we first graduated, it was probably harder to progress as a women–to get a coveted place at certain Ivy League institutions, or, let’s say, the Supreme Court.  Later, as things burst open in certain ways, women were probably sought after.

Even so, politics has been a particularly difficult field.  There the narrow range of what is deemed acceptable in the female, and too, the demands of biology and family life have seemed particular obstacles.  Even women that got boosts from spousal connections (e.g. Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Dole) traditionally felt bound to develop strong policy expertise and a reputation for an extremely solid work ethic.

And then came Sarah Palin, and this current host of female politicians.

Their success seems to illustrate that women have advanced to the point where they are as free as men to be idiotic, mean-spirited, uninformed.

I know I should feel happy.

Obama Truly At Dover

November 1, 2009

After all the silliness, I want to comment on something truly newsworthy—Obama’s late-night, early-morning trip to Dover, Delaware (October 29), to salute the 18 fallen soldiers whose remains were returned from Afghanistan.  Maureen Dowd has an interesting article about it this morning (November 1, 2009 – “Port Mortuary’s Pull”).  (For video footage involving one soldier’s casket, whose family gave full permission for filming, see  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/29/obama-heads-to-dover-air-_n_337930.html.)

Apparently, Liz Cheney, and others on the right are accusing Obama of using the moment as a photo op.  Dowd quotes Cheney as saying, to a Fox News radio host, “I think that what President Bush used to do is do it without the cameras.”  Dowd goes on to point out that Cheney’s right:  “There were no press cameras at Dover in the previous administration. There was also no W.”

What Cheney and others also fail to note is how small a portion of Obama’s participation was actually covered in the supposed photo-op:  a part of the “dignified transfer” of one soldier out of eighteen, a meeting with a chaplain and all of the families; all through the night.

I’m not saying that the loss of one night’s sleep is a huge sacrifice.  I’m just trying to further emphasize the ridiculousness of Cheney’s statement, and of any statement trying to cast doubt on Obama’s sincerity. Any person with an ounce of neutrality can see the somber gravity of Obama’s expression; it’s as clear as the blowing of that early morning wind.