During the last presidential election, my interest was piqued when I heard that John McCain had chosen a female running mate. I didn’t know anything about Sarah Palin at the time; no one did, because who the fuck pays any attention to the governor of Alaska? And it’s not like she had any real career in politics before her governorship, either. There was no real record of which she could speak, so my initial opinion of her had nothing to do with that kind of history.
It was after I heard her speak that I decided she was an insane moron. This made me angry enough at her, but angrier at the McCain campaign for assuming that hiring a woman – any woman, no matter her level of experience or common sense – would secure them the female vote. Which was some insulting bullshit, but, I mean, it’s not like I was going to vote Republican, anyway. That would be crazy. Yell at me for promoting bipartisanship all you want (oh, Democrats can be douchebags too, really, I never knew that), but as a literate citizen with a high average IQ who believes that all people should be given equal opportunity under the law regardless of race, income level, or gender, and especially as a woman who doesn’t want a bunch of rich old white guys telling me what I can and can’t do with my own reproductive organs, it just so happens that the political party that most frequently disagrees with me is the Republican one.
So I was pissed about the Sarah Palin thing. It was a dumb move that McCain (who is not a stupid man in my opinion) shouldn’t have made, and it was disgustingly pandering in a way that confirmed exactly what I’ve always suspected of the GOP: that they believe my gender makes me a second-class citizen who can’t make an informed decision outside of “boys have a penis, girls have a vagina.”
I was pissed about this until Michelle Bachmann came along. Now, Michelle Bachmann is about as dumb Sarah Palin but at least ninety times crazier. In addition to being married to a reformed homosexual (ahem) with a vitriolic hatred of her husband’s former life, Bachmann opposes evolution, a mandated minimum wage, and (obviously) women’s health care initiatives that have even the remotest relationship to abortion. Listening to Bachmann speak is a lot like reading The Onion, until you realize that she’s absolutely serious about what she’s saying. The woman has no real knowledge of the Constitution or American history, choosing instead to focus on the Bible passages that suit her pro-white, pro-rich, pro-hetero agenda the best. She’s a dangerous, ignorant fucking lunatic who may have a real shot at winning the Republican presidential nomination.
I should be pissed about this too, right? I mean, the Republicans choosing Bachmann as their presidential candidate is just as insulting to women as their championing of Palin as a vice presidential nominee to secure the female vote, right?
See, I don’t think it’s about marketing anymore. I don’t think the Republican party is choosing people like Palin and Bachmann because they think we’re too stupid to know any better. I think they’re choosing people like Palin and Bachmann because to them, women like Palin and Bachmann are as smart as women get. They honestly believe that women like this represent the créme de la créme of our gender and are proud to offer them up to the citizenry as shining examples of intelligent, capable representatives of the nation.
Considering this, I don’t hate the Republican party any more than I normally do. I can’t. It’s one thing to be very angry at a smart person for doing a consciously stupid thing, but it’s quite another to expect a demonstratively stupid person to behave smartly. The Bachmann situation has taught me that I can’t expect the Republican party to nominate an brilliant, adept female to represent them because to them, no woman meets that criteria. As long as she’s fertile, hates the gays and can make a good meatloaf for the next church potluck, she can play president. It’s just the way the party is wired. They can’t change their nature anymore than I can change my babymaking parts.
And trust me, I’ve tried. Doctors won’t sterilize you unless you’re over 35 and willing to undergo intensive psychological counseling, so for me, it’s back to years of standing in front of waist-height microwaves and hoping for just enough radiation that I don’t ever have to worry about all those reproductive rights that Palin, Bachmann, and the men who love them are trying to take away.