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September 7, 2008

Responding to British Critism of US Elections

A Nick Cohen commentary in the Guardian newspaper was forwarded to a WILPF listserv. I believe the person forwarding the article thought it was an good reproach of the media's review of Sarah Palin's record as a politician and a mother.

Here is my response to that article (note my original audience was a group of international members of WILPF):

As an American, I need to point out some flagrant lies in the below article.

First of all, US presidents are elected undemocratically by an Electoral College system, which was written into the Constitution to limit the influence of the rabble constituents and promote the importance of states in our federal system. This is why our government continues to subsidize ethanol production rather than fix the problems of our inner-cities. People who live in rural America (and corporations) live a far more subsidized existence than the vast majority of our citizens. But my primary point is that a national poll about the presidential race is irrelevant to becoming the next president of this country.

Second, "liberal media bias" is a red herring that conservatives love to throw at the truth the mainstream media sometimes unearths about our politicians. See "Media Bashing 101," by Mark Leibovich in the New York Times for a deeper explanation -

Third, Nick Cohen never once touched on the hypocrisy of Sarah Palin that was uncovered by the mainstream media. She campaigns as a crusader against pork barrel spending, yet was the first mayor of her small town to hire a lobbyist in D.C. to secure funding for the town. That bridge to nowhere? It was actually a bridge to a new airport, and when running for governor she supported the bridge; then, she decided to cancel building the bridge, but kept the $200+ million from the nation's taxpayers for use in some other Alaskan slush fund.

As a woman, I am spitting mad that Republicans dare to say I'm sexist for questioning whether Palin is fit to be a heart beat away from the presidency. As a WILPFer, I am disgusted that a politican with breasts can work against every single aspect of gender equality: from the right to reproductive choice to dismissing grassroots activism and still be labeled a feminist. You want to know why leftists mock her family values? Because her party has been ramming abstinence-only sex education into our public schools, which is scientifically proven to not work and to increase public health problems (now more teenagers engage in anal and oral sex because somehow they think this keeps their virginity in tact); yet, her daughter's shotgun wedding is supposed to make me feel like she's more relatable.

Let me be clear - I'm not an Obama partisan. Another thing Nick Cohen got wrong was trying to draw a parallel between US and British politics. There is no room in the US system for more than two parties, neither of which embody WILPF's ideals. Combine that with the documented election fraud caused by electronic voting machines, the thousand ways US corporations have a larger influence on government than US citizens, and you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere in this country where poor or middle class people lead public policy. I agree that left wing people sound shrill to the ears of the masses and need to learn how to have conversations with their opponents rather than dismissing them as irrational religious nuts. Nevertheless, I find this article to be a right-wing critique of the American media and British liberals, rather than a reality check on motherhood, careers, and the mainstream media.

For a partisan, but effective critique of the Republican presidential ticket, see "Palin and McCain's Shotgun Marriage," by Frank Rich in the NYT.

Posted by cj at September 7, 2008 12:36 PM


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