By Whoopi Goldberg
I just have to talk about Sarah Palin’s speech a little bit. She gave a really amazing speech, very strong, very strident and it gave the Republicans everything they wanted to hear. They know that she’s a tough chick and she’s a babe and she’s a mom and all those other wonderful things we should be celebrating — the first time I think we’ve ever celebrated all of these things in a woman. Maybe Hillary Clinton wasn’t such a babe but she was defiantly strident and strong and people lost their minds and said how rough she was and how male she was, but I guess if you do it with a smile it makes it a little easier.
But here’s my point, I thought the speech in its body was energizing for Republicans, as I said, and sent them the message they wanted to hear, but what I heard was a lot of meanness and snideness and some inaccuracies and some dismissive talk to community organizers and other people’s adversities. She sort of mentioned the idea after Rudolph Giuliani did — and Rudolph Giuliani is a bonehead to start with, but that’s neither here nor there — but I thought once she began her discussion about community organizers and that they don’t have real responsibilities … I guess I can’t say I don’t know where she’s been living, because she’s been living in Alaska and maybe they don’t have community organizers there but they do in Chicago. Anyone who leaves their gig from school and goes to the people who most need help, that seems to me an admirable American way of thinking. It used to be in America that you helped people if you could, you organized them you made sure their rent was paid, made sure they had heat and all those other things and that helps to build character. If you want to become a politician you can at least say, "I understand how people live, I understand what happens when people lose everything and this is how we can work on it."
I also found it really bizarre when Palin said there was only one person who has fought for your rights, dismissing Joe Biden’s work offhand. She then said some politicians have talked about their light adversities, and I thought, “What are you talking about? Are you talking about being a black man in America? That’s a light adversity? Or maybe the fact that Joe Biden lost his wife and baby daughter and nearly lost his two sons — that wasn’t adversity enough? Do you have to be left in a box in Vietnam to count for something?" If that’s the only kind of adversity that counts then she’d be right.
I also thought that this idea of America first coming from her was kind of strange because she was one of the people who wanted to secede from the United States. She was part of a campaign to secede Alaska from the United States of America. So I’m glad she’s back, putting America first. I also thought it was disingenuous for her to open with her record on the Bridge to Nowhere. When she was running for governor in 2006, she was all for the bridge and once she won she was against the bridge, this was also a woman who wanted books banned. I just find it extraordinary. She feels that her governorship qualifies her to be the VP. She has no foreign policy experience, she doesn’t have very much experience with anything but Alaska, and being governor, as we know, is not necessarily a carte blanche to being president. We just came through eight years with former Gov. Bush and that didn’t work so well.
So now we come to this other thing that I don’t understand: The idea that her daughter’s pregnancy is a family affair makes absolute sense to me because I think that it is a family matter. But I find it interesting that if this girl was Chelsea Clinton or black she probably wouldn’t have been treated the same way. When a black teenager gets pregnant she’s a welfare mother. When this teenager, when this nice white-lady-girl-teenager gets pregnant, it’s an Evangelical Christian choice. She’s unwed, and so how do we balance that? I guess the spin is the way to do it. We’re also sort of sitting around and listening to people talking about the anti-female aspect of this. I don’t think this has been anti-female at all. If anybody can talk to having anti-female bias at all, I would think it would be Hillary Clinton.
There was a feeling I had today that it’s no longer about who’s qualified — and I guess maybe it’s never been about who’s qualified – because, truly, nobody is qualified to be president until they’ve been president. Because it’s one thing to run a town or run a state that has some people in it, but it’s not a big city. It’s not like New York. Maybe there are great qualifications that you have for that, but in the United States of America, if you’re going to be president or vice president you’re supposed to be able to look at these things and say, "What’s best for the country?" Not, "What do I think my religious beliefs are?" Because you can only live with your own religious beliefs; you can’t ask other people to bend to them. So I find the spin a little tough to take. I find the spin tough to take having gone through this myself, with a young daughter who got pregnant. There is no privacy, there is no family issue here. This is about spin. And what I wanted her to say was, “This was not the way I hoped this would be. This is not what I wanted for my daughter, but this is the choice she has made.” But I guess if you say that this is the choice that she has made, you have to say that choice is important. Maybe it’s me, maybe I misinterpreted everything she said, but I don’t think so. Though we shall see. We shall see what John McCain has to say and what Sarah Palin has to say and, as time goes on, we’ll find out really where she’s coming from. I think it’s going to be a whole new kettle of fish.
Going back to Sarah Palin, Jon Stewart had an interesting line. He said, “Why is it if you live in a big city, you’re not considered an American? People don’t think that you work as hard or believe as much in your country as other people. Why is it only people in small towns that believe we are a great nation, that believe we can do amazing things? Is it only people in small towns that believe that?” And this idea of who’s a patriot and who’s not a patriot is really getting aggravating. I have to tell you, what is patriotism? It’s not fanaticism; it’s not supposed to be. The people, as I said earlier, who are community activists and go out and take care of the people in their community, what do you think the PTA is? It’s actively taking care of business. That’s what they do. And as I said before, I thought it was mean and low down, some of the things she said.
And as for Rudy Giuliani, this is the reason that people disliked him, because he looked down on people. Now we want to talk about elitist, this is an elitist. Yes, he believes smartly on choice but not if he was going to be president, I don’t think — like John McCain who believed in choice at one point and believed in a woman’s right to choose. Now that he’s become the Republican everyone wants him to be, he’s abandoned immigration. He’s abandoned choice. He has made himself palatable to the very people that he said he was a maverick against.
I was saddened by this woman because I think she has contempt for people who don’t believe as she believes and there’s no discussion and the smile doesn’t help. Because remember now, this is the lady who believes that everything that happens is ordained by God including, I guess, the Iraq war and President Bush’s stances on many things. She talk about a do-nothing Congress with a do-nothing president. And the idea that no taxes are going to be raised is a joke. How the hell are they going to pay for everything? How are they going to pay for the war if they don’t raise the taxes? She wants to drill drill drill in Alaska. How about sugar ethanol? How about that as an alternative? There are a lot of alternatives. You’ll vote your heart, you’ll vote your soul, you’ll vote what you believe. This girl is dangerous to me. This is a very dangerous woman, because I believe for her intents and purposes, she’s OK if everybody lives a certain way, that is to say, the way God ordained men and women to be. Well, already she’s breaking that because she’s the daddy. She’s going to run the country and the husband is going to take care of the kids. I just found the whole thing sad and very musty and very much like a Bund rally, but maybe that was just me.
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