I was very surprised when I heard about John McCain's recent VP pick in Alaska governor, Sarah Palin. The announcement filled me with a mixture of surprise, confusion, and a little tinge of fear. I'll admit that I was an avid Clinton supporter, and the announcement of a female Republican VP definitely perked my interest.
My initial gut reaction to the news was dread. I knew that the choice of a female VP would resound with many of my fellow Hillary supporters who have been hoping and praying for a female president for at least the past several months leading up to the DNC. Our own Serena Freewomyn voiced the same reaction I feared from those whom Hillary's historic run had touched. Would women rally around Palin, simply because she was a woman, despite the fact that she is politically as anti-woman as you can get?
But after I calmed down a bit and started listening to more of the coverage in McCain's choice, I was suddenly reminded of a short-lived TV-drama, Commander in Chief, starring the ever stunning and talented actor, Geena Davis. Video and thoughts after the jump...
In Commander in Chief, MacKenzie Allen (Davis) is thrusted into presidential office after the former President is struck down by a stroke. She faces opposition from many of her fellow Washingtonites, including the Speaker of the House, who reminds Allen that her nomination to the vice presidency was nothing more than a stunt of masterfully crafted political theatre. Her vice presidancy was never intended for presidancy, as evidenced by the former president's own expressed wishes. Allen goes on to fight against misogyny and patriarchy and prove that she is indeed capable of becoming President and takes the oath of office. This, is where the likeness halts.
While I recognize the historical benchmark of Palin's nomination to the GOP ticket as a first for the party (which took the Republicans over 20 years to pass that benchmark following the 1984 VP nomination of Geraldine Ferraro by Democrats), I highly doubt that Palin is being called on by the McCain campaign for anything else than being a pawn in their political chess game. Like, Davis' fictional female VP, Palin is being used as a political puppet, being paraded before disaffected Hillary supporters in the hope that her mere resemblence to a female form will entice those feminists to switch sides.
We've seen that it has had some kind of affect, demonstrated by our own Serena Freewomyn. But I hope that Hillary supporters, like me, will have the patience and intelligence to step back and see the Palin nomination for what it is: men manipulating and exchanging women's bodies for their own profit. Let's be real. Palin is not being brought on the ticket as an equal to John McCain, one who would be given any real responsibility other than campaigning and raising money. Palin is not a partner, rather she is a shallow cover for more Republican maneuverings to manipulate the American people. These Republicans aren't truly interested in the elevation of a woman to the vice presidency for the sake of social progress. This is nothing more than a means to and end. A very disposable and easily controllable means at that.
While I could wish that Palin would more closely resemble Geena Davis' MacKenzie Allen, because she was indeed a tough cookie and a feminist through and through. When Palin is held up to real feminist leaders like Hillary Clinton or the fictional MacKenzie Allen, Palin pales in comparison and leaves much for want.