Category Archives: Gender Issues

Sen. McCain and the Politics of Misdirection

Sen. John McCain has run his entire campaign against Sen. Barack Obama based on the oft stated belief that Obama lacks the experience to lead this country. The McCain campaign has repeatedly discounted Obama’s demonstrated knowledge of domestic and foreign policy and characterized the Harvard Law School graduate as a political neophyte.

Just three weeks ago on Face The Nation, Republican strategist Karl Rove opined that he expected the then presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama to choose a running mate based on political expediency, not the person’s readiness for the job.

“I think he’s going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice,” Rove said. “He’s going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he’s going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He’s not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities of president.”

Rove then proceeded to single out Virginia governor Tim Kaine, who was also a guest on Face The Nation as an example of such a disastrous and ill-thought out selection for a vice presidential running mate, saying of and to Gov. Kaine (the man was sitting right there), “With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished. I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America.”

Funny, but I do believe that I could substitute Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin for Kaine and not have to change another word in Rove’s statement. Oops! I’m wrong, Palin was the mayor of Wasilla, population in 2007, according to the U.S. census–9,780. (The 105th largest city of which Kaine was once mayor is Richmond,VA., population of 200,123 in 2007, according to the U.S. census.) I’m not certain as to where Wasilla ranks in population among U.S. cities but somehow I think that it is substantially less than 105th.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that having experience as mayor of a tiny town and only 20 months as governor of a state not known for being densely populated means that one is not qualified for the office of vice president. Nor am I flat out stating that Palin’s anti-choice, pro-NRA, positions don’t exactly make her the poster woman for the women’s movement. Nor am I questioning the wisdom of selecting a running mate with whom McCain’s own camp confirms he had only met once before selecting her to be on his ticket; a running mate who could feasibly find herself in the position of having to actually step into the oval office, given the age and prior health issues that have beset Sen. McCain. I’m just fascinated with the difference in attitude that the Republican party has towards its own choices and the choices of the Democratic party.

That’s what led me to ponder why McCain selected Gov. Palin as his running mate. While I was busy pondering, headlines in newspapers and talking heads on my television explained it to me in terms that even a four year old could understand. The basic message appears to be that in selecting Gov. Palin, the McCain campaign has strengthened its position with women voters. All of the Hillary Clinton supporters, who were only voting for Hillary because she was a woman, will tumble for John McCain, and give up the vote.

With apologies to village idiots everywhere, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain, is a class-A idiot if he really thinks that people supported Hillary Clinton because she is a woman. They supported Senator Clinton because she is intelligent, capable, and has leadership qualities; the same reasons that Obama’s supporters support him. What an insult to every person who supported Hillary to assume that they will fall over themselves to jump on the McCain bandwagon just because he has a female running mate.

I have no more patience with those who continue to assert that Obama supporters do so because he has a black father or that Hillary’s followers supported her because she was a woman. Get over yourselves and stop clinging to the belief that the only possible explanation for Obama’s or Hillary Clinton’s successes in this presidential campaign is because all black people support Obama and white women (feminists to boot!) support Hillary Clinton. Guess what, old white men are not the only, nor the best choice for leading everything. It’s a new world in the United States of America, and it’s about damn time.

Other countries have been able to broaden their horizons to encompass leadership that isn’t dependent on having a penis–India, Pakistan, Great Britain, and Israel are just a few modern governments that come to mind. As for race, it should be the shame of this country, founded on the proposition that, “all men are created equal,” that it has only seen fit to allow white males to ascend to the leadership of the allegedly most powerful nation in the free world.

Palin is a woman, and I certainly don’t disparage her for her gender, but neither am I going to do cartwheels over her selection. (Btw, I proudly identify myself as a feminist.) I’m choosing to have faith in the ability of the majority of women to think rationally and I am refusing to succumb to any concern that the rest of my gender is going to fall down and worship at the altar of McCain simply because he has Palin at his side.

If you must vote for McCain, let it be because you don’t believe that addressing the needs of the 47 million uninsured Americans is a priority, let it be because you believe that the wealthiest one percent of the population are entitled to even more tax breaks, let it be because you support an energy strategy that involves off shore drilling as a solution to the energy crisis, or because you agree with his position of staying in Iraq indefinitely, but for heaven’s sake, don’t fall for his Houdini-style misdirection act of selecting a woman as a running mate.

One of my favorite actresses is Bette Davis. I love Kim Carnes 1980s hit, Bette Davis Eyes. I know that Bette would never fall for some obvious manipulative ploy.


Drying Up One Egg at a Time

There is a lot going on in the world. Icebergs the size of Rhode Island are falling off of Anartica; teenagers who are escapees from the Sci-Fi movie Village of the Damned are attacking their teachers and videotaping themselves doing so; and who knows what Dick Cheney is smiling about behind his sinister sunglasses in today’s news stories. However, as serious as these matters may be, I don’t have time to write about them. My world is about me, and only me for today.

When I turned 50, my doctor told me that I was perimenopausal.

“Perry who?”

“You’re perimenopausal, Ms. Reid. It’s a normal part of aging, a transition into menopause, there’s nothing to worry about.”

Warning: if you’re the type of man who passes out or starts giggling uncontrollably when you hear words like period, stop reading now.

That was three years ago and I sort of forgot about it. I read a little online about being perimenopausal and it didn’t sound so bad. I was coming to the end of my reproductive cycle and eventually, after 12 consecutive months without a period, I would be officially menopausal, no big deal.

I had my last menstrual cycle 13 months ago and I was delighted at how smoothly I had transitioned from perimenopause to menopause. On my 53rd birthday a few weeks ago, I was chatting with my sister who is two years younger.

“Well, based on my experience, menopause should be a breeze for you, if these things are at all hereditary.”

My sister’s response wasn’t as enthusiastic as I expected, “Uh huh.”

As I mentioned in my last post, I was a bit under the weather this past weekend. My doctor had allowed me to switch to a generic substitute for the Lipitor I’ve been taking for years and I had every side effect possible–muscle pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. I was also extremely fatigued which I also attributed to the side effects from the medication change. Needless to say, I’m back on Lipitor and I’m all better, sort of. Two nights ago I had my first night sweat. Or maybe it was a hot flash. I think that they may be the same thing, except one happens at night, while you are attempting to sleep and the other in the light of day.

It was 3:00 am and I woke up soaking wet. Ohmygod! Who wet the bed? I gave Laa-Laa (she’s the yellow teletubby) a suspicious look but she just lay there, looking innocent. As I dragged myself out of my damp bed, I realized that I had experienced a night sweat! I reached for the phone to call my sister, but then I noticed the time again and thought better of it.

Since then, I haven’t had another bout with the night sweats, but I’ve been doing some reading on menopause, and it’s not pretty.

My eggs are drying up even as I type this, just drying right up and I will never have any more. That’s it, every woman gets a finite number, when they’re gone, they’re gone. There is no egg store! What if I need eggs in the future?

I’ve been totally lethargic all week. No energy to do anything. My front flower bed is a weed filled, over grown mess, but do I care? Of course I do, in fact I may start crying for all those poor flowers, trying to live among all those weeds. Did I mention the mood swings?

It gets worse. I can look forward to changes in my libido, that’s polite talk for wanting to have sex. According to a delightful article that I read on WebMD, there’s going to be a bit of atrophy. Yep, that’s right, my vaginal walls are going to thin and atrophy. I quote, “In addition, your vaginal walls will thin, and the cells lining the vagina will not contain as much estrogen. Your doctor will simply take a Pap-like smear from your vaginal walls — simple and painless — and analyze the smear to check for vaginal ‘atrophy,’ the thinning and drying out of your vagina.”
You know that someone is lying; does this sound simple and painless to you? I’ve had pap smears before I atrophied and even they weren’t totally painless!

I have just enough strength to make a shopping list for all the homeopathic remedies that I’ve found on the Internet. Maybe I can get some nice young man to take the list and pick up the things that I need. Hmmm, maybe I haven’t totally atrophied yet…

Briefly While Drying

This is really difficult because I have a tendency to be rather verbose, but I don’t have time tonight because I have to get the laundry out of the dryer in 15 minutes. If you let it stop and sit, then you have to iron stuff. I don’t have a working iron. I keep the old one for nostalgia purposes; I don’t believe in ironing.

I just read today’s newspaper and New Hampshire has joined the list of states that have legalized civil unions for all of its citizens, regardless of whom you choose to union with, which I think is a good thing. I don’t approve of the change in the law because I have gay friends, (although I do), or because I think that marriage is the apple pie of all relationships, (I don’t), but because I find it abhorrent that we continue to have legalized discrimination any where in this country. New Hampshire joins Connecticut, New Jersey, and Vermont in recognizing civil unions; only Massachusetts actual allows marriage regardless of the sexual orientation of the partners.

I have never had one person who is apoplectic over the prospect of gay people marrying one another give me a coherent explanation of how same gender marriages destroy the institution of marriage. I figure that if the institution of marriage can survive adultery, spousal abuse, and an ever increasing divorce rate, it ought to be able to withstand a public commitment between two people who want to share their lives out of love.

So I am pleased that the state legislature of New Hampshire has realized that arbitrary discrimination against its community members is immoral and illegal. If  only the rest of this ass backward country could just catch up.

By the way, please don’t leave me comments about God and homosexuality. I’ve read the bible and I have my own favorite verses: Judge not lest ye be judged; Vengeance is mine saith the Lord; Love thy neighbor as you  love thyself; Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I’m fond of the King James version; I like the language.

This poppycock nonsense that passes for religious objections to homosexuality is merely judgment based on prurient sensibilities. I am continually amazed at how much time straight people spend speculating as to what gay people do in the bedroom. 

Buzzer just went off and I have to grab those clothes, now!