“To me success means effectiveness in the world, that I am able to carry my ideas and values into the world—that I am able to change it in positive ways.”
—Maxine Hong Kingston
–Carol C., Tiverton, RI
As a 78-year-old white woman, raised in a fundamentalist Protestant church and who worked full-time while raising a disabled child, I have some understanding of where Sarah Palin comes from. But in no way does she speak for me; not politically, ethically, or morally. In fact, she and her running mate, John McCain, represent the antithesis of most everything I learned from my grandmother, Josie Warren Hopkins (1875-1945). My grandmother was a housewife living in a small village in central Maine in the early days of the 20th century. She was a suffragette who worked very hard to make possible a woman's right to vote. But I can see her rolling wildly in her grave if American women use their precious vote to elect a McCain-Palin ticket. Given McCain's age, health issues, and family history, Palin could end up in the Oval Office. And then where would we be? Public education would become even more a disaster than it is now--creationism being added to the curriculum, sex education being removed, global warming dismissed as a fantasy, excellent books being banned from the library! Equality in this country is banned when she speaks out on same-sex relationships. And I shudder to even consider what she might do with her lack of understanding of foreign policy. No, for the sake of my grandma Josie's grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and the great-great-great grands coming along, and for the sake of your own descendants, please join me in saying a loud and clear "NO" to Sarah Palin and to John McCain.
I am an artist who works alone but am a resident of rural Mississippi delta land who is dedicated to community service for the enrichment of lives through the arts. I am 82 years old, and have been such a member of this community for 53 of them. My mother, a North Carolinian, and my grandmother, a Virginian, were both college graduates who devoted their lives to their families and to bettering their fellow citizens. We are environmentally aware and a part of our natural surroundings. But we are "on the internet" and standing for enlightenment and dead set against the likes of Sarah Palin. Thank you for your efforts to consolidate our single voices into a chorus.
–Betty W., 82, MS
I want to love a mother, governor and VP candidate, but Palin horrifies me, she seems to epitomize the American inability to be introspective, to polarize and see everything in terms of black and white, good or evil, right or wrong. This intolerance and inability to get out of a narrow perspective and see the divine spark in all is at the core of the danger America is creating for itself, and feeds the dissension in America. She has a sharp, but not a deep mind fast with the comebacks, but more interested in bullying an argument than in understanding the truth. I am horrified that McCain would risk her shallow thinking as a leader of America, and I am horrified that so many people are responding. I think this country is worth more.
–Heather R., Rolla, ND
Dear Ms. Palin—
Even in this very red state of Alabama, we know the difference between a show horse, a hobby horse, and a work horse. You do not represent working class women, farm wives or single mothers—ALL of whom turned to Hillary Clinton with great hopes. You charged women for their own rape kits when you were mayor in Wasilla. You use housekeepers and nannies to care for your kids. You don't want sex education in schools, but you let your daughter get pregnant! You do not now, nor will you ever speak for us!
–Gita H., Montgomery, AL
I'm a proud member of SEIU 668, a civil servant prevented by law from taking a position on candidates. However, we are able to express our position on issues and talk about how people stand on those issues. I previously spent 15 years from 1976 to 1991 working as a community organizer, all of those years for minimal wages, all but one of them with no pension plan. Those years were spent fighting for the rights of women, lesbians and gay men, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with AIDS, senior citizens, union members, children, families living in poverty... on issues like utility rates, toxic waste dumps, workplace hazards, health care costs, fair wages and housing, Social security and Medicare and medicaid, funding for AIDS research, addiction, the list goes on.
I can hardly begin to express the depth of my anger at hearing Ms. Palin denigrate the many community organizers I worked with and proudly call my friends. Community Organizers make the world a better place, doing God's work day in and day out, night after night. To hear that convention audience laugh in response to her snide remarks really pissed me off. I didn't realize just how steamed I was until a dear friend (another longtime community activist) sent me an e-mail with this message: Jesus was a Community Organizer. Pontius Pilate was a Governor.
–Dixie W., Bethlehem, PA
I worked hard to get where I am. I was the first woman in my county to run for district judge back in 1990. I have two daughters and 3 granddaughters. I don’t want Palin taking women back to the dark ages. She certainly does not represent me! And she’s not doing well by her own children.
–Susan B., 59, Galveston, TX
Ms. Palin is no "model" Woman! Instead of helping to shatter glass ceilings, she seems to aspire to being one of the Good Old Boys holding others down. Sheer lip service from the Pitbull in Lipstick! Yet another Karl Rove mouthpiece!
Deborah G., old enough to see the hypocrisy, Latham, NY
The inclusion of Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket is an absolute insult to intelligent womanhood. The fact that McCain would choose her is an indication of his lack of intelligence or possible senility. Why isn't the media screaming about her lack of qualifications and her reactionary views on all of the important issues of this campaign? How can ANYONE take her seriously? There ought to be an uprising against her and the Republicans who are promoting her!
–Wendy C., 56, Gig Harbor, WA
Sarah Palin represents the slap of the dinosaur's tail—a deadly, horned swipe of a breed going extinct; quite likely, in her throes of excited thrashing, to kill off many individuals, many careers, many dearly held gains, won since 1963, for which many of us fought with our brains, our convictions, our blood, our time, our eloquence, and our money. Many women have earned the right to work, to be paid adequately, to choose our education, our politics, our lifestyle, our time to bear children, or make the choice not to bring children into the world. We have fought for the right to read widely, think thoroughly, discern carefully, live wisely, live well. Of course, not all women enjoy all these privileges and obligations, but many more women function as whole persons, as individuals, as thoughtful citizens today than several decades ago.
Are we ready to stand idly by while an old, ill man, watches Sarah's shapely behind, while fingering his wedding ring? Are we ready to give up our time to choose, our right to decide and let this mockery of a modern woman, this poorly educated bigot tramples our civil rights? Are we ready to die if our life is endangered by an unhealthy pregnancy? Are we willing to let Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and the other megalomaniacs at the helm of the Republican party decide the course of our lives, our daughters' and granddaughters' lives?
Sarah Palin may be a pawn in the hands of the powerful, but be warned, she digs it. She is a danger to our bodies, our population, our educational system, our environment, our already-shredded international regard, our national debt, our dignity as American women. Even the power she gained as the mayor of a town of a mere 5000, immediately corrupted her; her wide swipes through the administration she inherited were so disruptive to that small government entity that an immediate remedy was set in place--an administrator had to be hired to do the job of running the town while she was mayor. And still, the surplus she inherited turned into a deficit--IMAGINE the damage she could orchestrate on a national level.
I say: Stop Sarah. McCain is old, not well. Sarah Palin is the epitome of an old-style woman: a ruthless pawn of powerful men, spewing platitudes that fit a by-gone world where human beings thought nature was to be harnessed, surmounted, as the means to progress. We know better now. Nature is telling us we are too many, too careless, too heedless of the natural consequences of our wasteful ways. We can use wind, solar power, conservation, diplomacy, intelligence, education, thoughtfulness, science, creativity and wisdom. Palin is against all these. She is a patsy for Rove and his greedy schemes. I am against her and all she stands for. I stand for being a thinking woman with brains and choices and rights and respect for the Earth.
Women! Think! Speak out! Talk with each other! Share the facts about Palin's term as mayor of a tiny city; extrapolate her incompetency at that level to the national and international level. Get out the vote. This is the most important election in many years. Keep Palin out of the White House. Yes, she's a woman, but she's unqualified and pig-headed.
I know this is not succinct. I feel compelled to send it anyway. Edit if you must. Thank you for your efforts to rally outcry.
–Sansea S., New Haven, Vermont
Sarah Palin represents everything I fear and dislike about my own country—the anti-intellectualism, the arrogance, the divorce between style and substance. We have to rise up and show we're better people than this.
–C. H., Fortuna, CA
First of all, thank you for doing this. Many of us have been pulling our hair out with fury, rage, depression, and disbelief that Sarah Palin received the Vice-Presidential nomination. Unfortunately we find ourselves at a moment in history where words and actions no longer have an equal relationship. Where the language of sincerity, thoughtfulness, and true intellect has been co-opted into a bad or suspect thing. Coupled with the sheer apathy and cynicism of American voters and their delusion that voting for someone "just like them" is actually a good thing leaves us at a potentially disastrous tipping point.
What is remarkable to me about Sarah Palin is that she seems to have no awareness that feminists of previous generations are what have made it possible for her to present her unwed, pregnant daughter without any public shame. As few as thirty years ago, Bristol would have been shipped off to have her baby in private and the child would have been put up for adoption. Because of Roe v. Wade feminists, unmarried women can now have children free from the shame of previous generations. Every generation of feminists has a burden or hurdle to overcome. Seventeen years ago Susan Faludi coined the term "backlash", but at this moment we are experiencing something infinitely worse: it's more like "whiplash". The powerful discrepancy between the image of a woman and what that woman represents is going to result in a dangerous election for all women.
–Jana H., St. Louis, MO
The strongest impression that Sarah Palin has made on me so far is that she will say and/or do ANYTHING to get what she wants. And she has a long history of doing just that. Most of what she brags about in her speeches is an outright lie! The governor's private chef, the governor's private jet, and the bridge to nowhere, for just a few quick, easy examples. The rest of her claims to fame are at best distortions of the truth. The Alaskan legislature took to wearing buttons that said, "Where's Sarah?" because she spent so little time in Juneau. Once again, the GOP is deceiving the American people in a most callous and calculating way—just because they put a skirt on this time doesn't change a damned thing!
–Peggy T., Lawrence, KS
Sarah Palin is by no means a maverick. Her political views and religious ideation appear to be taken directly from the mainstream teachings of the Christian Right. I would not vote for a man with those opinions and I consider it insulting that anyone would think we (women) would view a woman differently. While her outdoor hobbies, so-called prowess at hunting and sports, and contentious nature as a city and state official might make her an appealing character for some frontier fiction movie or mini-series, those characteristics by themselves do not constitute qualifications for being second-in-command of this country. After beating the experience drum for so long, John McCain has revealed himself for the hypocrite and cynical opportunist that he is through his choice of someone so abysmally unqualified.
–Ellen W., Oklahoma City, OK
My shocked reaction to McCain putting Palin on the ticket was almost visceral. She is patently unqualified to be President of the United States. When you add to that the fact that she reinforces in every way the typical Republican style of leading by force, leading without caring about understanding and compassion, leading in a way that creates contention instead of teamwork, it's nothing less than terrifying. Her stands on choice, the environment, religion, and more are clearly uninformed and archaic. But her self-absorbed sarcasm and her ability to repeat the Big Lie in order to get her way should be the fundamental reason women—and everyone, for that matter—reject her getting anywhere near the White House. The nature of true leadership is to provide hope for a better day--and that word and concept "Hope" is something that she has actually made fun of in her speeches. I, for one, wouldn't vote for anyone who makes fun of hope. Women in particular should project hope and love and caring for others, and Ms. Palin does none of this, choosing instead to be mean-spirited and accusatory in every single speech and action. I can only hope that with time, people will recognize this and realize that we need someone quite different from her to take us down the road to respect and REAL morality.
–Caralee W., Kanab, UT
John McCain's choice for Vice President takes women in this country several steps backwards. Just the fact that there is so much dialogue about her outward appearance and none about her inward qualities of compassion or empathy for women not just in the United States but the plight of women world wide, is of great concern to me. The rights and power of women may be severely compromised should we vote the Republican ticket.
–Jane L., Rawlins, WY
My name is Lenni G and I am 69 year old white female living in North Carolina. As anyone will tell you, it's really not wise to fool with 69 year old females no matter where they live. I am outraged that John McCain or more likely, the Republican Party, has decided to foist Sarah Palin on me and the rest of this country as a living, breathing example of what we women are, how we think and what we approve of in a vice presidential candidate. As Sharon Osbourne would say, "has the whole world gone barking mad?" Check it out people, McCain (Republican Party) did not choose a woman with real political and experience credentials. My guess is if they had, that woman would have refused the nomination as I would have, even though I have executive experience as President of my condo association and had budget responsibility for it. Surely this is the final joke of the Bush-Chaney/Republican Party gig in Washington. And, please note, there are a bunch of us women, and men, who are not laughing. We want our country back and we want it back right now.
–Lenni G., 69, NC
As a woman in Arizona, I say NO to Sarah Palin because of her professed views on the environment and global warming. Her narrow-minded denial of the best science the world has to offer would lead to devastating delay in addressing the problems. A tragedy for the US. and the world as a whole.
Lucy M., 61, AZ
My name is Venera B. and I am 76 years old. I live in western Washington State, near Russia, China and the whole South Pacific, much like Mrs. Palin. I am not qualified to run this country. I know from my many years on earth that women have great strength and I know we are not stupid - all we need to do is speak up! We cannot allow this insane choice for a candidate in Sarah Palin. But she is not the problem - our problem is the white old men that insist on running this country with their need to control, their archaic laws and ideas. Their lives are based on fear and ridiculous needs to dominate our pocketbook, our bodies and to shoot before thinking and talking. They also have a great need to distort the truth - in other words LYING.
This young woman from Alaska is being fooled with - she is their decoy - but she might be elected and then she could be a heartbeat away from being in charge of our lives. God help us. I would not be tolerant of such a closed mind and shallow ideas - of women not to have choices, of putting censorship in my path, including anyone who disagrees with her religious views or is quick to use a gun for SPORT (from a plane - which is illegal). How can I trust that she would understand other nations, cultures and needs - if she has not ventured much beyond her guarded ways? Mr. McCain needs to be mentally evaluated and I don't say this with insult. Anyone who went through that many years of trauma might have a damaged fuse and I don't want his hand on the button if he has had a bad day. We are getting the same food as Mr. Bush fed us, only a different plate. No on Mrs. Palin and No on Mr. McCain.
Ciao e Pace,
Venera B., 76, Washington State