By Dr. Yvonne Scruggs Leftwich
September 15, 2008
The data and supporting information abound, which have been provided by many truth-telling commentaries about the absurdity of brand new Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's Vice –Presidential candidacy. So cynical is her sudden appointment by "fellow maverick" McCain, that thousands of Anchorage, Alaska women just held a spontaneously organized rally, called "Women Against Sarah Palin," on the lawn of the town library to protest her unqualified elevation as a pretender to power. They waved hand-made signs and honked car horns to reject the cynical ploy and insult to well-prepared and intelligent women, by her anointing by the anti-feminist candidate John McCain as his Vice Presidential running mate.
But we must ignore this distraction from the issues on which we should be concentrating, produced by a focus of attacks on Sarah Palin. Our main laser- focus should be on the fact that John McCain is the "George Bush, 3rd" presidential candidate on the Republican ticket and that Senator Barack Obama is the progressive presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket in this 2008 election. This is not a campaign or an election of vice-presidents.
If women's issues in general, and African American and Latino women's issues in particular, were not such an explosive and neglected mine field for the Republicans, Sarah Palin would be continuing in her Alaskan obscurity and would not be a player of any kind in this election. Her choice by McCain should be considered an accurate response to the trick question: what do John McCain and his ilk actually think about "gals and babes", especially those who are proven professional politicians? Very little that is printable, is the answer.
That is the reality that I hope is sinking into the heads of the news media, all of the advocacy networks for real change and fairness in government, and all others who love truth and fear deception. I hope that this cold logic will drive the votes of the majority of Americans in the November 2008 election.
Barack Obama is the presidential candidate to whom we should look for policy commitments and prospective actions which address our core issues as women of any color, especially the following priorities:
- Unemployment and low wages;
- serious, comprehensive attention to a non-existent urban policy, which revives infrastructure of both the urban core as well as its surrounding metropolitan areas, stimulates job growth in and around cities; and intentionally encourages economically and ethnically diverse urban development which offers affordable access and enriches the social, economic, physical and educational environments of urban places (think: equitable, speedy redevelopment of Gulf Coast communities, for example)
- failed competitive public education for our children to meet the challenges of a global economy;
- the speedy end to Bush's vendetta-war (i.e."He trahd to kill mah Daddy") which diverts trillions of dollars from the domestic agenda of equality, opportunity and a safe, sustainable environment, including urban cities, and which uses other people's children as cannon fodder;
- recalibrating job training for American workers - female and male - so that they can support their families with decent incomes earned in state-of-the-art, globally competitive businesses and industries -- in this country;
- access to safe, sanitary, decent and affordable shelter in at least one house so that, unlike McCain, they will remember where their house is and that they have possession of at least one; and,
- not the least of these core issues, the right of a woman to control her own destiny through easily available sex education, mature information on demand and the ultimate choice about accepting parenthood.
Conversations, debates, press conferences, commentaries, opinion-editorials, letters to the editor, public service announcements, demands for media objectivity in coverage of these issues ( instead of obsessing about lip stick and some long-ago beauty contest), and ALL of our energies, must be focused on emphasizing these core issues. We must take back the day-time news, and challenge the night of ignorance and manipulation of our futures with trivia and cynicism.
This is the true beginning of the 21st Century, folks. Barack Obama is the one for whom we have been waiting.
SOUND BITES OF PROTEST is the newest book (Chicago: Third World Press- 2008) by Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, the 2007 Winner of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild's Front Page Award- the Bernie Harrison Memorial Award for Commentary. Her previous book, CONSENSUS AND COMPROMISE: CREATING THE FIRST NATIONAL URBAN POLICY UNDER PRESIDENT CARTER, was published in 2006 by University Press of America /Roman and Littlefield publishing.