Hello everyone! This is my first post as a Contributing Writer on Conservatives4Palin. I’m so happy to be involved and look forward to sharing with you all my admiration for the Governor, my ideas and my political maturation from Democrat to Common Sense Constitutional Conservative.
When one of my best friends, a professor at Fordham, invited me to speak to her Gender Images in Media class about Hillary, Sarah, the Media and 2008, I jumped at the opportunity. Here was my chance to finally tie in all the research and life experience I gained while interning for Hillary as a senior in college, following the Governor in 2008 and eventually winding up an organizer for O4P. I don’t consider myself a PUMA and feel that my politics, like any young person, have evolved over time. I started college as a Democrat and now as a young working professional I have found myself identifying with conservative views and am a registered Republican. I strongly believe in the tenth amendment and the principles it represents. I credit much of that to the Governor for opening my mind — but that is a discussion for another post.
Anyways, I began the class by highlighting Hillary Clinton’s run for the Democratic Nomination. Her historic candidacy and achievements are impressive, no matter what side of the aisle you fall on. Then, I segued into the Governor. I found that informing the students about Palin and the media’s view of her was both more fulfilling and engaging than the Hillary section due to the lack of knowledge most of them possessed about Palin’s record. I asked them first what they knew about Sarah Palin. The responses I received included knowing that Bristol was a pregnant teenager, Trig has down syndrome, Palin was involved in “some sort of ethics related scandal in Alaska” and that there was “a movie about her on HBO.” I smiled. “The mainstream media has done a good a job!” I told them, “they have shown you exactly what they want you to know.” The class looked at me puzzled.
I began by neatly laying out for them the Governor’s record of public service from city council, to mayor, to governor and finally VP candidate. Most of them did not know about AGIA, about her bipartisan ethics bill, about her real reduction in spending of the state budget, etc. I gave them the lowdown, including the Randy Reudrich scandal and her pivotal role in exposing his corruption. The class was dumbfounded. Even my friend (and the Professor) Kim, who I would consider somewhat of a Palin supporter, had no idea the extent of the Gov’s legislative accomplishments. To further my point, I showed them clips from the “Media Malpractice” film, highlighting her interviews with Gibson and Couric and the selective editing therein. The students were rapt with attention.
Then came the unplanned and unwarrented fire drill which ate up 15 minutes. So I didn’t get to be as thorough as I wanted but I used my remaining time to close the discussion on how the media portrayal of Palin really clouds the voter’s (our) perception. Is it because she’s conservative that the media’s hit job of 2008 happened? Is it because she’s a woman? I asked them to consider these things. There may be no clear cut answer. I often think that because the media was so in the tank for Obama they bulldozed both Hillary and the Governor out of the way in order to prop him up. Yet, the tactics they used and the bias in their coverage reflect the ingrained views of women and their expected role in public life. These views sadly still permeate to this day.
I closed by sharing my personal opinion that this class of 20 kids (three quarters of them being women) still have a long slog to go before we elect a woman to the Oval Office. I bluntly stated that they can’t be President yet and that there are still barriers to be broken (to which I received a death stare from some of the female students). I told them our generation must not be complacent. That any American should strive to achieve a fulfilling career and a fulfilling personal life. I hope that they left the class wondering more about how they, most of whom are studying Communications, will play a role in shaping the national dialogue of the political leaders in our country. And how they also, as budding professionals, will have certain expectations placed on them by their peers as women with careers. As a society, do we still hold it against women who want to have it all?
It’s okay to disagree with Palin (or Hillary) on the issues. But when the media makes the story about everything else (family, looks, scandal, sex) and not about what needs to be discussed (policy) we lose fresh ideas and we lose the opportunity of these leaders to be our public servants. It would be such a shame if any young person, conservative or liberal, gay or straight, white or black, were discouraged from serving their country by a press who highlights whatever minority status they may hold (or are boxed in to) and makes their political presence about everything except policy. We need to have a free press, but many feel it is bought and sold by corporate interests with no emphasis on facts. What would happen if we demanded the Media to start discussing people solely in terms of the strengths of their ideas? Because of Sarah Palin, that day may be sooner than we think.