By Anonymous (not verified) on November 06, 2008

Sen. John McCain’s strategists hoped that Palin would mobilize women and tilt the election in their favor. It didn’t happen.

According to the exit polls, 53 percent of women voters supported Sen. Barack Obama. The hope of capturing feminists and women who may have felt slighted by Sen. Hillary Clinton not winning the Democratic nomination did not materialize. A whopping 83 percent of people who supported Clinton’s nomination voted for Obama while McCain captured a narrow 16 percent of those voters.

Unmarried and working women voted overwhelmingly Democratic as well, 58 percent and 60 percent respectively. (And Palin made no inroads among racial and ethnic minority women: 96 percent of black women and 68 percent of Latino women voted Democratic.)

So what happened to the Palin factor?

The truth of the matter is it never really existed.

While women across the country were eager to support a woman candidate, they were more interested in supporting the right woman candidate.

After the smoke cleared following the announcement of Palin’s candidacy for vice president, it became clear that gender alone was not enough to pull women from one side of the fence to the other.

Palin’s positions on important issues like the war, abortion, the economy and health care were also significant factors. She was also viewed by many women as divisive and unqualified for the second highest post in the free world. This was not about internalized sexism; it was the truth.

In short, she was not every woman’s woman.

The narrow view of gender that the GOP tried to sell in this election cycle not only to women but also to America fell short. In the end, women voted the issues.

I believe one day very soon we will see a woman elected to the office of the president, but we have to be sure she will be the right one.

C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D., is a political scientist and the executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. She is also a senior research fellow at the National Council for Research on Women. She can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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