Sunday, September 21, 2008

Open letter to Sarah Palin

Epic. Win.

(Stolen/borrowed from the blog of my friend, Chelsea...)

Dear Sarah,

Congratulations on becoming the Vice Presidential nominee for the Republican Party in the upcoming election. It is a great thing to see a woman on the GOP ticket. Your candidacy is a truly historic event.

Still - let us not mince words. You were selected because of your gender. The GOP decided that you would appeal to female voters, especially middle aged white women. Women like me.

I watched your speech last night. You emphasized your small town experience and lifestyle as part of your appeal. I’m from an even smaller town than you are. I’m a wife, and a mother. We have some things in common.

You lost me when you ridiculed Barack Obama’s experience as a community organizer. I’m a community organizer, Sarah. I spent much of 2004 knocking on people’s doors in NH, to get them to register to vote. It was a non-partisan effort. Much of my work was in the city of Berlin, NH, which has a population of approximately 10,000 people. In 2004, Berlin’s voter turnout was 92% in most wards, thanks to community organizers. I don’t view the work we all did to ensure participation in the democratic process as being something that you, or your party should dismiss as unimportant, or contemptible.

Community organizing has a long, proud tradition. Community organizers started the Civil Rights movement. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a triumph of community organizing – and done without modern technology. The people of Montgomery met at night after work, in churches and planned their strategy. After a little over a year, they won the fight, and buses in Montgomery were no longer segregated.

Another triumph of community organizing is responsible for you being where you are today. Without the women’s suffrage movement, you would never have even been Mayor of Wasilla. You would be home, having babies, with no right to own property, no right to sign a contract, and no right to vote. You would be chattel. Beginning with the Declaration of Sentiments, that proclaimed “all men and women are created equal” to the very end, where Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party ensured the passage of the 19th Amendment, you owe your presence on the national stage to those women. Some of those women were jailed and tortured to win you the right to vote. Those women -those community organizers you spoke of last night with such seething contempt.

I don’t accept your contempt, Sarah. I don’t accept your glib premise that somehow community organizing is a sport for elitists. I’m betting that the community organizers of the Red Cross would agree.


Susan Bruce

Jackson, NH (population 835)

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