A forwarded email: “I’m a little confused.”

All right, I got this in my email from That Guy who is always sending forwards, and I was really excited because he’s a super-liberal That Guy, and I opted in to his mailing list because he always finds cool stuff.

I liked it well enough, except for one paragraph. See if you can spot which one!

I’m a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight….

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you’re “exotic,
different.”

* Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, a quintessential American
story.

* If your name is Barack you’re a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

* Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you’re a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you’re well
rounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the
first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter
registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as
a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator
representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the
state Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, spend 4 years in the
United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while
sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and
Public Works, and Veteran’s Affairs Committees, you don’t have any real
leadership experience.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city
council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people,
20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then
you’re qualified to become the country’s second highest ranking
executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising
2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you’re not a real
Christian.

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your
disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you’re a
Christian.

* If you teach responsible, age-appropriate sex education, including the
proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no
other option in sex education in your state’s school system while your
unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you’re very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a
prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city
community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family’s values
don’t represent America’s.

* If you’re husband is nicknamed “First Dude”, with at least one DUI
conviction and no college education, who didn’t register to vote until
age 25, and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of
Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, it’s much clearer now.

Didn’t catch it? Let me narrow it down for you.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising
2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you’re not a real
Christian.

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your
disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you’re a
Christian.

Okay, set aside the fact that they’re almost all ad-hominem attacks. Also set aside the fact that it’s kind of ludicrous to be framing this election as Obama vs. Palin (since McCain is, y’know, his actual opponent). Can you tell me, in an essay that is all about comparing Obama and Palin, why does THIS ONE paragraph (and no others!) suddenly compare him to McCain instead?

I mean, it’s a total non-sequitor. My first response was, “Woah! They allow gay marriage in Alaska now?! And nobody thought it was worth mentioning that she was A Dirty Lesbean?!?”

The proper parallelism here was not to bring up McCain’s wife, but to bring up Palin’s husband. Actually, since the point was supposed to be about being a “real” Christian, I would’ve left out the spouses entirely and tried talking about Palin’s failure to live up to certain Christian values (I am sure she has done this in many demonstrable ways, as most of the self-righteous “Christians” have). Or, since we’re not actually a theocracy around here, and there are no religious tests required to become president (HA!), I would have left out religion entirely and just moved on to the next point!

There are plenty of much better ways to handle this. Why did we suddenly bring up McCain’s infidelity, as if that had anything to do with why he’d be an awful president? It doesn’t.

I mean, I know why it switched, I know it’s because Palin’s a woman, but I just can’t figure out which of the many ingrained misogynist thought processes led to this point. Do we require that presidents be faithful husbands, a feat Palin can’t accomplish because of her vagina, and which McCain must be called in to fail at for her? Or it is because only men’s religions matter, since women aren’t given power in religious institutions? Seriously, does anybody have any thoughts as to what’s going on here? It’s such a bizarre divergence from the rest of the essay that I know there’s something happening. I just can’t figure out what.

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13 Responses to A forwarded email: “I’m a little confused.”

  1. Shaun says:

    “Do we require that presidents be faithful husbands, a feat Palin can’t accomplish because of her vagina, and which McCain must be called in to fail at for her?”

    LOL, awesome line.

    “Seriously, does anybody have any thoughts as to what’s going on here?”

    well, eternal optimist that i am, i’d like to think that it’s simply that palin hasn’t done anything like that…which brings up the question of why bring it up at all…DAMN!

    eh, just write it off to general douchebaggery and be done with it.

  2. Alexbutt says:

    The part that tickled your angry bone doesn’t actually seem particularly misogynistic, actually. Rather, it’s more of a compliment to Palin’s character, since there was not even a tiny, meaningless flaw in her marriage that they could latch on to. Well done there, I suppose.

    This is the one that got an eyebrow raise out of me, though:
    *If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a
    prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city
    community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family’s values
    don’t represent America’s.

  3. eloriane says:

    I get what you’re saying but I’m not totally sure why we’re conflating “character” with “your marriage.”

    And I TOTALLY agree on the one about Michelle Obama. But, uh, women giving up their careers because THINK OF THE CHILDREN is actually what the Republicans mean by “family values” half the time. (The other half of the time it means “no gays.”)

    This is a pretty flawed email, actually. Like I said, it’s basically all ad-hominem attacks that I don’t really support as arguments. I was just confused by the sudden inconsistency in how it was flawed. Also, it triggers my biggest pet peeve. Haven’t I given you the rant about “if you would have given it to me, I would have eaten it” before? Faulty parallelism is unacceptable! Learn to grammar, people!

  4. eloriane says:

    (Oh, Alex: that last line is an inside joke from this website. A lot of my readers come from there so I tend to make references.)

  5. Alexbutt says:

    Oh, I am absolutely behind the idea that if you are unfaithful in a monogamous relationship, you are not a good person. That’s, at least, my connection of marriage to character.

  6. eloriane says:

    I’m of the opinion that people’s personal lives are personal, and that I don’t have any way of knowing what’s going on in someone else’s relationship, and I don’t really care about anything but what they do in office.

    There’s probably a correlation between people who are assholes in their personal lives, and people who are assholes in their public lives, but even if so, it’s not fair to use anything but their public actions to determine whether they’re fit for public office.

  7. eloriane says:

    McCain’s still a sexist asshole, by the way. It’s just not because he cheated on his wife. It’s because he supports horribly anti-woman legislation.

  8. Alexbutt says:

    I’m sayin’ that character and marriage are related, but I’m definitely not sayin’ that a person who, I don’t know, punches his wife in the eyeball is somehow disqualified from being a very sensible political candidate.

  9. eloriane says:

    Yeah, I see what you mean. I guess there’s personal character and public character? Like, if you’re a scumbag as a person but somehow you are really just as a politician, I’d consider electing you but not marrying you. The qualifications are different. You know?

  10. eloriane says:

    By “just” I mean “fair” or “good,” not “only.’

  11. Alexbutt says:

    Yeah, exactly! In fact, I kind of have a hard time imagining really, honestly good people succeeding in politics.

  12. Alexbutt says:

    I’m sorry that I have turned your blog into a chatroom.

  13. eloriane says:

    Don’t be! I love getting comments. I wish my regular readers were a little more chatty, actually… it often prompts me to write another post.

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