As a feminist who remembers the thrill of seeing Geraldine Ferraro take the stage at the 1984 Democratic National Convention as the party's vice presidential nominee, I can't tell you just how depressing I find the remarks she made about Barack Obama, blogged here by Dana.
Whatever her shortcomings, Ferraro was a culture hero to me. She kept her birth name, a fact that highlighted the sexism of the New York Times, which, in its refusal to use the term "Ms." insisted on calling her "Mrs. Ferraro," even though her husband was "Mr. Zaccaro." ("Mrs. Ferraro is my mother," Geraldine Ferraro famously said.) She stood up to the Catholic church, refusing to yield on women's reproductive rights, and took the backlash, which came when John O'Connor, the cardinal archbishop of New York, called on Catholics not to vote for her. (Funny, Teddy Kennedy never faced that kind of opposition from the church.)
But now she has revived the resentment argument against Obama, pitting race against gender in what Echidne of the Snakes has called the "oppression Olympics."
If there is a singularly unhelpful notion to espouse in this campaign, it's this one. It smacks of racial resentment, and divides the liberal coalition. I do think that the Obama phenomenon is inseparable from his personal story, which is not just that he's black, but that he's biracial and multicultural. In his very person, he embodies the aspirations of those who long to see our nation transcend the divisions of race that stem from the wounds of slavery. He embodies those things, in combination with a keen intellect and a talent for leadership, at a moment of great longing; the moment belongs to him. That is nobody's fault or achievement; it's Zeitgeist. It's the way that history works.
--Adele M. Stan
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