Friday, October 17, 2008

You Betcha?

I haven't yet decided how I'm going to vote, and it's rare for me to get political on this blog. But I do know one thing: Sarah Palin bothers me on a number of fundamental levels.

Here's what some Jewish women have had to say about her:

“In the same way I resent her co-opting a feminist message in order to achieve a retrograde goal, I resent her pandering to the insecurities of American Jews,” said Ayelet Waldman, a Berkeley, Calif.-based writer who has been volunteering full time with the Obama campaign.

“She’s the anti-wonk, the anti-intellectual, someone who doesn’t want to brook differences of opinion,” said Susan Weidman Schneider, the editor of Lilith, another Jewish feminist journal. “She is certainly not someone with whom I or other Jewish women I know would identify. There’s a real sense of alienation.”

The down-home charm that Palin projects in lieu of a focus on nuance or detail is particularly off-putting for many Jewish women, who are likely to be highly educated, urban, and upper-middle class. “Most Jewish feminists are not part of the class base that she’s meant to appeal to,” said Alisa Solomon, a professor of journalism at Columbia University. “So when she’s deliberately dropping her ‘g’s and throwing out her ‘you betchas,’ that doesn’t appeal to us. We’re not the audience for it.”

But, perhaps hewing again to class lines, Lynne Bermont, a professor at New York University who lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and describes herself as a fairly observant Conservative Jew, told the Forward that, “as a Jewish woman, I am most proud to be part of a tradition that valorizes ethical integrity and intellectual activity… Sarah Palin is antithetical to all of these values.”

To be fair, the article also points out that there is a small percentage of Jewish women who are happy with Sarah Palin, but these women tend to come from Orthodox communities.

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