It appears that Sarah Palin wants to co-opt the word “feminist” now that no liberal feminists seem to have center stage sufficient to fend off this assault from the right. On May 14, Palin spoke before The Susan B. Anthony List (“Advancing Pro-Life Leadership”) breakfast in Washington, DC. Among her comments (my transcription of the end of her speech, in the video to be found here):
I thank the SBA List too for being a home to a new conservative feminist movement, is how I look at this. It’s an emerging conservative feminist identity.
Far too long, when people heard the word feminist, they thought of the faculty lounge at some East Coast women’s college, right? And no offense to them. They have their opinions and their voice, and God bless them, they’re just great. But that’s not the only voice of women in America.
I like to remind people of another feminist tradition, kind of a Western feminism. It’s influenced by the pioneering spirit of our foremothers who went in wagon trains across the wilderness, and they settled in homesteads, and these were tough, independent, pioneering mothers whose work was as valuable as any man’s on the frontier. And it’s no surprise that our Western states that gave women the vote, the right to vote, way before their East Coast sisters in a more genteel city got it right.
These women, they had dirt under their fingernails, and they could shoot a gun and push a plow, and raise a family all at the same time. These women, our frontier foremothers, they loved this country, and they made sacrifices to carve out a living and a family life out of the wilderness. They went where no woman had gone before.
I somehow feel a connection to that tough, gun-totin’ pioneer feminism of women like Annie Oakley and ‘em. Maybe it’s because I’m [inaudible] Alaska. Maybe too it’s because later on today I do a speech for the NRA and kinda gettin’ in the groove.
And as an Alaskan woman I’m proud to consider myself a frontier feminist like those early pioneering women of the West.
I know that some left-wing feminists, they sure didn’t know what to make of an Alaskan chick out there talkin’ about, talkin’ about the Second Amendment, and talkin’ about raisin’ family and kids, the more the merrier, and all that. Some of them refused to admit I was even a woman. Geez!
So, our work together, with Susan B. Anthony, is to grow and expand this organization, so that it too will be a foundation in our work to build a “culture of life,” because America is going to be an even more exceptional place as that culture of life is embraced and as we make manifest the efforts and our intentions and our commitment to kind of open the eyes of others to let them see the importance of protecting life. Really, it all comes down to life, and how we’re gonna take a stand on protecting innocent life and deciding — you know — that nobody is beneath the protection of our laws.
A better America, in this most exceptional country, still, we’re going to be able to do it better. We’re going to be even more exceptional with that culture of life being ushered in. It too must be a foundation for a new revival of that original feminism of Susan B. Anthony. Together we are showing young women that being pro-life is in keeping with the best tradition of the woman’s movement, and this year the Susan B. Anthony List, and its great women candidates, are gonna prove Margaret Thacher right: “If you want something done, ask a woman.”
We’re gettin’ the job done, sisters, one life, one activist, one election, one vote, one American dream at a time. So thank you, keep up the good work, God bless you, God bless the United States of America
If Things Weren’t Nutty Enough Department
Did you know that Barack Obama goes on trial today? In NYC?
The charges? Treason, fraud, and sedition. This Roman Circus spectacle is brought to you by one Dr. James Manning, who appears to be as nutty as the trial he purports to be heading up. More on the trial from a conservative rag:
With thousands of spectators expecting to attend, Dr. James Manning’s ‘trial of the century’ of Barack Obama on charges of treason, fraud, and sedition begins tomorrow morning at 9 AM in New York City.
Co-defendants in the trial are Columbia University and the CIA.
In the last days of the run-up to the trial, Manning revealed that he has sources in government that will testify against Obama, Columbia, and the CIA. He also reported explosive information that Barack Obama has used upwards of 20 different Social Security numbers during his life.
Witnesses are expected to testify at the trial that Barack Obama was never a student at Columbia University, although he received a degree from the school. Dr. Manning claims that Columbia, therefore, is an accomplice to fraud.
Best TV Series of the Year Department
I’ve already mentioned a couple times my admiration for HBO’s The Pacific. The final installment was last night, and it was a peaceful conclusion to the violent climax seen last Sunday: the battle for Okinawa — the last major battle of the war, at the conclusion of which the troops learn of the destruction of Hiroshima. A commentator I follow, Radley Balko, writes admiringly of that penultimate episode, and I concur in his remarks.
A fittingly moving conclusion. An especially poignant catharsis: the Marine Medal of Honor recipient John Basilone’s widow’s visit with his parents, giving the Medal to them. The end-credits’ summaries of the principals’ real-life experiences, most of them surviving into the 90s, 2000s, or even still living today, were very moving — at least for me.
If you get HBO, an encore presentation of all ten The Pacific episodes will appear Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend.
World War II Elsewhere Department
Two new books caught my eye, one a more extensive retelling of a story already known, and the other a vast summary of one of the war’s longest and most important conflicts.
The first book is Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory, by Ben Macintyre. It retells and expands the story of “The Man Who Never Was,” which is the title of a 1953 book about the same events, but, because of Official Sec
rets Act restrictions still in effect at that time, an incomplete story. (A movie of the same title came out in 1956.) Read The NY Times‘s book review.
I’m familiar with the story and, like the equally fascinating (and equally if not more important) story of “Enigma” and breaking of the German military codes, it is a lesson in the importance of retaining official records, even those of secret events and techniques. Why might that be important? Because it points up the stupidity and shortsightedness of the CIA’s destruction of tapes of their interrogations — howsoever improper and possibly illegal — of terror suspects (and innocent captives). Sure, keep them secret for twenty years or more. But keep them nonetheless, so that historians will have a full and accurate record of what happened in these post-9/11 days of hysteria.
The second book is A Measureless Peril: America in the Fight for the Atlantic, the Longest Battle of World War II, by Richard Snow, the story of the Battle of the Atlantic between Allied naval (and merchant marine) forces and German U-Boats.
The battle for the Atlantic was harsh; between 1939 and 1945, Snow reports, hundreds of ships were sunk and 80,000 people perished, mostly drowned or burned. Both sides left their victims to die, or killed them in the water. Admiral Dönitz made sure his men showed no mercy. In late 1939, with the outbreak of war in Europe, he commanded his U-boat crews not to give schnapps or cigarettes to survivors in the lifeboats or to set off flares to summon help. “Rescue no one and take no one aboard. Do not concern yourself with the ship’s boats,” he ordered. “Weather conditions and the proximity of the land are of no account. Care only for your own boat and strive to achieve the next success as soon as possible! We must be hard in this war.”
The review is a brief but fascinating read in its own right, and if you know little about this part of World War II’s history, the reviewer’s comments will set you on the path.
Here’s a thought: WWII stands out in the history of the last 100 years of American-involved warfare because it is the only war in that period that belies von Clausewitz’s maxim that “War is a mere continuation of politics by other means,” with the possible exception of the present Afghanistan conflict.
(Two books arrived recently, now to be read: Parisians and Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years.)
Here’s another, an extra, special rendition (for this one, click to see full-sized):