Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Respect for Women? Really?

Today, in the Wall Street Journal, Catherine MacKinnon, professor of law at The University of Michigan, wrote a column about the ever-increasing need for women to be treated equally in legal and social matters. There is something else that women deserve and I fear are quickly losing: respect.

Clearly, some folks think that equality means you can speak to a woman with the same vulgar words you might reserve for a drunken guy trying to strike up a fight in a bar. Take, for example, the comment Jon Stewart had for vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

According to the Weekly Standard, "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart spoke before a college audience in Boston, and at one point reflected on Sarah Palin's comment that small towns are "pro-America."

"She said that small towns, that's the part of the country she really likes going to because that's the pro-America part of the country," Stewart told the crowd, then he added: "You know, I just want to say to her, just very quickly: [expletive] you."

There was a time not all that long ago that if a man said such words to a woman--to her face or behind her back--he would be ridiculed and probably punched in the face by another guy. Today, however, trashing a woman who does not reflect your personal views is not only okay, it's expected and applauded.

There was also a time when a "working mom" would be saluted, especially one who embraced life, including that of a child with special needs. Now, it seems, those aren't respectable traits at all.

I am a lifelong Democrat who is quickly moving into the Independent category. I do not agree with everything the Republicans stand for, but I am embarrassed by the way many Democrat supporters have been acting toward Palin. You don't have to be in accord with all her policies, but do you have to completely rip the woman apart, politically and personally?

A few weeks ago, someone sent me a column by Roger Ebert, in which he expressed rage over McCain not looking Obama in the eye during one of their debates. "Obama is my guy," Ebert wrote. "If you are rude to him, you are rude to me." Fair enough.

I don't know if Palin is "my woman" (what does that exactly mean, anyway?), but I have oodles of respect for her and her refusal to cave into others when it comes to her political positions. If you disrespect her, you disrespect all women, including me. Someone should wash out Jon Stewart's mouth with soap, probably his mother.

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