Elizabeth Edwards by Lindsay Beyerstein
Today Elizabeth Edwards was laid to rest. It's a sad day for her family, her friends and her country. If there were ever a time in America when compassionate voices are needed, now is that time. Elizabeth had compassion for children, health care, equal rights, the poor, and ending war. In today's America, where corporate media caters to the right, Elizabeth Edwards was that rare progressive woman who could make her voice be heard. And now that voice is gone.
In recent years, the women in America with most access to media have been shrill, crass, vindictive and right-wing. They've supported war. They've advocated violence and retribution in far away lands where people are desperate to survive. Strident voices like Ann Coulter and Liz Cheney have sullied America's airwaves with demands for vengeance against nations, absent the most cursory lament for lost lives. They accept 'collateral damage' as designation for dead and shredded children. What gentility they may have doesn't extend beyond their family and friends. They're rabidly tribal.
In 2008, when John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate, stridency in America reached an all new high. Her hostile rhetoric, character assassinations, and lies, injected animus into their campaign. Palin, a venal, unworldly woman, was scooped up by corporate media and sold to America as a viable political force. Even her physical appearance, just a bit above average, was hyped as mega-beauty. Corporate media types, like MSNBC's Chris Matthews and those at Fox News, spewed nightly about Palin's physical attributes. But for what it's worth, Palin's attributes seem a tad overrated. What may be a knockout in Wasilla isn't a knockout everywhere else. She'd be a second rate standout in Los Angeles.
Palin's entry into the lower forty-eight made her appear more like a foreigner in America and less a candidate on a campaign. Her language was bizarre for an American. She'd assign every campaign stop a certain American relevance. She'd look at each crowd and screech something like, 'Isn't it great to be in America?' Then she'd dub the city or town 'real America' or 'true America' or 'the best part of America' or 'America's America' or some such silly thing. She sounded more like a visitor to a foreign land than the candidate for its vice-president.
Since Palin's arrival in America, other vicious and vindictive women have also arrived on her scene. Jan Brewer, the Governor of Arizona who fabricated beheadings in the desert, is now denying organ transplants to Arizonans. Sharron Angle, Nevada Senator Harry Reid's neophyte Republican opponent with a penchant for guns like Mrs. Palin, declared she was "really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies" to solve Congress' problems. A shameful example for children.
Another shameful example for children (and many adults, too) happened this week on Palin's reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," when Palin used her own Second Amendment remedy to kill a caribou and butcher it for fun. This was Palin's exhibitionist ploy to promote her womanhood to America; her womanhood being bloodlust and mutilation.
Palin, Angle and Brewer are antithetical to womanhood as I know it. Womanhood, as I know it, embodies the characteristics of Elizabeth Edwards: compassion, generosity, kindness and warmth. These right wing women are dispassionate and cold. They'd send a family to the street in winter without shelter or food. In the case of organ transplants in Arizona, Brewer has sentenced her constituents to death by cutting funds for transplantation.
As far back as the Vietnam War, which I protested vigorously, I've watched world leaders take their nations to war. Those leaders were almost always men, with the exception of England's Margaret Thatcher and Israel's Golda Meir. I've always believed that most women, notwithstanding Thatcher and Meir, would seek peaceful alternatives to war if given the opportunity. I've believed women were more compassionate and nurturing by nature, and were they the leaders in charge, they'd make our world more peaceful.
But that hypothesis crashes when considering Palin, Brewer, Angle, Liz Cheney and many other right wing women. With them I'd presume the opposite to be true. In fact, I believe these women, in particular Palin, Brewer and Cheney, are three of the least nurturing, most cold-hearted, pernicious women I've seen. Their selfishness is appalling. Their refusal to provide for those in need is abhorrent. Their love of war is aberration. Their lies and distortions are sociopathic.
And these are the women who want to seek and hold public office. What a travesty should they succeed.
Elizabeth Edwards, champion of health-care-for-all, children's issues, human rights, ending poverty, and more, was one of few progressive women with all-access to media who could make her voice heard. She fought valiantly for those who need health care while she battled for her life. Were she alive today, I have little doubt she'd still be fighting for the millions of 'friends' she'd never known. She was an irrepressible force for good and antithesis to the Palin cabal. Her passing leaves a void for battling issues that desperately need to be resolved.
Rest in peace, Elizabeth Edwards. You will be missed!