this is my second ever blog (that i can recall) about contemporary politics. it won't take very long: WILL EVERYONE PLEASE SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT SARAH PALIN!
seriously, when i heard that john mccain had chosen her as his running mate, the only thing i felt was embarrassed for him. a guy whose only hope seems to hang on some vague perception of him as a maverick-- a man of integrity, who does what he thinks is right while everyone else is doing what's merely expediant-- has chosen a running mate whose only creditial seems to be that some political strategist of unsubtle mind thinks that choosing her would be tactical. there didn't seem to me to be any real risk that hordes of women would mccain over obama on the grounds that sarah palin was his running mate. no need for political analysts to explain anything-- the move could not have been more pathetically obvious, ineffective, and self-defeating. i still hold this to be true.
what i failed to anticipate was that reasonable left-leaning people-- particular women-- would flip the fuck out, start groups, fill my inbox with forwards and my mini-feed with their sarah-palin-related feelings! and in this, perhaps the mccain campaign was actually a step ahead of me. because the outrage amongst people who would never support mccain anyway has made this into an issue that actually MIGHT rally hordes of women to the mccain campaign. in a race between mccain-palin and obama-biden, mccain-palin doesn't have a shot in hell. but make this a race between palin and "women against palin", and those soccer moms that everyone's so fucking concerned about might pick palin. and i might not blame them! because in amidst the the valid criticism of her qualifications and policy positions, people in groups like "women against palin" will likely also say things that reflect a certain conscious or unconsious disdain, a certain tone of contempt which those soccer moms, whoever they are, might reasonably take to heart.
it's true that mccain's choice of a running mate is an insult to women who work hard, women who are qualified for the jobs they hold-- women who are overqualified-- and it's an (embarrassingly obvious) insult to our intelligence, and to everyone's, to think that anyone will vote for her on her initial merits. this, i'll admit, didn't immediately occur to me as noteworthy, because every one of mccain's stances on every issue is an insult to women (and to everyone else). but, frankly, i find it almost equally insulting that other progressive people think that i need mccain's move explained to me, or that anyone else does. and in the meantime we're just creating the thing that we feared.
[another thing: in a couple of months i'm going to have to make this blog private for awhile-- meaning you can only read it if your email address is on a list of email addresses that i submit. it's a bummer, but i'm going to be paying a lot of money to send applications out to various graduate schools, and i don't really want any investigative application reviewers to be able to read my extremely informal musings, philosophical or otherwise. if you're on my blogroll, i'll add you automatically-- if you're not, and you ever check this and might want to continue to, please please let me know and i'll add you.]
Sunday, September 07, 2008
i haven't heard back yet about my comp-- i'm assuming that i didn't pass it. so while i wait, i will post this apt little piece of the answer that i prepared for the question on virtue ethics.
If an agent is patient, for example, she will be disposed to resist acting in haste, a disposition that consists partially in a particular set of feelings and desires that would make her inclined, under many circumstances, to wait rather than act—a sense of calm, say, a certain resistance to undue urgency. It consists partially in a certain kind of judgment. To possess a virtue is to accept certain features of the world as reasons, and to be sensitive to the presence of those reasons, which will sometimes be features of the external world, and sometimes features of one’s own psychological economy. The agent who demonstrates patience will therefore be an agent who recognizes certain features of the various circumstances that confront her, and of her own mental state in those circumstances, as strong reasons to bide her time, to wait on further information, more auspicious circumstances, or a clearer frame of mind. The possession of patience as a virtue also involves the practiced and competent managing of subtleties and exceptions. A perfectly virtuous agent recognizes patience as a strong, but not necessarily an overriding consideration. Just as the virtue of honesty also involves tactfulness and discretion, so patience also involves promptness, decisiveness and courage, lest it be mere paralysis (cowardly, irresolute, or procrastinatory).
Posted by laura.g at 1:33 PM