Thursday, September 11, 2008

Facing Serious Danger

The following piece is by Eve Ensler. It reached me through American history professor and author Peter Filene. I don't have permission to republish it, but I am convinced by the piece itself that Ensler wants it as widely distributed as possible.

Whatever you might think about Ensler, Filene, Palin, offshore drilling, or me, I hope you will read this. It is blunt, bold, and well thought out. I especially like this summary sentence: "I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country choose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover."

Here it is:

Drill, Drill, Drill
Eve Ensler

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a
member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned
and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for
Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact
that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or
touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice.
Whatever it is, I need the polar bears.

I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life
trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against
them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin
choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this
choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to
Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the
earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening
our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous
choices of my lifetime, and should this country choose those candidates the
fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that
America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact
that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a
joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be
elected to the presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In
her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better
or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the
arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise
of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar
bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here
to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and
plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be
taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task
from God."

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who
are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a
right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I
imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies
that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has
tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people
who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity
and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next
president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse
populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She
has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of
wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But
when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared
in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the
end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America
has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in
our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of
the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies
to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will
determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or
whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It
will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest
our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and
destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and
healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will
determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place
of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to
get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin
spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of
drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I
think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the
brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of
the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and
peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life?

Eve Ensler

September 5, 2008


mamie said...

I'm with her 100% on this, and as I said yesterday, I'm ready to knock on the doors of those with "Another Family for McCain" and (god forbid) "Another Woman for McCain" signs in their yards. Thanks for putting this letter on your blog, Peggy.

Peggy Payne said...

Mamie, I think you could be persuasive.

Kelley H said...

Thank you for posting this.

Peggy Payne said...

She gets right to the point, doesn't she? This is the clearest statement of the situation that I've seen.

kenju said...

I am going to put a link to this on my blog. Thanks for posting it.

Peggy Payne said...

Yay, Kenju!

Granny Annie said...

This is a well written and highly charged emotional piece. It is, however, speculation. Don't we as Pro Choice women agree with Sarah Palin's right to choose? When have the politicians opinions changed our individual choices and opinions? I believe this woman is a good choice as McCain's running mate. I do not believe she is Omnipotent nor is McCain, Obama or Biden. I'm going to be the same person after our new President is in office and we're all still going to have to deal with the challenges before us. Why do we fear if the Republican candidates are elected the trees will all fall down the next day and the wild life will suddenly disappear as we burn homosexuals at the stake and religious zealots dance around them with spears?

Peggy Payne said...

Thanks for showing up here with your position, Granny Annie. Doing so is the kind of boldness I admire.

I do want Palin to have a choice about whether she has an abortion or not. I don't want her to interfere with anyone else's right to do so.

There are plenty of pro-choice folks who wouldn't choose abortion--and they're against interfering with someone else's right to do so. Like Biden.

I sure do agree that none of them are omnipotent. At the same time, since Bush and Bin Laden have appeared on the scene, I've been ever more struck by how much one person can change the world.

colleen said...

If the earth is our mother who provides our nourishment then "drill baby drill" is like a rapist's chant.

This election has turned into something as shallow as a beauty contest or a movie premier. And with so little time I worry about the wool pulled over so many eyes eyes.

Ive been blogging about her too. I'll pass this on.

kenju said...

Thanks for the visit and the comments, Peggy. I also copied the body of the letter and forwarded it in email to about 10 women I know who do not read my blog. So far, the responses have been positive, save one.

Peggy Payne said...

Kenju, you're doing a good thing.

Colleen, hello. I'm glad to have you here. Your tenderness toward earth feels soothing to me right now.

Also, I love the Montaigne quote on your blog. It sums up blogging for me--and public speaking, which I enjoy: "Things I would not tell anyone, I tell the public." ~ Michel de Montaigne

Dianne said...

I came here from kenju's blog.

I read the letter twice. It made me feel less alone in what I feel is insanity!

How can people listen to Palin and not shake in their boots at the mere idea of her. It's scary that she governs a state!! Let alone that she could become more powerful!!

I will make sure to pass this on.
Thank You!

Peggy Payne said...

Thanks to YOU, Dianne.

Raven said...

Good post, good letter. I came over from Dianne's at Forks Off the Moment. I've had this sitting in my in box waiting for me to read it. I am very frightened at the damage that can be done by people like Palin and McCain, who seems to have sold his soul in hopes of getting a job he seems ill qualified for - simply by virtue of his willingness to do anything to get it. I've been stunned by the lies coming out of the Palin/McCain campaign. I'm hoping that the indecency of their approach will ultimately bite them in the butt. It baffles me that people can still defend Bush or buy into the lie that McCain - who has supported him in almost every decision - will is a candidate of change. Lord, help us. Thanks for posting this excellent letter.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I got here through Dianne and Kenju...! Thank you so much for printing Eve Ensler's words....
I too am deeply deeply frightened by this ticket and by the whole tenor of the Republican Party's rhetoric...Nazi Germany in the
30's...Truly!! And that scares the hell out of me.
Obama is our only hope and we MUST elect him. And the "issues" need to be hammered home---Over and Over and Over!
We cannot endure four more years of repression.

Linda Reeder said...

I came here through Dianne. I am impressed by the intelligent dialog expressed by you and those who left comments.
Thank you

Anonymous said...

I am here via kenju's. Very clever and clearly stated!!

Diane Mandy said...

Excellent points, excellent post. Thank you so much for sharing.

SabineM said...

I am here via Mar!

I am losing sleep over this Ticket myself.

This was soo well written and so to the point and OH SO TRUE and so scary!

I cannot believe that our country would even consider a person such as Palin, and yet so many are blinded by her!

I am hoping that people will come to their senses! Palin could take us back 200 years!

Thank you for posting this

Kimmie said...

I am visiting from Dianne's blog, Forks Off The Moment. Thank You for posting this letter. I also feel the same way. Sarah Palin in that kind of power would heed total destruction! May God Help Us that it never comes to that.

Deborah Godin said...

I found you through Forks, too. I'm very glad to read this, not only for what it says, but to discover that there are some reading and comenting who disagree. Sometimes I think posts like this are only read by "the choir" so it's good to see it goes out further than that. I think Palin is scary, too. Her election would be a giant step towards a fundamentalist Christian theocracy, an American Taliban - with people like James Watt, who got caught with his mic on, saying the environment didn't need protecting because the Second Coming was not far off... That kind of Mothership-in-a-Comet mentality is mind-numbingly frightening. As for energy, it's not just foreign oil we need to drill our way off of, we need to get off fossil fuel, period. For anyone interested in that, I recommend going to the website for The Orion Project. I don't represent them in any way; it just make sense to me.

Peggy Payne said...

In spite of her eager complicity, I see Palin as a sort of victim. She's being used. Much more damagingly so than if she were simply arm candy. It makes me queasy.

And that's in addition to how I feel about the possibility of her ticket being elected.

I appreciate these comments, Raven, OldOldLady, SabineM, Mar, Linda, Diane, Sabine, Deborah, Kimmie and those taking part earlier. It does help one's equilibrium when others also "see the emperor's new clothes."

The other antidote to this situation is, of course, action toward the desired outcome: working like mad for what we want to happen.

Yesterday I called my local Obama headquarters mid-afternoon, then went over there and started immediately to work: calling supporters to see if they would volunteer. It was the first time I'd volunteered in this campaign (though I'd sent some money.) Now I feel electrified into action.

Like you, Deborah, I also welcome discussion here from those who disagree, or haven't decided. I very much appreciate the tone of the conversation that's unfolding here, the dignity and decency of it.

The point of the Obama campaign is that we join rather than being polarized.

Sabine said...

I dunno -- maybe I don't get it, but it seems that voting FOR a woman just BECAUSE she is a woman is just as sexist as not voting for one for that same reason? When I look at Palin, I don't see her gender so much as I see George Bush in lipstick and that's NOT a pretty picture, folks. I fear radical right-wing agendas wherever they may rear their heads.
Thanks for boldly taking a stand on your blog, Peggy.

Peggy Payne said...

I agree with you about this reverse kind of sexism, Sabine. Good point.

I remember in my 20s thinking: jeez, I've never gone out with a black man. I had the impulse to go looking for one. But that then seemed like racism to me. I wouldn't have wanted someone asking me out simply because I was white.

Shephard said...

Kenju sent me...
Thanks for posting this.

Peggy Payne said...

Thanks for coming, Shephard. I can tell from your Shephard's Alley blog that you're a kindred spirit. I love your signature Emerson quote:

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

Also, I like the idea of a theatre journal.