Governor Palin spoke out against misogyny and sexism on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. “I would like to see him apologize to young women across the country for contributing to kind of that thread that is throughout our culture that makes it sound like it is OK to talk about young girls in that way, where it’s kind of OK, accepted and funny to talk about statutory rape,” she said. “It’s not cool. It’s not funny” (Apology, 2009, Â¶4). “No wonder young girls especially have such low self-esteem in America when we think it’s funny for a so-called comedian to get away with such a remark as he did,” she said. “I don’t think that’s acceptable” (Apology, 2009, Â¶9).
Governor Palin also addressed questions about a possible 2012 Presidential run.
She was asked if her prior VP campaign made her the front-runner for 2012. “Oh, heck no,” Governor Palin said (Apology, 2009, Â¶17).
“Not necessarily me. I don’t think I need any kind of title in order to effect change,” she said (Apology, 2009, Â¶18).
Asked if she should have the right of first refusal of the party’s nod, Palin said: “Nobody’s entitled to that right of approval. There’s no entitlement accepted, I believe, in our party. You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. … Your accomplishments have to speak for themselves” (Apology, 2009, Â¶19).
Commentary on Governor Palin’s Defense of Women
Governor Palin recognized that what Letterman said was more than just about either of her daughters. Even if we accept as true that the statement about being “knocked up” pertained to the Governor’s eldest daughter Bristol, it was still sexist and degrading to women, especially when combined with the crack he made about Governor Palin’s appearance. As noted in prior entries, it appears that sexism and misogyny are permitted when used against conservatives — and many liberals do have a misogynistic streak in them. Also Letterman is not in a position to be talking about women being “knocked up” since he fathered a child out of wedlock. Perhaps his crack at Willow was his guilty conscience speaking about himself.
No one cracks sexual jokes about the Obama family, an observation Governor Palin made during her interview with Matt Lauer. Political satire is one thing — crossing the bounds of human decency is quite another. Governor Palin had to endure seeing tee shirts in Philadelphia referring to her as — well — it’s a four-letter word and it rhymes with the first syllable of “contributor” or “country.” The Governor’s daughters saw those shirts referring to their mother by that word. A friend of this author’s who often did street visibility alone was also called that word when campaigning for Governor Palin during the 2008 POTUS run. Imagine the outcry if someone used that word in reference to Michelle Obama on a tee shirt and Obama’s children saw it? When Governor Palin was a sportscaster, someone referred to her as a “bimbo,” as documented in Kaylene Johnson’s book, Sarah Palin: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Political Establishment Upside Down. Governor Palin has spent her entire life smashing one glass ceiling after another….more on that in the closing remarks.
Letterman’s statements are unforgivable and any apology rendered will only come under heavy pressure — not because he has any realization about the ugliness of what he said. It is no different than Don Imus’ “nappy headed ho’s” joke that got him fired. Imus suffered consequences for his words; Letterman is still on the air after insulting the Governor, flight attendants, and cracking a rape joke about her daughter….
Commentary on Governor Palin’s Transformational Leadership
Let’s review this paragraph once more: Nobody’s entitled to that right of approval. There’s no entitlement accepted, I believe, in our party. You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. … Your accomplishments have to speak for themselves” (Apology, 2009, Â¶19). First, Governor Palin has a very strong objective ego. She realizes that any political party’s nomination process involves multiple candidates and that this will not be a coronation for her. Hillary Clinton miscalculated and viewed her primary season as a coronation and found herself blindsided by Obama. The rest as they say is history. Very few people have an objective ego, and this is one of the Governor’s strong suits. Further, Governor Palin understands with great clarity that any politician can be a hero one day and a zero the next, or vice versa. The transition can also happen with alarming speed.
In reviewing that paragraph and her answers to prior questions, we also see the words of a textbook Transformational Leader. These types of leaders do not seek title or position — they seek results. The title and position come later – and they earn it by proving themselves worthy. Along the same lines, Governor Palin makes her entire position contingent upon the results she produces — a leap of faith. This is classic Transformational Leadership to the core.
Though Governor Palin denied being the front runner for 2012, various unscientific polls indicate clearly that she is. Her reception at events clearly indicates that she is. Governor Palin is not just a front runner — she has been summoned to carry Ronald Reagan’s torch….her denial is more the result of her own on-the-fly Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis. The Governor probably SWOTs herself often — all Transformational Leaders do. But, we know she has been called, and have posted vigil awaiting the moment she beckons us to follow her.
Governor Palin is an inspiration to women (and men) everywhere. Any woman need only observe her and be able to draw the conclusion, “Yes! I can do this!” Inspiring followers is also a hallmark of Transformational Leadership. One last glass ceiling remains to be smashed….Governor Palin is not going to do it with a hammer from underneath. She is going to fly over it at Mach 2 then pull up into a high-G barrel roll. Her sonic boom will obliterate that glass ceiling, and the world will tremble just like it did on August 29, 2008….
Lauer, M. (2009, June 12). The Today Show [Television Series]. Retrieved from: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/31314741#31314741
Palin: Letterman owes young women an apology. (2009, June 12). Fox News. Retrieved June 12, 2009 from: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,525942,00.html