Teaching All Our Daughters About Geraldine Ferraro

As many news outlets reported on the death of Geraldine Ferraro — the first woman ever to be placed as a vice-presidential candidate on a major national ticket, the voices of politically conservative women were conspicuous by their absence.

Sarah Palin, to her credit, did send condolences via her Facebook page (not the most personal way to send one’s thoughts and prayers) and a Fox News interview, but at least she stepped up to the plate and acknowledged the historic role Ferraro played in the lives of American women and American politics, even though Ferraro was on the opposite side of the aisle from the former Alaska Governor.

But interestingly, women who often criticize gals on my side of the political fence — and I believe wrongly — for not paying attention to or speaking out when things happen to their political sisters, I have not heard or read any kind words about the road Ferraro hoed for all political women when Walter Mondale named her, a then-three-term congresswoman, to the 1984 Democratic ticket.

Some of the sites have posted a brief Fox News clip of Palin talking about Ferraro, but the women who have been gung ho about the historical nature of Palin’s candidacy in 2008 have said nary a word about Ferraro.  Are they afraid?  The women who claim they want the political path to be open to all women and girls, regardless of their political beliefs, have been mum on Ferraro’s contribution to American women and a political process that made no room for a woman at that level until the 1980s.

Are they afraid to tell their daughters that there was another brave woman who came before their beloved Sarah?  Are they scared that if they say even one word that could be interpreted as praise for a Democrat that their cause will be undermined?

I don’t know what else we can assume, since political women, especially those so-called Mama Grizzlies, are a favorite subject of women commentators of the right.  You can be sure that if one of their own passed away and Democratic women said nothing, an onslaught of huge proportions would be launched in a second, claiming that we progressive gals were tone-deaf and unfeeling, and therefore unworthy of political consideration.

Michelle Malkin’s website has a post about Ferraro’s death — written by a male contributor, merely acknowledging that her death occurred. As of the time I’m writing this post, there’s no acknowledgment of Ferraro’s death at Ann Coulter’s site or at Big Journalism, also headed by a conservative woman.  Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government site only has a link to a Fox News story — no original blog post from his contributors.  Nada at Smart Girl Politics.

I’m sure there are some conservative blogging women who have remarked on Ferraro’s passing, but the high profile ones are oddly quiet.  And to that I say, shame on them.

All of our sons and daughters should know who Geraldine Ferraro was and why she will always hold an important place in American history.  I have a feeling, though, that many children of conservative parents won’t be told about her as we remember her in the days following her death out of a fear that if they hold a Democratic woman up as a trailblazer, that such a fact would start eating away at the carefully constructed tale that only conservative women are worthy of attention.

A little more respect is called for by those who claim we should all celebrate women who decide to take on the political world.  Ferraro is a woman all our children — especially our daughters — should know more about.

Those who don’t want to recognize Ferraro’s contribution just need to remember this — at some point in their children’s American history or civics class, they’ll learn about Ferraro, alongside Palin, and then they’ll be wondering why mom and dad talked about Palin, but left out the rest of the political information.

I hope they have a good answer when that inevitable question gets asked.

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3 Responses to “Teaching All Our Daughters About Geraldine Ferraro”

  1. Daisy Says:

    I remember my pride when Ferraro joined Mondale on the ticket. I only wish she’d had a stronger running mate! :)

  2. Elaine Says:

    I still have my beloved Mondale-Ferraro campaign pin. I was in the 5th grade when Ferraro ran for Vice President. I was sure there would be a woman President by the time I was as old as I am now. Sigh. Ferraro did more than her part.

  3. caligrl Says:

    While Geraldine maybe celebrated as the first woman to run for VP, at the time, she was treated with respect by most (obviously not all) in the political media world, whereas Palin, was vilified, ridiculed, her family dragged through merciless purgatory for ‘daring’ to run.
    Because of that, conservatives are not necessarily in the mood to celebrate a woman who stood by at the time, and had nothing to contribute in 2008 to the vilification of a woman with an opinion and a voice that deserved to be heard, whether or not you agreed with her politics. Silence upon her death could just be deemed a backlash of a new generation, that has rendered her run and loss as insignificant, not ground breaking- taking their cue from the Democrats who have decided to relegate Palin’s run for VP or voice in politics as a long running joke. If Geraldine didn’t get the respect in death for political contributions, she has no one to blame but her own parties narrative in how to treat the emerging voices of women in politics.

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