Q&A with “Women Against Sarah Palin:” 130,000+ Aghast & Appalled Women

Over 130,000 women have made their voices heard on a new blog that is less than two weeks old: “Women Against Sarah Palin.”

A friend tipped me off that a mutual friend of ours was the force behind the blog and I caught up with her online to understand why she created her blog and why it seemed to be resonating with so many women.

According to the blog, this is how everything started:

On Wednesday, September 3, we sent out an email to 40 friends and colleagues asking them to respond to Sarah Palin’s candidacy as Vice President of the United States. They forwarded the letter to their friends across America. To date, we have received more than 130,000 responses from women of all ages and backgrounds. Below are their voices.

Women from red and blue states received the initial email request (full text here) and since then the blogging team have been inundated with emails from across the country. The blog even received a response from Margaret Sanger’s great, great niece.

Below is my interview with Lyra.

Hrag Vartanian: Is it true that all your free time is eaten up by this blog?

Lyra K.:  Well…yes…at least mentally. I pretty much have two full-time jobs now. At least until the election.

hv:  WOW! Is this your first blog?

LK: Yes.

hv:  When did you start blogging? And what drove you to create a blog on Sarah Palin?

LK: We started the blog on Saturday, September 6th. It was due to our initial letter that we had sent out three days earlier, on Wednesday night, where we asked women to send in their responses to post. We were motivated to create the blog because we felt that Palin’s gender was going to be used as a Trojan Horse to attract women voters. We were insulted that McCain felt women could be so easily duped.

We have been overwhelmed by the response. We’re getting about three emails per second, from all over the country, and from women of all ages and walks of life. 130,000 might not sound like a lot, but it’s almost 1/5 the population of Alaska!

hv:  Your blog is inspiring some amazing passion, I read some of the quotes and messages and they moved me. How are women finding your blog?

LK: When women respond to our initial letter by sending a message into a Gmail account, an automatic reply goes back to them, thanking them and directing them to the blog. We then go through the emails and select ones to post. So, their words are not automatically posted. That would be too much to supervise!

hv:  I noticed a specific aesthetic at work on your blog, you’ve restricted the colors to black, white & red. Even the images have a vintage feel, why?

LK: Quinn and I are both attracted to a restrained design aesthetic. We want the blog to look serious and elegant to reflect the thoughtful words we’re receiving. Especially in the typical internet climate of flashing ads, pop-ups, all-caps screaming matches and heinously distorted videos (I’m talking about campaign coverage here) I suppose we wanted to offer the opposite. The internet is notoriously anti-contemplative, and we were trying to work against that a bit.

hv:  Who is Quinn?

LK: Quinn is my friend and colleague who is doing this with me. She and I composed the initial letter together.

hv:  Do you think Sarah Palin will ever see this blog?

LK: I highly doubt it. I think her schedule of being tutored around the clock to learn about global politics and to say exactly what McCain/Schmidt wants her to say and do isn’t leaving her much spare time. And I should say, too, that this blog isn’t about attacking Ms. Palin per se. It’s about attacking the sexist choice made by McCain in choosing an unqualified running mate based on the identity box she could tick off.

hv:  If you had to opportunity to ask Palin a question, what would it be?

LK:  I think it would be “How would you define victory in Iraq?”

hv: So, how was this weekend in terms of the blog?

LK:  Emails are still coming in rapidly. Palin’s interviews with Charlie Gibson provoked a lot of impassioned responses. As we’re learning more about her, our respondents are finding new aspects of her platform to disavow.

hv:  What are the aspects of her platform that repel you the most?

LK:  Well, it evolves as I learn more too. There is the belief in no abortion even in cases of rape or incest. That is, in my opinion, a deeply horrific thing to inflict on someone who has already been victimized enough.

There is the rejection of science; in terms of her support of teaching creationism in schools, and also her denial that global climate change is extremely impacted by humans.

There is her “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality about global conflicts, which is precisely what we don’t need at this time, when our nation is seen abroad as extremely hubristic.

And then there was her derision of community organizers, which is an insult to every grassroots movement that has ever occurred in the US, including that of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Add to these her recent mockings of the “big fat resumes” of “Washington insiders”, which is an atrocious anti-intellectual swipe at people who have experience, skill, competence, and a proven record. If those without thick resumes should run our country, why do we even have elections? Why don’t we let whoever wins the wrestling match or beauty pageant walk into the White House?

The irony is that the anti-intellectualism that she is tapping into perfectly mirrors that of Stalinism and the leaders of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, when they worked to imprison or re-educate their respective intelligentsia. That, along with Palin’s snide remarks about people with Ivy League educations, makes me fear greatly for her education policies (according to her record, the majority have dealt with promoting a Christian agenda). I have another question for her: why should American children strive to do well in school if they are made to feel embarrassed by their own Vice President (or potential President) for aiming to attend our country’s best colleges?

hv: In most of the emails you are receiving do you detect that the women are angry, puzzled or something else?

LK:  They are furious, aghast, insulted, and happy to be heard. The words aghast and appalled are used quite a lot!

hv: What are you feeling about Palin now? Have your feelings changed?

LK:  Not really. I didn’t support her from the night of her speech and I don’t support her now. I think that some of the rumors flying around at the beginning (which were proved to be untrue) lent a tabloid-cast which has faded somewhat. But the new facts that are emerging are just as troubling. They’re just not as splashy.

hv: What is the future of WomenAgainstSarahPalin? Any plans to evolve the blog?

LK:  Yes. There’s been an amazing outpouring of support and many complete strangers, from Boston to Louisiana to London, have come forward to offer technical, financial, and strategic support. We will definitely upkeep the blog and have it evolve in the weeks leading up to the election.

hv:  Who do you think is going to win in November?

LK:  I’m not a psychic, but I believe in the power of optimism, so, OBAMA!

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