The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

by Emilie Branch

This phrase was originally used to describe unfairness regarding minority education, but it could easily be used to explain the current climate of women in politics. Blame Sarah Palin, but it seems that women who want attention for their campaign are becoming more like parodies of America than actual leaders. There is a leap before you look, celebratory ignorance being championed by Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin that seems indicative of America itself. Palin is often described as a media creation, in which case it is us that created her, we who feed her actions—regardless of how ridiculous they are. She became the woman who you love or the woman you love to hate in 2008, but no matter what, she represented women. And she made us look bad.

In her wake is Christine O’Donnell, taking conservative values to new heights of poorly researched claims and convoluted statements. The headliner this week, following the “I am not a witch” 1690’s misogyny she’s making the world remember, was her absent mindedness, no—that doesn’t describe what happened accurately enough—her total ignorance of the first amendment. The FIRST amendment, not even some obscure part of the bill of rights—the FIRST amendment. In a debate on Tuesday at the Widener University Law School, Christine O’Donnell interrupted opponent Chris Coons when he stated that the Constitution does not allow public schools to teach religion. This was news to O’Donnell who asked, “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” And, in spite of the laughter coming from the audience, she continued. Foot in mouth syndrome seems to be another problem of hers’, as well as not knowing when to admit she’s wrong (good qualities in a political candidate) (sarcasm). “Let me just clarify,” she continued. “You are telling me that the separation of church and state is in the First Amendment?” Coons responded with a quick: “government shall make no establishment of religion,” and O’Donnell, as though hearing it for the very first time, bewilderedly responded, “That’s in the First Amendment?”

Another incident during the debate was O’Donnell’s inability to cite a recent Supreme Court decision she did not agree with; merely answering, “there are a lot.” When asked again on Wolf Blitzer she answered, “there are several when it comes to pornography. Federal court decisions to give terrorists Miranda rights.” Like porn and terrorism should be kept equally at bay.

Speaking of porn, O’Donnell’s stance on sex is so creepily inhuman that it makes Palin’s abstinence only, in spite of pregnant daughter, campaign seem like an orgy. O’Donnell is not just against sex, but also masturbation, which she calls “the answer to AIDS.” I don’t even want to get into how unsympathetic she is towards people who suffer from HIV and AIDS, saying the government spends too much money trying to cure the disease and that the victims (she doesn’t consider them victims) deserve to be sick. That crosses the line, when you go from harmless and ignorant to a deranged perpetrator. This not only unsettles me and makes me realize how unfit she is to be a politician, but I wonder how she can even be considered a human being.

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