Monday, March 28, 2011

Reflections on Geraldine Ferraro

Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New YorkImage via Wikipedia
From Rokki Carr:

Geraldine Ferraro was my contemporary in some respects: age, immigrant parentage, profession delayed by motherhood, teaching careers, tenure as lawyers in the Queens County criminal justice system.

By sheer chance, I never met her until her campaign for Vice President of the United States, the first Italian American and the first woman to run for that office.  Without a doubt, she was persecuted by the press as well as by her political opponents based uniquely on her gender, treated as no male candidate had ever been, subjected to unnecessary scrutiny, even by her Church, all of which she withstood heroically, and with a display of intellect and moral character rarely so eloquently displayed.  She never won another political race although she continued to serve the public even through her long battle with multiple myeloma.  Her reflection on the failure of the Mondale-Ferraro ticket was a demonstration of her wit as well as of her feminism.
“Throwing Ronald Reagan out of office at the height of his popularity, with inflation and interest rates down, the economy moving and the country at peace, would have required God on the ticket, and She was not available!”
I identified with Gerry more than with any other woman in public life.  So where have we organized Hudson Valley women been  these thirty years?    Certainly not out there honoring or even acknowledging this Newburgh born champion of our rights.  Until her death this week, we just allowed her to recede into a very faint memory.  During the Sara Palin pantomime, her name never came up.  Like Frances Perkins, her predecessor pioneer on the national scene, we have allowed her to be forgotten.  She campaigned beside Hilary Clinton, but appeared only as a remote shadow.  I think it's time we awakened to the reality of how complicit we are in this feminine amnesia.

It's not too late to make amends for our communal transgression.
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