Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor

It's been really interesting watching what I hope will be the first of a few supreme court nominations for Obama. The more I learn about Sotomayor, the more I like her. But what's even more interesting is the right wing's backlash against her.

Their biggest claim: She's racist! She's a bigot! (Coming from such open minded and socially conscious people as Rush Limbaugh.) Near as I can gather, this claim hearkens back to a statement Sotomayor made in a 2001 address, in which she claimed that she believed a Latina woman was better suited to make legal decisions than a white male.

Now, while it is dangerous to claim that someone's gender and race make them more suited than another to do anything, I get what Sotomayor was trying to say. White males are a MINORITY in America. There are far more people who are not male, who are not white, or who are neither male nor white. Therefore, the white male experience, although the dominantly presented experience in politics and media, is actually a minority experience and not applicable to most people. And yet, it's the experience that is forefront in our lives. It's the experience taught in history class, and it's the experience portrayed on T.V. Trust me, I get it. Maybe that makes me racist too? (And how come no one claimed she was sexist for saying that?)

Anyway, it's pretty much hilarious that the right wing would be making these claims. They always say these things when it's convenient for them, despite the outward exclusivity of their own political persuasion. Remember how all of us liberals who didn't like Sarah Palin were suddenly sexist? (All of us feminist liberals who thought a female vice presidential nominee shouldn't be a token...)

Speaking of tokenism, I was at first afraid that's what Sotomayor was. I had heard that there was an enormous outcry for both a Latino and a female nominee, so I figured that Sotomayor was a token nominee suiting those needs. But what I've read about her makes her seem like she's a big deal after all. I mean, she was a suggestion when Bush selected Alito in 2005.

And speaking of Bush's nominees, the difference between the right's outcry about Sotomayor now and the left's outcry about Harriet Miers (also in 2005) shows the difference between a token and a legitimate nominee. At the time, the left said "Hey wait a minute...Miers isn't qualified." And she subsequently wasn't confirmed. On the other hand, now, the right is basically saying, "Hmm...what little thing can we say against Sotomayor...anything? Anything? Bueller?" And then one person dug up this statement from 2001 and they jumped on the petty racism train.

Interesting. And I just love it how the racism card seems to be played against people who have actually faced racism their whole lives. (Remember Obama and the Jeremiah Wright scandal?)

Anyway, what I'm getting at is that because Sotomayor is a legitimate candidate, the right has resorted to a cheap smear campaign...but since Obama's facing a favorable congress, I'm not really worried.

What I am worried about, is that researching Sotomayor has reminded me in one small way that sexism is still alive and doing extremely well. (Not that I ever forgot.) When I googled her name to learn a little more, the first suggestion that came up as I typed S-O-N-I-A was "Sonia Sotomayor husband." This means that despite the fact that this woman has been nominated for the SUPREME COURT, people are more concerned about who her husband is.

Ugh. Disgusting.

Here's hoping that Ms. Sotomayor is confirmed and can be a strong liberal voice on bench!

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