Ms. Ferraro, or “Gerry” as she was known to many, accomplished many “firsts”. Notably, Gerry had some “Uppity blood” in her: she was also the first Italian-American to run on a major party ticket. She led a full life of family and career, working tirelessly for women and other people whose voices were not being heard. She started her career as a second grade teacher, but was pursuing her law degree at the same time. Gerry married John Zaccaro soon after achieving her law degree, and while they were young, she stayed home to raise her children. However, during this time, she performed pro-bono legal work for women and children. Her next move was to become an assistant district attorney in New York. While there, she continued her advocacy work for women and children, creating the Special Victims Unit. She moved on to serve 3 terms in Congress before she became the vice-presidential democratic nominee.
There is much, much more about Gerry’s life and career. I think what is already clear is that she was a “workhorse”. She was always moving forward, always looking for more opportunities to help others, especially women and children. She encountered push-back throughout her career, as Uppity Women do, but it never daunted her. Indeed, I think one of the things we all most admire about her was her ability to always speak clearly and forcefully; she did not suffer fools – or sexist pigs – gladly.
It’s no wonder that she and Hillary Clinton struck up such a strong friendship.
I think there are many of us here “of a certain age”. We were on the youngish side when Gerry ran for vice-president – full of hope for the future, fresh with energy from the power and sisterhood we experienced in the women’s movement. We thought the passage of the ERA was surely just around the corner. But we watched as journalists and newscasters seemed more interested in critiquing what Gerry wore than in discussing her qualifications or platform. And we watched Reagan Reagan! win 49 of the states. To many of us, the whole country regressed, and the gains we had tirelessly fought for as women were dealt a huge setback. And then the “3rd wave” of “feminism” came along – talk about a setback!
When Hillary reappeared on the scene, the clouds parted, the sky opened again. And there, too, was Gerry, working tirelessly on behalf of her friend. We felt the power of women again, and how wonderful it was to have such accomplished, strong, intelligent role models front and center again! But it was more than that. Both of these women were true public servants – they entered politics to help others, not to get rich with bribes, not to get some kind of fix from hearing the roar of the crowds. So, yes, it was validating to have women to vote for. But most importantly, they were people of substance! And we could vote for them! How refreshing in the world of politics!
Well, we here all know the rest of the story. We know of the cheating employed against Hillary, the race-baiting, the sexism. I’ll always be thankful that Gerry and her inimitable spirit were there during Hillary’s campaign to set the record straight in ways that Hillary, as the candidate, could not. As imust reminded us in the previous comment section, Gerry got some zingers in:
“Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist. I will not be discriminated against because I’m white. If they think they’re going to shut up Geraldine Ferraro with that kind of stuff, they don’t know me.”
“If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”
Here I’m reminded of commenter Sophie’s wise observation: “Gerry was many things but most of all, Gerry was right.” And imustquoteimustagain – Uppity honors Geraldine every day by hosting a blog that fights for women’s voices.
While many things could be put in Gerry’s obit, here’s “the rest of the story” that the MSM would never deign to include:
“My name is Geraldine Ferraro,” she declared. “I stand before you to proclaim tonight: America is the land where dreams can come true for all of us.”
Her acceptance speech launched eight minutes of cheers, foot-stamping and tears. However, Ms. Ferraro’s declaration, which deeply resonated with so many women weary of second-class status, was premature. Even now, 27 years later, her proclamation is still a dream.
Just two years ago, Hillary Rodham Clinton ran for the office of the presidency. The media, rather than being objective, was roundly against her, employing sexist language and race-baiting in their attempts to squash her momentum. In addition, her opponent’s forces conducted large scale cheating in the caucuses. Though well documented, the story of the caucus fraud was not picked up by the mainstream media, whose favored candidate it would discredit.
Despite these attempts to subvert our nation’s first chance to have a leader from the ranks of our largest demographic, Ms. Clinton was still able to win the popular vote in the democratic primary; indeed, she won the most votes of any candidate in any party in history. Undaunted in their quest to win at any cost, these un-democratic, misogynistic forces then literally stole delegates from Ms. Clinton, in order to cripple her win, then denied her the right to fight at the Democratic National Convention.
Geraldine Ferraro was, not surprisingly, a staunch advocate of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s candidacy. Predictably, the same misogynistic voices used to mischaracterize and demean Ms. Clinton, were also used against her supporter, Ms. Ferraro, during Ms. Clinton’s historic run for the presidency.
The public is ready for a female president and vice president, as seen by Ms. Clinton’s historic win of the popular vote in the primaries, and Ms. Palin’s popularity during the general election. We’ve come a long way since Ms. Ferraro’s groundbreaking run for the vice presidency. But we still await the day when an intelligent, competent public servant, who happens to be female, will be allowed by the media and the political parties to claim their place as the highest office holders in our nation.
So, as we mourn the passing of Geraldine Ferraro, we also mourn that her dream of women’s equality has still not yet been realized.
Filed under: DNC and Democrats, ERA, Hillary Clinton, Human Rights, Mysogyny, Sexism and Misogyny, Women Tagged: | caucus fraud, DNC fraud, Geraldine Ferraro, Hillary Clinton, Misogyny, RIP, Sexism, women in politics, Women's Rights