MATTHEWS: She calls herself average but being mayor of little Wasilla got her ready for some big fights, a strong female up against the odds fighting for justice. It’s a familiar theme. She’s a conservative version you think perhaps of some movie heroes like Norma Rae, the factory worker fed up with minimum wage, who did whatever it took, even jail time, to get the union organized.
MATTHEWS: I love that stuff. And when we come back, Palin will fight to the end, but how will that play against [Sen.] Joe Biden?
Jeff Greenfield did the same thing here.
It’s obvious what Mathews and Greenfield are driving at: Palin as a tough, small-town girl, a fighter against the odds. Obviously it doesn’t matter that Norma Rae, aka Crystal Lee Sutton, was an organizer with ACTWU. Obviously it doesn’t matter that Norma ‘s efforts are challenged by both ownership and her husband (patriarchal capitalism?) Obviously it doesn’t matter that everything Norma Rae stands for as a film is antithetical to the positions of Sarah Palin’s party.
Oh and Sallie Field?
“Let’s face it, if the mothers ruled the world, there would be no goddamned wars in the first place.”
But you didn’t hear it on the teevee.
There’s a supreme logic to this: Sarah Palin is a fighter. Norma Rae is a fighter. Ergo, Sarah Palin is Norma Rae.
a) John McCain is a maverick who plays by his own rules.
b) John Shaft is a maverick who plays by his own rules.
c) Ergo, John McCain is ________ ?
(McCain among the Jews?)
I remember watching Norma Rae at maybe 10 years old. It’s a leftist rite of passage. Arguably the high point of the entire film is the speech given by the organizer Reuben Warshowsky, and it’s worth quoting in full. Next time you hear a talking-head drop the comparison, ask yourself if the Republican Party endorses the following statement:
“On October 4, 1970, my grandfather, Isaac Abraham Warshowsky, aged eighty-seven, died in his sleep in New York City. On the following Friday morning, his funeral was held. My mother and father attended, my two uncles from Brooklyn attended, my Aunt Minnie came up from Florida. Also present were eight hundred and sixty-two members of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers and Cloth, Hat and Cap Makers’ Union. Also members of his family. In death as in life, they stood at his side. They had fought battles with him, bound the wounds of battle with him, had earned bread together and had broken it together. When they spoke, they spoke in one voice, and they were heard. They were black, they were white, they were Irish, they were Polish, they were Catholic, they were Jews, they were one. That’s what a union is: one… Ladies and gentlemen, the textile industry, in which you are spending your lives and your substance, and in which your children and their children will spend their lives and their substance, is the only industry in the whole length and breadth of the United States of America that is not unionized. Therefore, they are free to exploit you, to cheat you, to lie to you, and to take away what is rightfully yours – your health, a decent wage, a fit place to work. I would urge you to stop them by coming down to room 207 at the Golden Cherry Motel, to pick up a union card and to sign it… It comes from the Bible – according to the tribes of your fathers, ye shall inherit. It comes from Reuben Warshowsky – not unless you make it happen.”
Norma Rae: Not in her name.