The 2008 U.S. presidential race is nearing its end with only a few days left until the actual election date. The race began in the Democratic primaries, with a breathtaking duel between Hillary Clinton, the former first lady, and Barack Obama, the first African-American running for president for a major party. With the media and its audience following every step of the interesting race, Obama won the chance to run against the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain. Just when Obama seemed ready to steal the spotlight from McCain, a new character stepped onto the stage: Sarah Palin.
Palin was chosen as the first woman to run on a Republican Party presidential ticket, and she brought a new light into the race. What was so special about this woman that made her able to conjure up a “Palin effect,” over the whole U.S. and what can we learn from this phenomenon?
First, Palin brought the Republican Party back into the race at a time when it was falling seriously behind. About four weeks ago, the wisdom was that the conservative movement was over and done with. However, that all changed with her spontaneous appearance. Palin, the governor of Alaska and chair for the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from 2003 to 2004, not to mention her once being a winner of a beauty pageant gripped the minds of many with her fresh, honest speeches and charismatic leadership coming from a woman.
But though her wigs may still be popular, the sensation Palin once caused seems to be wearing out. People are beginning to wonder what exactly her policies are and where she stands on issues like the U.S. role in Iraq. Many in the media criticize Palin for working from a limited script, and failing to talk to votes about issues that really matter.
So, if the Republicans lose the election on November 8, Palin’s story will teach us that images are powerfull, but that you really need to live up to what your position demands of you. This lesion does not only apply to the presidential race or to politics. As Ewha students, we need to know the fields of study that we major in and have concrete views about what we believe in, especially in the areas we claim to know a lot about. This is what really attract people to us and earn their trust.
No one knows for sure who will be elected president, but recent surveys point to Obama again. Meanwhile, as women, we can’t help wishing Sarah Palin had done more to contribute to a closer race.
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