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Sweet Home Alabama– For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may have caught a couple of my #roadtrip tweets from my drive out here to Alabama from Austin. I’m here visiting my family in conservative Alabama where Santorum won out. Just to give you some background-

My parents are very religious (Christian), conservative, and vote Republican. With all of the crazy things going on these days, I’m not too keen on any of the politicians’ corporate greed Capitalism promoting policies, BUT I am a woman and I vote the best way I can to preserve women’s interests in the world and to prevent our progress from going backwards. For further background: my mother would never call herself a feminist.

My sister is younger than me and is conservative, mostly because she doesn’t believe in “big government,” though I have been saying I don’t really understand that when the Republicans seem pretty big with their laws all over my body these days, but anyways…

Yesterday, I was sitting around with my mother and my sister when my sister began to complain about Santorum, who she dislikes. I said something about the Republican candidates making campaign promises that hurt women and put our human rights at stake.

My mother said, “Well the liberal women hate conservative women.”

My sister has been the one in the family who tries to smooth things over, make them right, and to avoid conflict, so she says something to the effect of ‘let’s not go there’ and then changes the subject immediately back to Santorum. I let her change it. I let it go, but I didn’t forget it.

Later this evening, long after my sister had gone home, I was in the kitchen with my mom talking and I asked her what she meant. This is what she said:

When women like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman are around at all or say anything, the liberals say really horrible things to them and the liberal women don’t stick up for them. And I’m not saying Sarah Palin should be president or anything, but people are horrible to them, people who say they are feminists and are fighting for women. People even go after their children and that’s just not fair. None of the politicians’ teenagers asked their parents to be in politics. It’s not right for the media to go after the kids. No one is doing that to Obama’s kids. Women talk about this a lot, about how liberal women hate Conservative women.

Huh. So, what did I say?

I said, I think she’s right, but that I think people don’t like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman’s politics and believe that they are working against women as a whole and setting women back with their politics so they end up being hateful to them.

I have thought that before, that women shouldn’t be so down on Sarah Palin and make it only about her beliefs, but since she said that, I have actually been pretty alarmed.

My mother talks with a lot of people, in general in her life, probably mostly Conservative white women, with some exceptions. She says Conservative (white) women talk about how liberal women hate Conservative women. Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t. But, you know what? I bet it is true. I bet Conservative women of color also talk about it. The divide between Liberals and Conservatives has grown and for all women this means greater division.

Women throughout the world are being oppressed. Feminists are standing up to say NO to the misogyny that oppresses women. Many feminists have studied oppression based on gender or have at least an understanding of it that I would venture to say, most American women and most women of the larger world do not have. I would also venture to say that most women in the world do not think women and our status in society is fine, okay, there’s no problem here. We can’t have women working against women.

A super goal and strategy of Patriarchy is to divide women and to have women hate other women. So, point to Patriarchy, but not match.

Liberal women, feminist women, cannot continue to tolerate hate toward, promote hate toward, or bash anyone who is a woman. It is not working in the overall fight. Do you have to like Sarah Palin’s thoughts, beliefs, what she says or want her to be president- No, but we must respect her and assure she is respected as a woman.

Women are becoming more and more divided over the issue of abortion. That has been the divide and conquer issue of feminism. Personally, I believe it’s about choice and whether I am human enough under the laws of a society to make choices for myself and for my body. I worry that when those choices are taken away, it’s the start down an easy path to take away my rights as a fully participating person in society. Conservative women don’t see it that way. Many Christians don’t see it that way. So where do we go from here?

There are no simple answers, but I believe women need to join forces and come together to discuss these matters. Conservative women, liberal women, and all the women in between. What do women want, what do women need? Feminists, supporters of women’s rights, can continue to fight for women, but when a good number of women (the Conservative ones) feel hated by feminists and other women, it’s a problem.