Let's start with Sarah Palin. Since becoming John McCain's presidential running mate, Gov. Palin has been the bull's eye for every hate barb looking for a target. It's impossible to compute the animosity she absorbs as she remains resilient. Even when her children are targets, she holds them tighter and keeps moving. I'd say her strength has quadrupled since she stepped into the national spotlight.
For me, it's not about her politics. It's about her inspiring gumption. Where does it come from? There's one theory, which makes sense: She has meaning in her life. She understands her power of influence on issues important to her. I'm guessing she cries when alone, but keeps going, because that's what strong women do.
Now, there's a message there to other women and their tormentors. When humans took residence on this planet, women were unwilling, submissive underdogs. Muscle ruled. And, because the strong dominated, men controlled the cave, the fire and the livestock.
Incredibly, women's bodies also seemed against them, issuing wanted or unwanted children through their wombs, making them vulnerable to their mates and the yin and yang of mother and child bonding. To gain shelter and food, they submitted to treatment that even animals were not subjected to. And, yet they survived and often thrived.
Here we are today, different women, but still needing to push our way through. And, though men certainly suffer, too, a woman's role assures almost constant pain of some sort.
Helen Keller has one explanation for women's strength: "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved."
Then there's Viktor Frankl, in Man's Search for Meaning: "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
Wise women choose to stand steady. Should they falter, and there are some who do, their children and families pay an awful price.
Frankl, a renowned psychiatrist, gained his strength in Auschwitz and other camps during World War II. He eventually adopted the philosophy of Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche called Logotherapy: "He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how;" or simply, having meaning in life expands human power to prevail.
By the very fact that women are innately the mothers of the earth, whether they bear children or not, most are blessed with "meaning; something they value."
Still, women have to fight the fight. And, as more and more step to the front of today's political chaos, they take poisonous attacks. Tragically, many taunts come from other women.
Dr. Phyllis Chesler, author of Woman's Inhumanity to Woman says, "What may also be going on is some vast unfinished psychological business between women." She concludes: "Women are sexists, just like men. But, many express their aggression indirectly through gossip, slander and ostracism." Then again, some are like comedian Joy Behar, who deliberately seeks to lethally wound, such as her recent "b...." attacks aimed at Nevada Senatorial candidate Sharon Angle.
Primitive behavior remains a shameful side of humanity, thus, intrinsic resiliency thrives. People like Behar obviously don't understand that their poison darts will most likely inject more strength into their target.
Linda Turley-Hansen is a syndicated columnist and former veteran Phoenix television news anchorwoman who lives in the East Valley. Her column appears monthly. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.